Friday, 5 December 2014

Joggling in Slow Motion

Here is some slow-motion joggling from my half-marathon record, set to opera music. After I finished laughing at this, I noticed just how perfectly each toss must be timed to match the running stride.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Man Versus Ball: One Ordinary Guy and His Extraordinary Sports Adventures,’ by Jon Hart

At one point in Man Versus Ball, Jon Hart’s editor, frustrated by the author’s shenanigans, calls him “the George Costanza of journalism.” But really, he is the opposite of the bumbling Seinfeld character (save for being really funny). Rather than try to cut corners and take the lazy way out, Hart goes out of his way – often way way out of his way – to make his life as difficult as possible by diving head-first into whatever whacked-out sports-associated role he can find. 

I was surprised at how much I learned from Hart’s book. He introduces us to the cutthroat and surprisingly fascinating world of soda and hot dog vending at Yankee Stadium, takes us behind the scenes of pro tennis after qualifying to become a “ball person” at the U.S. Open, he shows us how amateur football players hammer their bodies to hell for no pay and rarely any glory, and he joins the National In-line Basketball League (which, yes, is basketball played on inline skates), a sport I didn't even know existed.

Among his many adventures, Hart essentially becomes a series of different real-life characters. He races up the Empire State Building as a stair climber, puts in a painful stint as a professional wrestler nicknamed Johnny Love, a Venice Beach party guy. After training with the top mascot guru in the business, Hart lands a role as a hockey mascot, dressed in a neon pink gorilla suit.

As “The Joggler,” I know all about running along the fringes of so-called real sports. After all, I did star in an award-winning documentary with the tagline, “Fame. Fortune. Usually neither.” The thing is, it’s not about all of that. What I've learned in my time as a marathon joggler is that it’s about doing the best you can, whether you’re running a marathon while juggling, dunking basketballs on inline skates or jumping around dressed as a pink gorilla. I was slightly disappointed that the book didn’t include any joggling, but will wait patiently for Hart’s sequel, Man Versus Juggling Balls.

Man Versus Ball is a raucous rollick along the frayed fringes of the sports world, where I think Hart finds more real-ness than you typically encounter in the major professional sports. “It’s not about superstars or championship teams,” Hart writes, but along the way, he does find plenty of superstars in their own way – all unheralded misfits, in one way or another, himself included. 

Find Man Versus Ball on Amazon HERE.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

"Marathon Juggler? That's a Thing?"

Since the launch of the Fairfleld Inn and Suites #StayAmazing TV commercial, I keep reading on Twitter: "Marathon juggler? That's a thing?" That was actually my reaction in 2005. I had set the Guinness record for the "fastest marathon whilst juggling three objects" as a charity stunt, but quickly discovered that there was a worldwide community of competitive and recreational jogglers out there, who had being doing this for decades. 'This is really a thing?' I thought to myself at the time.

Fast-forward almost 10 years and here I am setting the new half-marathon joggling Guinness World Record at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. If you look down the list of joggling records, there are no easy ones, and the 1:20:40 half-marathon was no exception. A huge thank-you to everyone who donated to People to People Canada. Our team raised nearly $40,000 for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia.

The race's live YouTube coverage picked me up at about the 16km mark and did a full colour commentary of the joggling record attempt as if it were a real sport. A thing! It cracks me up to no end hearing Tim Hutchings, probably the best running commentator in the business, narrating my joggling, along with 2:28 marathoner Krista DuChene and Canadian Running editor-in-chief Michael Doyle.

It actually hurts my brain just to watch that footage again, because it's really quite astonishingly painful to run at a 3:50/km (6:09/mile) pace while trying to keep that cascade spinning around and not dropping a ball. So yeah, I can vouch for marathon juggling (and half-marathon, 10km, etc.) being a thing. It's absurd, funny and painful, but most definitely a thing.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Joggling in TV Commercial for Fairfield Inn and Suites

More on this soon, but I appeared in my first TV commercial. It's for Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott and it's amazing – as in, #StayAmazing amazing.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Half-Marathon Joggling World Record, By the Numbers

Michal Kapral half-marathon joggling guiness world record

It's not too late to donate! Help me reach my goal to raise $1,000 through People to People Canada for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. SECURE DONATION LINK HERE.

