By Sean Sullivan, September 18 2014 —
Martin Parnell — the Cochrane man who ran 250 marathons in 2010 — is coming to the University of Calgary on Sept. 22 to attempt the largest game of quidditch ever.
The quidditch match is part of Parnell’s Canada Quest for Kids running Sept. 19 – Oct. 14. Parnell will visit 10 universities across Canada in 26 days to attempt to break 10 Guinness World Records.
Parnell joked that of all the sports he is playing this time around, from volleyball and hockey to capture the flag and ultimate frisbee, it’s quidditch that scares him.
“I’m pretty much in the dark on this one,” Parnell said. “This is the one game where I really don’t know what’s happening.”
To prepare, he has begun watching You Tube videos and reading Harry Potter.
“I’ve got a bit of studying to do,” Parnell said.
The final part of Parnell’s journey to raise $1 million over five years is for Canada Quest for Kids — which began in 2010 when he ran 250 marathons in one year. To date he has raised $635,000 for Right to Play, a charity that helps bring sport to children around the world.
Parnell has set four previous records for similar exhibition games. He set the record for the longest game of netball in 2011 at 61 hours, the longest game of lacrosse at 24 hours in 2012, the longest game of indoor soccer at 42 hours in 2012 and the largest game of hockey at 374 players in 2013. He raised $160,000 between those four games.
Right to Play clubs at ten universities across Canada decided which sport their university would try to set a Guinness World Record in.
President of Right to Play at U of C Jessica Charles said they wanted to find a reasonable goal. World records for other sports can include thousands of players, but she said the
previous record for a game of quidditch is under 100 players. But there’s another reason they decided on quidditch.
“I love Harry Potter,” Charles said. “So it was a pretty easy decision to make.”
And Parnell thinks it’s going to be an incredible game.
“I love it,” Parnell said. “It’s an absolutely amazing idea and it has gotten a lot of interest.”
For those interested in participating, no prior experience with quidditch is necessary. The U of C’s Right to Play club has partnered with the U of C Quidditch Club to host the event. There will be a 10–15 minute lesson before the event begins. Quidditch lessons will run on an adjacent field throughout the game so players off field and interested audience members can learn how to play.
The game will run from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Each player will play ten minutes as they rotate through the participants.
Participating in the event is free. However, Right to Play asks that students donate $20 to Canada Quest for Kids or sponsor another player by visiting canadaquestforkids.com.
The website lists registered participants by university, and ranks universities by the amount they’ve raised. You can also donate onsite at the event. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. They anticipate at least 100 to 150 students will show up, but hope to reach at least 250 players.
The event will take place at Field 2 of the U of C soccer fields on Sept. 22.