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The Spaniard who holds the record for breaking records

Whether it’s going up 2,000 steps while juggling or running backwards with flippers on his feet, Christian López has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records

Christian López on Toledo's Alcántara Bridge.
Christian López on Toledo's Alcántara Bridge.INMA FLORES

When it comes to Christian López’s record-breaking achievements, some credit must go to the Spanish TV presenters Ana Obregón and Ramón García, who were a source of inspiration in López’s formative years with their 1990s show called ¿Qué apostamos? (or What’s the bet?)

The show consisted of a range of tests, which the contestants were urged to undertake; young López was hooked. “I watched it all the time and I loved it,” says the 32-year-old. “So much so that I went on to break a record with one of the challenges that had impressed me at the time.”

The challenge in question was to hit a ball with the side of a table tennis paddle, which he managed for 51 minutes. Now with 34 records under his belt, he has entered the 2021 Guinness Book of Records for being the person with the most records in Spain. But not content with this achievement, he is now aiming to be the person with the most records in the world, which means beating the American champion, Ashrita Furman, who holds 200.

López, who holds a PhD in Sports Science as well as a being a personal trainer and motivational speaker, has been involved in sports since he was very young and competed in athletics. Things began to change with the death of his grandfather Ernesto, who would join him, despite his advanced years, in his workouts. “He always talked to me about courage – that you have to show courage in what you do,” says López, who suffered frequent injuries as a runner and was later diagnosed with diabetes.

His injuries led him to seek out alternatives to running, such as climbing the 924 steps of the Gran Hotel Bali in Benidorm. “I came 18th out of 100-odd contestants,” he says. “I wasn’t at all bad at it.” He then got into the world tower-running circuit – climbing skyscrapers – and began to break records with that. And there was also retro-running, which is running backwards, where again he did better than anyone else in Spain. According to López, retro-running is very good for your health, as long as you don’t fall or run into something – to prevent that, he wears glasses with rear-view mirrors.

His next challenges could involve running 100 meters in a sack, or a mile in Dutch wooden clogs

One of López’s last and, in his opinion, most difficult feats was to climb 2,082 steps while juggling three objects. He also holds the record for running backwards wearing flippers in the town of Torrijos, Toledo. The coronavirus pandemic has pushed him towards more unconventional challenges, such as balancing a mountain bike weighing 14 kilos on his chin for about 10 minutes. “I do everything in memory of my grandfather,” he says.

Finding records to break, then breaking them, can be pretty creative. “You are always thinking about what you can do, looking for new challenges and skills, then you either manage it or you don’t,” he says. “But this way I avoid getting burned out like other athletes.”

Although many of the activities he engages in are not recognized by the sports community and don’t feature in the Olympics, López is not bothered. “It’s just constant fun,” he says. “I like to achieve things that are unthinkable to begin with.”

It’s also great for keeping his diabetes in check. His next challenges could involve running 100 meters in a sack, or a mile in Dutch wooden clogs.

Meanwhile, a glance at The Guinness Book of Records could do much for Spain’s collective self-esteem: 19 records by Spaniards are listed this year. Some of the most curious records that Spain has ever broken include running the fastest marathon run dressed as a clown, preparing 60 bathtubs of gazpacho, weaving the largest red carpet in the world, farming the heaviest tuna, and the sale of the most expensive cheese. This, too, is part of Brand Spain.

English version by Heather Galloway.

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