L.A. police officer tops Ferris Wheel ride record
Martinez climbed aboard the 130-foot-tall wheel at Santa Monica Pier's Pacific Park at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Except for hourly five-minute breaks, he didn't stop riding it until 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Several hours into his run, he didn't even bother to take some of the allotted breaks.
"He finished quite solidly," said Guinness World Records adjudicator Philip Robertson, who traveled from London to the park to verify that an official Guinness record was being set. The previous mark, 24 hours and 30 minutes, was set by a woman in Dublin, Ireland, last year.
Witnesses said Martinez seemed to hit his stride after some worrisome queasiness during the first few hours, when the big wheel stopped and started repeatedly to let other riders on and off.
The 18-year police veteran, who is assigned to the LAPD's special crime task force, acknowledged he doesn't like heights and doesn't much care for Ferris Wheels either.
What's more, he did nothing special to prepare for his marathon effort.
"But after 18 years of long shifts, double shifts and a lot of extended hours, I think that kind of helped, actually," he said with a laugh.
He agreed to ride the wheel to help raise money for the Southern California Special Olympics. A son who has Down syndrome competes in Olympic events and accompanied him on part of his record-breaking ride.
To pass the time riding after the park closed, Martinez talked on his cell phone, checked his iPad and sometimes watched a big screen TV that had been installed for him.
And despite his fear of heights, he even checked out the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Los Angeles skyline from time to time.
"Even overnight it was just beautiful," he said. "Not quite a full moon but almost."
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