New Brunswick

Feel like you're juggling a lot? Try doing it while running a marathon

A Moncton man is attempting to break a Guinness world record for running a full marathon while juggling three balls. Joggler Jean-Marc Doiron can be the new record holder if he finishes the 42.2-km run in under two hours, 50 minutes and 12 seconds.

Moncton man sets sights on world record for running marathon while juggling

A white man wearing a tuke and glasses. He is juggling three balls.
Jean-Marc Doiron learned juggling when he was a teenager. (Rhythm Rathi/CBC)

A Moncton man hopes to be recognized as the world's fastest male marathoner who runs 42.2 kilometres while juggling three balls.

Jean-Marc Doiron has registered for his Guinness world record attempt for joggling during a marathon. 

Joggling is a competitive sport that combines juggling with jogging. Its history is not well-documented but some marathoners and other runners have given it a try at least since the turn of the century.

Doiron said he has been running for more than 20 years. Last fall, he ran the Toronto marathon in about two hours and 33 minutes, and considered the idea of bringing a world record home. 

"I don't know where the conversations started coming up, but I just started getting interested in the idea of trying it myself ... I was like "Wow, it'd be cool to take a shot at a Guinness world record,'" he said.

WATCH | Meet Moncton joggler Jean-Marc Doiron: 

You think you can juggle? Meet the guy doing it while running a marathon

2 months ago
Duration 2:47
Joggler Jean-Marc Doiron is attempting a Guinness World Record as the fastest male marathon runner while juggling.

The current world record for the fastest marathon joggling with three objects, male category, was set by Michal Kapral of Toronto almost 17 years ago. Kapral joggled at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sept. 30, 2007.

To bring the title home, Doiron will have to complete the run in just under two hours, 50 minutes and 12 seconds.

Doiron has known about joggling since he was a young track and field athlete, and learned how to juggle in his teenage years, when he spent a summer at home, recovering from an injury.

A white man doing a juggling trick with three balls.
Doiron cannot only joggle but can also do some juggling tricks. (Rhythm Rathi/CBC)

Doiron said he grew up reading about different Guinness records. and it has always felt "so magical" to think about having one of his own.

"There's a lot of novelty running records," he said, pointing to the Guinness record for the fastest marathon while wearing a Santa Claus costume, a record that could fall quickly.

"If you get that record, as soon as someone faster than you decides to run with a Santa Claus costume, you'd lose your record," he said.

A white man holding a juggling ball, with five other balls on the ground.
Doiron said the yellow and red balls are easier to spot while juggling and cost about $20 each. He has about 12 juggling balls. (Rhythm Rathi/CBC)

"But with the joggling, it can just be like, 'There are faster marathoners than me out there, but maybe they're not as co-ordinated as I am.'" 

Doiron said he has asked to run in the Fredericton marathon this May while juggling, and he's waiting to hear the decision. 

If the marathon says no, Doiron said he'll try for the Halifax marathon or the Ottawa marathon as backup plans. 

Juggling a lot 

Doiron has two kids and a full-time job, but still manages to train every day with specialized workouts. 

He runs during his lunch break and juggles for about six laps a day, combined with other workouts. 

"I am treating it as seriously as any marathon training program I've ever done," he said, calling running a part of his lifestyle.

Doiron said he has connected with some jugglers and jogglers around the world and has received comments about the run taking a toll on their wrists.

Credits his genes

He said he is a bit worried about how his wrists will react to "absorbing the weight from three hours of catching balls."

But "so far, so good," he said.

Doiron said his body is seasoned enough to endure the stress during training sessions. He said he goes for 10-kilometre runs and juggles for 50 minutes and doesn't feel sore.

He also gives credit to his father's genetics, which Doiron said contributed to his having a more muscular physique than an average marathoner.

 "I think it's pretty reasonable to expect that I could break the record."

Six striped juggling balls, three are red and yellow and the other three are white and silver.
Doiron says he will be using three juggling balls weighing about 120 grams each, for his world record attempt. (Rhythm Rathi/CBC)

Sometimes the weather isn't in his favour, however. Doiron said it is easy to run but hard to juggle when it is too cold, windy or rainy.

The process to document the record is through video. Doiron will need to have two witnesses on his team, one who will confirm that he began and finished the race in time and also crossed different points along the route.

The second witness will have to follow him throughout his run on a bike. The whole run has to be captured on video, which will later be sent to a Guinness team for authentication.

"I am going to run with a GoPro strapped to my chest that'll show the … two-hours-and-50-minute video that I submit with my document proving that I broke the record, Doiron said.

During the run, Doiron is allowed to drop the balls but will have to pick up and start running from the spot where he dropped them, losing the time taken to do so.

Balls can't be custom-made

The balls have to be submitted to Guinness World Records, which will make sure they are commercially available and not custom-tailored, said Doiron.

When asked about the safety of other runners, Doiron said the balls are too small to trip on, and if they fall, he will have enough time to pick them up, as the roads are wide and the runners are well spaced, he said.

Doiron said his friend Michael Bergeron attempted to break a joggling record at the Toronto Marathon last fall and had no safety issues. At that same event, another man broke the record for fastest marathon run while dribbling a basketball.

"He had no problems either," Doiron said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rhythm Rathi

Reporter, CBC New Brunswick

Rhythm Rathi is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick in Moncton. He was born and raised in India and attended journalism school in Ontario. Send him your story tips at rhythm.rathi@cbc.ca

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