Last month, the South African amputee athlete Jacky Hunt-Broersma achieved her goal of completing 104 marathons in 104 days, setting an unofficial world record.
After losing her left lower leg in 2001 to Ewing sarcoma – a rare form of cancer that affects the tissue around the bones – she found her passion in running. “Running is something, even though I wasn’t doing it [before surgery], you kind of take it for granted, because you could just put a pair of shoes on and go,” she explains.
Beginning her quest in Arizona on January 17th, she covered the classic 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) route planned out near her home. Since then, she’s run day in and day out to cover 2,672 2,672 miles (4,300 kilometers), the equivalent of running from New York City to Mexico City!
“I’m just happy that I made it — I can’t believe it,” Hunt-Broersma exclaimed. “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.”
Thanks to her remarkable determination and huge social media presence gained from the run, Hunt-Broersma raised around $192,000 to help fellow amputee blade runners get the expensive prostheses they need to participate in the sport.
Health insurance providers commonly don’t cover the cost, stopping many from being able to participate in a healthy active lifestyle. “Here in the States, running blades are really expensive and health insurance doesn’t cover it, they see it as a luxury. So I thought it would be a great way to raise money for charity and it would be a good way to give back,” Hunt-Broersma explains.
Currently, the official record in the Guinness World Records is held by Enzo Caporaso, who in 2019, ran 59 daily marathons. Before Hunt-Broersma’s races, the unofficial record holder was Kate Jayden, who smashed this number with 102 in early April. Hunt-Broersma was originally planning to run 101 to beat previous records, though when Jayden’s achievement was announced she decided to push herself even further.
Emails have been sent to the global organization to update the record, however, they have not yet responded. It can take years for world records to be amended and confirmed, so better hold tight before you see Hunt-Broersma’s name there any time soon, or until someone else outruns her.
The athlete hopes that her incredible act will inspire people everywhere to push themselves to complete difficult challenges. Her next feat will be a Utah-based ultra-race over mountain terrain in October.