At the halfway point of her quest to set a new world record, 15-year-old Juneau resident Isabel Bush is ahead of schedule.
Bush is trying to establish a new mark in the Guinness Book of World Records by setting a new world record for number of jumps over a rope in 24 hours.
As of 9 p.m. on Wednesday - exactly 12 hours after she started - Bush had jumped her rope more than 87,000 times. If she maintains this pace, she will shatter the old record by more than 30,000 jumps. Her attempt will end today at 9 a.m.
Jim Payne set the current record of 141,221 jumps in March of 2004 in Waterford, Ireland.
Bush has been jumping in her dining room with friends and family cheering her on. She also has two people keeping track of each jump with mechanical clickers and has been videotaping the event to provide proof for the Guinness Book of World Records.
"It's a party," Bush said during a five-minute break. "Everyone has been coming over and saying good luck. We've turned up the music and people have been dancing with the camera. I have had friends call from Seattle."
Her athletic feat has turned into a day-long party as her Juneau Jumpers jump rope teammates, the Juneau-Douglas High School cross country team and assorted friends and neighbors have stopped by to encourage Bush.
"I wasn't taking a count but there's been a good 30 people in the course of the day," said Bush's mother Jan Rutherdale. "We had one woman who read about it and had relatives in town and there may have been seven of them come by to see the big event."
While she has a certain number of jumps she tries to reach during a specific amount of time, Bush said she's following her own pace and rhythm while jumping.
"Actually the speed has been consistent all along," Bush said. "I just automatically go to what I go to. I haven't been too bad in that case. I'm trying to get certain numbers but I naturally go to that. It's my warm-up pace when I warm-up to jump rope."
She said outside of a few blisters and sore shoulders, she's been able to maintain her pace.
Bush said she became very fatigued at about 4:30 p.m. but she started to eat more and quickly rebounded.
"I think I didn't realize at the beginning how much food I should be taking in," Bush said. "That was probably one of the reasons I was tired at 4:30 p.m. I've been eating a lot more, so that helps."
Bush originally planned to take a four-hour nap during the event, but plans to maintain her pace of five-minute breaks every half hour and 30 minute breaks at each three-and-a-hour mark to keep her muscles from tightening.
Her biggest obstacle hasn't been fatigue or injury, however. It's been boredom.
She tried to have her sister, Megan, read her the latest Harry Potter book but it didn't provide enough energy to keep her going.
"It wasn't working too well," Bush said of the reading. "It only really happens for a half hour then people get bored.
"The only time I think I felt well entertained was during the dancing, otherwise I'm just bored."
Though she's more than halfway to breaking the record, Bush knows she must still get through the late night and early morning hours to achieve her goal.
With 60,000 more jumps to go and 12 hours ahead of her, she can see the finish line on the horizon.
"I don't know, I hope so," Bush said of breaking the record. "It still seems daunting, but it seems much more real now than it did."
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com
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