PATTAYA, Thailand (AP) — It was one long kiss for a couple — one record-breaking embrace for mankind.
A determined Thai couple locked lips for 46 hours, 24 minutes and nine seconds to celebrate Valentine’s Day in this southern beach resort town, emerging victorious after a “kissathon” organizers claim marked the longest recorded smooch in history.
The previous record of just over 32 hours was set in 2009 by a couple in Germany, according to Guinness World Records, whose officials will have to verify the latest milestone for it to become official.
Fourteen couples kicked off the contest at 6 a.m. Sunday. By Monday afternoon, half had already beaten the record and were still puckering up on the white-marble corridor of an oceanside shopping mall in Pattaya. Passing tourists gawked, smiled and snapped pictures with glowing mobile phones behind a red rope.
“We didn’t think we would find anybody that could break the record,” said Somporn Naksuetrong, the manager of Pattaya’s Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks museum, which organized the competition. That seven couples apparently did, he said, “is amazing.”
The winner was announced before dawn Tuesday: a Bangkok couple, Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranarat. They won a diamond ring worth 50,000 Thai Baht (US$1,606), and a 100,000 Baht ($3,213 dollar) cash prize.
According to the rules, the lovebirds’ lips could not part at any time. Any drinks could only be consumed through straws while continuing the kiss, and the couples had to remain embraced during bathroom breaks possible every three hours — accompanied by contest monitors.
The harshest rule: no sitting or sleeping. One woman participating with her boyfriend fainted just half an hour after it began Sunday.
Despite its reputation for having one of the biggest sex industries in the world, Thailand is still a conservative nation where kissing in public — even a small peck — is frowned upon. Participants had to prove they were either married or truly a couple — a letter from both parents or a marriage certificate was acceptable.
“We want to show that love is meaningful and powerful,” Somporn said. “It’s not easy to stand there and kiss for that long. They really have to help each other and support each other.”
A Thai and international soundtrack that included tunes like Sixpence None The Richer’s 1997 hit “Kiss Me” kept couples swaying two nights straight, some barefoot or striking yoga-like poses to keep awake.
About 35 hours into the marathon, 37-year-old Preedi Singhajan scribbled a note on a paper tablet to his 51-year-old partner, Rungnapa Rojananawin.
“Can you go on?” he asked.
She soon answered by ending their embrace. Attendants swiftly sat the couple down and a nurse took Rojananawin’s pulse.
“The competition is fierce,” she said, slumped in a metal chair as five other couples shimmied in a bizarre scene akin to a high-school dance tempered by bright floodlights. “These people aren’t giving up easily.”
Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks — a Pattaya wax museum, is under the management of Ripley’s World of Entertainment. Representatives of Guinness World Records were not immediately available to comment, but Somporn said they were aware of the contest.
The couples who took part were mainly Thai and ranged in age from 21 to 51. There was one German man with a Thai woman, and also a gay couple.
The official longest kiss was clocked at 32 hours, 7 minutes and 14 seconds long by Nikola Matovic and Kristina Reinhart in Germany in February 2009, according to Guinness.
Associated Press writer Thanyarat Doksone and photographer Apichart Weerawong contributed to this report.