Guinness World Record DENIED

We just got word from Guinness World Records that our claim has been denied. Here’s their reason:

Thank you for sending us the details of your recent record attempt for ‘Youngest Person to pedal the length of the
Americas’. We are afraid to say that we are unable to accept this as a Guinness World Record.

Unfortunately, we at Guinness World Records, have decided to rest this record, meaning we have decided to no longer recognise the category as a record, due to the fact that the record would reach an age where a person would no longer be able to break it or attempt (i.e. a two-year old attempting to do it) and as it would become limited under these terms, we choose to to no longer recognise it as a category.

The achievement, however, is an amazing one and we hope you and your family enjoyed it.

Thank you and we wish you the best and hope you understand.

Needless to say, we’re gutted. It just seems so unfair. The boys spent three years pedaling in order to break that record and now Guinness has decided they will no longer honor it.

I honestly feel that my boys should be grandfathered in. When we filed with Guinness World Records back in the spring of 2008 they sent me guidelines outlining what we would need to do and how we needed to document it and how we needed to submit the claim. They never, ever mentioned anything about not recognizing the youngest to do something.

We’re trying to decide what we’ll do – should we appeal and mount an international outcry? Or should we just let it rest, knowing that the boys did it. They know and we know and the whole world knows Davy and Daryl are the youngest to cycle the length of the Americas – is that certificate really that important?

Part of me is screaming out, “HELL YES!” They pedaled 17,300 miles for that record. They deserve to be recognized.

And yet – is it worth the time and effort to challenge it? That I don’t know. The world record was always secondary to our goal of simply doing what we set out to do. We did that.

We’ll take tonight to think about all this and decide what we want to do. If we do decide to challenge it, I’ll let you know what you can do to help. Thank you all for your support.

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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33 Responses to Guinness World Record DENIED

  1. Birgitte July 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    That bites!

  2. Rain July 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    I am crushed for you. 🙁

  3. Rebeca July 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Oh, no! That just seems wrong. If you do decide to appeal it, let us know how we can help!

  4. RamseyH July 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    It seems totally unreasonable for them to deny you this given that they outlined the terms when you began and never notified you otherwise.

    That said, you hold the record whether they validate it or not. If Guiness is stupid, it doesn’t mean your accomplishment disappears. It just means Guiness is stupid.

  5. Tim @ Families Again July 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    My gut reaction is to fight it as well. However, decide now how far you want to take it. Then, if it get’s to that point, call it quits. It’s worth fighting for but not worth allowing it to devour you – you know what I mean?

  6. Charles McCool July 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Incredible achievement, whether or not it is officially recognized by the Guinness folk. More people will probably know about it through online sources, anyway!

  7. Shirley July 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Nancy and family — outrageous! If you decide to contend, you will have my support. Daryl and Dave should not be denied this recognition. Clearly you fulfilled the stated requirements — Guinness should know better! This is unethical and seems very unfair. Their credibility pales with such a decision. Peace & joy to you and your incredible family.

  8. Kate July 25, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Of course you must do what’s best for your family. But inside I’m screaming fight, fight, fight!!!! OK, well, start with a nice reply. And then if they say ‘no’, bring out all your guns (us!)

  9. Wanderingwombles July 25, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    I say fight it!! Damn them. Go and get publicity all over the place and make them look like utter twongs!

  10. Spot July 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    URG! So sorry to hear that. I’m happy to harness my blog’s little corner of the internet to help you fight if that’s what you decide.

  11. Mike Vermeulen July 25, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Go to Select “find a record”. Now type in “youngest” and hit “search”. I get 190 results.

    I fail to see how many of these records they DO include are very different from the reason they gave above. I would at least appeal to their common sense once or twice before giving up.

    With that said, it is more important to have had this experience than any particular entry in their list – so I’d probably push it for a while to see what happens but in the end not let it diminish the overall experience.

  12. Sonja July 25, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    Bogus!! And so wrong! I’ll support your challenge.

  13. Amy July 26, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    I feel so sad for them. I understand the protection of children by the introduction of that sort of rule (I mean, do we really want to see 12 year olds competing to sail around the world unassisted?) but they did it in a safe, protected environment with their parents…and had been told years ago how to go about breaking the record.

    Guiness — think about it, this is just maddness to not allow them to go into the record books.

  14. Odysseus Drifts July 26, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    Challenge it ~ publicly!

  15. Erin July 26, 2011 at 3:01 am #

    That’s ridiculous! If you choose to fight it you’ll have huge support from the travel blogging community and your readers. Either way it’s an amazing achievement and they can’t take that away from the boys.

