This Man’s Mission is Breaking 52 World Records in 52 weeks

One world record a week to raise awareness for STEM education.

Apr 12, 2022
This Man’s Mission is Breaking 52 World Records in 52 weeks | One world record a week to raise awareness for STEM education.

David Rush is a man with a mission. But this Idaho man’s mission is far from ordinary. He actually set out to break 52 Guinness World Records in 52 weeks in 2021. And while just a few  still need to be confirmed, it looks like he has met his goal.

The Guinness World Records (GWR) is actually a book – that is published annually that lists  people’s achievements large and small, serious and not downright silly. But breaking 52 in 52 weeks is no easy feat.

According to National Public Radio Rush had already broken more than 150 world records, including a slew of juggling ones including juggling on a unicycle, juggling axes and the world’s slowest juggler before he took on this challenge. But Rush, who describes himself as “one of the most prolific Guinness World Records title holders on the planet,” on his website is doing it for more than just fame.

Promoting STEM
Rush, who has an electrical engineering degree from the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been promoting STEM education to young people for more than a decade and he is using his world records to inspire kids who are struggling with math and science.

“STEM is hard and when a student struggles with science or fails at math they may say they can never be an engineer,” Rush told NPR.

“In 2015 I broke my first GWR to create a tangible example for folks to show that if you set your mind to a goal, believe in yourself, and pursue it with a passion, you can accomplish nearly anything. Going on to break an average of one a week is an extension of that to inspire kids to pursue hard STEM subjects and anyone to pursue anything that's hard.”

This is very personal for Rush who was rejected from a gifted and talented program when he was a student, reported TODAY, but he worked hard and ended up getting accepted at the prestigious university.

“A student will struggle with math or fail a science test and say, ‘I can never become an engineer, it's too hard,’” Rush told TODAY. "They have this fixed mindset.” But that is what he is working so hard to change.

The World Records
Rush’s first 2021 world record was stacking wet bars of soap, according to his website. After that, he quickly moved through bouncing ping pong balls and catching fruit and marshmallows in his mouth.

Some of his tasks were solo and some involved partners including breaking world records with the help of his wife and the fastest time to wrap a person  in wrapping paper with his neighbor. One of the most difficult ones Rush told TODAY was the record for the longest time (30 minutes 33 seconds) balancing a lawn mower on your chin.

Since verification from Guinness World Records can take up to several months, it is not 100 percent clear that Rush has achieved his goal but it seems very likely that he has. Who knows what he will do next?

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.