The Telkom Unlimited Movie Marathon has entered its final stretch, with only one and a half days remaining and a single contestant in the race to set a new record, certified by Guinness World Records, for the longest time spent watching movies.
On Saturday morning, Lionel Havenga fell asleep for 15 minutes at 00:45, having watched for 80 hours 45 minutes. At 3:17am, Sheetal Vallabh, the last South African contestant, fell asleep for 24 seconds with 82 hours 18 minutes on her clock. This leaves Suresh Joachim from Canada, the previous record holder, as the only contestant still watching. He has so far clocked 88 hours and 13 minutes, as of 8:07am.
The rules of the record attempt state that contestants may not sleep or take their eyes off the screen while watching the movie, and they are allowed only a ten minute rest break between movies. Movies have to be at least 90 minutes in length, and they must watch the entire film until the credits end.
“We are more than three-quarters through our record attempt, with only a day and a half left. Suresh is still going strong, but public support is critical,” said Jacqui O’Sullivan, Managing Executive for Group Communication and Public Relations at Telkom.
O’Sullivan urged Joburg residents to visit the Telkom Unlimited Movie Marathon at The Sheds, 1 Fox Street, in Newtown, where the record attempt is taking place, to watch movies alongside Suresh in aid of LifeLine.
The current record stands at 120 hours 23 minutes, and the contestants are attempting to spend over 122 hours watching movies delivered via Telkom’s BOLTSPEED fibre. This is the first time the record has been attempted by streaming content over high-speed internet. An official Guinness World Records adjudicator will verify that all the requirements for the record breaking attempt have been met.
Special attention has been paid to contestants’ diet. Suresh, a multiple Guinness World Records title holder, has requested dry toast, chicken wings, steak, caramelised popcorn, grapes and bananas. Delon Munian, who was disqualified on Friday morning, asked for a protein-rich diet including hard-boiled eggs, avocado, apples, chicken salad and vegetables. Yoghurt cups and muffins were a standard breakfast item, with salads and panini sandwiches for lunch and beef ribs for supper.
As a result of sleep deprivation during the event, contestants were warned of the likelihood of increased blood pressure, mood swings, nausea and vomiting. They were advised to be cautious with caffeine, which can raise heart rates.
The ten South African contestants were backed by 94.7 listeners and chosen from over 100 local movie fans who wanted a chance to compete for the title. Clarissa Schoeman, David Erasmus and Delon fell asleep on Friday. On Thursday morning, Buhlebethu Hlatswayo fell asleep at 2:50am, having watched for 34 hours 51 minutes. Aqeel Dockrat voluntarily withdrew after 13 hours 38 minutes due to ill health on Wednesday. Tibor Donatus Kurucz, Tiberius Tjo and Louis Marx fell asleep on Wednesday morning.
The Telkom Unlimited Movie Marathon is taking place at the Sheds in Newtown, Johannesburg. Visitors to the event will be able to watch movies for as long as they want, for only R30 a day. Secure parking is available and the entrance fee includes popcorn and a frozen drink. All proceeds will go towards LifeLine, which provides free counselling services across South Africa. Visit www.itickets.co.za to buy tickets or http://www.telkom.co.za/movie-marathon/index.html for more information.