Guinness World Record’s chief has one of the strangest jobs around.
His job may sound mundane, just checking facts and figures. But for Craig Glenday, there’s never a dull day in the office. The 40-year-old is editor-in-chief at Guinness World Records, and this year he marks a decade in the post.
“It’s the best job in the world,” he smiles. “And probably one of the wackiest!
“Many record breakers come in to see us so the office some days can look more like a circus.
“I can be sitting at my desk and a giant, the hairiest family in the world, or a woman with six foot fingernails will walk past.
“At Guinness World Records, things you probably once considered unusual become normal!”
Craig, who hails from Dundee, believes he got the job thanks to his rather varied CV. He’s earned a crust in some bizarre posts — from church organist and supermarket cleaner to theatre-pit drummer, medical photographer and even a ufologist!
“My background is pretty strange, but perfect for here,” he says. “It’s all about knowing a little about a lot of things.”
Guinness World Records 2014, which launches on Thursday, is packed with more than 3000 mind-blowing records, including the woman with the longest tongue, the most
people in a Smart car and the fastest time to drink a bottle of ketchup!
But one of Craig’s favourites is the tightrope-walking dog. “I’d never seen anything like. It was flabbergasting!” he laughs.
“Sometimes it surprises me that I still get surprised. After 10 years in this job you think you’ve seen it all, but I haven’t by a long shot.”
Craig, who set a record himself in the 2005 edition for a three-foot Curly Wurly stretch in three minutes, has spent half of the last year working on the book — and the other half jetsetting around the globe to adjudicate attempts.
He’s visited everywhere from France and the Philippines to Russia, Vietnam and Nepal. And he’s met some pretty famous record-breaking faces too, including Richard Branson, Zoe Ball, Jamiroquai and Katie Melua.
“I’m away so often, I sometimes find it hard to remember where I’ve been — or who I’ve met!” he laughs. “I find myself tracing my steps through my Twitter posts when it comes to filing my expenses!”
Choosing which records make the book, however, is no easy task.
“We get about 1000 record attempts in every week — but only between 2 and 4% actually make the cut,” Craig explains.
“We have to draw the line somewhere, so if something is just too weird, too dangerous…or illegal, it’s out!
“We’ve had requests for the fastest heart transplant and the dog with fewest legs — but these are just too crazy!”
Since its launch in 1955, Guinness World Records has become one of the biggest-selling books of all time, with 2.7 million copies flying off the shelves every year.
“I think it’s so popular because it takes things to the extreme,” Craig says. “GWR is a unique spectrum of extraordinary achievements by ordinary people and animals, from death-defying circus tricks to world-changing
scientific discoveries. It makes a pretty awesome read.
“People are always coming up with new ideas, so I don’t think record making and breaking will ever stop. So I’ll be there with my measuring tape and stopwatch to record them all!”