Earlier this year, amputee ultrarunner Jacky Hunt-Broersma announced plans to break a world record, with an attempt to run a marathon every day for 102 days straight, which would total 2675 miles. On April 27, Hunt-Broersma accomplished her goal and became the new female record holder for most marathons run in consecutive days.
A blade runner and cancer survivor, Hunt-Broersma decided to make the most of her record attempt by raising money for Amputee Blade Runners, a charity that provides running blades for amputees. Her fundraising efforts are up to $193,386 and growing, exceeding her original goal of $30,000 by a long shot. Hunt-Broersma’s contributions will help fund running blades, typically considered a luxury item by insurance companies, for over 50 people.
Fresh off the accomplishment, BRO caught up with Hunt-Broersma to talk about the record and what’s next for the ultrarunner.
BRO: How does it feel to be the new record holder for most marathons run on consecutive days as a female?
Hunt-Broersma: It feels great, but the record was just the cherry on top. Records are there to be broken, but for me the best part was to prove that anyone can do hard things and that you should never put anyone in a box. I also loved reading all the comments on my social media from people all over the world who ran their first mile or first marathon or walked around the block for the first time in years, because they saw that I (since) did hard things, so can they. No one can ever take those feelings away.
BRO: What inspired you to go after this particular record?
Hunt-Broersma: I had seen a post on social media of someone who ran 95 marathons in 95 days. As I was starting my training for Moab240, I thought this would be a great way to build a base and I wanted to see if I could do it.
BRO: How did your family and friends react when you told them what you were doing?
Hunt-Broersma: I think they are used to me coming up with crazy ideas and they have learned that if I say that I’m going to do something crazy, that I will do it. My husband/coach just rolled his eyes as he has been here before.
BRO: What was your biggest inspiration?
Hunt-Broersma: It was definitely my family. Every day when my kids came home from school they asked me if I completed my run. On days that I struggled they gave me a hug and that encouraged me to get it done. My husband also took on a lot more to give me the time to focus on this challenge.
BRO: How did you train for this record attempt?
Hunt-Broersma: I did a 100-mile race two weeks before the challenge. This set me up for a great start, although I don’t think I was fully recovered yet.
BRO: Did you have a go-to fuel snack?
Hunt-Broersma: In the beginning of the challenge I just ate everything, but I hit a wall very quickly. I had to change my diet to eat the right food to recover and fuel me at the same time. Baby potatoes with salt is a go to food for me. Plain and simple.
BRO: Your story has spread awareness for amputee runners and the struggles they face with expensive running blades. What are you hoping is the biggest takeaway for people hearing your story?
Hunt-Broersma: I want amputees and cancer survivors to realize that life isn’t over after amputation or diagnosis. You can achieve so much more and to hold onto hope. I hope that amputees also now realize that there is help available for them and that running will change their lives for the better. Secondly, I want everyone to know that there is no reason to put amputees in a box and that they are not disabled. My disability has made me stronger.
BRO: Where was your favorite place to run during the attempt?
Hunt-Broersma: We have a great park (Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler, Arizona) about two miles from our home with a 1.6-mile loop. I would spend hours out there. It is a beautiful desert landscape.
BRO: Where was your favorite place to run in our region when you lived on the East Coast in North Carolina?
Hunt-Broersma: When I lived on the East Coast I used to run a lot in Umstead State Park in Raleigh (I love the forest and the big trees), and also on the American Tobacco Trail in Cary.
BRO: What was the most rewarding and biggest challenge of this journey?
Hunt-Broersma: My biggest challenge was to keep this marathon running up every day. It is very tiring and it can get monotonous sometimes, but then you remind yourself of the bigger picture and get going. I would say running Boston, my 100th marathon (initial goal), marathon 102 (when I broke the record) and my last marathon were all super rewarding. I had so much support from friends and family and it made this entire journey worth it
BRO: Is there a secret to repeatedly running long distances that you can share?
Hunt-Broersma: It is all in the mind. Your body can do amazing things and it is true that your mind will always quit before your body does. Understand this and you will be able to go far.
Photo courtesy of Jacky Hunt-Broersma
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