Kassidy McVey’s legs cramped up in the cold Thursday morning, but she persevered, holding her body inches off the ground for two minutes while crab-walking on live television on the Loyola University Maryland quad Thursday morning.
The 19-year-old sophomore and nearly 500 others set the Guinness World Record for the most people crab-walking at once, as America’s favorite weatherman, Al Roker, walked up and down the lines of scuttling students, broadcasting the Baltimore Jesuit university’s school spirit to an estimated audience of more than four million on NBC’s Today show.
“My hands were numb,” McVey said afterward. “I had to power through. We had to get the record.”
Roker said he was impressed by the students’ endurance. Crab-walking, as he put it, is “a young person’s sport.”
“These are not slam dunks, these world records,” Roker said. “These are serious world records. They may seem frivolous — breaking the world record for crab-walking for two minutes. But if you’re going to do it, there’s a certain integrity to the Guinness World Record.”
The mid-sized university of about 6,000 students prepared for the event — the kind of publicity it couldn’t buy — for two weeks. The marketing department and the students spared no efforts. Cheerleaders, an a cappella group, the ukelele club and hundreds of screaming crab-walk participants and spectators packed the quad for the television spectacle. Many made signs or held up cutouts of Roker’s face.
As he stood in the cold, clutching a cup of coffee, Loyola president the Rev. Brian Linnane noted the event’s important timing: roughly a month before graduating high school seniors must make their college decisions.
“In the weeks when kids are making their college decisions — it’s a May 1 deadline, so they have a couple weeks — it shows a lot of school spirit,” Linnane said.