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58-year-old grandmother of 12 breaks world planking record after holding position for more than 4.5 hours

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There's a new world record for the longest plank ever held by a woman – and it was broken by a grandmother in Canada. 

Guinness World Records announced late last month that 58-year-old DonnaJean Wilde, a mother of five and grandmother of 12 in Canada, broke the women's world record for the longest time in an abdominal plank position after holding it for 4 hours, 30 minutes and 11 seconds – 10 minutes longer than the previous record established in 2019. She spent that entire duration with her forearms and toes touching the ground and her body remaining lifted and straight. 

Wilde, who is now retired, completed the event at the high school where she previously served as vice principal. She told Guinness that the first two hours were relatively quick, but by the end, there was a bit of a struggle. 

"My elbows hurt pretty bad," Wilde said. "I was so worried about losing my form and I think that's why my quads hurt because I was just really tense." 

The last hour "was the most challenging," she said, but by "breathing, staying calm and not shaking," in the last 30 minutes, she was able to persevere. Her main motivator was her dozen grandchildren, all of whom attended the record-breaking event. 

But breaking a world record doesn't come easy. Wilde spent every day planking for up to three hours, during which time she would watch movies and even study for her master's degree. In preparation for the attempt, she did that three-hour exercise twice a day. 

"I realized that I could read and do things when I was planking and fell in love with it," she said.

Wilde has been planking for more than a decade, getting into the activity after she broke her wrist 12 years ago and couldn't run or lift weights while she was in a cast. 

And she did it all while dealing with chronic pain in her hands and arms. She suffers from transverse myelitis, a condition in which both sides of a section of the spinal cord become inflamed, sending pain to those areas she relies on to hold a plank. Her husband Randy told Guinness, however, that he believes the pain she regularly experiences ended up being more helpful than hurtful when it comes to breaking a world record. 

"That chronic pain and numbness that she deals with every day has helped her to be able to plank through the pain," he said. "...I think the model for someone whose done a world record is officially amazing, but she's been officially amazing her whole life." 

After all the time spent training and finally breaking the record, Wilde says the only feeling she's left with is "overwhelming." 

"I actually still can't believe it," she said. "It feels like a dream." 

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