I'm Michal "The Joggler" Kapral of Toronto, Canada, and I run marathons while "joggling," which is an actual sport that combines jogging and juggling. I hold the Guinness World Record of 2:50:12 for the fastest marathon while juggling three objects. And yes, I also chewed gum every step of the way. Life is a joggling act.
The Maldives joggling extravaganza blew away all my expectations. I'll write about it soon. Until then, here's a news release about the two new joggling world records I set during the trip.
Canadian Smashes Two Joggling World Records in Maldives
Michal “The Joggler” Kapral of
Toronto runs first-ever 10km while juggling 4 objects, then destroys Guinness
World Record for most consecutive stairs climbed while juggling 3 objects
MALÉ, MALDIVES – Oct. 16, 2019 – Canadian Guinness
World Record holder Michal “The Joggler” Kapral of Toronto became the first
person to run a road race while simultaneously juggling 4 balls, setting a new world record (and Guinness World Record,
pending ratification) of 55 minutes, 48 seconds at the RunInAddu race on Oct. 5
in Addu, Maldives, the country’s southernmost atoll, along a scenic course
bordered by white sand beaches and azure Indian Ocean waters.
Crossing the finish for the 4-ball joggling world record of 55:48.
“It was a dream destination race along a
beautiful paved road and a fast, flat course,” says Kapral. “I couldn’t think
of a better place to break a new joggling record. The 4-ball joggling pattern
took laser-focus to maintain at sub-1-hour 10K pace. It was almost 20 minutes
slower than my 3-ball joggling 10K Guinness World Record of 36:27, and took
every ounce of my endurance and concentration. I was near exhaustion at about
8km, but pushed on – and wow, was I glad to see all the smiling faces at the
finish line. It was totally worth the effort.”
Six days later, Kapral broke another world record in the
Maldives capital of Malé, this time a Guinness World Record for most
consecutive stairs climbed while juggling 3 objects. The event took place on
the central staircase in Sultan Park, the lush garden next to the 16th-century
former palace of the sultan of Maldives. Kapral ran up and down 2,544 stairs
(the single flight was 16 stairs) while juggling 3 beanbags without a drop,
climbing past the height of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and
nearly 1.5 times the number of stairs up the CN Tower in Toronto. Guinness
World Records rules required Kapral to run while juggling both up and down the
stairs without stopping or dropping a ball, and only the “up” counted toward the record.
Kapral climbed more than four times higher
than the previous world record of 600 stairs. He dropped a ball while turning
around at the top of the staircase after running and juggling up 159 flights
and after nearly 45 minutes. It’s interesting to note that the Maldives is the
world’s lowest country at an average elevation of about 1.5 metres. Maldives
tourism minister Ali Waheed attended the stair climb record event, along with
other tourism representatives.
Guinness World Record for consecutive stairs climbed while juggling
Kapral setthe two world records in the ]sport of joggling –
jogging while juggling – as part of a new campaign initiativeby the Maldives Tourism Board to attract running and
sports tourists to the country. Both events were organized by Total Fitness
Group, and the RunInAddu also featured a marathon, half-marathon, 5K, and a
kids’ 2km run, which Kapral led along with wife Dianne and daughters Annika and
Lauryn. The events were sponsored by Heritance Aarah Maldives, Adaaran Maldives, Meeru Island Resort and Kaimoo
Maldives. Both record attempts were broadcast live nationally on Maldivian
With the emergence of guesthouses and a wider
range of travel options, and several marathons and other running races taking place
across the country, as well as other sports events, Maldives hopes Kapral’s records will raise
awareness for the Maldives as an emerging running and sports destination for
travellers from Canada and the U.S. who are looking for new experiences on
their journeys. Just over 9,500 tourists from Canada visited Maldives in 2018,
a 6% increase over the previous year, and nearly 43,000 tourists from the U.S.
visited the country in 2018, up 9.5% from 2017.
