72 hours later, a new record in laziness sprouts

Jeff Miller, a 26-year-old real estate business owner from Chicago, apparently won ESPN Zone’s eight annual Ultimate Couch Potato today.

For the third year in a row.


He also set an unofficial Guinness World Record by watching 72 hours of non-stop sports, outlasting three other contestants. The last: Juan Hernandez, a 32-year-old Chicago warehouse supervisor, who finally fell asleep at 4:21 a.m. Central Time – almost three full days after the competition began on New Year’s Day.

The previous Guinness World Record was set by Suresh Joachim in 2005 with a time of 69 hours, 48 minutes.

The rules for those who care: Participants have to remain in one of the ESPN Zone’s recliners watching a wall of HDTVs airing non-stop sports programming. They could order unlimited food and beverages (excluding alcohol), but weren’t allowed to sleep or leave their chair. Restroom breaks were permitted every eight hours.

As the winner, Miller took away a customized recliner, a $1,000 toward the ultimate home sports theater, a year of free cable and a trophy with a real live spud on top.

Going into this competition, Miller, owner of MyChicagoSportsStuff.com who won last year in 39 hours, 2 minutes and in ’08 in 40 hours, 30 minutes, told TimeOutChicago.com that the toughest part about winning is simply withstanding the boredom.

“You watch all the games all day and then at night, SportsCenter comes on so you have to watch the highlights of the games you saw all day,” says Miller. “5, 6, 7 am, that’s the hardest time to stay awake.”

Avoid a lot of liquids, fried foods and have a good exit strategy, and you’re golden, he says.

“The winner from New York told me that if you have to go to the bathroom and you know you’re going to go out, pretend to be asleep. It’s more graceful to go out on a sleeping violation than to be sprinting for the bathroom.”

The competition was held simultaneously in Chicago, New York and Baltimore. Not Los Angeles. Yet.

More on the event, go to this link.

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