One for the record books

Isabel Bush, 15, attempts to enter Guinness Book of World Records

Posted: Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Today 15-year-old Juneau resident Isabel Bush will attempt to join such esteemed company as Hank Aaron, the world record holder for career major league home runs, and Louise Hollis, the California woman with the world's longest toenails.

Bush will try to join Aaron and Hollis in the Guinness Book of World Records by setting a new world record for most jumps over a rope in 24 hours. Her quest starts today at 9 a.m. in her dining room. She plans to do the majority of her jumping there because of the room's wooden floor.

"A year ago my friends and I were looking for records to break, like making the biggest cookie or something like that," said Bush, who will be sophomore at Juneau-Douglas High School this fall. "Then when I was looking, I was looking for what I could do that I could break a record in."

Her informal research led her to the world records for jump roping, which is Bush's sporting expertise.

Bush is a member of the Juneau Jumpers competitive jump rope team and competed in the United States National Jump Rope Championships in Orlando, Fla., three weeks ago. Bush placed 10th place nationally in the three-minute speed event for 15-to-17 year olds.

This event, however, won't be a test of speed. It will come down to endurance.

Bush needs to break the current mark of 141,221 jumps of a rope in 24 hours to set the world record. That mark was set in March of 2004 by Jim Payne in Waterford, Ireland.

The current record averages out to 98 jumps per minute, or 1.6 jumps per second.

"Two weeks ago I tried it for three hours at the pace and it was pretty good and thought I could do it in a couple weeks," Bush said. "I started talking with my friends and they said, 'You have to do it.'"

Bush got all the rules from Guinness Book of World Records and formally applied to make the attempt.

While the event sounds deceptively simple, there are certain rules Bush must follow.

Bush can take as many breaks as necessary but must complete her attempt by the end of her 24-hour cycle, which will be 9 a.m. Thursday. There must also be two counters using mechanical clickers to keep track of each individual jump.

Also, Bush will have a friend videotape the event so she can provide evidence of her feat. Bush will also keep a running log of breaks and will have witnesses write letters of verification for the event.

Bush said the type of rope she will use is one she has brought out for speed-jumping competitions. She said the rope is very thin and light and shouldn't burden her arms with excess weight.

"All my jump rope friends are excited," Bush said. "At some point in the day they'll all come over to cheer me on because the biggest problem will be boredom."

Bush's mother, Jan Rutherdale, said she's supportive of her daughter but worries a bit about the possibility of injury.

"I think it's a little crazy," Rutherdale said with a laugh. "I'm a little worried because I don't want her to over-extend herself. I don't worry about her being up for 24 hours, I worry about all that jumping."

Rutherdale, herself an experienced jump rope judge and former coach, will provide support and food during the event.

Rutherdale also said she admires the way her 15-year-old daughter has planned her attack strategy.

"I'm impressed that she's gone this far," Rutherdale said. "It takes certain planning and she has a plan."

Bush plans to take a five-minute break every 30 minutes and then take a half-hour break at the three-and-a-half hour mark.

If she's able to maintain that pace, she will have a chance to have her name next to such record holders as the world's fastest man and the guy with the most bees attached to him.

"I calculated it out," Bush said. "It's not that fast, it's just going to be whether I can hold it."

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at

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