— Michal Kapral (@mkapral) October 10, 2016
This time around, former Canadian Running editor Michal Kapral didn’t drop the ball. He says he’s thrilled.
The runner who many know as “the joggler” has earned himself a reputation as that guy who can be spotted juggling on training runs and during marathon races. In his 11 years of “joggling,” he has run several marathons, set the Guinness World Record for running the fastest marathon while juggling (2:50) and got himself a spot on a TV commercial. Now, at this year’s running of the Chicago Marathon, he has run the full marathon without dropping any of the balls.
Running the full 42.2K with no drops, he says, has been a goal. “It took me eight marathon tries to get the no drop,” says Kapral.
Kapral has been juggling since the 1980’s. He learned when he was about 10 or 11. Back then, like many kids, he and his sister (Moira) were fascinated by those who could set records.
“My sister and I were obsessed with flipping through the Guinness World Record book and finding a record we could break,” he says. That’s when they found out about a runner who juggled while running the marathon. Not knowing much about marathon running just yet, he knew it could be possible. “That planted the seed, then I forgot about it.”
Years later, he set the record for running with stroller. He remember the joggling world record he sought out when he was a child and with at least 15 marathons under his belt, started training for it. At the time though, shy to run in public while juggling, he set his alarm for well before dawn– concealing his new habit in the darkness.
“It was, and still is, a great metaphor for my life,” he says. “It was a way for me to keep things fun. I’m still joggling my way through life as best I can.”
Eventually, he came out of his shell to train in public, race in public, set records and star in a commercial. Still though, he’s aware of the quirkiness of his hobby and has his shy moments. For example, he often runs home from work but admits that he has waited until getting a distance away from the office before pulling out the bean bags.
“I don’t want to see anyone I know,” he says. “People know that I do this but I’m still kind of embarrassed.”
While out running in Toronto’s downtown core to the east side of the city, he’ll often get remarks here and there. Many people have a funny comment, most people just stop dead in their tracks and stare with a look of confusion he says. Many times, complete strangers will cheer him on when they see what he’s doing.
To his family though, this is just the norm. Kapral has a wife, Dianne, and two daughters, Annika,13, and Lauryn, 11. Since he’s been joggling for most of his daughters’ lives, they don’t even question it (Lauryn even wants to become a joggler). “To them, it’s completely normal,” says Kapral adding that when coming home from work in running clothes, they will often casually ask him “How was your joggle home from work today dad?” Dianne on the other hand, isn’t oblivious. “She’s probably pretty sick of it,” he admits.
Kapral didn’t expect that his interest in juggling while running would turn into such a crazy passion like this. Eleven years ago, it was just a fun challenge. This past weekend in Chicago, he reached a new goal. “I would never in a million years guess that I would still be joggling,” he says.
But when asked if it’s going to continue, he shows that he has no intention on stopping. Even after running the full Chicago Marathon without dropping once, Kapral thinks a sub-2:50 race is still in his future. Plus… he’s got a few other ideas.
“No one has ever joggled a steeplechase, so I want to try that,” he says.