Blade runner amazes with miraculous marathon feat

China Daily | Updated: 2022-05-03 12:09
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Jacky Hunt-Broersma finishes her 102nd marathon in as many days at Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler, Arizona, last Thursday. The South African then ran two more marathons to extend her unofficial women's world record to 104. [Photo/Agencies]

South African breaks world record with 104 straight days on the road

GILBERT, Arizona-As Forrest Gump in the Oscar-winning 1994 film of the same name, lead actor Tom Hanks abruptly trots to a halt after more than three years of nonstop running and tells his followers: "I'm pretty tired-I think I'll go home now."

Jacky Hunt-Broersma can relate. Last Thursday, the amputee athlete achieved her goal of running 102 marathons in as many days, setting an unofficial women's world record.

On Saturday, the South African extended the record to 104, running the last leg near her home in suburban Phoenix, Arizona. "What a journey," she tweeted.

Guinness World Records spokesperson Amanda Marcus said the Britain-based organization was aware of Hunt-Broersma's attempt, and that it would take 12 to 15 weeks to review the evidence before the record can be confirmed. Guinness lists the men's record for consecutive daily marathons as 59, set in 2019 by Enzo Caporaso of Italy.

"I'm just happy that I made it-I can't believe it," she said after completing her 102nd marathon last Thursday.

"The best thing was the incredible support I've received from people around the world who've reached out, telling me how this has inspired them to push themselves."

Hunt-Broersma, 46, began her quest on Jan 17, covering the classic 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) marathon distance on a loop course laid out near her home in Gilbert, Arizona, or on a treadmill indoors. Since then, it's been "rinse and repeat" every day for the South Africa native, who lost her left leg below the knee to a rare cancer and runs on a carbon-fiber prosthesis.

Her original goal was to run 100 marathons in 100 days so she'd beat the record of 95 set in 2020 by Alyssa Amos Clark, a nondisabled runner from Bennington, Vermont, who took it on as a pandemic-coping strategy. But earlier last month, after nondisabled British runner Kate Jayden unofficially broke Clark's record with 101 marathons in 101 days, Hunt-Broersma realized she'd need to run at least 102.

On foot, day in and day out, she's covered 2,724 miles (4,384 kilometers)-the equivalent of running from her Phoenix suburb to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, or from New York City to Mexico City.

Along the way, Hunt-Broersma gained a huge following on social media and raised nearly $67,000 to help fellow amputee blade runners get the expensive prostheses they need. Health insurance typically doesn't cover the cost, which can exceed $10,000.

Hunt-Broersma, who ran her 92nd at this month's Boston Marathon, hopes her quest will inspire people everywhere to push themselves to do hard things.

What's next for the endurance addict? A 240-mile (386-kilometer) ultra race over mountainous terrain in Moab, Utah, in October.

Agencies Via Xinhua

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