Nancy Vogel's family did what most of us could only ever dream of doing (or maybe nightmare of doing - depending on your outlook on phyiscal activity):  stopped living their routine, normal life and took to the road for almost three years to travel from Alaska to Argentina.  On bikes.  With two 10 year-old kids.  For real.

In 2008, as the Vogel family was preparing for their adventure of a lifetime, Nancy decided to add a fun incentive for their two boys on what would surely be a trip filled with challenges and long, grueling days.  She contacted Guinness World Records (GWR) for guidelines to qualify for "Youngest Person to Pedal the Length of the Americas".  That's 17,300 miles, or 27,841 kilometres for us metric nuts.  Or 304,000 NFL football fields for you sports nuts.  Or, more miles than most people will travel in their cars every day for a year.  You get the picture.

GWR happily sent her the guidelines and they were off, with a new goal in mind.  Her sons were excited at the possibility of being internationally recognized for their extraordinary effort, and used it to motivate them on those days when all they wanted to do was hop on that ferry or in a minivan that would have gotten them to their destination a little sooner and a little less tired.  They chose the long way down in order to keep with the guidelines provided to them by GWR.

Fast forward to July 2011.  The Vogel family is back home, a little leaner, a little wiser and ready to formally submit their application to GWR.  Nancy receives an email stating that Guinness World Records recently decided to do away with the category and will not be recognizing the boys' effort. 

While recognition from GWR certainly isn't the reason they embarked on their life changing adventure, it did help them get through those tough days on the road.  GWR has stated that they no longer recognize the category "due to the fact that the record would reach an age where a person would no longer be able to break it or attempt (i.e. a two-year old attempting to do it) and as it would become limited under these terms, we choose to to no longer recognise it".

I get it.  Unfortunately, there are people in this world that are driven to do things for the wrong reason and don't hold safety at the forefront (and would possibly endanger a child's life for the sake of a record). Nancy Vogel and her family aren't these people.  And, the fact of the matter is, the category existed when they left, they notified GWR of their intent to pursue this record, they contacted GWR during the journey and never were they told the category was in danger of being eliminated. 

Therefore, I think they deserve the recognition.  I understand the GWR likely didn't know that the category would be dissolved when they first heard from the Vogels, but GWR must also acknowledge that, in order to accomplish such a feat, it will take considerable time to complete and should grandfather in any attempts that were started prior to the category being dissolved.

What do you think?  If you agree, click here to see how you can help. 

7/27/2011 06:52:07 am

Thank you! I am hopeful that we can work out something with GWR to acknowledge my sons' accomplishment in some way. They've worked too hard not to!

7/27/2011 11:11:06 pm

Good luck Nancy! We'll be following the story!


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