Ross D. Franklin/AP
Most people who ran the Boston Marathon last month spent days before resting and days after recovering. But not Jacky Hunt-Broersma. The Boston race was the 92nd marathon she had run in 92 days. The next day she ran another, then another, then another.
In total, she has run 104 marathons in 104 days, with her last race on Saturday. If confirmed by Guinness World Records, it would be a new world record. And she did it all with one leg and a prosthesis.
But what prompted her to set a new record? She just wanted to see if she could do it, she said.
“The previous person who had done it, I had looked at it and thought, ‘Well, she can do it. And she was a capable body and I was like let me see if I could do it on a prosthetic and see what happens,” Hunt-Broersma said. “And it was an interesting journey because I wanted to push the limits and see how far, but also see how far I could do it and if my prosthesis would actually last.”
There are a lot of factors that go into racing as an amputee, Hunt-Broersma said, and she wasn’t sure if she would cross the 30-year mark.
“I thought this would be a great way to inspire others to push your limits because I truly believe we are stronger than we think,” she said. “And I was so pleasantly surprised that my body held up, everything held up and I got to 104.”
You would think that with a running streak like that, Hunt-Broersma has been racing his whole life. But she didn’t actually start the sport until after her left leg was amputated below the knee in 2001 due to a type of cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma.
“When you lose your leg, there’s an element of you that makes you a little more stubborn because people tell you there’s so much you can’t do. You can’t do this, you you can’t do that. And running was part of that because it’s really complicated.”
Runners amputees cannot use a regular prosthetic leg, they need a running blade. Hunt-Broersma has two, but she was only able to run with one during her streak due to swelling she suffered in her amputated leg which prevented her from connecting to one of the blades.
Ross D. Franklin/AP
This, she said, is just one factor many amputees have to consider when running. But even with the swelling and friction that sometimes occurs, she was able to push through and continue on her way.
“Running has only really changed me,” Hunt-Broersma said. “It just changed my perception of how I see myself as an amputee. It makes me stronger. It makes me feel fearless. I can just push the limits and that’s just phenomenal.”
Although she loves sports, there was at least one point during her 104-day streak when she considered quitting.
“I was tired. I didn’t want to do it anymore. And I don’t think that’s a good reason to quit,” she said. “Basically, I sucked it in, pulled myself together and carried on. And then you kind of get back into the routine and then it’s like, OK, I’m getting there. I’m moving on and it’s okay to go. And then you kind of focus on each step, like every day, and you kind of cover the miles that way.”
In total, Hunt-Broersma covered 2,724.8 miles. During this time, she had plenty of time to reflect and learned a few things about herself.
“It taught me how strong you can be and how mental running is so much. If you’re strong mentally and in the game, you can do anything,” she said. “And our bodies are just amazing. … This whole journey has been amazing. It’s been tough. It’s been super tough, but it told me how strong you can be as a person and how far you can go. can push you.”
After her impressive feat, Hunt-Broersma is taking two weeks off before starting training for her next big race – a 240-mile ultra marathon in Moab, Utah in October.