WASHINGTON (July 2, 2008)—It’s official! National Geographic Kids magazine today walked into the Guinness World Record books with the longest chain of shoes. Tied by their laces and laid heel to toe in the courtyard at National Geographic Society headquarters, the 10,512 sneakers measured 8,700 feet (nearly 1.65 miles).
The feat was confirmed by Stuart Claxton of Guinness World Records and witnessed by Sue Palka, weathercaster for WTTG-TV FOX 5, and Stephanie Wells, on-air personality for 94.7 The Globe radio station.
The used sneakers will have a second life. In an effort to encourage recycling and reduce the amount of junk in landfills, the shoes will be shipped to Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program, which will recycle them into material that will be used to build athletic surfaces such as basketball courts, soccer field and playgrounds.
It took National Geographic Kids magazine six months to collect the sneakers, which were sent by individual readers, families, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops and schools. Actress Cameron Diaz, guest editor for the NG Kids October 2007 “Green Issue” that kicked off the shoe-collecting campaign, and members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team also donated their old sneakers to the project.
A special guest at today’s record-setting ceremony was 8-year-old Peter Wajda, from Mount Laurel, N.J., a third-grader at Moorestown Friends School. He organized a shoe drive among his fellow students and collected 509 shoes.
“We’re delighted with the response we received from kids around the country,” said National Geographic Kids magazine Editor in Chief Melina Bellows. “They embraced this project that involved their communities, benefits the environment and will help other children.”
This is the third Guinness World Record set by National Geographic Kids. In December 2006 it collected 2,304 plush toys for the largest gathering of these toys, and in November 2004 it set the record for the world’s longest line of footprints — a total of 10,932 prints, measuring almost two miles.