The Servus Edmonton Marathon was the site of some impressive Guinness World Record attempts yesterday. Collin Jarvis of Oakland, California finished third overall in the full marathon yesterday, with a time of 2:27:30. Though the category of  “fastest marathon by someone with an ostomy” doesn’t yet exist as a Guinness World Record, Jarvis is in the process of persuading the organization to create it and to ratify his run as the first such record. (In 2014 Jarvis had surgery to remove his colon due to ulcerative colitis. His extensive search yielded a time more than 10 minutes slower as the next fastest finishing time.)

 

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@edmontonmarathon recap: I started the race as conservatively as possible, with only a vague idea of what pace I would be able to handle. I stayed relaxed until around mile 10, when one of the people (@runtmac87) in our pack started pulling away and I found myself at a crossroad; Do I stay conservative, hang back and bide my time, or do I take the opportunity to follow an experienced marathoner to a pace that would set me on course for my ‘big’ goal of breaking 2:30? ▫️ ▫️ I took the gamble, and it paid off. By mile 23 I had definitely begun to start hurting, but I realized that I was going to be able to stay strong through the finish. It was surreal to know that I was going to smash every goal I’d set for myself coming into the race while I was still running it. ▫️ ▫️ I ran 2:27:29.. almost 3 mins faster than I thought I’d be capable of running. I jogged back to my hotel (I could still run? What was this sorcery?), hopped in the shower, and started laugh-crying. ▫️ ▫️ Running a marathon can be an emotional experience in any context, but in that particular moment I was tearing up because it was the first time in multiple years that I’d run a race where I exceeded my own expectations, and felt truly proud of what I had done. Many of my prior performances have been tainted with some level of dissatisfaction or disappointment… but not today. Today I was reminded that this sport is a metaphor for life; That if you dedicate yourself to something, continually work through failure, stay patient, take calculated risks, and trust in the process, that you can transcend your self-imposed limitations. ▫️ ▫️ If I have one hope for anyone reading this, it would be that you are able to have your own moment of hard-earned triumph – and when you do, to take the time to really reflect on what it means. Whether it’s running a race faster than you thought was possible, or figuring out a way to re-incorporate a fulfilling hobby you had before an illness or surgery (looking at you, #ostomyfam !), I truly believe these moments are what make life worth living. ▫️ ▫️ #nocolonstillrollin #stealthbelt #marathon #ostomyworldrecord #goanywheredoanything #overcome #triumph

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“It’s a really special thing,” says Jarvis, who was raised in San Diego, and whose father (also a runner) is originally from Toronto. “It’s always been a dream of mine since I was a little kid to say I set some kind of record, but in this context, it’s even more special… because of the potential to inspire people who are really struggling. If I had seen something like this when I was going through my surgery, I would have been inspired.” What’s even more inspiring is that after graduating from Berkeley, Jarvis joined a company called Stealth Belt (as seen on his singlet), which produces the customized ostomy support belt that he wears when he runs.

Jarvis told the National Post he tried to break the record at this year’s Boston Marathon, but was unsuccessful. The Edmonton course, by contrast, is flat and fast–and, just as important, the weather yesterday was cool and cloudy.

 

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Despite the perfect conditions, two other Guinness record attempters were not successful yesterday, but their efforts deserve some recognition nonetheless. Noel D’Arcy of Olds, Alta. made a valiant attempt at the record for the fastest half-marathon by a male wearing full firefighting gear. This is not to be confused with simply wearing the uniform, which is a different record. Full gear means boots and the self-contained breathing apparatus (also known as an air pack), which involves breathing air from a 65-lb. tank carried on your back. The time D’Arcy had to beat was  is 3:30, and he finished, with some difficulty, in 3:53:04.

 

“Not many people have done it with the pack,” says D’Arcy, who was back at work at the fire hall in Olds this morning. D’Arcy, who notes that his regular half-marathon PB is 1:20, explains that he had to change out his air cylinder approximately every three kilometres, which a friend pulled in a trailer behind his bike. D’Arcy ran into some breathing difficulties about 9K into the race, the inside of his uniform became wet with sweat, and his feet were badly blistered inside his steel-toed fire boots. “At that point I’m like, I honestly think the record is out of my reach, so I’m going to go with the secondary plan of getting it finished,” D’Arcy says. “It was a hard grind.” D’Arcy was also using the run to raise funds for the Terry Fox Foundation.

Natalie Shanahan of Edmonton tried for the record for the fastest half-marathon by a woman pushing a double stroller. The time she had to beat was 1:25:36, set by Cynthia Arnold in Montana in May–but this record was only ratified recently, and Shanahan, who only learned of it at the last minute, had targeted the previous record of 1:31:45 in her training. “Kudos to her!” says Shanahan. “She’s an incredible athlete.” (Arnold also holds the triple stroller record, at 1:29.)

Shanahan finished the race in 1:27:44, pushing her 14-month-old twin daughters. That would have broken the earlier record, but was two minutes shy of the new record. Shanahan did set a new personal best, which makes her happy. Shanahan is a member of Canada’s 24-hour running team headed to the World 24-Hour Championships in France in October.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story reported that Collin Jarvis set a Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon by a person with an ostomy. That was not accurate, since such a category does not exist–yet.

 

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