Amputee runner Jacky Hunt-Broersma sets unofficial world record with 102 marathons in 102 days

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GILBERT, Ariz. — As Forrest Gump in the 1994 Oscar-winning film of the same name, Tom Hanks comes to an abrupt halt after more than three years of nonstop running and tells his followers, “I’m pretty tired. I think I I’m going home now.”

Jacky Hunt-Broersma can understand. On Thursday, the amputee achieved her goal of running 102 marathons in as many days, setting an unofficial women’s world record.

And she can’t/won’t stop, saying she’ll run two more for good measure and conclude her challenge on Saturday with 104.

“I might as well end April with a marathon,” she told The Associated Press.

Britain-based Guinness World Records did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Guinness lists the men’s record for consecutive daily marathons at 59, set in 2019 by Italian Enzo Caporaso. It can take up to a year for the organization to ratify a world record.

“I’m just happy I made it. I can’t believe it,” Hunt-Broersma said. “The best thing was the incredible support I received from people all over the world who reached out to me, telling me how it inspired them to go above and beyond.”

Hunt-Broersma, 46, began her quest on January 17, running the classic marathon distance of 26.2 miles on a loop course set up near her home in Gilbert, Arizona, or on a treadmill at the interior. Since then, it’s been “rinse and repeat” every day for the South African native, who lost her left leg below the knee to a rare cancer and short on a carbon fiber prosthesis.

Her original goal was to run 100 marathons in 100 days in order to beat the record of 95 set in 2020 by Alyssa Amos Clark, an able-bodied runner from Bennington, Vermont, who adopted it as a strategy for coping with the pandemic. But earlier this month, after able-bodied British runner Kate Jayden unofficially broke Clark’s record of 101 marathons in 101 days, Hunt-Broersma realized she would have to run at least 102.

On foot, day after day, she covered 2,672 miles – the equivalent of running from her suburb of Phoenix to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, or from New York to Mexico City.

Along the way, Hunt-Broersma has gained a huge following on social media and raised nearly $27,000 to help other amputee blade runners get the expensive prostheses they need. Health insurance usually does not cover the cost, which can exceed $10,000.

Hunt-Broersma, who ran 92nd in the Boston Marathon this month, hopes her quest will inspire people around the world to push themselves to do hard things.

What’s next for the endurance athlete? A 240-mile ultrarace that will take place over mountainous terrain in October in Moab, Utah.

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