Despite freezing temperatures, fatigue, and injuries, 30 players in Cheney, Washington, set the world record for the longest ultimate game late last month, playing for an eye-popping 85 hours and one minute with nothing more than a ten minute break between games.
Their game broke the previous mark of 80 hours, 15 minutes, and 13 seconds.
“It was amazing,” said head organizer Zack Ranck. “It was probably the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
The record, while impressive on its on, is even more improbable given that overnight temperatures dipped down to as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, numbing players’ hands and feet as they played through the night.
“The colder it got, the more it turned into a fight to stay motivated and a fight to stay entertained and not get bored and upset and angry at each other,” said Ranck. “And then the second the sun came out, everyone was having fun again.”
Although the players did not have to each play nonstop over the course of the four day event, they didn’t get much rest. Most totaled only 15-20 hours of sleep. Considering they ran approximately 30 miles over the course of the weekend, that’s pretty remarkable.
Were there times they thought about giving up? “There were,” said Ranck. “The black team had two injuries that prevented those players from playing any further…We thought that when the black team was playing with no subs for most of the time, they’d give up. But they didn’t.”
That’s right: one of the teams was playing with no substitutes for more than half of the weekend. Most savage tournaments host 40 minute games; they played for almost two days.
“If it wasn’t for Team Black, we wouldn’t have finished the event,” said Ranck.
The event became the talk of the town. Spectators stopped by thoughout the weekend to watch them play. Tom Trulove, Cheney’s mayor, even dropped in.
But the most exciting part of the weekend came right at the end of the game.
“We planned on going for exactly 85 hours,” explained Ranck.” But as the game started ending, we thought, ‘It would be cool to go for 85 hours and 1 minute.’”
After the offense took a timeout to setup the 11:00 PM finish, the defending team started chanting, “Hold them ’til 11:01!” That would make it an 85 hour and 2 minute game.
“The whole entire weekend came down to this one point,” said Ranck. “The intensity level and the sideline cheering really brought it all together and showed that we could still have fun and be incredibly competitive all the way up until the very last point.”
The offense prevailed. After some interviews, many players went home and went to sleep, but a big group went out to a local restaurant to eat and talk about their accomplishment.
They’ve since ordered commemorative jerseys and are planning on playing a reunion tournament as ’30.’
The paperwork for the world record has been submitted to the World Flying Disc Federation, who should certify it sometime this month.