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Science teacher almost breaks pushup record
May 28, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
As his students cheered him on, Gering High School science teacher Randy Hughes took on the challenge to break the unofficial record for the most number of pushups in a minute – and he almost made it.

The Guinness Book of World Records closed the record on pushups in 2001 because they couldn’t verify proper technique. As of that year, the record stands at 138 pushups in one minute.

So Hughes set a goal of 140 pushups, then sent a video to the Guinness organization to have then consider it as a new record.

With a cheering student section in the high school auditorium, Hughes flew through the first 70 or 80 pushups, and then started to slow down.

When the minute was up, he had completed 123 pushups. While he didn’t break the record, the effort was for a good cause. Students and staff had pledged to Festival of Hope at $17 a pushup. And a minute later, $2,091 had been collected for the cause.
The Festival of Hope organization raised funds to assist families of cancer patients that have challenges meeting regular expenses while their family member is unable to work. When care forces additional expenses for gas and hotels while the patient is undergoing treatment, Festival of Hope is there to assist.

“Last year we had 174 families we were able to help,” said Carol Diffendaffer, Regional West Medical Center liaison for the group. “Every year we’ve increased by 20 or 30 different families.”

She told the group gathered in the auditorium that Festival of Hope is possible because of the many volunteers who donate their time and raise funds to keep the group operating.

“There are very few organizations in the nation that help with the family expenses incurred by cancer.”

The major fundraising event for Festival of Hope is coming up on Saturday, June 20 at the Mitchell Events Center. The day begins with a 5K run/walk and food vendors will be available. At the end of the day, a butterfly release will happen to remember those who are battling cancer or have died from the disease.
“About a year ago, my daughter’s husband was battling cancer,” Hughes said. “Our family was helped out greatly by Festival of Hope with their financial assistance.”
He said the challenge was about both breaking the record and raising funds for Festival of Hope.

“At first I wanted to go for the record. But as I researched it, I found that people going for records were doing it for a charity or some other cause. That got me thinking about what would be a good organization I could support.”
Hughes said his trained for the event over the long haul, first changing his nutrition, then increasing his pushup regimen by one a day. Soon it became two or three a day, eventually completing between 800 and 1,100 pushups a day. And a few times at home, he even broke the 140 pushups per minute record.

Hughes said he plans to make another run at breaking the record. With other pushup record categories on the Guinness list, he may go for them as well.
Before students went back to class, Hughes encouraged them, as the year winds down, to go beyond good and aim for great.
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