Guinness World Records, in theory, are amazing and seemingly unattainable. The record holders are astoundingly strong or fast or otherwise able to push the limits of human ability. Over the years, though, these world record categories have become increasingly bizarre—and we're not just talking about people with abnormally long fingernails.
Some of these records are incredibly specific, while others just prompt questions about the record holder’s sanity. The following 11 records only scratch the surface of the weirdness recorded by Guinness World Record judges. If you’ve always wanted to have your name attached to a world record, though, the wide variety of options represented here might just give you some hope ... or ideas.
1. The fastest half-marathon run while pushing a pram.
This record is one to shoot for if you don’t want to let parenthood slow you down. The women's record is currently held by Lauren Stroud of the United States. In 2019, she completed the half-marathon in one hour, 22 minutes, and 29 seconds, and trained by running with her daughter, Sadie Rose.
If you’re not a parent and still want to attempt a bizarre running record, you can always practice running in a full suit, running while wearing scuba-diving flippers, or running in several other strange fashions.
2. The most toilet seats broken by someone's head in one minute.
Usually, folks want to keep their heads as far away from a toilet seat as possible. But someone had other ideas: The record for most wooden toilet seats broken with their head was set in 2007 by Kevin Shelley of Germany. You can watch a video of it here. (And FYI, the record stands at 46.)
3. The most rotations hanging from a power drill in one minute.
This feat would require a great amount of upper-body strength—and it’s much more extreme than regular weight-lifting. Still, you might want to avoid trying this one at home. The current record is 148 rotations in a minute, and it was achieved by The Huy Giang of Madrid, Spain.
4. The heaviest weights lifted by (unexpected) body parts.
Apparently, upper-body strength isn’t enough for some. There are several Guinness World Records for the most weights lifted by many different body parts, the most bonkers of which come from places you probably wouldn't expect.
For example, the record for heaviest weight lifted by tongue is 13 kilograms (about 28 pounds), and it belongs to Thomas Blackthorne, who established it in 2022 on the set of Lo Show Dei Record in Milan, Italy. Another one you probably didn't anticipate? Manjit Singh of the UK was able to lift 16.2 kgs (about 36 pounds) using just an eye socket. Singh also holds the record for the most weight (24 kgs, or roughly 53 pounds) lifted using both eye sockets.
5. The longest duration full-body contact with ice.
Polar bear plunge enthusiasts have nothing on Valerjan Romanovski of Poland, who set the world record in 2022 for the longest full-body contact with ice. He spent a total of three hours and 28 seconds covered in the stuff. When asked how he prepped for such a stunning endeavor, Romanovski told Guinness World Records: "I trained in ice, in icy water and in freezing air. In the house where I live, I bathe in cold water. In training, I spent up to 90 minutes in the ice. I added into my training plan the treatments in a Normobaric chamber. Before the record, I also slept in this chamber."
6. The fastest time to burst three balloons with the back.
This record certainly requires that you have amazing flexibility. Honestly, though, how do you discover that this is one of your talents? In June 2020, Vaishnavi S of India—a yoga lover since childhood—managed to burst three balloons using just their back in 6.84 seconds.
7. The most watermelons chopped on the stomach in one minute.
Think you've got an iron stomach? It's nothing compared to India's Suresh P, who managed to endure getting 64 watermelons chopped open on his stomach in one minute (and lived to tell the tale). Prabhakar Reddy P. Suresh, a black belt holder, practiced for close to a year before using Suresh P's midsection as a cutting board in 2020.
8. The most T-shirts removed while heading a football.
Yes, by football they mean soccer ball. Apparently, this is what some people use their soccer skills for when they can’t make it professionally. Who knew? The record is 22 shirts and is held by Marcelo Ribeiro da Silva of Mexico.
If you don’t have the soccer skills to break this record, or would rather put shirts on than take them off, you could go for the record of most T-shirts worn at once. The current benchmark of 260 might be tough to surpass, though.
9. The most steps walked by a dog balancing a glass of water.
Don’t worry, pet parents—your furry companions can set records, too. Sweet Pea, an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie, put other pooches to shame when the dog managed to trek a record 10 steps while facing backward and balancing a 5-ounce glass of water. Not to be outdone, Sweet Pea also managed to accomplish this same exact feat going forwards.
10. The loudest purr by a domestic cat.
If all of the cat lovers out there were feeling left out, don’t fret. There’s also a record for your pet to break, as long as they don’t have a problem audibly expressing their love for you.
The award for loudest purr recorded by a domestic cat is currently held by Merlin, a black-and-white rescue cat who managed to get up to 67.8 decibels. Check out this video of Merlin in action, especially if you want to give your own kitty a glance at the competition.
11. The longest distance pulled by a horse or car while on fire.
This one may just take the cake for the most bizarre. Neither part of this record—being dragged by a horse or being set on fire—seems at all appealing. In 2017, professional stuntman Josef Tödtling from Austria entered the Guinness World Records when he managed to get dragged 1640.42 feet by a horse while he was ablaze. His human torch act inspired another record: He managed to log the farthest distance (a full 1909.45 feet, to be exact) pulled by a vehicle while being personally engulfed by flames.
This story was originally published in 2013. It has been updated for 2022.