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.


HALF-MARATHON JOGGLING BY THE NUMBERS

16.547
Approximate number of tosses

16,546
Approximate number of catches

1
Times I dropped a ball

1
Times I swore very loudly after dropping the ball

2
Times I heard someone shout "Show-off!"

80
Number of kilometres per week I ran to train for the record

45
Number of those kilometres per week I joggled

4
Number of half-marathons I've completed while juggling

1:20:40
Official Guinness World Record time


3:50
Pace per kilometre

6:09 
Pace per mile

9.8
Equivalent treadmill speed

1:23:49
My previous best half-marathon joggling time, set in Montreal in 2009

2,792
Approximate number of times I said to myself "Don't stop, don't drop" during the race

341
Approximate number of times I actually said the previous phrase out loud

4.3
Number of times I questioned my sanity during the race

10
Number of years since I set my first Guinness World Record for fastest marathon pushing a baby in a stroller


5
Number of Guinness World Records I've set at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon races

40,000
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.



Monday, 6 October 2014

NEWS RELEASE: Michal Kapral Joggling for AIDS Orphans at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Races

Great news! I found a fantastic charity to work with for my joggling half-marathon Guinness World Record attempt. Not only that, but I'm also on the same charity team as Olympic legend Miruts Yifter "The Shifter"!

Please make sure my frivolous joggling pursuits aren't for naught by making a donation to help AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. Click HERE to donate.

Here's the news release from P2P Canada.

NEWS RELEASE

Michal Kapral Joggling for AIDS Orphans at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Races

“The Joggler” returns to his favourite record-breaking race to go for the half-marathon Guinness World Record and raise funds for P2P charity

Toronto, ON, October 6, 2014 – On Sunday, October 19, one of the world’s most famous multitaskers, MICHAL “THE JOGGLER” KAPRAL of Toronto, is joining two-time Olympic gold-medallist MIRUTS YIFTER in raising funds for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia with P2P Canada at the 2014 ScotiabankToronto Waterfront Marathon races. Michal is going for a new Guinness WorldRecord for the fastest half-marathon while "joggling" three objects (yes, that's running while juggling).

“I can’t emphasize enough how tough it is to race a half-marathon while juggling every step of the way” Michal says. “I hope to get enough donations to the P2P charity so this absurdly difficult challenge will make the world a better place.”

Michal, 42, is the current Guinness World Record holder for the fastest joggling marathon of 2 hours 50 minutes and 12 seconds and also holds the 10K record of 36 minutes and 27 seconds. There is no current Guinness record for the joggling half-marathon, but Michal has joggled an uncertified 1 hour 23 minute half-marathon in the past and is hoping to beat that time. Guinness World Records will have an adjudicator at the race to validate the record on the spot.

While best known for his joggling feats, in 2002 Michal was the overall winner of the Toronto Marathon in a time of 2:30:40 after taking up competitive running just four years earlier. He also won the Burlington Marathon in 2003. A father of two girls, he set a Guinness record in 2004 for running a marathon while pushing a baby in a stroller, with his older daughter Annika as passenger. This summer, he ran a personal-best of 2:03.07 for 800 metres, a non-joggled time that ranks him in the top 20 in the world for his age group.

Michal has joggled seven marathons, three half-marathon and the famed Around the Bay 30K Road Race, as well as several other 5Ks and 10Ks. His battle for the marathon joggling record with American rival (and friend) Zach Warren garnered international media coverage that included appearances on CNN, ABC, CBS, NPR, an award-winning CBC-TV documentary with Evan Solomon and an award-winning feature film, Breaking and Entering. Michal will be starring in an upcoming North America-wide TV commercial and advertising campaign for Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, set to launch in late October.

Earlier this week, People to People Aid Organization Canada announced that the great Ethiopian Olympic hero Miruts Yifter joined the P2P Canada Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 5K Charity Challenge as honourary team captain. Yifter has wholeheartedly embraced the cause of children orphaned by AIDS in Ethiopia and Michal is pleased to joggle in his footsteps. Team P2P hopes to improve upon the $20,000 raised in 2013 to $40,000 this year. All of which provides life sustaining support to HIV/AIDS orphans in Ethiopia.

MIRUTS YIFTER made his Olympic debut at the Munich Olympics in 1972 where he won a bronze medal at the 10,000m finals. Between 1972 and 1980 Miruts handily won numerous international long-distance competitions, setting world records in many of them. His crowning achievement was winning gold in both the 5,000m and 10,000m finals in stunning fashion at the Moscow Olympics in 1980.

Miruts followed in the footsteps of the great Abebe Bikila – the first African athlete to win gold at the Olympics – and he himself inspired the many supremely successful Ethiopian long-distance athletes that came after him, like Haile GebrselassieKenenisa Bekele and many others. In his heyday, Miruts was known as YIFTER THE SHIFTER due to his unique and abrupt change in speed when executing his devastating kick to the finish.

We call upon the P2P community, supporters and fellow Torontonians to join us on October 19. Run or Walk with Team P2P and the great Miruts Yifter and Michal “The Joggler” Kapral to help raise the funds – which translate into hope – for the tens of thousands of HIV/AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. Join our team today!

To make a donation to Michal’s campaign, please visit: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?registrationID=2637636&langPref=en-CA

Friday, 26 September 2014

Going for the Joggler: Half-Marathon Guinness World Record Attempt at Toronto Waterfront

The half-marathon joggling Guinness World Record may not attract the same kind of press as my marathon record, but the difficulty level is still about an 11 out of 10.

I've run a 1:23:49 joggling half-marathon in Montreal and a 1:24:32 in Burlington, Ont., but never registered those times with Guinness World Records. On October 19 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, a representative from GWR will be there to certify records on the spot, so this time, it's going to be real.

In order to get an official record, Guinness World Records tells me I need to at least break 1:30, even though there is no current Guinness World Record in the books for the fastest half-marathon while joggling three objects. My marathon record is 2:50:12, so I'd like to run a sub-1:25.

Here's what makes the half-marathon joggling record a tough one: Maintaining a pace of about 4 minutes per kilometre (or under 6:30 per mile) is no small feat while trying to maintain a drop-free three-ball cascade. The pace eventually catches up to your brain and the last 5K or so are an absolute torture, maybe even more so than the marathon. With the half-marathon, you have almost no time to warm up and settle into a rhythm – it's just go go go.

I'm feeling good despite my advancing age (now in the masters category) and will go for the joggler and try to hit 1:22. My 1:24 in Burlington was in the winter, and I'm pretty sure the GoPro I had strapped to my head slowed me down. This time I'll be back at the favourite record-breaking marathon course and hopefully set a new Guinness record 10 years after my first one at the Toronto Waterfront race, when I pushed Annika in the stroller.