6 Great Feats Of Endurance

Some call the human body ‘The Greatest Machine Ever Designed’, but I disagree. The human body is hardly a machine. It isn’t meant to be pushed to overly extreme limits. But that doesn’t stop some people from doing it anyway. Nope.

1) 1..2..3…4……. Million……

[Typing from One to a Million]

Ooh. Halfway there.

Have you ever complained about having to number all your bullets in a particular project in which your lecturer is just absolutely anal about presentation?

Try saying that to Ms Marva Drew, who decided that, heck it, I’ve got enough free time on my hands, so I shall go ahead and type out numbers from 1 to 1,000,000.

This came about after her son (The sneaky critter) came home from school and told her that his teacher said it was impossible to count from one to a million.

Apparently, this woman either hasn’t got the memo on what constitutes pointless behavior, or she just wasn’t the type (no pun intended) to stand for all that ‘impossible’ nonsense.

Only, if you will, I might draw your attention to the fact that this transpired in 1968. Mistakes weren’t a simple matter of backspacing and retyping. This woman typed from 1 to 1,000,000 on a Typewriter.

If you happen to be born late enough that you’ve never seen one, this is a typewriter:

Yeap. One of these. With the keys so hard  you actually get a workout pushing them down. I know – I’ve used one in my mother’s office, years and years ago when I was still a kid. Well it was actually more of banging on the keys, for the heck of it.

The mission took her 6 years, and 2500 pieces of paper, crammed with numbers.

Jayzus, i could do that with Microsoft office easily in under 5 minutes nowadays.

Still, you gotta hand it to this woman for her conviction in demonstrating the original ‘Impossible is Nothing’…. erm…. if you’ve got 6 years and 2500 pieces of paper to burn.

2) Self Zombification starts here.

[Longest Period without sleep]


Randy Gardner holds the scientifically documented record for the longest period of time a human being has intentionally gone without sleep not using stimulants of any kind. In 1964—as a 17-year-old high school student in San Diego, California— Gardner stayed awake for 264 hours (eleven days).

This feat is amazing beyond anything I’ve ever seen. As I’m typing this in the office right now, my eyelids are closing just thinking of sleep.

Especially because its me. My body is ridiculously unable to stay awake beyond the appointed sleep cycle. By 3am, i usually no longer have any idea what I’m doing, and the world starts to seem surreal, like a dream. You have to feel it to understand what I’m talking about. It is beyond fatigue – i get plenty of that from training everyday.

It feels more like being in a lucid dream that you can remember bits and pieces of. Also, you feel ridiculously like  a zombie. That’s the best way I can describe it.

Of course, pulling off this feat also manifested several unpleasant effects…

“Lt. Cmdr. John J. Ross, who monitored his health, reported serious cognitive and behavioral changes. These included moodiness, problems with concentration and short term memory, paranoia, and hallucinations. On the fourth day he had a delusion that he was Paul Lowe winning the Rose Bowl, and that a street sign was a person. On the eleventh day, when he was asked to subtract seven repeatedly, starting with 100, he stopped at 65. When asked why he had stopped, he replied that he had forgotten what he was doing.”

3) Gomu Gomu no Gatling Gun!

[The longest boxing match ever]

This happened in 1893, before Ringside Judges were appointed to determine the outcome of matches. The way to win during that period was to incapacitate your opponent. The man who remains standing was the victor.

Thus, these two gentlemen above, decided that hey, let’s have a boxing marathon!

Andy Bowen and Jack Burke fought for an unbelievable 111 three-minute rounds. That adds up to about 7 hours and 19 minutes.

Artist's Impression.

Ever heard the phrase “Because my fists don’t run out of ammo” ? Actually, they do.

Have you ever tried running a full 42 km marathon? If you run all the way for 6 hours, it’d still be quite a hellish experience. The thing is, for those 6 hours, you’d be doing a steady low output of energy just to maintain a pace. In boxing, however, each punch you throw has all your energy behind it in an effort to end the fight quickly.

To size things up, an average man can throw about 25 (real) punches before he runs out of steam. Anything that follows will just be a love tap. Even if it hurts, its not going to cause more than minor bruising.

These fighters duked it out for 7 hours straight. And then some. That’s a lot of all out punching.

The referee finally called a stop to the massacre and ruled it a draw. And although there wasn’t a decisive winner, this epic battle took a serious toll on both fighters. Burke was said to have broken all the bones in both of his hands and soon retired, while Bowen was killed in the ring in his next fight.


4) There’s something Percy Jackson-ish about this.

[Longest breath held underwater]

I'd like to think it happened something like this.

You may remember a particular street illusionist pulling off the pretty amazing feat of staying submerged in a tank for 17 minutes and 4 seconds LIVE on The Oprah Winfrey show. Have you tried holding your breath under the clock? Firstly, it’s terribly stressful, which causes your body to burn oxygen faster. Secondly, the average human can barely manage two minutes.

