SANTA MONICA (CBS) — A Los Angeles police detective was on the ride of his life Thursday as he sought to set a world record for the longest time spent on a Ferris wheel.
But this isn’t going to be a leisurely ride for him — “I don’t like heights, at all.”
LAPD Detective Gus Martinez began his attempt to break the Guinness World Record for “Longest Ride On A Fair Ground / Theme Park Attraction” at 7:30 a.m. at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier.
Martinez is seeking to ride the 130-foot tall Pacific Wheel Ferris wheel for 25 hours through 8:30 a.m. Friday in an attempt to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics Southern California.
“I know that I’m going around at three revolutions a minute when the wheel’s going so I’m going to go around a few thousand times,” Martinez said.
The detective said he has the endurance skills needed to break the record as he is often awake 25 to 30 hours at a time. The record of 24 hours 30 minutes was set in October in Dublin, Ireland.
His 23-year-old son Jason, who’s diagnosed with Down Syndrome, has won more than 30 gold medals in Special Olympics swimming competitions. He will periodically join in the Ferris wheel gondola along with additional family members, friends and fellow law enforcement officers.
Martinez told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO said the park has gone to great lengths to make the daylong ride as comfortable as possible.
“They put some cushion on the seats for me, they sun-powered my gondola so I have power outlets and a TV screen here,” he said.
And when nature calls or he just needs to stretch his legs, Martinez said he accumulates five minutes of break time for every 60 minutes of riding or he can opt to skip a break and take a ten-minute breather the next time.
The public can ride the Pacific Wheel during Pacific Park’s exclusive after-hours from 8 p.m. Thursday to midnight for $5, with all proceeds
benefiting Special Olympics Southern California.
Martinez called being a Special Olympics Southern California coach and his work with his son “life changing.”
“It’s going to be a long time before I get on it again — any Ferris wheel,” he said.
Donations can be made online at the Pacific Park website. All donors will receive a $10 off coupon Sports Authority.
Once an online donation is confirmed, the donor can guess how many rotations the Pacific Wheel will make during the 25-hour world record attempt.
The person coming closest without going over will receive a private one-hour ride on the Pacific Wheel Ferris wheel during non-operating hours with four guests and a meal from The Lobster restaurant.
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