Marty Gabriel (11/17/17)

Marty Gabriel of Charleston is pictured with a certificate for helping set a new Scrabble Guinness World Record for the highest Scrabble score in 24 hours between two players. 

CHARLESTON -- It took more time than they expected, but Marty Gabriel of Charleston and Scott Garner of Memphis, Tenn., got official confirmation of setting a new world record in Scrabble.

More than a year ago, the two made an attempt to break a Scrabble Guinness World Record: highest Scrabble score in 24 hours between two players. Before their attempt, Lakshan Wanniarachchi and Yeshan Jayasuriya, both of Sri Lanka, had the record score of 196,525 in the game, according to Guinness World Records.

Their goal was to reach a score of 200,000, but years of practice leading up to the big day in July 2016 refined their skills enough to net them 216,439 points by the end.

Gabriel and Garner both knew they had crushed the previously held record, but both said getting the certificate in the mail of their accomplishment was a validation of the efforts they put into the venture.

Garner said he was “excited” when they broke the record but was more “relieved” than anything else when it was actually confirmed. He said the process to get the confirmation was cumbersome, sending the video of the attempt along with approximately 600 files including statements from witnesses. This led the two to think it would never happen.

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“I was reconciled to the fact that we beat it,” Gabriel said of the victory. “If some reason there was some snafu (at Guinness), we knew it.”

But the two got the notice Oct. 31 that their attempt had officially been accepted and they will be listed as one of the numerous world records of which Guinness keeps track.

The certificates are in and they are listed, but Gabriel hinted he would be open to taking on the challenge setting the record again. He said he would not be opposed to beating his own score or take down a new score should their record be broken.

“I would entertain the idea,” Gabriel said. “To me, it was fun, the whole process.”

Despite the joy they felt when the news came in, they were proud anyway for the money they raised for the Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Service in Charleston through a pledge drive.

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Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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