Sarah Szefi, 33, of St. Louis, Missouri, smashed the women’s marathon joggling world record, with a 4:02:30 result at yesterday’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon. According to Toronto’s Michal Kapral, who holds the men’s world record for joggling three balls in a marathon and a half-marathon, the previous (unofficial) record of 4:15 was set by Heather Hackett-Brinegar in 1997.
Szefi is a runner and cyclist who saw Kapral joggling at the Chicago Marathon in 2016 and decided to give it a try herself. She has a sub-3 personal best in the (non-joggling) marathon.
Joggling has become more and more popular at races, and Szefi was not the only joggler in the race. Perry Romanowski of Chicago also ran yesterday while joggling, finishing in 3:45:13. Romanowski runs in the 45-49 age category. According to Kapral, Romanowski joggles during all of his training runs and races, and is famous for his streaks of thousands of days of running and juggling at least a mile. This was Romanowski’s 19th joggling Chicago Marathon. He has joggled more than 40 marathons in total.
Barry Goldmeier of Baltimore ran 6:30:55 while juggling five balls part of the way. Goldmeier is in the 50-54 age division. (No one has yet succeeded in joggling a full marathon with five balls.) According to Kapral, Goldmeier juggles for portions of the race, stopping around crowded water stations out of consideration for other runners.
— Michal Kapral (@mkapral) October 7, 2018
Turns out, Goldmeier is well known for joggling a variety of objects, and wearing various costumes, while running marathons. He does it a lot, running at least 20 marathons a year. He has juggled bean bags, basketballs, and slightly deflated footballs, as well as the small black balls (probably lacrosse balls) seen here.
Though some decry it as unserious, juggling while running requires a lot of skill and practice. And those who go after world records must be fast runners as well as skilled jugglers.