Good things happen on playgrounds. I make new friends, train for OCRs, and enjoy the outdoors. Sometimes great things happen on playgrounds. A couple years ago I met Justin Gielski at the playground where we were both training. He was videotaping some spots for his upcoming appearance on American Ninja Warrior. He went on the show a few seasons ago for the military segment. We both built backyard gyms, participated in races, and went about our regular lives.
Then last week I got word from Justin that he was going for a new world record. He really got in slacklining a few years ago. While I’d be out running, he’d be in his front yard balancing on a thin nylon strap ratcheted between two trees. That advanced into jumping rope on the slack line. Then he got the idea to go for a Guinness World Record.
The current record for most consecutive rope jumps on a slack line was fifteen. With lots of practice, Justin claimed he unofficially did 18 at least three times. He felt he was ready to officially go for the record. So he gathered the info from Guinness, then gathered the appropriate people and friends from around town to witness the attempt.
I covered it live on Facebook for Mud Run Guide. My wife was the official stop-action photographer. The official video was captured on a slo-mo GoPro. Plenty of other townspeople gathered around to just watch or capture the event on their own phones. Justin read the rules and then each responsible person did their job like verify the height of the slack line, verify the manufacturer of the jump rope, and certify the use of at least two independent sources for counting the number of jumps. All this was documented, signed, and notarized.
Then Justin got to work. He told us it might take a while and that he would take rest breaks. He started at 2:30 in the afternoon. An hour or so later, he had unofficially broken the record at least twice with sixteen jumps. But he was not satisfied. He wanted a bigger margin just to be sure. As the afternoon heat built up, so did his exhaustion.
He took a break around 3:45 and said that if he did not do any better by 4pm then he would stop and submit the earlier qualifiers of sixteen jumps. He made a few more attempts. Then at 3:56pm, magic happened. He started slowly and stumbled early. But he recovered and kept going. He took a big backward lean on unlucky jump 13, but then caught a major rhythm. As he passed the high teens, Justin shouted out “Yea baby!” and ripped off almost a dozen more jumps before hopping off the line bursting with confidence that this time he had done it. The rest of us were sure too.
But we fell silent as we gathered around the official video to watch it again. We made sure each jump counted, met the Guinness criteria, and was clearly recorded. I caught this part on live FB and from my personal count, I thought he had about twenty-four. But those watching the tape kept on counting. They called it out, “Twenty-seven!” They reviewed it again and concurred with the official witnesses, the town Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and School Board President, as well as everyone else in attendance. It was unanimous. Justin Gielski just shattered the previous record of 15 consecutive rope jumps on a slack line with almost double – a new unofficial world record of twenty-seven.
The record will become official after Guinness reviews the submission paperwork, artifacts, testimonials, and video. That will take about fifteen weeks. And then American Ninja Warrior, retired Air National Guard, from the little town of Medford Lakes, New Jersey Justin Gielski will be in the Guinness Book of World Records. Congratulations sir and thank you for your Service.