Saturday, October 18, 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.

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