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George Hood Jr. '80

George Hood, Jr. '80George Hood is the only IUP graduate who has set five Guinness World Records in three different endurance categories, raising a significant amount of money for a variety of nonprofit organizations.

While growing up in Indiana, Mr. Hood lived not far from the IUP campus. At age 10, he was a paperboy, after which he worked at a local grocery store during his later years in high school and while attending IUP. That was how he funded his education at IUP.

His interest in physical fitness manifested itself when he was accepted into the United States Marine Corps officer training program and would have to complete the Marine Corps physical fitness test in conjunction with the officer training he would subsequently attend in Quantico, Virginia, after his sophomore and junior years at IUP. After graduating from IUP with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Public Service, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps and served with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, at Camp Pendleton, California. Before leaving the Marine Corps in 1984, he received a Master of Science degree in Forensic Science from National University in San Diego.

“Being physically fit was a leadership trait instilled in me as a Marine infantry officer and one I would subsequently apply in future career endeavors in federal law enforcement,” he said.

In 1984, Mr. Hood became a special agent with the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, serving in Honolulu and San Diego. He also had independent duty as the NCIS agent aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) from 1993 to 1994. His nine-year tour with the NCIS resulted in countless assignments in the Western Pacific and Europe.

Mr. Hood also served as a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration from 1995 to 2007 and was based out of the Chicago Field Division. He worked many investigations involving domestic and international drug trafficking and retired from the DEA in December 2007. Shortly after his retirement, Mr. Hood took an assignment as a contractor with a private company and served as a law enforcement professional in Afghanistan, where he provided counterinsurgency investigative support to Marine Corps units operating in southern Afghanistan.

After returning to the U.S, he obtained his personal trainer certification and began his career in the fitness industry. He is also retained as a consultant for a government entity providing unique law enforcement perspectives on a variety of counterterrorism issues. He is currently the director of Group Exercise and a personal trainer at a major health club in the Chicago area.

Mr. Hood’s involvement with Guinness World Records began in 1986, when he set the record for the rope-skipping marathon, which he did on behalf of the American Heart Association at a local YMCA in Honolulu. He has also set three Guinness World Records for the stationary “spin” bike marathon and is the only person in the world to have done so. In January 2007, he set an unofficial record of 91 hours on the stationary bike and raised more than $30,000 for Illinois Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS). In July 2007, Mr. Hood set his second Guinness World Record—his first on the stationary bike—by riding for 111 hours, 11 minutes, and 11 seconds on behalf of the Kiwanis Club to raise more than $35,000 for special-needs children.

In May 2008, he set a new record on the stationary bike at 177 hours and 45 minutes on behalf of the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign and raised more than $32,000. In April 2010, he rode for 175 hours on the stationary bike on behalf of the United Way and the Injured Marine Semper Fi fund and raised nearly $30,000. In November 2010, he set his third record on the stationary bike by riding for 222 hours, 22 minutes, and 22 seconds and raised approximately $20,000 for the family of Gunnar Hotchkin, a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Looking for new goals to set and records to achieve and already involved in extensive core conditioning, Mr. Hood learned that, in December 2010, the “plank” was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as a standalone event. The first record, set in the U.K. at 19 minutes, 58 seconds, was the catalyst that inspired him to embark on an aggressive training program to set a new Guinness World Record for the plank. On December 3, 2011, Mr. Hood set his fifth record, for the “longest static abdominal hold,” by remaining static in the plank position for 1 hour, 20 minutes, and 5 seconds. This is the only Guinness World Record he continues to hold.

Mr. Hood has been successful at using his ultra-endurance events to raise funds and awareness for organizations that have a particular meaning to him and that can benefit most from the fund-raising exposure. His passion for such events hasn’t waned a bit, and in April 2013, just before his receipt of the Distinguished Alumni Award from IUP, he will attempt to reset his own Guinness World Record for the plank at a huge fund-raiser on behalf of the American Heart Association in Newport, Kentucky.

“I was approached by a friend and colleague whom I learned was the chairman of the American Heart Association Heart Chase program in the Cincinnati area who asked me to participate in their fund-raiser,” Mr. Hood said. The Heart Chase is an innovative community event that provides a fun way to promote healthy living and support a great cause.

Mr. Hood realized early on that his participation would have far greater meaning when he learned that his attempt at the Guinness World Record for the plank would be dedicated to a local man who died suddenly at age 52 from a heart attack while jogging. The man left behind a family and countless friends who respected him in all facets of his life.

“Although people don’t normally try to break their own record,” Mr. Hood said, “I decided to dedicate my efforts to the man’s family and all those affected by his untimely death and the lethal consequences of heart disease.” With that, he committed to his sixth Guinness World Record attempt, the results of which were not available at the time of printing.

Mr. Hood lives in Aurora, Illinois, and is the father of three sons, all criminology majors, two of whom are pursuing careers as Marine Corps officers. He trains three to five hours a day with a variety of intense cardiovascular, stamina, and endurance conditioning programs. While it is a bit extreme for most, Mr. Hood trains at that level to maintain his proficiency as an ultra-endurance athlete who consistently sets goals and breaks records.

For the rare moments he gets to relax, he enjoys canoeing, camping, reading, running, and promoting an active and physical lifestyle, especially to young adults. He is committed to his three sons and their ultimate success in the various career choices they will make.

When it was pointed out that most people would consider slowing down after receiving five or six Guinness World Records rather than continuing to push their bodies so much, Mr. Hood laughed and said, “I’m right where I want to be. I’m in the best physical shape of my life; there is no end in sight to what is possible. I couldn’t be happier knowing my fitness achievements and fund-raising initiatives have helped so many and inspired people around the world, not the least of whom are my own three sons!”

He will no doubt continue to live his legacy for many years to come.

Profile published on 6/11/13

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