What does it take to be a 5K Joggling Guinness World Record Holder?

Have you ever flipped through the pages of the Guinness World Record Book wondering how those records were achieved? I know that during my youth I found most of the records were pretty crazy. I never thought I would actually be attempting to try and break one. While browsing through the GWR website you can find some of the most bizarre records ever, some of them you even wonder why people have tried it. For me the 3 records that got my attention were the Joggling 3 balls for 5K, 10K and Half Marathon.

This is the recap of my first attempt at Joggling a 5K for the GRW.

Start of the Blue Nose 5K

5K

Back in April I decided to joggle the Blue Nose 5K located in Halifax, it is a well-attended event that I had already joggled twice before. At that time I had no intention of trying for a record, I knew the GWR was 16m51sec, but had no idea how my fitness would be for that race. The weeks went by, and I kept training, not really focusing on the bluenose race, mostly keeping a good Marathon base for Ottawa Marathon which I would run the following weekend. The morning of the 5K, I had a goal of breaking 17m30sec which would have been a 17sec PB on that distance. Lining up on the start line I saw my friend Dan, who I knew  was probably in sub 17min shape, the plan became to keep him in sight to have an awareness of where I stood for pace. Gun went off and the first two kilometres of the race felt great, I stayed side by side with Dan. At the 2 K mark, Dan surged with another runner,  but I knew I did not have the energy in me to go harder, knowing that the second half of the course is up hill. So I waited, and waited. At the 3.5km I had taken over one of the two runners, who surged at the beginning, and I could see Dan getting closer. All I could hear was the crowds cheers, all the comments about ‘’could a joggler win’’, ‘’is he really juggling?”. All the whispers and hand claps gave me a big boost of energy and I started my surge. When I got beside Dan I could not believe it, I was waiting for him to pull ahead of me, but it never came to pass. I kept running hard until the down hill portion of the finishing stretch, and ran as fast as I could motivated bu all the support and cheers of my friends at the finish line. I could not believe I finished in a time of 17m01sec. A beautiful 46sec PB in this distance, an overall win, and a surprise to be 10sec from a GWR. I had won a few joggling races before but never of this size.

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Reflecting, over the following week I started to wonder if that 5K Joggling GWR could actually be in reach? Luckily for me my club was putting on a track meet at Sainte Mary’s University, and I was going to get the opportunity to attempt the record. Anyone would think that if you were 10sec off on a hilly course you should definitely break the record if you run on a track which is flat. But the weather, and a ball drop got the best of me. After spending the afternoon under the sun helping the club timing the other heats,  I became quite exhausted and almost wanted to drop out of the race. Seeing CTV News present to cover the story made me stick to the original plan of racing. I lined up in the back row in my heat as Coach wanted me in the back so that in case of a ball drop I would not interfere with the other runners. I am used to joggling and don’t usually drop often, but I listened and went to the back. The race started, and I got boxed in from all sides,  a good 200m went by, and I saw my pace group taking quite the lead on where I stood. I see to the right my running partner Paul who was acting as a Pacer for another group during this heat, I quickly yelled at him to move over please. He rapidly looked at me, realized that I was in distress, and moved aside to let me pass. That’s were one of the mistakes happened, now I was 50m behind my pace group.  I decided to surge to catch up. Really!!! Who does a surge on the first lap? Well I did, and it took a lot of energy, I caught up to both Justin’s and stayed with them for 5 laps. At that point I was on pace for 16m30sec, way too fast considering the heat. Obviously, I slowed down but I then found myself joggling alone with no one nearby to push me. Half way through the race I dropped a ball, how much time does that take? to slow down, pick up the ball and get back the momentum? Every lap my wife Jennie kept telling me on pace or off pace. With 4 laps to go I heard +5sec that was the confirmation that I was 5sec behind the world record. The mental focus of the run was quite hard, and I felt like slowing down more and more. Three more laps went by and I was still now +10sec behind, the record was now out of reach. But you never know what can happen!  My friend Kyle, who recently moved from Toronto was also pacing this last heat and knew I needed help. He decided to leave his pace group, and sprinted to catch  up to me. It was then a battle to the finish line with 250m of full on sprint. With 15m to go I could see the clock reading 16m51sec, the disappointment was now real, a few more meters and I finished. The clock was reading 16m56sec, a big 5sec from the GWR. Reflecting back I started to blame myself for many factors, why did I stay under the sun for 3hours prior to the race? Why did I drop a ball? Why did I start in the second row? Why did I surge on the first lap? The race was now over, and my teammates were going out to celebrate the day, it was time to get over it, and move on, which I did with a nice cold beer at Garrison.

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Being 5sec from a GWR is amazing but also frustrating. You will always think back to what you could of changed to make it work. Now two months have gone by since this attempt, and I find myself a few days before attempting the 10K joggling GWR. Why the 10K and not try the 5K again? Quite simply, it is all just a mental strategy. I have  not joggled a 10K since 2016, when I did 38m02sec at the Prince Edward Island 10K. I know that I can joggle a much better time. The GWR stands at 36m27sec by Michal Kapral, the Joggling Champion that I have been following since this passion started over 4 years ago. Two weeks ago I joggled the Dartmouth Natal Day 6 Miler and my average pace was 3m45sec, obviously it was 8sec/km slower then what I need to break this record. But when I did this race, I was coming back from vacation, I raced easy, and I did a hard workout two days before. Now I am set, two weeks have gone by, I have the Race Director aware of this attempt in regards of Safety. I have my friend Jamie who will be following me with a Go Pro on his bike so we have video evidence if the record is broken. I will also have a Pacer for the first time dedicated to keep me on pace. Who better than 4 time Natal Day 6 Miler Champion Matt McNeil to help keep me on pace. With these two friends who also run with me and the Halifax Road Hammers, I know that we can do it. Now it’s just a matter of time, and for that clock to read below 36m27sec on Sunday 19th August 2018.

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