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Thursday, 7 September, 2000, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Record-breaking teacher on a roll
Richard Rodriguez
Richard Rodriguez: Rolling for 22,665 miles
Teacher Richard Rodriguez is celebrating breaking his own world record after spending 2,000 hours on Blackpool Pleasure Beach's Big Dipper.

Mr Rodriguez has been eating, drinking and sleeping in a covered carriage at the centre of the rollercoaster train which has been running 24 hours a day since 9 June.

He completed his last ride to cheers from supporters and a jazz band playing Show Me The Way To Go Home at the damp and windswept seaside resort.

The existing record of 1,013 hours was set by Mr Rodriguez two years ago but he wanted to do something to mark the Millennium and raise money for a charity for terminally ill children, Give Kids The World, based in Orlando, Florida.

Asked if he was planning to return to his hotel room for a nice lie down, he replied: "I want to celebrate the moment. I will have a drink with all the ride operators and the people who have supported me."

I feel great now, I'm on an emotional high

Richard Rodriguez
The 39-year-old, who has a girlfriend, said: "I'm on top of the world. It's a great day, I now want to celebrate with the rest of humanity and the great people of Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

"I feel great now, I'm on an emotional high."

Mr Rodriguez, who teaches media and communication at a school in Chicago, Illinois, kept himself occupied with books, newspapers and letters from well-wishers.

Body adapts

He also had a mobile telephone to call his mother.

Mr Rodriguez was allowed a respite of five minutes out of every hour, which he stored up to take a shower and have a hot meal once a day.

Rollercoaster ride
Length: 3,295ft
Height: 70ft
Top speed: 35mph
Duration: 3 minutes

"The first week was the hardest but your body adapts to its environment," he said.

But the British weather nearly put a dampener on the record attempt.

When asked if he ever wanted to get off, Mr Rodriguez said: "Every time that it started to rain, I said to myself, `I wish I could just go back to my hotel room,' but then the weather changes."

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See also:

23 Jul 98 | Entertainment
Rollercoaster record hits new heights
25 Jul 98 | Entertainment
On track for coaster target
16 Jul 98 | UK
The duel of the Big Dippers
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