Record-setter Warren had a ball with this one
Juggling three yellow balls each step of the way, Harvard Divinity School student Zach Warren shattered his world record in the obscure sport of joggling -- running while juggling -- with a sub-three-hour finish in yesterday's Boston Marathon.
Eliciting cheers of ''Jog-gler, Jog-gler," some laughter, and his share of quizzical looks as he ran, Warren crossed the finish line in 2 hours 58 minutes and 23 seconds. His time was nearly nine minutes faster than the record he set in November at the Philadelphia Marathon of 3:07:05.
Warren bested his only competition, Canadian Michal Kapral, who held the record in marathon joggling before Warren. Kapral set a personal best of 3:06:45 while juggling three red balls.
The jogglers ran side by side until Warren pulled ahead around Mile 15. He literally never looked back.
''I wanted to turn my head and look, but I couldn't," said Warren. ''I had to just focus on the balls."
Jim Brusstar, a representative of the International Sport Juggling Federation, said the jogglers appeared to run clean races, meaning they took no more than two steps at any time without juggling. Still, his group plans on reviewing race video to verify the results.
Warren finished 911th overall, and Kapral finished 1,761st.
It was the first marathon on record in which two jogglers competed head to head, according to sport officials.
''I was happy with my time, but Zach just took off at the hills," said the 33-year-old Kapral. ''That guy is incredible."
''Having Michal there with me was such a blessing," said Warren, 24. ''It made it so much more fun for those first few miles. Toward the end I got lonely, to be honest."Warren and Kapral were running to raise money for children's charities (unicycle4kids.org and rememberliane.com). They plan on a rematch in September's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
The Inside Scoop: So, he did it. Kind of unbelievable, if you stop to think about it. And the best part is Zach smiled the entire way. Laura and I caught him around mile 17, where he was about 5 steps in front of Michal. Then we hopped the subway and literally raced Zach to the finish line. As we slogged on the Green Line, he ran 10 miles. We beat him by 3 minutes! He almost beat us while joggling! He cruised in faster than I couldn't get to the media viewing area, so Laura and I ran through the crowd to Copley to catch a glimpse of him along the sidelines. Good thing I saw those yellow balls in the air. Of course, we had no idea whether Kapral had finished. We hung around and he showed up about 9 minutes later. I met him right after the finish line (thanks to my media pass) and he jabbed away for like 20 minutes with me. This after running a marathon in almost 3 hours. Zach was in pretty good shape - not great, but pretty good - when he met us at the family waiting area, where Kapral's wife Dianne was hanging out. Zach had no one waiting for him -- no family or friends -- except for me. But at least they got to see him in the paper the next day. The sports editors apparently liked the first story because they gave "The Jugglers" a nice corner page. Again, very proud to get this kind of story in the paper. And this time, I got their charity websites, too. (Matthew J. Lee photo)