Chicago Real Estate Business Owner is World's Greatest Couch Potato

What does a Chicago-based real estate business owner do to kick off 2010? Sit and watch a record-breaking 72 straight hours of television, of course.

Jeff Miller, a 26-year-old real estate business owner from Rogers Park, participated in and won his third consecutive Ultimate Couch Potato competition at Chicago's ESPN Zone. The contest, which began at 10 a.m. CST on Jan. 1, is a "competition to see who can watch the most continuous TV sports coverage" among four finalists, including the returning champion from the previous year and three other contestants who are selected by way of an essay contest, according to the event's official rules.

At 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 4, Miller stood up, finished his successful run and outlasted his competition by remaining idle (save for scheduled breaks) for 72 straight hours, which set an unofficial Guinness World Record, breaking the mark of 69 hours, 48 minutes set by Suresh Joachim in 2005. Miller's three-day achievement also surpassed the time of 70 hours, 45 seconds that Jessica Mosley, a 27-year-old education coordinator from Arlington, Va., set in 2009's Ultimate Couch Potato Competition in Baltimore.

"It's all about determination," Miller explained.

In an appearance on "Good Day Chicago" on Tuesday, Miller noted that contestants were allowed to stand up for five minutes at the top of every hour "so you don't get blood clots and that kind of thing," and that 15-minute bathroom breaks were given every eight hours. He said the most difficult periods came from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.

The key to getting through those miserable times?

"Get into whatever programming is on, no matter what it is," Miller said. "Just choose a horse and run with it."

He outlasted Juan Hernandez, a 32-year-old warehouse supervisor, who fell asleep at 4:21 a.m. early Monday morning.

In New York, Jorge Cruz, a 26-year-old public affairs assistant from Washington Heights, won the competition with a winning time of 48 hours, 15 minutes and one second.

Mosley, who had previously notched the competition's best-ever time, repeated her victory in Baltimore with a winning time of 32 hours, 59 minutes and 14 seconds.

Each of the three winners takes home a customized recliner, a $1,000 gift certificate to Best Buy to purchase HDTVs, a year of free cable or satellite TV, $1,000 in gift certificates and game cards to ESPN Zone and an "Ultimate Couch Potato" trophy, which are adorned with an actual potato.

The annual marathon of slothfulness began in Chicago in 2003, when Brett Farrenkopf won the competition with a time of 14 hours, 30 minutes.
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