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Scottish kid trying to break run streak world record

11-year-old Seb Jellema will need to run daily for the next 52 years

Seb Jellema Photo by: Claire Jellema

Seb Jellema, an 11-year-old who lives in Scotland, is on a mission to break a world record for running, inspired by the legendary British Olympian Ron Hill. Hill ran daily for an astounding 52 years and 39 days before concluding his streak at the age of 78 in 2017, and Seb has set his sights on surpassing this feat, BBC Scotland reported.

Seb began his running journey in January 2023, committing to run a minimum of 3 km (1.9 miles) every day. His unwavering dedication has seen him face various challenges, including school trips, a ski holiday and scorching temperatures in France. To break Hill’s record, Seb will need to maintain this daily routine until early 2075, when he reaches the age of 62.

Seb, who is named after Olympic middle-distance runner (and World Athletics president and former two-time Olympic champion) Seb Coe, is optimistic.”I have started 16 years before Ron did, so I hope it is possible to beat his record. I have a dream,” he said. He persevered through illness in November and told BBC that he is driven by both his personal challenge and his charitable efforts for the Scottish SPCA, raising £1,600 (2,700 CAD) so far.

Seb Jellema and family
Seb Jellema (right) and family Photo: Claire Jellema

Notable among Seb’s achievements is his longest run of 24 km (15 miles) on his birthday in August, navigating the seven hills of Edinburgh in under four hours. His mother, Claire Jellema, attested to Seb’s commitment. “He ran that and then had his birthday party, that’s how bonkers he is,” she said. “When we went to the Alps skiing, I thought the challenge would stop but, no, he managed to run up and down the roads which were clear of snow and ice.” Claire and her husband, Nick Jellema, take turns running with Seb.

Seb’s dedication parallels that of Hill, who ran daily despite serious injuries, including a head-on crash in 1993. Hill defied the doctor’s orders and snuck out to run a mile with a snapped sternum, and even spent six weeks running a mile a day after a foot operation. Seb’s father, Nick, also captured a Guinness World Record at the Great North Run in 2018, competing as the fastest half-marathoner dressed as a cartoon character, in 1:31:19.

With the support of friends, family, and even his Scout leader and teacher participating in his daily runs, Seb has covered 1,300 km (808 miles) so far. He plans to add another 50 km to his total by year-end, and records each run on his dad’s Strava.”It feels like it’s been a long way. I’m very proud of myself. The secret is to keep eating,” Seb said, and credits his friends Harrison and Amos for encouraging him with pep talks.

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