Breaking a world record

By Jude Toyat


October 11, 2014 will go down in history books as the day Sarawak attempted to break the Guinness Book of World Records in the ‘Largest Backwards Walk’ category after a total 1,918 retrowalkers walked backwards along the 1km-long Kuching Waterfront.

The feeling of anticipation and excitement on being part of breaking a world record was what made me get up as early as 4 am last Saturday because for me and the rest of the participants: it’s a really big deal!

Participants arrived as early as 5 a.m on Saturday (2)

Participants arriving as early as 5 a.m on Saturday Oct 11.

Participants were so eager to start the walk (1)

Participants ready to start the walk.

Registration phase (3)

Participants registering.

The current record verified by the Guinness Book of World Records is held by India with 1,107 participants on March 2, beating China which saw 1,039 people breaking the record on June 10, 2012.

Early Saturday morning, every participant had gathered enthusiastically, some doing their early morning exercise routine even before the walk started while some were chatting with their friends and colleagues with laughter filled the air.

The registration for the IMAGINE (I Make A Go In No Excuses) Retrowalk started at 5.30 am. According to organising chairperson of Imagine Retrowalk Winnie Lim, 2,200 participants registered for the event, with the youngest being six years old and the oldest was 94 years old.

Others who participated in the walk included students from Sunway College Sarawak, footballers from Samarahan Football Association and hundreds of other Kuchingites.


Students from Tunku Putra School taking part in the retrowalk and even wearing their shirts and bag backwards.


A group from Super Squashers walking together and attempting to take a ‘Wefie’.


Attempting to break a world record is a great way to spend a Saturday morning for Kuchingites.


Datuk Talib Zulpilip, who also took part in the retrowalk and joined hands with his team of 200 people from SEDC Group of Companies, seemed very excited to see the success of the event especially when it was organised at Kuching Waterfront, a very significant landmark for Sarawak.

“The motion of retrowalking will be using different sets of muscles unlike our normal forward walk, thus I hope that this awareness will help participants generate a healthy habit of an alternative form of exercise too,” he said during his speech to officiate the event.

Before we began the backwards walk, the leader of the marshalls briefed us on the dos and don’ts of the retrowalk. The dos included walking backwards the entire distance (of course), walk slowly, complete the course and enjoy ourselves. What was more important, perhaps, were the Don’ts which included: walking forward or sideways, rushing, stopping unnecessarily or being stressed. Any participant who went against the rules, would be discounted or disqualified by the marshalls from the final total, putting the chance of breaking the world record at risk.

Talib flagged off the walk at 8am, before taking the lead walking backwards.

Personally, I was amazed by how spirited the participants were, and how they had devised a strategy to walk backwards. Some had linked their arms together, others held each other in a chain from back to front while others still had even appointed a leader for their team to guide them the entire distance.

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It was also funny to see retrowalkers trying to take photos of themselves walking backwards, but then I shouldn’t have been so surprised since the organizer was also giving out prizes for the Best Selfie and Best Wefie group taken during the Retrowalk.

The Kuching Waterfront may feel like a short stroll when you’re walking normally and by yourself or with a friend, but as a group we arrived at the finishing line around 10 am. The tiredness everybody felt was uplifted by the satisfaction of breaking a world record.

The day ended beautifully as every participant enjoyed taking memorable photos marking their accomplishment of breaking a Guinness World Record for the country.

SEDC chairman Talib taking a Wefie with other organising committee members including Audie Chua and Winnie Lim.

SEDC chairman Talib taking a Wefie with other organising committee members including Audie Chua and Winnie Lim.

Apart from the world record-breaking attempt, the Imagine Retrowalk was also organised to raise funds for charitable bodies including Sarawak Autistic Association, Hope Place, Sarawak Cancer Association, Habitat for Humanity and Lembaga Kebajikan Anak-Anak Yatim.

The Imagine Retrowalk was one of the major highlights for the Youth Carnival – URD1 2014 programme that has been going on for a week and ended last October 12 at Padang Merdeka.

The event was organised by the 1BFF Pending Sports and Recreational Club and supported by the Ministry of Social Development.

Also present at the event were 1BFF Pending Sports and Recreation Club’s treasurer Audie Chua, Demak Laut Assemblyman Datuk Hazland Abang Hipni, Pantai Damai assemblyman Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi and President of Sensible and Ethical Malaysians United Team (Semut) Malaysia Datuk Huan Cheng Guan.

As of Oct 21, Guinness Book of World Records is awaiting a submission of evidence from organisers to verify this world record breaking event.

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