What started as a dream of a young Nigerian man is now reality. Bayode Treasures-Olawunmi, over the weekend set the World Guinness Book of Records mark for the “Longest Marathon Reading Aloud” category, joining record holders Kaffy, DJ Obi, and Pinki Debbie who broke the record For Longest Dancing Marathon.
The 40-year-old book enthusiast and proud father of three children completed the feat over a period of five days, logging over 120 hours at the YouRead Library Yaba in Lagos, Nigeria. His record clearly beat that of his predecessor – Deepak Sharma Bajagain from Nepal, who had 113 hours 15 minutes in September 2008.
“I have always loved to read good materials right from when I was in secondary school. I am doing this for the youths,” he wrote on Twitter, before he began the record-setting reading marathon.
Bayode read from about seventeen books during a 120 hour reading marathon, including The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, The Carnivorous City by Toni Kan and Thoughts from a Wealthy Place, a book by Sam Egube, while other books by African authors made up the rest of the list.
With the task of reading aloud non-stop Monday through Friday with permitted two hour breaks every 24 hours set before him, Bayode started his reading at exactly 1:30 pm on Monday, February 26, 2018, and ended by 3:30 pm on Saturday, March 3rd making it exactly five days and two hours of marathon reading.
Bayode didn’t just read to himself though, in addition to the Guiness World record officials and sponsors, students of Our Lady of Apostle, Yaba and Karis School, Magodo both in Lagos took time out of their academic schedule to visit and listen to his reading while a dedicated team of medical personnel from Lagos State provided 24-hour medicare on standby in the event of any medical emergency. Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, the Special Adviser on Education to the Lagos State Governor, was also present and impressed with the outcome of events.
The Osun State Polytechnic alumni whose determination to follow through on his dream was evident throughout the process continues to receive a lot of cheers and congratulations on the completion of his mission. The new record in Nigeria puts almost seven hours on top of the previous record, and may well stand for awhile. To show his excitement at his world record, Bayode took to his Instagram page and other social media accounts to announce the news.
Bayode’s feat is one that has increased attention to the reading culture, especially as the digital age has been shown to bring with it the side effects of short attention spans and continuous distraction for a better part of us.
The latest Guinness record attempt was sponsored by Nigeria’s GT Bank, a familiar brand across West Africa, as part of the GT Bank YouRead project to encourage literacy and reading across the continent.
“A time is coming, and it’s not far from now, when the world will say, “if a Nigerian cannot do it; then it cannot be done!”, Bayode Treasures-Olawunmi says. “There is a new Nigeria emerging; we must join hands and deliver the future! We can, we will and we must!”