James Roumeliotis is the undisputed king of pogo stick jumping.
During Pogopalooza 2023 on 9 September, the Tewksbury, Massachusetts, USA, resident bounced on a pogo stick an astounding 115,170 times, earning the record title for the most consecutive jumps on a pogo stick.
James first began pogoing at a young age at his father’s cottage with his brother.
“We were bored one day, and he had a pogo stick that would fold up,” he said.
“Neither of us could do more than two bounces but through boredom and determination, we each figured it out.”
James has been breaking pogo stick endurance record titles since 2007.
“Between 2011 and 2015, I would attempt an endurance record at Pogopalooza each year but retired at the end of the attempt in 2015,” he said.
I came out of retirement this year to not just take back the record but make sure it was in the six-digit range where it belonged.
During each attempt, James would raise money for charity using his brand “Bounce to a Cure.”
For this attempt, however, James decided to rebrand to “Hopping for Heroes,” in honour of his father-in-law who served in Vietnam.
“His dedication is what inspired me. While all of us have our own views of war, I think each of us wishes and prays for soldiers to come home safely to their families,” he said.
“This was an attempt to rally people behind supporting those who gave so much to us.”
James practised a great deal for the record attempt.
He said he began getting his body into shape in January with a simple lifting and cardio routine.
In June, he increased his routine heavily for three months.
“This consisted of four days of lifting with a two-day rotation, running three times a week, and pogoing twice a week,” said James.
“I would do an hour on Wednesdays and two to three hours on Saturdays.”
The month before his record-breaking feat, he began to do the Murph workout on Saturdays followed by pogoing for a couple of hours.
Finally, the Saturday before the event, he participated in a dry-run where he set up all the technology to stream and completed a five-hour non-stop attempt.
On the day of the record attempt, James says he was very nervous, even with all the support around him.
“I hadn’t done this in over eight years, and I was only getting older. Could I do this again?” he said.
We were at about $6,000 (£4,931.94) raised at this point with our goal being $10,000 (£8,219.09) and I was also nervous about reaching our goal. Did we set it too high?
However, once he began to bounce, he says he found his groove.
James was on track to break the record when an unexpected thunderstorm began.
“The bounce pad I built was tested thoroughly but I never tested if it was waterproof,” he said.
“Of course, my wife Maura was prepared as she packed half a dozen towels since the weather mentioned rain.”
The crew of volunteers formed a barricade with towels around James to stop the rain, and he continued pogoing.
“As the day went on, donations continued to pour in, but just before the record was reached, we were $500 (£410.99) short,” said James.
“An extremely generous couple who lived in the area donated $500 on the spot. It was unbelievable.”
Once James surpassed the 88,047 pogo stick jumps record previously set by Jack Sexty, he felt a huge weight lifted off of his shoulders.
“People then began to wonder ‘Can he reach 100,000?” he said.
“That only took a little over an hour.”
Although James had grand aspirations to reach 160,000 pogo stick jumps, he fell short because the pain in his heels began to take over.
“I told Maura I needed to stop, so she put on the last song of our playlist: Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way,’” he said.
That was my favourite part of the night. The whole crowd who was still there sang along with me as I bounced for five more minutes.
The night ended with nearly $12,000 (£9,863.88) raised.
James says the most difficult part of his record-breaking feat was trying to push past his goal.
“Your mind is fixated on the record which to be honest isn’t that hard to get to from a mental view,” he said.
“If you’re determined, you will push your body to where it needs to go in order to achieve your goal.”
However, James says once he obtained his goal, it was very difficult mentally to stay on the pogo stick.
“Your mind starts fighting with you and telling you you’ve finished the job and can go rest now,” he said.
“The pain you’ve endured for so long starts to amplify, which feeds your mind even more negatively.”
Still, James pushed his boundaries and achieved what he knew his body was capable of.
He sustained very minor injuries during the attempt and says his heels were very sore for a week, after which he could finally walk on them.
He also lost feeling in his fingertips for a couple of weeks.
James feels that all of the fun he had during his feat made the pain worth it.
“I love singing. I’m terrible at it but we had music blasting the whole time,” he said.
I created a 30-hour playlist and when my family and friends came by to support, we were all singing along.
James also says he enjoyed announcing how far he was from his goal every 10,000 bounces.
“I think it was at about the 100,000 mark that the siren switch was discovered, which was loud and obnoxious,” he said.
“Once it was discovered, someone would trigger it every 10,000 bounces and it was pretty funny and gave me such an overwhelming amount of joy seeing people rally behind me and the cause.”
James was elated to learn that he had broken the record for the most consecutive jumps on a pogo stick and says he earned the nickname “Pogo” as a result.
“When all was said and done, I held an event I wanted to do for so many years,” he said.
This was unequivocally the best record attempt of my career.
In addition to his newfound record title, James also holds one additional record title for the most bounces in a pogo stick marathon (male), bouncing an amazing 206,864 times in 20 hours and 13 minutes.
Moving forward, James would like to take back the record for the longest distance pogo stick jumping, which he originally broke on 26 July 2012 at 33.37 km (23.22 miles) but has since been broken by Jack Sexty at 42.16 km (26.2 miles).
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