Kapral currently holds the Guinness World
Record for the fastest marathon while juggling 3 objects in 2 hours, 50 minutes
and 12 seconds, along with several other joggling records. He is planning one
more Guinness World Record attempt this year, this time for fastest
half-marathon skipping without a rope, at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront
Marathon on Oct. 20. It will be his first non-joggling record since he broke
the record for fastest marathon pushing a baby in a stroller with daughter
Annika at the Toronto Waterfront event in 2004. For that record, Kapral is
raising funds in the charity challenge for Giant Steps Toronto for kids with
Michal Kapral training in Toronto for the joggling stair-climb world record (Photo: Lauryn Kapral)
Life is full of ups and downs, but only the ups will count towards my latest Guinness World Record attempt for most consecutive stairs climbed while juggling without a drop. On Oct. 11, 2019, in Malé, Maldives, I'll be rising to the challenge in the world's flattest country, running and juggling up the equivalent number of steps of the world's tallest tower. The record attempt will take place six days after my Oct. 5 attempt to become the first person to race a 10K while joggling five balls.
Here's a news release:
Juggling Marathon Runner Steps It Up with New Guinness World Record
Attempt for Juggling Stair Climb in Maldives, the World’s Flattest Country
TORONTO – September 13, 2019 – Michal “The Joggler” Kapral of Toronto, Canada, will be
juggling three beanbags one toss and step at a time in Malé, Maldives, on October 11, 2019, as he attempts to run to a Guinness
World Record for most consecutive stairs climbed while juggling three objects without a drop.
excited to smash this Guinness World Record with the world’s most stunning
vacation destination as a backdrop,” says Kapral. “Maldives bills itself as
‘the sunny side of life’ and that’s exactly how I view running while juggling.
It makes people smile and laugh. I’m looking forward to putting on a good show,
running and juggling to new heights in the flattest country on Earth.”
will be Kapral’s first attempt at a juggling stair-climbing record. The
Guinness World Records rules state that he must juggle continuously throughout
the attempt – and a dropped ball means the record attempt is over. He can
juggle while running up and down a flight of stairs, but only the “up” stairs
count towards the record.
Malé, Maldives (Photo: Timo Newton-Syms)
will climb up and down a short flight of 10-20 outdoor stairs in the Maldivian capital city of Malé. He plans to reach at least 1,776 stairs, the equivalent of running up
and down the staircase of the CN Tower in his hometown of Toronto, which until
recently was the world’s tallest freestanding structure. If he surpasses the CNTower height, Kapral will keep climbing and juggling his way past 2,909 steps,
the number of stairs to the top level of the 828-meter Burj Khalifa skyscraper
in Dubai, the world’s tallest building.
is no current record listed but Guinness World Records has set a minimum of 600
stairs to achieve the new record. In 2012, American Pete Moyer reportedly
climbed 530 stairs at a hotel while juggling three beanbags. “I trained for
this, but it hardly helped,” Moyer said after the climb. “It's extremely hard
to breathe. If you want a good example, have someone strangle you while you
walk your dog.” Kapral hopes to have a much more enjoyable experience juggling
up the outdoor staircase in the fresh air of the azure paradise of Maldives.
Maldives: The destination paradise of sun, sand, coral reefs, aquamarine shores – and soon – joggling! The family and I will be visiting the Maldives in October, where I'll attempt to become the first person to race a 10K while juggling five balls every step of the way for a new Guinness World Record. Read all about it:
Addu, Maldives aerial view (Photo: Ibrahim Asad)
Multitasking in the Maldives! Kapral to Run 10K While Juggling
5 Balls for a New ‘Joggling’ Guinness World Record
TORONTO – JUNE 24,
2019 – Putting the “world” in Guinness World Records, Michal “The Joggler”
Kapral of Toronto, Canada is taking his beanbags and running shoes to the Indian
Ocean destination of the Maldives in a quest for a new world record in the sport
of joggling – running while juggling.
On October 5, 2019, Kapral, 47, will attempt to become the
first person to run 10km while simultaneously juggling five balls every step of
the way. The record attempt will take place at the Coca-Cola runinaddu
event in Addu, the southernmost atoll of the world’s flattest country.
