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Claiming world record

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Jason Neilson
READY, STEADY, PEEL: Jason Neilson begins to peel his fresh lemon at Saturday’s world record attempt. 14.97 seconds later (inset) he was claiming a new world record. Photos supplied.

Jason Neilson had thought he would be able to grow the world’s tallest sunflower and make it into the Guinness Book of World Records - but in the meantime he is claiming another world mark. On Saturday Mr Neilson halved the standing world record for peeling and eating a lemon.

He says while many people screw their noses up at the thought, he thinks it is pretty normal.

Mr Neilson has featured previously in the Courier with his giant sunflowers - his last standing about five metres. But with the world record at about eight metres, and his attempts getting better by about one metre each season, that record could still be a few years away.

Meantime his sister bought him a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records, and while reading it he saw the lemon peeling and eating record stood at 46.53 seconds. He had a few goes himself and says his slowest time was about 25 seconds, so he wrote to Guinness and applied to attempt the record.

In the interim a Canadian knocked the time back to 30.97s, but Mr Neilson was still confident, so he carried on with his planning.

A copy of the guidelines said the lemon had to be freshly picked, weigh at least 135g, be peeled by hand and eaten. It was to be witnessed by two people, who also checked the lemon was in fact swallowed, and timed and filmed.

On Saturday morning Norris Hall JP and Waipa councillor Alan Empson officiated as witnesses as Mr Neilson peeled and ate a 155.9g lemon in 14.97s.

All the documentation and proof of the attempt is now sent to Guinness for ratification as a world record. Mr Neilson is pretty confident he has done everything possible to claim the record. With over 40,000 records on file, he doesn’t think his will necessarily make the book (Guinness choose each year which records to publish - and it was in the 2006 edition), although having been broken twice in a year it may make the cut, and he may yet see his name published.

He isn’t too sure why there is such a fuss about eating a lemon, as he says he has eaten raw lemons all his life.

And while he is still after the sunflower record, and hopes to exceed six metres this year, there is a raw onion eating record that he reckons looks quite beatable.