When Jacky Hunt-Broersma heard that someone besides her had run two more consecutive marathons than her goal of 100, she ran two more.
And then she ran two more, just because.
The 46-year-old amputee marathoner ran a marathon a day for 104 days straight on a carbon-fiber prosthesis, potentially breaking a record – one set by a nondisabled runner, no less.
Hunt-Broersma has been at it since Jan. 17, when she covered the classic 26.2-mile distance on a course laid out near her Gilbert, Ariz., home. She has also run indoors on a treadmill, according to The Associated Press.
Before this, she was looking to beat the 95 consecutive marathon distances run by Alyssa Amos Clark, a nondisabled runner based in Bennington, Vermont, who had taken up the quest as a way to cope with pandemic lockdown. Then in April another nondisabled runner, Kate Jayden in the U.K., did 101 in as many days.
That left Hunt-Broersma with three digits to beat. The amputee, who hails originally from South Africa but makes her home in Phoenix, did do one certified marathon – the Boston on April 18, which was number 92.
It was 2001 when an old scar became tender, then developed a bulge the size of a golf ball, AP reported. That turned out to be a case of Ewing sarcoma, a cancer more often found in children, and rare in anyone. Her leg had to be amputated below the knee.
Eventually she recovered and accepted “that part of my body was gone,” she told AP, though she was not athletic until about five years ago.
“Running really changed my life,” Hunt-Broersma told AP. “It helped me accept myself as an amputee. It gave me a sense of freedom. I fell in love with the process of pushing my body further just to see what I could do.”
The Guinness World Records organization is still studying her results to see if Hunt-Broersma does indeed qualify as a record-holder – a process that can take 12 to 15 weeks, spokesperson Amanda Marcus told AP.
Hunt-Broersma, whose prosthesis was expensive and hard to come by, helps fellow amputee blade runners with funding and has raised $67,000 so far. She has received support from Brick Runners, an organization that supports athletes who raise money for charities, which designed a Lego-type character inspired by Hunt-Broersma sporting a fave T-shirt of hers that bears the slogan, “Strong Has Many Forms.”
To anyone facing a challenge, physical or otherwise, the runner advises, “You’re stronger than you think — and you’re capable of so much more.”