“Joggling sparks joy in people everywhere I go, so I can’t
wait to showcase this sport in the Maldives for some record-breaking history
almost halfway around the world from my hometown,” Kapral says.
Kapral holds the world record of 2 hours 50 minutes and 12
seconds for the fastest marathon joggling three objects, set at the Toronto
Waterfront Marathon in 2007. He also set the unofficial record of 2:55:25 for fastest
joggling marathon without dropping a ball, at the 2016 Chicago Marathon.
There is no current record for the 10km distance juggling
five objects, but Kapral’s goal is to break one hour. The five-ball 5K world
record is 27:06, set by Matt Feldman of the U.S. in 2011. Guinness World Records
rules say jogglers must be juggling the cascade pattern every step of the way
forward, and in the event of a drop, must return behind the drop point before
“When you’re running while juggling five balls, every mile
feels like a marathon,” Kapral says. “The five-ball 10K joggling race is going
to take some next-level hand-eye-arm-leg coordination, endurance and focus.”
Kapral’s Guinness World Record attempt is being supported by
the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (@VisitMaldives) and the race
sponsor, Total Fitness Group. Kapral’s juggling ball sponsor, Sport Juggling Company, is creating
custom multicoloured beanbags for the occasion.
Despite being a nation of nearly 1,200 islands and 26
atolls, the Maldives has a thriving road racing and running tourism scene, with
about a dozen races per year across the country, including several marathons.
It's been a while. I've been busy joggling life. But fear not, joggling enthusiasts, because the sport continues to flourish, even if I haven't documented here. Jogglers have set several world records since my last update.
I took some time off because of an Achilles injury and some bad eczema flare-ups, but I'm back to training for the 5-ball joggling 10K world record. Here's a compilation of my 5-ball joggling training and racing (drops edited out):
I'm just going to throw this out there: Sometimes when you set ridiculously challenging goals for yourself, you will fail. That's exactly what happened to me at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last Sunday. My goal was to set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon while joggling five objects.
There was no current record, but the Guinness records-keepers decided through some calculus that 4 hours 40 minutes was the time to beat. This doesn't sound very quick, but here's the thing: running while simultaneously juggling five balls is exceedingly difficult. To a non-joggler, I might put it like this: joggling a marathon with three balls is like running a regular marathon, while joggling a marathon with five balls is like running a marathon hopping on your left foot only for the entire 42.2km. It's exponentially harder the further the distance.
422 drops to glory?
Leading up the race, my training had gone quite well. I practiced running 100m, 200m intervals joggling five balls, and worked my way up to being able to do some 400m joggles around the U of T Varsity track without dropping. But my average drop rate was still around every 100m, which is 422 drops for the marathon. I still thought it might be manageable, but knew based on timing my 100m joggles that a 4:40 marathon would be almost impossible.
Lucky for me, I had a chance do some training with five-ball joggling record-holder Matt Feldman, who is incredibly quick at the 400m, mile and 5K.
I also had lunch with five-ball joggling legend Barry Goldmeier, who regularly runs large portions of marathons while juggling five beanbags.
The week before the race, CTV News and CP24 ran stories about the record attempt.
I still can't stop laughing at the fact that I secured a sponsorship from the best cinnamon bun shop in Toronto. Thank you, Rosen's Cinnamon Buns for supporting my joggling dreams. A huge thank-you as well to Cheryl Sayers from Sport Juggling Company for the amazing Sportball beanbags.
Zach arrived from D.C. on Friday and we toured Toronto riding BikeShare bikes on Saturday, which was probably not the best thing to do the day before trying to set a world record. I hadn't seen Zach in 10 years, when we raced each other at the 2007 Salt Lake City Marathon. I discovered that he's still one of the greatest people you could ever meet.
Zach has worked as a circus performer, and is an expert juggler. The night before the marathon, we went out to practice some joggling to see how close he should follow during the race. Zach tried five-ball joggling and actually had some trouble with it. I realized that all my training had actually worked. I had developed a new skill (perhaps not the most useful skill in the world, but still...).
