One leg marathon runner sets world record | Sunday Observer

One leg marathon runner sets world record

8 May, 2022
Jacky Hunt-Broersma
Jacky Hunt-Broersma

A woman who took up running after she lost her left leg to cancer has passed the Guinness World Record for most consecutive marathons.

Jacky Hunt-Broersma, 46, has run 26.2-miles every day since mid-January, normally taking around five hours.

On Saturday, she completed her 104th consecutive marathon in as many days - an achievement she expects to be certified by Guinness World Records.

A spokesperson said certifying the record would take around three months.

Waking up on Sunday - a day off at long last - was a bizarre experience for Jacky.

“Part of me was really happy to be done,” she tells the BBC from her home in Arizona. “And the other part kept thinking I need to go running.”

Her body is also recovering from the record-chasing effort, despite having stopped. “I feel tighter than I have the whole 104 marathons,” she admits.

But Jacky - who was born and raised in South Africa, and has also lived in England and the Netherlands - is grateful. Because running has given her the confidence she was afraid she would never regain.

In 2002, doctors in the Netherlands diagnosed her with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer.

Within two weeks, they amputated her left leg to save her life. She was only 26 years old.

“It was a rollercoaster,” she recalls. “Everything happened so fast.”

For the first couple of years, Jacky struggled with the change in her life. She was angry that she had got cancer and embarrassed to be different. She wore long trousers in public so people would not notice the prosthetic.

Almost on a whim, she took up running in 2016.

She had cheered her husband on at long-distance running events but had never considered doing it herself, thinking it was only “for crazy people”.

Buying a special prosthetic for long-distance runners, she signed up for her very first 10K (6.2 mile) run.

On the eve of the race, she switched her registration to the half-marathon category - and she has not looked back since, exploring longer distances and different terrains.

“I’m an all or nothing person, so I just threw myself in,” she explains. “I love pushing boundaries and seeing how far I can push.”

At the beginning of the year, Jacky gave herself a new goal: the record for most consecutive marathons.

The female Guinness record stood at 95 - set two years go by Alyssa Amos Clark, a non-amputee runner from Vermont - who did it as a pandemic coping strategy.

The male Guinness record is held by Enzo Caporaso of Italy with 59 - although Spanish ultra-runner Ricardo Abad reportedly ran 607 consecutive marathons, finishing in 2012.

So Jacky - a mother of two who works as an endurance coach - started running with the record in mind, making sure she always ran at least the length of a marathon. (BBC Sport)