Hi, my name is David Blaine. Today on the show, I'm going to attempt to drown myself.

This amazing feat got David Blaine into the record books. For a while.

Soon after however, his record was bested by German Free Diver, Tom Sietas. If you’re not in the know, Free Diving is diving without an oxygen tank.

How deep? He has been measured at being able to dive to depths of 700m without an oxygen tank. That’s slightly less than 200 times deeper than the deep end of Temasek Polytechnic’s Pool. Did you think the pool there was deep?

Ok, lets say your ego kicks in and you go ‘No problem! I also can!’ and proceed to try diving 700m, I will laugh at you when you eventually realize that you may be able to go down, yes,  (although I doubt it.) but coming back up is the same distance down. Happy swimming!

World Record Holder Tom Sietas has been timed underwater for an amazing 17 minutes and 19 seconds.

(P.S. As a fun piece of information on the side, all lifeguard know this, but you should probably know that ordinary humans generally become brain dead or at least severely brain damaged after 4 minutes of oxygen deprivation.)

5) Running gives you abs like these.

[Most insane marathoner in the world]

Considered to be the best endurance runner on earth, Dean Karnazes was covering ridiculous distances from the time he was in grade school. As he grew, so did his accomplishments, and on October 18, 2005, (On my Birthday! o_O ) the California native completed one of the most awe inspiring runs of all time when he pulled off a nonstop, 350-mile run around the San Francisco Bay area.

That’s 563.2704 km. Just in case you’d like to know.

Beginning his trek on a Wednesday afternoon, Karnazes pushed himself for over 80 hours of relentless pavement pounding until he finally finished his journey on Saturday night. The runner’s abilities are so exceptional, he was recently featured on Stan Lee’s History channel series Superhumans where his phenomenal gifts were attributed to an uncommon lack of lactic acid buildup in his system while running. That should come in handy when Karnazes attempts his next goal of running 500 miles.

500 miles = 804.67200 kilometers

…… Anyone who can run that far, I’d already worship without second thought.

But still, this guy isn’t at the top spot on this list.

Why? I can almost hear you ask. What’s more insane than a guy who can run almost 600 kilometers straight?

I’m going to have to introduce you to this guy.

1) The King Of Patience

[Living on top of a pillar for 37 years]

The reason why I don’t have a photo of this guy, is because he….well. Sort of died more than 1560 years ago. One thousand-five-hundred and sixty years, yes.

Reportedly under the influence of his mother Martha (who is also a saint), he developed a zeal for Christianity at the age of 13, following a lecture of the Beatitudes. He subjected himself to ever-increasing bodily austerities from an early age, especially fasting, and entered a monastery before the age of 16.

He then shut himself up for one and a half years in a hut, where he passed the whole of Lent without eating or drinking. When he emerged from the hut, his achievement was hailed as a miracle. He later took to standing continually upright so long as his limbs would sustain him.

After one and a half years in his hut, Simeon sought a rocky eminence on the slopes of what is now the Sheik Barakat Mountain and compelled himself to remain a prisoner within a narrow space, less than 20 meters in diameter. But crowds of pilgrims invaded the area to seek him out, asking his counsel or his prayers, and leaving him insufficient time for his own devotions. This at last led him to adopt a new way of life.

“A new way of life” meaning standing on a pillar for the rest of it.

“In order to get away from the ever increasing number of people who frequently came to him for prayers and advice, leaving him little if any time for his private austerities, Simeon discovered a pillar which had survived amongst ruins, formed a small platform at the top, and upon this determined to live out his life. It has been stated that, as he seemed to be unable to avoid escaping the world horizontally, he may have thought it an attempt to try to escape it vertically. For sustenance small boys from the village would climb up the pillar and pass him small parcels of flat bread and goats milk.”

No word on what he did with his excrement. I’m not too sure I want to know.

Ever been caught in the rain? Not pleasant.

Ever been caught in snow? Even less pleasant, I assure you. And I was wearing thick clothing, too.

Ever been caught in the boiling sun for the whole day? I know I can’t handle that for more than an hour, even.

Even the minor things like, never having a change of menu, or inconvenience when it comes to hygiene and, well. Waste.

You’d complain if you were forced to do it for half a day.

Try a whole day.

Better yet, imagine doing all that for a month.

Can you picture that? ok. Try a year.

Now try FIVE years.

Multiply that by 5 times the duration.

And you’d still have 2 years on top of that pillar.

I had to describe it in such detail to illustrate just how long 37 years is. Because the metric number itself may not be enough to impress a few people.

Without doubt, this person, is the holy of holies – The ultimate king of endurance.

Pity he kicked the bucket a millennium and a half ago.


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