Guinness World Record: Longest Marathon Playing Field Hockey

May 02, 2016, 2:01 p.m. (ET)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - May 2, 2016 - Playing field hockey for 51 hours straight with no breaks seems exhausting, but that is exactly what 32 players did in Winston-Salem, N.C. this past weekend. Why you ask? To hold the Guinness World Record for longest marathon playing field hockey.

On Friday, April 29 at 5 p.m. EST 32 participants, 16 athletes per team, and many volunteers gathered at Forsyth Country Day School to kickoff the start of a long weekend of field hockey. The participants had to stay at the facilities throughout the entirety of the event and it was also filmed to show proof to the Guinness World Record officials.

The previous record of the longest marathon playing field hockey was 40 hours and was achieve by the Holcombe Hockey Club in Rochester, Kent, United Kingdom on May 25-26, 2013.

"We choose 51 hours, because we heard they recently broke their previous 40 hour record and got 50, but evidence is still pending with Guinness so it has not been officially released," said Melissa Martin, event organizer and owner of club team NC Triad.

Not only were individuals looking to get their name written in the record books, they also did it with a cause. Proceeds from the event were donated to Peace Hockey, a nonprofit field hockey organization that reaches out to at-risk communities in the Triad to continue to spread the passion for the sport and help narrow the gap. Being a new venture that Martin started earlier this month, there are several components to the mission.

Field hockey has deep roots in the Triad. NC Triad is a club program located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and across the Triad. Martin founded her club 6 years ago because she loves the sport and found a few players who did as well. After interest began to peak and their numbers started to grow, an official club was born. This club is geared toward developing field hockey players of all levels and ages by providing players with opportunity to train, compete, and travel year-round. They even have reach on a global scale. 

"A few years ago UNCG worked with the Sport Peace and Society program and the U.S. State Department to bring a group of field hockey girls to Winston-Salem from Pakistan," said Martin. "We played one afternoon at Wake Forest University- and what a site!  Most of the players could not speak English, but that did not stop the bonds that the group was forming and the constant interaction.  Field hockey is the common language that this diverse group of young women could share."

For Martin and NC Triad, breaking a world record was only part of the message she and her field hockey community were trying to send. "Field hockey is a common language we can share to breakdown our differences, whether it is across communities or across countries," said Martin. "Field hockey is more than just a sport; it's a game-changer, difference-maker, mover and shaker."  

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