Four contestants have been disqualified in the race to set a new record, certified by Guinness World Records, for the longest time spent watching movies.
Buhlebethu Hlatswayo became the fourth contestant to drop out after falling asleep at 2:50am on Thursday morning for 24 seconds, having watched for 34 hours 51 minutes.
Three other contestants had already failed to break the record: Thulisile Madyo declined her place shortly before the competition started on Tuesday afternoon and was replaced by Louis Marx. Aqeel Dockrat voluntarily withdrew after 13 hours 38 minutes due to ill health, while Tibor Donatus Kurucz, Tiberius Tjo and Marx fell asleep for between seven and 20 minutes each, after they had been participating for 12 hours 42 minutes, 14 hours 22 minutes, and 14 hours 5 minutes respectively.
The rules of the record attempt state that contestants may not sleep or take their eyes off the screen while watching the movie, and they are allowed only a 10-minute rest break between movies. Movies have to be at least 90 minutes in length, and they must watch the entire film until the credits end.
The current record stands at 120 hours 23 minutes, and the contestants are attempting to spend over 122 hours watching movies delivered via Telkom’s BOLTSPEED fibre. This is the first time the record has been attempted by streaming content over high-speed internet.
“We’re impressed by the grit and stamina our contestants have displayed thus far. Most of us love watching movies, but this record attempt requires tremendous physical perseverance from anyone attempting it,” says Jacqui O’Sullivan, managing executive for group communication and public relations at Telkom.
Suresh Joachim, an international endurance competitor who holds multiple titles, arrived in South Africa on Monday morning to compete against ten South African contestants backed by 94.7 listeners and chosen from over 100 local movie fans.
The contestants have been advised not to consume drinks containing caffeine, as this would affect their heart rates. As a result of sleep deprivation during the event, participants are likely to experience an increase in blood pressure, mood swings, nausea and vomiting. Existing mental health issues may be exacerbated.
Paramedics are on standby to check participants’ vital signs and an official Guinness World Records adjudicator will verify that all the requirements for the record breaking attempt have been met.
The Telkom Unlimited Movie Marathon is taking place at the Sheds in Newtown, Johannesburg. Visitors to the event will be able to watch movies for as long as they want, for only R30 a day. Secure parking is available and the entrance fee includes popcorn and a frozen drink. All proceeds will go towards LifeLine, which provides free counselling services across South Africa.
The remaining seven contestants are:
* Suresh Joachim (Canada)
* Sheetal Vallabh (South Africa)
* David Erasmus (South Africa)
* Delon Munian (South Africa)
* Lionel Havenga (South Africa)
* Clarissa Schoeman (South Africa)