Chester County man shatters world record in Plum for fastest mile on a pogo stick
Drew McQuiston came to Plum High School with a goal in mind.
In Saturday’s attempt to set a Guinness World Record for fastest mile on a pogo stick, he hoped to break 8 minutes.
With family and friends from his home in Chester County supporting him, as well as several dozen Plum residents on hand to witness pogo stick history, McQuiston smashed the previous record of 9 minutes and 16 seconds.
He bounced his way into the record books with a time of 7:40.
“I knew I could break the record. I was pretty confident, but I didn’t know if I was going to go under 8 minutes,” said McQuiston, a student at the University of Delaware.
“This whole thing has felt so surreal. The fact that there were people in the stands who I didn’t even know cheering me on, I couldn’t believe it.
“There are some really great people in Plum and throughout this area.”
McQuiston said he was overwhelmed with nervous energy at the start, but that energy helped him as he got going. He clocked the first of four laps on the Plum High School track in 1:44.
“I went out pretty fast, and I was a little scared that I went out too fast,” McQuiston said. “My first lap was pretty quick, and obviously, I wanted to keep that up.”
As was to be expected, McQuiston slowed down from his first lap, but he had built up enough time equity to recover in case of a stumble.
But, he didn’t fall once during his four-lap excursion.
“I never really fell in my training, but I came close,” said McQuiston, a track and cross country runner in high school who had trained for the attempt since January.
He improved his cardio and back strength, two elements key to reaching his goal.
“On that last lap and a half, I was getting a little tired and didn’t want to lose control, but I wanted to push it a little bit,” McQuiston said.
“The biggest thing was not falling. I thought I could cut a few extra seconds off my time, but if I fall, that’s 10 to 15 seconds. It just wasn’t worth the risk.”
A soundtrack of songs that he assembled included “Jump Around” by House of Pain during the pre-race warmups, Van Halen’s “Jump” during the attempt, and Europe’s “The Final Countdown” as he approached the finish line.
The cheering squad of Plum well-wishers included a girls travel softball team, which took a break from practice to witness the event.
“I was glad we were able to play a small role in his goal of setting a record,” Plum Athletic Director Bob Alpino said. “I enjoyed watching him do it. There were probably about 50 people from Plum who showed up. They were curious to see him break the record.”
The weather, with low humidity, no rain and dry track conditions, McQuiston said, were perfect for his attempt.
He said a light wind, something that always seems to prevail at Plum, didn’t affect his movement around the track.
McQuiston reached out to several area high schools in the Pittsburgh region to see if he could use their track to attempt the record, and Plum was the only one to respond.
Xpogo, the organization that oversees the Extreme Pogo world-record attempts, is based in Wilkinsburg. McQuiston said he knew the record-attempt process would progress more smoothly if it was closer to the Xpogo headquarters.
There are 13 recognized Xpogo world records, including ones for highest jump (11 feet, 1/2 inch), most cars jumped in a row (two), most consecutive jumps without stopping (88,047) and highest backflip (9 feet, 3 inches).
“What Drew did was legitimately incredible,” said Nick Ryan, CEO of Xpogo.
“When someone breaks a record, it’s usually by a couple inches or a couple seconds. But Drew obliterated the previous mile record. He is an athlete in great shape, and he also has mental strength.”
Ryan said they will review the tapes to make sure the 7:40 time is accurate.
“It might be adjusted by a second or two, but obviously, it’s a new world record.”
The record soon will be posted to the Xpogo.com site, Ryan said, and the Xpogo staff will reach out to Guinness on Monday.
Shortly thereafter, it will be in the Guinness database, and McQuiston will get a certificate of achievement in the mail.
Ryan said he’s not sure if this record will make it in to the Guinness book that is released each year, but he is hopeful nonetheless.
“Only 2 percent of all the Guinness records are put in the book each year because there are so many. But this is a cool one, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to put it in,” Ryan said.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.