Fairfield Road Races fall shy from breaking Guinness World Record
FAIRFIELD — For five minutes straight, Fairfield firefighters doused nearly 300 people with cold water as they lathered up in Dove soap on the parking lot of Jennings Beach.
Yellow rubber duckies and beach balls were thrown in the air as rock music played and a timer counted to five minutes and 10 seconds.
A strange scene? Not when you’re trying to break a Guinness World Record for the most people to shower simultaneously in one venue.
Steve Lobdell, retired fire captain and the organizer of the Faxon Law Fairfield Road Races for the past four decades, said everything was ready to go but the weather -- perfect conditions for a 13.1 mile run -- were ironically not ideal for a cold shower.
“We woke up to a day that started in the 50 (degrees Fahrenheit) and low 60s,” Lobdell recalled. “It was cloudy and a breeze was coming in...the people that did go in, they had a blast and everyone was excited...certainly they were wide awake.”
Though around 800 people had committed to participating in the event during the race registration, the weather was a deterrent that lowered the number of actual participants which, Lobdell confirmed, came down to 282.
“We just wanted to do something great for the community,” Lobdell said. “It’s been fun and a challenge (to organize the event), I think everybody saw our success.”
Participants got their own bar of Dove soap and commemorative towel. A total of 1,820 runners completed the half-marathon Sunday according to official race results.
Fire Deputy Chief Kyran Dunn confirmed that the Fire Department had manned a drone that shot footage of the event.
“We recently purchased it and have four people licensed to operate it. It will be used for HazMat approach and identification, fire reconnaissance, missing person searches and other tactical missions,” Dunn said.
Three sources of water sprayed the 282 participants as they lathered and move quickly to warm up.
“We had a ladder pipe going, which is directed by a firefighter, and two manned hoseline...all designed to gently cover the participants with spray,” Dunn said.
The current Guinness World Record for most people showering together at the same time in a single venue belongs, funny enough, to the soap brand Irish Spring. A total of 396 people showered and lathered up together at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Del. last summer.
A Guinness World Record representative has confirmed that the record still stands in earlier reporting.
Guinness World record officials can get very technical about what does and does not constitute a shower.
According to one Guinness World Record official, there must be enough showers to cover all participants at the same time and that they must move freely in order to get wet and must use shower gel or soap.
When asked if they would try again next year, Lobdell said he wasn’t sure but he was thrilled that participants had enjoyed the Sunday event.
“Even my daughter came all the way from Colorado for the shower!,” Lobdell said with a laugh.