Race day. My nerves were joggling big-time, since I still didn't know if this record was even possible. It was very difficult to tell during my training how the race would play out, since I trained on a track, or on an empty stretch of road in my neighbourhood. Zach and I lined up in the slowest corral for marathon finish times of 4:30 and slower. I decided to start near the front of this group, thinking if I got a good clean start, I could stay up front in the clear and avoid the crowds. But just before the horn sounded for our corral's start, a bunch of runners shimmied in front of me and Zach, and I suddenly found myself squished in a large crowd.
I was immediately in a panic, trying to maintain the high tosses of the five-ball juggling pattern. I dropped several times right near the beginning, and scrambled to regroup right away so I didn't interfere with the runners behind me. This caused me to drop even more. I was exhausted almost right from the gun, and it just got worse from there. On the bright side, the spectators were loving it, and Zach shouted encouraging words to pull me out of my panicked state. It was still crowded up until about 3km, but by the time I had slowed enough to have some space to juggle, my energy was sapped. I felt like I had already run a marathon. I should've started at the very back and not worried about trying to run 4:40, but it was too late.
Give me a hand
My hand injury turned out to be a muscle tear.
In my frenzy, I somehow managed to injure my left hand, which began to hurt more and more with each toss. I hit 5K in 46 minutes, already 13 minutes behind schedule. Zach told me, based on my stride length and toss rate, that I would be making 130,000 tosses and catches for the marathon. It's going to be a long day, I thought. The next 5K took me 56 minutes. My hand was now in serious trouble, shooting pain up my forearm with each toss and catch. By the 13K turnaround on Lake Shore, I had entered survival mode. "We're going to finish this," Zach said. "My flight doesn't leave until tomorrow."
Close to my break point at about 15K, the race film crew showed up. Wonderful, I thought. Everyone can watch me fall apart. And they did. As I inched forward a few steps at a time, the camera crew remained. I thought about all the people who had donated to SickKids Foundation, I thought about the sick kids, and I thought about how lucky I was to be out there doing this.
The commentary on the race video is priceless. Canadian Running editor-in-chief Michael Doyle says it looks like a slow form of torture, and he was right!
Things were not going well at all.
I thought I could just will myself through the rest of the race, even if it took 15 or 20 hours. But just before the 17K marker, I knew my hand was too damaged to go on. I got the five-ball pattern going, joggled to the 17K sign, caught the balls, turned to Zach behind me, and declared, "Joggler out." At this point, we were in last place in the entire race of 18,000 people, followed by a line of police cars.
Zach said we should continue to run the rest of the marathon without juggling, and I agreed, though I secretly planned to bail at the half. A couple of kilometres later, we ran past three mounted police officers. Zach ran over to them and, employing his deft social skills from a decade of living and working in Afghanistan, he convinced them to gallop behind me on a final joggle. It was quite the scene. I ended up joggling at a good clip, as the clack of the hooves sounded altogether too close behind me.
We continued on. Near the halfway point, we ran into my parents, my sister, Moira, and my niece, Kate. My mom reminded us that the course had a time limit of 6 hours. "A sub-2 half? We can do that!" Zach said, cheerfully. I put on my best smiley face, and off we went for another half marathon. We shared some good laughs with the walkers, and were ever grateful for the volunteers who remained at the scene to offer Gatorade and water to last runners and walkers. My entire body felt like it was falling apart, but somehow I found the strength to keep running. Zach hadn't run a marathon since our 2007 joggling duel in Salt Lake, and recently had back surgery, so he wasn't doing so well himself. But we chatted and laughed and joked our way through the rest of it.
I juggled for the last few metres across the finish line. Two of my beanbags hit the timing clock above the finish and thumped to the ground on the finish line. Seemed appropriate that these extra two balls fell at the end.
Joggling five balls every step of the way over long distances is very hard. Ludicrous, really. I knew this challenge had a good chance of failure. But I emerged from the experience with an odd sense of excitement. I tried. I gave it everything. I juggled to the last catch possible.
