When Jenny Doan (Australia) began using hula hoops as part of her indoor fitness routine, she was not prepared for the journey it was going to take her on.
After listening to a motivational speech about pushing one's mental and physical boundaries to the by way of challenges, she decided that the best way for her pursue this way of living was to break a record that seemed impossible.
She hula hooped for 100 hours?! pic.twitter.com/nnlykm31zL— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) July 20, 2020
That's when the Chicago resident went from researching the Guinness World Records title for longest marathon hula hooping in high school to actually becoming the record holder herself less than 10 years later.
"In 2019, 6 years after Googling the existing record for marathon hula hooping, I made the decision to go for it," Jenny explained.
My main motivation was to truly push my limits to the extreme. I had successfully undertaken other endurance feats, like cycling across Canada from Vancouver to Montreal, but I knew I could do more."
"I wanted to see if I could push myself and work hard enough to be the best in the world at something."
Jenny knew that the previous record stood at 75 hours of consecutive hooping, and that she’d need to train extensively to be sure her body could endure the minimum – so she got creative in her regiment.
She modified a 16-week program that was meant for runners who are preparing for a 50 mile race but replaced the distance required with hours of hula-hooping instead.
On weekends she would hoop for 50 hours, using the official record guidelines for practice, and repurposed her Wednesday nights (which were traditionally movie nights with her housemates) to include hula hooping while they watched.
They did this so often that they managed to watch all eight Fast and Furious movie while hula hooping!
All of this practice led up to her attempt date in November 2019, where she spent four days hula hooping at a brewery in West Chicago while raising money for Mental Health America, a cause she firmly believed in.
"I live streamed the event to raise money and awareness for Mental Health America, which provides resources and support to Americans living with mental illness."
"I also shared my personal experiences with depression, to help people not feel alone in their struggle.
"I wanted to show others that mental illness can be overcome, it’s not always easy or fast, but it’s possible.
"I saw a lot of parallels in my record training, in terms of striving to keep making progress, dealing with setbacks and maintaining hope and determination to keep going.”
Jenny’s final time was 100 hours, but to get to that point took a lot of courage, strength and stamina.
She only slept for about four hours during the entire attempt, and suffered some injuries from the frequency of hooping.
“At hour 64, the friction of the hoop grazed the skin above my hips and caused it to bleed."
This is no surprise as the distance the hula hoop travelled around Jenny's waist throughout the attempt equates to roughly 217 miles.
After she reached hour 50, Jenny was unclear as to how she would perform.
In her rehearsals, she had only gone up to 50 consecutive hours, so she was relying on her endurance to set a new record.
However, Jenny also had her friends and family spurring her on and of course the donations that were racking up for her charity.
"My parents are the biggest source of inspiration for me. They were born in Vietnam and moved to Australia in the late 1980’s, without knowing anyone in the country or even the language."
Their strength to push through adversity and racism, to give my siblings and I more opportunities in life."
"As an adult, they’ve shared stories of their hardship and proven that they can overcome any challenge, with enough hard work and a strong support network.”
By the time Jenny wrapped up her attempt, she had met her goal and achieved a final total of 100 hours, raising an impressive $4,890 for Mental Health America.
Above all – she set out what she intended to do, which was looking beyond the boundaries and limitations and reaching her fullest potential.
"My record breaking story challenges ideas about what is possible and I hope it inspires people to question their limits and what they think they’re capable of."
"It took a lot of hard work to set my record, so I hope people feel inspired to get out of their comfort zones and appreciate the effort it takes to push yourself to the extremes.”