Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hands across the water

The DO ONE THING sustainability philosophy takes on new meaning tonight in Times Square New York City when teams compete in the world endurance hand-shaking competition (the Guinness record is 19 hours and 35 minutes). I was sitting on the plane from Auckland to San Francisco across from one of the competitors Don Purdon (above left) who got in touch to let me know the details. He and co-Team New Zealand member Alastair Galpin (right), a professional record-breaker, are supporting the Auckland Down Syndrome Association in the competition. Several other charities benefit from this 2011 exuberant madness and magic. The event has teams from NZ, Nepal, Los Angeles and San Francisco (what a geographic binding this is) and starts tonight at 8pm by TKS in Times Square on 7th Avenue. Their bios follow. The event will be streamed live on

A native of South Africa now living in Auckland, New Zealand, Alastair Galpin took to world record-breaking in 2004 after being inspired by a record-setting rally driver in Kenya. Today, he promotes the work of social and environmental causes and has been officially recognized as the second greatest Guinness World Records™ breaker of the decade: 2000-2009. “That boosted my enthusiasm a hundred-fold,” he says. “The great thing about breaking world records is there's so much flexibility and adaptability, allowing record breakers to become increasingly adventurous.” He set the original “Longest Continuous Handshake” record. As training, Galpin has spent weeks walking his neighborhood with ice packs tied to his arm, with the right sleeve cut off, shaking a bottle of sandwich spread.

Don Purdon is a Management Consultant by day and an endurance athlete by night. Solving Organization Design and Change problems for clients is what keeps him intellectually challenged – but his endurance running events keep his life in balance: the most recent endurance event was a 21km run across Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand. For Purdon, this world record attempt is another challenge in his quest to push himself to the limits. In this physically and psychologically challenging event, he will draw on his background in Sport Psychology. He trained as an Organizational Psychologist, and has worked as a Sport Psychologist, helping various athletes and NZ sport teams in getting the mental side of the game right. Purdon believes that his extensive background in playing the guitar will help him break the record with Galpin. Purdon, who has had a guitar in his hands almost every day since he was twelve years old, says “that up and down strumming motion is exactly the same as a handshake!”