Friday, 3 July 2015

My First Podcast Interview: Connect Run Club

I did my first-ever podcast recently with the amazing team at Connect Run Club. Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Mean Tweets: Fastest Marathon Juggler Edition

When you're billed as the world's "fastest marathon juggler" in a U.S. national network TV campaign, people say bad things about you on Twitter. Here's a collection of the best ones (there were many many more). I left out the nice tweets because they weren't as funny (sorry, nice people).

I need to make a motivational poster out of this one: "How about you try juggling not being a complete loser."

P.S. Follow me @mkapral.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Behind the Scenes at the Fairfield Inn and Suites #StayAmazing Shoot

So I was just going about my business trying to be the best running juggler person I could be, and next thing I knew I was in California to shoot a national TV commercial for Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott. The campaign, with the tagline "Stay Amazing," brought together three of us with exceptional (and exceptionally offbeat) skills: me as The Joggler, "Mighty" Kacy Catanzaro, the amazing American Ninja Warrior, and Rocky Byun, the world's most well-balanced balancing artist, from Korea.

Here's the teaser for my commercial:


And Rocky's:

Somehow, director Matt Lenski and the crew managed to shoot all three commercials concurrently. The three of us "talent" had some overlap time to try to learn each others' skills.

I tried to joggle up the warped wall, which was much harder than it looked.

This is how Kacy does it. Looks easy, but she's not even juggling.

The last day of filming, we shot my opening scene at a track near L.A. For this segment, I had to joggle at high speed past other runners in a mock race. Matt wanted me to run as fast as possible, so I went out at my 800m race race, which is about a 4-minute-per-mile pace. After each take of about 150m or so of sprinting, I jogged (without joggling) back to the start and immediately jumped into the next take. I'm accustomed to doing speedwork intervals at track practice, but this time I had no idea how many takes it would take! It took a lot of takes. Oh, and did I mention that it was 38 C (100 F) and sunny?

I survived the shoot, thanks in part to a restful sleep the night before in a beautiful room at, wait for it, Fairfield Inn and Suites!

And the results?


The three amigos: me, Kacy Catanzaro and Rocky Byun

With Kevin and Lee, the creative geniuses behind the campaign.

Me and director Matt Lenski, at the end of a long day.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Joggling, the Sport for 'Competitive Goofballs'

Huffington Post writer Kevin Bell did a bang-up job digging into the history of joggling in his article, The Invention of Joggling, the Goofiest Sport in History. I'm happy to see joggling pioneer Bill Giduz get the credit he deserves for essentially bringing the sport into existence and for coining the term "joggling" in 1975. Giduz's "Joggler's Jottings" columns are definitely worth a read, especially this one on joggling sprint legend Owen Morse, of Wikipedia photo fame.

The very talented and inspiring Dana Guglielmo, who holds the women's 5K joggling world record despite suffering from inflammatory arthritis, sums up our pursuit perfectly in describing us as "competitive goofballs."

Bill Giduz winning the 100m joggling event at the IJA Festival in Atlanta. Photo: Bill Giduz

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.