Students attempt to break world record for longest hug

The Daily News

After an attempt to break the Guinness world record for longest hug, two Ball State students ended up breaking their embrace instead — and raised money for the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie in the process.

Senior nursing major Carter Milleman and senior telecommunications major Steven Putman, had less than a day to prepare after receiving permission from Guinness to try for the record. Although their attempt to hug for more than 24 hours ended after 11 hours, they raised more than $550 for the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie.

Putman said the amount they raised made their effort worth it, despite not breaking the record.

“We were really proud; that was one of the kickers,” he said. “If we don’t get the record, we’re still raising money for Boys & Girls Club.”

They stopped at 12:43 a.m. Saturday morning, more than 13 hours shy of the record as the effects of the cold and exhaustion became too much.

Milleman was experiencing back pain that became an issue. Putnam said they didn’t realize it going in, but their arm configuration was not set up for success.

“If we had more time to plan [we would have done it differently],” Putman said. “[Milleman] is an inch taller than me and I would have hugged him on inside because [he would not have had] to bend down whole time. 

The pair received permission from Guinness on Thursday, nine weeks after they originally filed an application on Feb. 6 to try to break the record. They had less than 24 hours to prepare for their run at the longest-hug record.

Putman said when they came up with the idea and submitted the paperwork, they didn’t know if it would come to anything serious.

“We were just sitting on the couch one time and it started out as a sarcastic joke,” Putman said. “We looked up obscure records and we got to talking we should actually do it. We wanted the easiest record to do; this was one of the less strenuous. There are some pretty hard records.”

Going into the event, Milleman said the lack of time to prepare prevented them from accounting for a number of factors.

“We haven’t really been preparing because we didn’t know if we were going to get approved for it,” Milleman said during the hug. “We are just hoping we don’t have to defecate. If we do have to pee or anything we are going to have to figure something out ... We’ll be innovative, I guess.”

To break the current record of 24 hours and 33 minutes, Milleman and Putman would have had to stay in the embrace without sitting or sleeping in a public place. The University Police Department checked on them periodically, serving as a witness. Friends took shifts to watch the pair and guard the jar of money, while a video camera documented the entire attempt.

The pair continued their effort even after Milleman’s parents offered to write them a check to the Boys & Girls Club in order to encourage them to give up.

“We decided we want to do it for a cause and people are giving money to us for more motivation to keep fighting through,” Milleman said during the event. “It’s going to kids less fortunate than us, trying to help others.” 

At one point during the night, someone parked at the Scramble Light and sprinted toward the pair, trying to knock them over. A friend tackled the charging man before he could reach the pair.

Overall, Putman said it was harder than he imagined, but he appreciated the support they received. 

“The hardest thing for us was our back and our knees; those were sore the whole time. You don’t think about it but standing up for that long just kills,” he said. “I was flattered by people telling us to keep going and people walked by to say they were tweeting about us or taking pictures of us.”

Adam Baumgartner and Emma Kate Fittes contributed to this story.


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