Telkom’s 11 contestants are making final preparations before they begin today’s attempt to beat the clock – and each other – to set a new record, certified by Guinness World Records, for the longest concurrent time spent watching movies. The current record stands at 120 hours 23 minutes, and the 11 contestants will attempt to spend over 122 hours watching movies delivered via Telkom’s Boltspeed fibre.

“This is first time the record for the most time spent consecutively watching movies has been attempted via streaming. We’re excited to be able to make this technology available for a potentially life-changing event for our contestants,” 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 in order to compete against the ten local South Africans at 3pm on Tuesday when the marathon begins. The event, powered by Telkom’s Boltspeed fibre, will be open to the public from 8am on Wednesday until 4pm on Sunday, when the marathon ends.

The marathon is a physically gruelling event as participants are allowed only a ten minute break between movies (which must be at least 90 minutes) in which to rest, sleep or visit the bathroom. During the movie, they are not allowed to glance away from the screen for more than a few seconds at a time.

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 will be 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 takes place at the Sheds in downtown Johannesburg. Visitors to the event will be able to watch movies for as long as they want, for only R30 a day. All proceeds will go towards LifeLine, which provides free counselling services across South Africa

The contestants are:

* Suresh Joachim (Canada)

* Sheetal Vallabh (South Africa)

* David Erasmus (South Africa)

* Tibor Donatus Kurucz (South Africa)

* Thulisile Madyo (South Africa)

* Tiberius TJo (South Africa)

* Delon Munian (South Africa)

* Aqeel Dockrat (South Africa)

* Buhlebethu Hlatshwayo (South Africa)

* Lionel Havenga (South Africa)

* Clarissa Schoeman (South Africa)