I had the privilege of running with Zach Warren for 5 hours and 40 minutes, a great way to catch up with a friend after 10 years. I got to see my wife Dianne and kids, Annika and Lauryn at the end. Lots of people donated to SickKids, raising nearly $2,000. Zach and I posted a negative split of 1 hour 56 minutes and 31 seconds, possibly the largest negative split ever in a marathon. I joggled five balls of the race for 17K, which is likely the furthest anyone has gone for every step, returning behind the drop point after each drop. Zach and I had a chance to experience what it's like to be in last place in an IAAF Gold Label marathon. We met so many amazing people along the route. I got to joggle with a mounted police escort.
As joggler Bob Evans said to me on Facebook after the race, "There is no story without conflict. Your 5-ball marathon quest just got a lot more compelling. Keep going!" In this case, I battled the record, and the record won. This was captured perfectly in this screenshot of race video of me looking like a dejected gorilla.
High Five! Champion
Juggling Runner Michal Kapral to Attempt 5-Ball ‘Joggling’ Marathon Guinness
World Record in Toronto
Kapral to race
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon juggling 5 beanbags – and chewing gum
– to raise funds for SickKids Foundation
TORONTO – Ten years after smashing the current Guinness World Record
for fastest marathon while juggling three objects in 2 hours 50 minutes,
Toronto’s Michal “The Joggler” Kapral plans to run and juggle his way to a new
record, this time keeping five beanbags in the air every
step of the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 22.
45, a writer at Health Quality Ontario in Toronto, has completed eight three-ball
marathons while “joggling” – the sport that combines running (or jogging) and
juggling – including the 2016 Chicago Marathon, which he finished without
dropping a ball once in 2 hours 55 minutes.
Michal Kapral works on his five-ball joggling at the Toronto Beach
be Kapral’s first attempt at a five-ball joggling marathon, and the first time
anyone has officially tried to set the Guinness World Record for running an entire 42.2km race while juggling five
balls. The only other reported complete five-ball joggling marathon was by the late Billy
Gillen of Brooklyn, N.Y., who was rumoured to have joggled the entire 1988 New York City
Marathon in 7 hours 7 minutes. Barry Goldmeier of Rockville, Maryland has also joggled five beanbags during marathons, but doesn't juggle the entire way.
Records has set a time of 4 hours 40 minutes to establish an official record. An
adjudicator will be at the race to verify the record attempt on the spot. Kapral
will aim for the 4:40 mark, but has a secondary goal of surpassing Gillen's reported time of
by far the most difficult world record I’ve ever attempted,” says Kapral, who
also holds Guinness World Records for the fastest half-marathon (1:20:40) and 10K (36:27) while
juggling three objects, and previously held the record for fastest marathon
pushing a stroller. “Juggling five balls standing still is about 10 times
harder than three. Keeping that five-ball pattern flying in the air while
running a marathon is just completely nuts. It feels like you’re running two
marathons at once – one with your arms and one with your legs.”
expects to stop or drop several hundred times during the marathon, and has
enlisted American joggling rival and friend Zach Warren to run behind him (without
juggling) to act as a spotter, and to ensure the safety of the other runners. Despite
having to look up at an angle, Kapral is able to see ahead of him while running
and juggling with five beanbags. Guinness World Records rules stipulate that if
Kapral drops a ball, he must return behind the drop point before restarting. He
can stop at aid stations to drink or eat, but must be juggling every step of the way forward.
As he did
while setting the 2007 world record while joggling three balls, Kapral will
chew gum during the entire five-ball joggling marathon. “People always ask me, ‘Can
you also chew gum while you do that?’” Kapral says. “The answer is yes! I’ll be chewing Stride gum
the whole way!”
world first, Kapral has likely become the first runner to secure an official
cinnamon bun sponsor. Rosen’s
Cinnamon Buns, founded by cookbook author Amy Rosen, has endorsed the marathon
delectable treats fuelled some of my long training runs,” says Kapral, “so having
Rosen’s support for this record attempt is just the icing on the bun.”