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Couple Wins Contest With Epic Kiss

March 27, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Roberta and Mark Griswold gazed into each other’s eyes, embraced and kissed _ for 29 hours nonstop.

They kissed until long after Guinness Book of Records officials had gone home, saying, ``Call us when it’s over.″

The Griswolds _ both ski instructors from Allen Park, Mich. _ were one of nine couples to start smooching Wednesday morning at Manhattan’s Harley Davidson Cafe in hopes of winning a snippet in the record book and a grand-prize trip to Paris.

On Thursday _ after 28 hours, 35 minutes and 23 seconds _ they became the winners of the Longest Kiss Competition. Runners-up Chike Lamar Carter and Menthia Clark, university students from New Orleans, had finally succumbed to the contest’s rigid rules: constant lip contact, constant standing and no bathroom breaks.

``If we’d had just one emergency bathroom pass, I could’ve gone on for days,″ said Carter, with one arm around his girlfriend of two years and the other holding a jug of Gatorade.

At the 25-hour mark, both couples had been awarded trips to Paris by the contest sponsor, Breath Savers. But they wouldn’t quit making out.

``We really had no idea it was possible for people to stand up and kiss for more than a day,″ said Archie Mack, senior products manager for Breath Savers.

A nurse, summoned at midnight Wednesday when the kissing went overtime, checked the couples’ vital signs and declared them fit.

And the smooching went on.

``Love can make you do crazy things,″ said Dallas kissing champ Stephanie Necaise. She stared incredulously at Carter and Clark as they bit each other’s lips to stay awake.

When the Griswolds won, a crowd on the street outside roared its approval. The couple, married 13 years, raised their weary arms in recognition. But that didn’t slow them down. The kissing continued.

Finally, they packed it in, too _ after 29 hours. The Guinness book has no kissing record, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether the Griswolds’ feat would be recognized. A call seeking comment from Guinness officials late Thursday was not immediately returned.

The Griswolds hoisted their trophy high.

``What can I say?″ said Mrs. Griswold, her chin rubbed red by her husband’s day-old beard. ``We’re in love. Now we can try to break our record in Paris.″

And she gave her husband a celebratory kiss.