It takes a lot of focus to run a half-marathon as fast as you can while simultaneously juggling three beanbags. I tried to capture the experience with the some numbers.


Approximate number of tosses

Approximate number of catches

Times I dropped a ball

Times I swore very loudly after dropping the ball

Times I heard someone shout "Show-off!"

Number of kilometres per week I ran to train for the record

Number of those kilometres per week I joggled

Number of half-marathons I've completed while juggling

Official Guinness World Record time

Pace per kilometre

Pace per mile

Equivalent treadmill speed

My previous best half-marathon joggling time, set in Montreal in 2009

Approximate number of times I said to myself "Don't stop, don't drop" during the race

Approximate number of times I actually said the previous phrase out loud

Number of times I questioned my sanity during the race

Number of years since I set my first Guinness World Record for fastest marathon pushing a baby in a stroller

Number of Guinness World Records I've set at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon races

Number of dollars People to People Canada is hoping to raise in this event to help AIDS orphans in Ethiopia: DONATION LINK.

Monday, 20 October 2014

1:20:40 World Reocrd

1:20:40!!! New Guinness World Record for the fastest half-marathon while juggling three objects.

Please donate to my fundraising campaign for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia with the fantastic charity, People to People Canada. DONATE HERE.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Joggling in the Toronto Star and Meeting Yifter the Shifter

First off, please consider donating (any small amount will help) to my fundraising campaign for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. P2P Canada is doing inspiring work, and your money will go a long way toward helping these kids in need. SECURE DONATION LINK HERE. Thanks to everyone who has donated so far.

Toronto Star reporter Katrina Clarke did a great job with this story on my joggling Guinness World Record attempt for the half-marathon at tomorrow's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Another version of the piece also appeared in Metro. Video journalist Chris So also put together this nifty clip:

The weather looks pretty good for tomorrow's race, but maybe a little cold and windy for joggling. The overnight low is just 2 C. I really don't want to wear gloves as they cramp my style and make it quite a bit more difficult to joggle. I think I'll just tough it out barehanded and hope my fingers warm up during the run.

A legend and a clown. Miruts Yifter meets The Joggler.
Yesterday, I did a fun video segment about my record attempt and fundraising for the People to People Canada charity for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. It's going to air during the live YouTube broadcast of the race, and they plan to film me joggling live sometime around the 16K or 17K mark. I said I'd try not to drop a ball at that point.

The cool part was that I got to meet Ethiopian running legend Miruts Yifter "The Shifter," who is leading the 5K event for P2P. If you want to know why he's called "The Shifter," just watch this clip of the last half-lap of his 5000m gold-medal run at the 1980 Moscow Olympics (where he also took home gold in the 10,000m, which you can watch here). I asked Yifter, who is now in his 70s, how he managed to accelerate so quickly and he said simply: "It's an Ethiopian thing." We had a good laugh at that.

Miruts Yifter "The Shifter" (right) shows some young Ethiopian marathoners one of his Olympic gold-medal races.
While we were waiting to shoot the video, Yifter also met a bunch of the young elite Ethiopian marathoners who are town for race, giving them hugs and words of advice that I couldn't understand. My friend Lynn Kobayashi, who is one of the organizers of the P2P charity and a fantastic runner herself, looked up one of Yifter's Olympic races on YouTube and gave her phone to Yifter so he could give a play-by-play for a few of the Ethiopian runners nearby. It was quite a moment to see the looks on their faces as they watched this race that took place before they were born.

Mizuno Wave Ekidens and Sport Juggling Co. racing beanbags
I will be way way way behind those Ethiopians, but hopefully keep a pace for a 1:23 half-marathon. I can't look at my watch while I'm joggling so I'll have to ask other runners for splits. I'll be running in my new Mizuno Wave Ekidens and my Sport Juggling Co. racing beanbags. The racing bags are smaller and lighter than my training bags, but a little harder to catch.

Finally, a big shout-out to my amazing wife, Dianne, who just ran the Chicago Marathon in an 8.5-minute personal-best time of 3:24:17, at the age of 41.

Dianne and the kids in Chicago.