BRUSSELS (Reuters Life!) - Light-headed and fading, a Belgian radio DJ has set a new world record for the longest ever hosting of a radio show, stretching over eight days and seven nights.
"It feels great, but now I can only think of one thing - sleep, sleep, sleep," a baggy-eyed Peter Van de Veire said at the end of his 185-hour stretch on MNM radio station late on Monday.
Van de Veire, 40, challenged himself to break the record to show support for students cramming for their exams. The youth-oriented station put on live acts and ended up fielding questions on Latin verbs and science.
Wedged between tracks from Robbie Williams and Eurovision Song Contest winner Loreen, Van de Veire and his crew celebrated setting a new milestone of 184 hours before the new record holder announced he would push on one hour more.
"But I'm not doing another night, I'm just not," he told listeners.
MNM has asked Guinness World Records to confirm his achievement.
In the final hour, the previous record-holder, Italian Stefano Venneri, offered his congratulations live on air. Venneri lasted for 183 hours in May 2009, a month after he had also set a record for the longest DJ radio set played upside down - 15 minutes and 25 seconds.
Van de Veire's record, while light-hearted, required rigorous planning and attention to detail to make sure he stayed within the rules.
"You certainly need perseverance, but there are other things too, good medical supervision and a good diet," he said at the studios of the Dutch-language public broadcaster.
The rules were indeed strict. Van de Veire was allowed a five minute break each hour, including bathroom pitstops, but was allowed to store the minutes up. Such a pitstop was his first priority after ending the show with The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go".
He was not allowed a co-presenter, no guest could speak for more than a minute and no track could last longer than six minutes.
The Belgian stopped drinking coffee before his marathon effort and had just one cup and two bottles of cola over the eight days - but did get some help from a daily caffeine pill.
Power naps of up to 15 minutes, fresh food and light therapy to counter lack of sun also kept him going.
"The past weekend was really tough. I've had periods of headaches... The nights are hell," he said.
Van de Veire will take the next few weeks off before his show returns from a summer break in September, by when he hopes Guinness World Records will have confirmed his record-breaking show.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Rex Merrifield and Paul Casciato)