(read Part I here)
Ben Jenkins and Kia McNeely are the current world record holders for the “Longest High-Five,” a prestigious title formerly held by Toronto-tandem Sam Stilson and Craig Morrison, and the Australian duo of Matt Kelly and Dave Thompson. The length of the “Longest High-Five” refers to the combined distance traveled by the high-fivers before connecting at the approximate midway for a high-five. Here’s the video of their impressive feat:
Ben and Kia were kind enough to take part in an interview with me about the challenges, pressure, and a possible feud that came along with attempting to break that particular world record. It went a lot like this:
RS: Was this your first attempt?
Ben: We figured we’d just do it first try because we’re hardcore.
RS: How long did you train for?
Kia: Train? We’re both pretty athletic to start out with so we didn’t really need to train.
B: I did hold my hand in the air for twenty minutes a few days beforehand to make sure I could though.
RS: Did either of you consider setting the same record but instead of running, to just drive? The roads you ran on looked very accommodating for that type of approach.
B & K: Driving would be a different record. In the rules it says no vehicles. We could have set that record, but we preferred to crush the dreams of the previous record holder.
RS: Ben, at 2:07 in the video your friend in the car tells you that “people are stopping and watching you.” Did the spectators affect your concentration and cause you to become self-conscious about looking like a crazy person running with your hand in the air?
B: No, I was totally in the zone. All I was thinking about was Kia’s sweaty hand smacking mine two miles down the road. A nuclear bomb would not have distracted me.
RS: When planning this, did either of you ever consider putting your left hand under a bible to make it look like while you were running you were also taking an oath to God?
B & K: Yes, we did consider this very thoroughly, but in the end, we figured it would be too hard to hold the bible up without any support, and we can’t run and use our telekinesis at the same time.
RS: At any point during the run did you consider the notion that perhaps running on adjacent treadmills would’ve been a better idea? Because then at least you get to watch television. That could be a separate record.
B & K: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
RS: Kia, at the 5-minute mark you started walking. Were you concerned that the public might perceive you as the weaker link between you and Ben?
K: Not really. I had my driver periodically check his odometer to see the distance I traveled. I had just gone short of two miles when I started walking so I had gone my intended distance of two miles of the total four, so I thought it’d be alright if I walked a little.
RS: The soundtrack for much of your record-setting video is Run-DMC’s and Aerosmith’s collaboration, “Walk This Way.” Kia, do you think you may have taken the lyrics of the song a little bit too literally?
K: Not literally enough.
RS: Were you ever worried that upon reaching each other, your hands might not connect square-on? If that had happened, would you two have continued running around the world until you encountered each other again?
B: We were a bit worried, but I think we both had some strength left, so we could have circumnavigated the globe if we had to. It wouldn’t have been that big a deal.
RS: Kia, towards the end of the run, you and your cameraman began to question whether Ben was headed in the right direction. Furthermore, there seemed to be some resentment on your behalf pertaining to the supposed difficulty of Ben’s two miles. Is there any validity to this analysis?
K: His way was more hilly than mine, so it could have been more difficult. Also, Ben didn’t completely know his way around where we running, but I live around there, so I knew.
RS: Are you dedicated to re-claiming your record title should it be broken?
K: Definitely. We have been training rigorously since the original break in case someone decides to challenge us. Neither of us has even put our hand down since the high five.
RS: Is there anything you either of you want to say to anyone who is thinking of making an attempt to break your record?
B: Please try to break it so that we have something to do. We will, of course, break it again, but you can hold it for a few minutes. We are going to keep this record of our or die trying.
K: My vengeance shall be swift.
Written by Barak Falkovitz, a RecordSetter intern who loves watching basketball because of all the high-fives that occur. He especially enjoys the ones after a missed free throw. “Now, that’s teamwork,” he says.