To commemorate 60 years of the much loved Guinness World Records annual and record-breaking organisation, a series of short original films is today released, celebrating some of the most iconic records that have been documented over the past six decades.

The series, hosted on the Guinness World Records YouTube Channel, includes never before seen contributions from truly great record holders such as Lord Sebastian Coe, Sir Roger Bannister, Sir Richard Branson and Sir Ranulph Fiennes to name just a few.

The iconic records featured in this compelling 13-part series include the First Sub-Four Minute Mile, Highest Mountain, Fastest Land Speed Record, First Trans-Atlantic Crossing in a Hot Air Balloon, Tallest Dog and Fastest 100m, records that have been the driving force behind so many great human achievements and much admired by fans over the last 60 years.

60th Montage

In the episode charting the First Sub-Four Minute Mile world record, Lord Sebastian Coe recalls hearing Guinness World Records co-founder Norris McWhirter recite on the eve of his death the speech he gave when announcing Sir Roger Bannister had achieved the benchmark time.

“’Come on, Norris, give us the speech that you made that day’. He did it and sadly, but for us I guess fortunately, we were the last people to ever hear that.” Coe explains, “This is an extraordinary anniversary and I am very flattered to appear in the 60 years of the journey that this book has taken.”

Elsewhere, Sir Richard Branson describes the life-threatening moments of his own epic journey, on the first Atlantic crossing in a hot air balloon in 1987
“I climbed back into the capsule and decided to try to fly the beast back down, then throw myself into the water.”

Branson added: “A very, very happy birthday Guinness World Records. 60 years old, you’re very old, sorry to hear that, but it has to happen!”

To view the series, click the playlist below.

Recounting his motivations for conquering the world’s highest mountain, Everest, adventurer and explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE says, “My wife of 38 years had died and I was feeling really dreadful - I wanted to do something to take it out of me”

“I’m dead frightened of heights because of vertigo but now I thought I would get rid of this stupid, irrational fear.” Fiennes used these emotions to help him scale the mountain, four years after aborting a climb due to a heart attack. Reaching the summit made Fiennes the first man to cross both the polar ice-caps and climb to the world's highest peak.

As well as the fantastic series of films, many other high-profile celebrity record holders have been honoured with an exclusive 60th anniversary certificate and medal, including Usain Bolt (Fastest 100m Sprint), Paula Radcliffe (Fastest Marathon, Female), Joe Calzaghe (First Boxer to win all four major super middleweight titles), Sir Steve Redgrave (Most Olympic rowing gold medals), Mo Farah (Most European Athletics Championships 5,000 metres gold medals), Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar (Most test matches in a career, Most centuries scored in international cricket, Most runs scored in an international career) and Tennis player Sabine Lisicki (Fastest tennis serve by a woman), all of whom have been recognised for the outstanding accomplishments which have earned them their GWR title.

On announcing her inclusion in the GWR 60th anniversary celebrations, runner Paula Radcliffe said: “I'm thrilled that Guinness World Records have included me in their 60th anniversary celebrations. I'm extremely proud to hold the record for fastest marathon run by a women, it means a great deal to me and to have Guinness World Records recognise that is a real privilege.”

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Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records Editor in Chief, said of the anniversary: “This original series of films is a celebration of – and thank you to – the remarkable record-breakers who’ve literally changed the world with their determination and dedication. It’s also a fitting way of commemorating our 60th anniversary and looking back at how much the world has changed – or in some cases, as with Robert Wadlow, the tallest man of all time, stayed the same – over the past six decades.”

Gallery: In pictures - Guinness World Records icons honoured for 60th anniversary

The idea for a book of records began in the early 1950s when Sir Hugh Beaver (1890—1967), Managing Director of the Guinness Brewery, attended a shooting party in County Wexford. There, he and his hosts argued about the fastest game bird in Europe, and failed to find an answer in any reference book.

In 1954, recalling his shooting party argument, Sir Hugh invited the twins Norris (1925—2004) and Ross McWhirter (1925—75) to compile a book of facts and figures. Guinness Superlatives was incorporated on 30 November and the office opened in two rooms in a converted gymnasium on the top floor of Ludgate House, 107 Fleet Street. Work began on writing the book, which took 13 and a half 90-hour weeks, including weekends and bank holidays.

Little did the McWhirters know that taking shape was a book that would go on to become an all-time best seller and one of the most recognized and trusted brands in the world

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