Record-breakers are without a doubt the heart and soul of Guinness World Records. But what about the people who help make those dreams a reality?

Our judges have travelled as far as the bottom of the ocean, to the North Pole and have scaled the heights of the Burj Khalifa in order to confirm if a new piece of history has been made. 

However, it’s not so much the distance they cover, but their emotional commitment to the cause that sets them apart. As we mark 60 adrenaline-driven years of record-breaking, we couldn’t think of a better way of celebrating our evolution as an exciting and established family-loved entertainment brand, than by asking our judges to share their most memorable moments. 

We’ll be sharing these with you in a new regular feature on, and with today being Valentine’s Day, what better way to kick off the series than a cuddly achievement for Longest marathon hug. 


Back in 2012, Guinness World Records worked with promotional agency, London & Partners, to create a programme of record-breaking live events that would showcase the unique and varied experiences on offer in the capital during its year of Olympic celebrations.

Brands participating included Museum of London, the Evening Standard, Virgin London Marathon, British Army andMr. Punch Covent Garden with a total of 21 different Guinness World Records titles achieved and 16,000 New Record Holders during the campaign.

Here below, Louise Toms, a Guinness World Records judge based in our London Office shares her recollections of one such attempt; the longest marathon hug...

“This entire campaign was such fun to be a part of and I'm torn between choosing from all of the record attempts that took place – from soldiers dipping egg soldiers to the largest treasure hunt game which was played by Team London 2012 Ambassadors.

Longest marathon hug 1

However, I’m going to have to go for the hugging marathon by the ‘Meeting Place’ sculpture in London St. Pancras station which ended with me being lifted in the air. It really was incredible!

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This record attempt formed part of the World Record London 2012 campaign and took place on 19-20th January 2012, coinciding nicely with National Hugging Day. And what better place for it to take place than under the watchful gaze of 'The Meeting Place' statue in St. Pancras Station, which portrays two embracing lovers.

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The difference between this record title and our very popular 'Longest hug' title is that rest breaks (5 minutes per hour) are permitted. 

Longest marathon hug 4With a full embrace required throughout the attempt, participants had to maintain a full embrace with one another, which is no mean feat if you consider how much your arms and hands move spontaneously throughout the day.

You’ll be relieved to hear that we did allow participants to itch and blow their nose so long as they didn’t loosen their embrace – this is much easier than it sounds.  And of course, toilet breaks were permitted during rest breaks.

It wasn’t plain sailing by any means, although six couples started - one was disqualified for loosening their embrace a couple of hours in, while 10 hours into the attempt another one participant lost concentration and pointed at something-  moving her arm away from her partner. 

Longest marathon hug lastI think night time was the hardest part for everyone involved, but they all kept each other going by playing word games and encouraging each other.

The attempt was a success thanks to the determination of the four lovely remaining couples who managed to each set a new record with an incredible time of 24 hours and 44 minutes.”

If you have any record-breaking memories you’d like to share, why not tweet them to @GWR using the hashtag #gwrmoments.