The College Historical Society (the Hist) has secured a Guinness World Record for the longest ever marathon debate.
The Hist’s ambitious world record attempt began at 10.07am yesterday morning, lasting until just after 2pm today.
“We are all absolutely thrilled and very, very tired” said Hist auditor, Áine Kennedy, when asked how everyone is feeling about the achievement.
“We are all slightly delirious right now but running on the adrenaline and Red Bull.”
Over the course of 28 hours, 26 motions spanning the society’s 253-year history were debated by a panel of eight hopeful volunteers.
Motions included “Was the union of advantage to Scotland”, first debated in 1786, “That this house has no faith in tradition”, from 1953, and fittingly for the occasion “That record-breaking competitions are absurd”, a motion from 1929.
Finishing on an optimistic note, the final motion up for debate was “This house believes there is a future to look forward to”.
The eight speakers to achieve the record were Ziyad Anwer, Sebastien Dunne Fulmer, Tom Francis, Caoimhín Hamill, Anna Sawicka, Daniela Williams, Mary Woods and Trinity News editor Kate Henshaw, all current or former committee members of the society.
All speakers were required to remain seated at the debate chamber table and engaged with each debate, save for a permissible five-minute break per hour.
Speaker and former auditor of the society, Sebastien Dunne Fulmer, described the once-in-a-lifetime experience as simultaneously “really really exciting” and “extremely draining”. Offering an insight into the preparation required to participate, Dunne Fulmer said that although they “wrote about 1,200 words on every single motion” they ended up scrapping most of this in favour of “freestyling the motions”.
Speaking of the myriad of tactics he and his fellow speakers used to stay awake for the entire 28 hour period, Ziyad Anwer said caffeine was key.
Other methods included knitting, with Daniela Williams emerging from the marathon debate with an impressive red scarf.
The record bid was overseen by Guinness World Record official Joanne Brent who completed a thorough evidence review, as well as a selection of volunteers, guest chairs and independent witnesses.
Minutes before announcing the verdict, Brent told the speakers “I have a very detailed log of everything you laughed at, every pen that you dropped, every cough.”
At 2.17pm, exactly 28 hours and ten minutes after the marathon debate had begun, Brent announced the Hist’s success, an outcome that was instantly met with cheering, clapping and hugging from the crowd of onlookers.
Kennedy expressed her thanks to all those involved in the impressive feat, saying: “I’m so proud of all the speakers, organisers, and volunteers — it was a full society effort and we are so grateful for all the support! It was really special to see everyone come together like that.”
Today’s achievement marks the Hist’s second Guinness World Record, as they recently announced their official recognition as the oldest student society in the world.