ROCK FALLS – Garry Murphy and Joe Duncan have secured their names in Guinness Book of World Records history.
Born thousands of miles away from one another, just hours apart on the same day, the now-31-year-old best friends came together and crushed a disc golf record by playing 1,620 holes within a 24-hour span.
Their attempt at the mark began Saturday at 11 a.m., with a steady pace of 95 to 100 baskets per hour. They ended 3 hours shy of the allotted period, because of sheer exhaustion.
The score to beat was 1,310 holes, which they exceeded by 310 around 8 Sunday morning, when they talked it out and made the decision to call it a day.
Earlier, at 2:40 a.m., sleepy-eyed family and friends crawled out of tents set up in Nims Park, and cheered for the pair as their score reached 1,311.
Vowing to go on, to not just to break, but shatter the previous record achieved last year by Michael Sale of California, the pair accepted high-fives and hugs before heading back to the course with huge smiles on their faces and a newfound pep in their step.
“We wanted to break it together, but if one of us got hurt or wasn’t able to go on, we planned that the other would try their best,” Murphy said. “To do this together, it’s great. I’m trying to absorb it all.”
Duncan said the competition was the hardest thing he has ever done.
The estimated 50 to 60 miles of walking from hole to hole, physically wreaked havoc, they said.
Duncan added, “I’m feeling OK, but definitely really sore. Surprised I am able to walk or move around at all. Had to have someone take my shoes off for me earlier.”
The pair took quick breaks over the 21 hours to eat, drink, change shoes and socks, and add layers as the temperature dropped.
“I have sore muscles and tendon pain in my feet and legs,” Duncan said. “My arm is tired from throwing. Thankfully, I did not get blisters. Those special socks were well worth the money.”
Wearing blister-proof socks and mole skin on their feet (and fingers) didn’t save Murphy’s feet, however.
“My feet are covered in blisters,” he said. “But we achieved our goal, raised awareness to the sport, raised money for the parks and we are happy. The nighttime was the hardest for me. Right now, my upper body feels great, but my legs are done.”
Overall, Murphy said it was the mental challenge that caused him the most difficulty throughout the event.
Guinness Book assigned two certified Professional Disc Golf Association officiators to document and verify all rules of the PDGA were followed. Officiators Tommy Arianoutsos and Kristi McCarthy took turns watching as they played.
Volunteer scorekeepers, caddies, videographers also were on hand. Most came from Crete, where the pair lives and are members of Basket Cases Disc Golf Club.
On the final stretch, John Larson, Scout Master of the Rock Falls Boy Scout Troop 902 arrived.
“I woke up at 4 in the morning and came back up here,” he said.
Seeing the volunteers were sparse, Larson stepped in acting as caddy.
Impressed by the small community, Shawn McCarthy, director of the Basket Cases club, said the local support was outstanding.
Mayor Bill Wescott came out and sounded an air horn to kick off the event. Rock Falls Boy Scout Troop 902 provided concessions, including brats, pork chops and hotdogs.
Spectators also gathered and participated in raffles and fundraisers, which benefitted the Coloma Township Park District and the duo’s home course, Sergeant Means Park in Olympia Fields.
Duncan said his advice for anyone attempting to break a record is to plan everything out, have a lot of volunteers and do as much research as possible. Most importantly, don’t give up going after a dream, he said.
Although they typically play disc golf at least three times a week, both said they will probably take a week off before they play again.