Down to the last second of her 26th hour of being jolted and slammed in a bumper car, Sylvia Wayfer was smiling.
She laughed when she looked at her husband mouthing “29 more minutes” to her from his place on the sidelines.
And with 30 seconds to go, she joined in with the crowd’s countdown until “3, 2, 1,” when she got out of the car and gave shared hugs with supporters.
“I’m sleepy, but it was worth it,” said Wayfer, coffee in hand.
She spent 26 hours driving a bumper car at the Georgia-Carolina State Fair this weekend to raise awareness for homeless children.
She got the public’s attention with her goal to break the Guinness World Record last set in 2007 in Vienna, Austria, for 24 straight hours of bumper cars.
Wayfer, the director of the Families Matters Most Foundation, said she hopes her feat was a fun way to make people think about the 1.5 million children who currently wake up homeless every day.
“I don’t think a lot of people are aware of that,” she said.
She and her husband, Herschel Clark, started the foundation in 2008 and work to raise money for homeless shelters around Atlanta.
During their world record attempt, Clark said he estimates passersby donated between $1,000 and $2,000 to their cause.
They began the attempt shortly after 1:26 p.m. Saturday and ended at 3:26 p.m. Sunday.
Clark sat outside the bumper car arena for all 26 hours to guard two stopwatches, a video camera and time sheets to note Wayfer’s breaks.
Guinness allowed for one five-mintue break at the top of each hour, which Wayfer used to eat, stretch and refill coffee.
She also kept a stash of red liquorice and bubble gum to keep her awake and going.
At one point, Wayfer went four hours without a break and saved up the time to have a 20-minute rest around 4:30 a.m., which is permitted by Guinness rules.
With temperatures dropping, she took the time to run to her car for gloves and a jacket.
“It was hard,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘Why am I doing this,’ but for the cause I’d do it all over again.”
In the hours when the fair was closed to the public, two volunteers rode the cars with Wayfer throughout the night.
Dwayne Mutombo, 20, was walking through the fair Saturday when he saw a sign posted asking for volunteers for the attempt.
He signed up, came back around 11 p.m. and stayed until the finish.
“I did it for a good cause and for the homeless children,” Mutombo said. “But I’m not going to sleep now. I’m going to finish riding the rest of the rides.”
Clark said he and Wayfer have to submit their records, witness statements and evidence to Guinness and may have to wait six to eight weeks for confirmation.