  16. Thomas Arbs July 26, 2011 at 3:26 am #

    Now that’s a shame. As much as I am convinced that if there’s one thing D&D will have learned on their trip it is not to strive for something as trivial and material as a framed document on the wall, they obviously have earned it, and changing the rules during a competition is never a good idea.

    Should you run amok? Well, write a decent letter or two, then let it rest. Should we? Yes, each and every of us commenters should spare a stamp and write to Guinness. (And then let it rest. I have never owned a Guinness book and never will.)

  17. Mark July 26, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    Challenge it, and engage the blogosphere is support of your fight! Your boys did what was outlined and deserve the credit!

  18. Mary July 26, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    I say fight it!

  19. Anna July 26, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Excuse me, but… Bloody dingbats!?!

    I understand your disappointment. This must feel like a slap in the face with a concrete pillar – you did everything they asked, you had your noses set on this symbolic recognition… and then; nothing?! “We’re sorry, the record you were trying to break has been discontinued.”


    Though, I must admit I actually support the stand Guinness is taking against all these outrageous youngest-ever-something record attempts. Unfortunately, not all parents have the right motives. Obviously, your accomplishment does not fall anywhere near the “outrageous” category because you – or specifically, your children – achieved their record under sensible, safe and responsible conditions. The question is if Guinness should be “morally liable” for all youngest-something record attempts if they continue to recognise them?

    If you want to appeal to Guinness, I suggest you base your appeal on this – the record was achieved under sensible, safe and responsible conditions; the parents were present; the boys continued their schooling, etc.

    BTW, if they were to recognise this record, would it be for both David and Daryl or only the younger one of them?

    • Nancy July 26, 2011 at 8:13 am #

      The boys are twins, so it would be held jointly.

      • Anna July 26, 2011 at 8:26 am #

        I know, but one of them must be older by a couple of minutes? Not that it matters to me – I would certainly recognise both of them as record-holders!

        • Nancy July 26, 2011 at 8:29 am #

          If they don’t both get it, then neither of them will get it. We won’t allow that disparity. Or, as the case may be, neither of them will get it because GWR changed their rules…

  20. Meagan July 26, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    I’d say that it’s at least worth a reply, stating what you stated above: When you contacted them in 2008, they provided the guidelines to you with no indication that this would not be recognized. Even if they had no idea then, they must certainly be able to appreciate that cycling more than 17,000 miles does not happen overnight and grandfathering your boys in would be the right thing to do. It’s certainly worth sending one more email to see what happens! What they did was extraordinary and such be recognized as such!

  21. wandering educators July 26, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    fight it. that is just asinine.

  22. Sharlene July 26, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    Fight! Fight! Fight!

  23. Michael Verhage. July 26, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    We know how hard you worked to achieve this.
    Hope there will be a way to reverse the decision.
    Good luck.
    Michael, Ciska, Jesse and Sammy.

  24. Michelle August 4, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    I wonder if they read part of your blog and realized the danger involved for such young children and thus decided to do away with the record. Adults should not put children in so many life threatening conditions for year just to obtain a record.

  25. Carolyn August 4, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    I disagree, have you heard about the woman working so hard to weigh 1,000 pounds so she can get into the Guinness Book of World Records?
    Some people are ridiculous and I think the Guinness people recognize that and are trying to protect people from themselves. Even if D and D took a safe trip, what’s to say the next child to break their record will have a safe trip?
    I think it’s a sound reason.

  26. Anthony November 16, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    Teach your kids not to be tied up in titles, that they did the trip for themselves not for a title and then prove it. Or not, either way it’s a world record whether Ripley’s owned Guinness Book of World Records recognizes it or not, and they can learn to be happy with that because a world record is better than a Guinness entry.

  27. Joni Cannon December 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    fight it. Michael, Ciska, Jesse and Sammy. That’s my gut reaction. Of course you must do what’s best for your family.

  28. MIKAL June 3, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    I came across this post because I just received a similar email from Guinness. I emailed them to find out the status of a specific record for a public event that I’m going to be holding. They didn’t give me an answer, instead saying “This record has been rested”, without explanation. But, I’m still trying to press them to give me a reason, along with the last existing record before they stopped acknowledging it. Why? Because I don’t care if Guinness recognizes it. As individuals with the internet and media access, we have the power to spread the word much wider than Guinness ever could on its own. After finding out what the record was at last acknowledgement, I will be pushing forward with breaking the record. The new record will have its own dedicated website, and we will distribute the info to as much local and national media as possible. The more articles written, the more results will pop up when the next person types “world record for (my thing)” into a search engine. I suggest you do something similar.


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