Alive & Unedited: Aaron Hibbs

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From the Alive & Unedited: Aaron Hibbs edition

Last Thursday, Aaron Hibbs made his second attempt to break the Guinness World Record for longest hula-hoop marathon. On Sunday afternoon, 75 hours later, he claimed victory, trouncing the previous verified mark by three hours. He shared more about this peculiar passion before, during and after his incredible feat.

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I've been hula-hooping for close to 10 years now. I'm good at it, so that helps. It's also just really simple. It's a circle - a nice symbol of continuity. I like it. I've gained an efficiency to my movement, so it's not quite as strenuous.

When I decided to go for the record, I guess I liked the challenge of it. It's a real tangible thing, you know, there's an organization that marks records. It's a pretty big goal. I want to do something that no one has done before.

I actually have a hula-hoop sponsor, SuperHooper.org. They gave me one to go for the record. If I got the record, they promised to give me any LED hula-hoop that I want.

The most important thing I learned from my first attempt was to keep communication more open. I needed more feedback from the people who were volunteering. When I dropped the hoop, I still had the energy to keep going. Mentally, I was sleep-deprived and started floating.

My support staff is all based on the Guinness rules. It's for documentation purposes and keeping you safe, so you don't sue them. You need two witnesses who are over the age of 18 and aren't related to you and a registered nurse or doctor, as well as a steward, who makes sure your provisions are stocked. They all have to rotate on four-hour shifts.

The activity helps me stay awake. There's a couple of other tricks that I employ, like a cold, wet cloth on the forehead and the back of the neck. I've got some pressure points in my hands that I mess with. I always keep my feet moving.

Near the end of this attempt, I was totally out of it. It was like Being John Malkovich. It was like watching theater in my own head. I guess I continued in that state for two hours. I was making up songs, joking. I flicked some boogers at one point.

I thought I was dreaming at one point. I asked, "Am I dreaming?" The crowd shouted, "No!" I asked, "Am I hooping?" The crowd shouted, "Yes!"

I'm thinking of doing it again in the spring. There's still an unverified 90-hour mark. My ultimate goal is 120 hours. I'm going to try to improve my personal best, so I've got some training to do. I've got to learn more about what my mind does when I'm awake that long.

The best advice I've ever received is fake it 'til you make it. That's an old jazz adage I really like.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at jross@columbusalive.com.