104 marathons in 104 days: How blade runner Jacky Hunt-Broersma became a trail blazer

Photo Credit: Jacky Hunt-Broersma
Photo Credit: Jacky Hunt-Broersma /

By running 104 marathons in 104 days, blade runner Jacky Hunt-Broersma has become a trailblazer for the amputee community and an inspiration to runners everywhere.

Most people never dream of running a marathon once in their life. Jacky Hunt-Broersma has just run 104 marathons in 104 days, consecutively. Not only did she break a world record, but she did so as an amputee using a prosthetic blade.

Hunt-Broersma lost her leg over 20 years ago to a rare form of cancer. While not initially a runner, she gravitated to the sport later on in adulthood, helping to break the stigma surrounding her disability.

Why not?

“It is kind of one of those things I wanted to see if I could do it, to be honest.” said Hunt-Broersma to FanSided. “When I first became an amputee, you’re put in this box that, well, now you’re disabled, and it’s kind of breaking that stigma a little bit.”

“‘No, I can do hard things. This is me, this is what I can do.’ I’m hoping we’re inspiring more people with this. ‘If she can do this, I do whatever challenges I want to face.'”

In her 104 marathons, Hunt-Broersma ran 2,728 miles, which would get yours truly from Atlanta, Georgia to … Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The Empire State of the South to the capital of a Central American country. Absolutely incredible!

While she is still processing actually accomplishing what she set out to do, Hunt-Broersma was able to bring a ton of awareness to her GoFundMe. It was set up to raise money for Amputee Blade Runners to help those acquire blades who could not afford them otherwise. A prosthetic blade costs roughly $10,000 and is not covered by insurance. This is an appendage, not a guitar.

RXBAR caught on to what Hunt-Broersma was doing and made a massive financial contribution.

104 marathons in 104 days: Jacky Hunt-Broersma, a trailblazer for blade runners

“I started with a really small goal of like, I wanted to raise at least $10,000 because running blades are really expensive,” said Hunt-Broersma. “Health insurance sees that as a luxury in the States, which is so dumb. So I kind of wanted to give back a little bit, to see if we can help one athlete, that would be fantastic.”

“Just before I did No. 104, RXBAR sent me a message and said, ‘You know what? We want to get involved and we will match donations’, which I was just totally blown away by. I’m just so incredibly grateful because we’ve realized an incredible $193,000.”

Here is Hunt-Broersma reacting to the news RXBAR would match the GoFundMe contributions.

The really cool part in this is somebody will be able to enjoy all the great benefits that come from running. As a bit of a runner myself, nothing gives you the mental clarity after setting aside an hour or so to pound the pavement and enjoy an easy 5k. In a world that is getting increasingly chaotic by the nanosecond, Hunt-Broersma found the clarity I once did after discovering running.

“I did, I definitely did. I wish in my journey I had found running a little sooner,” said Hunt-Broersma. “It does give you that clarity and kind of gives you also a new love for your body, especially as an amputee. I feel incredible because I’m actually achieving things rather than just sitting on the sofa and not doing anything.”

To even think about running 104 marathons in 104 days, you have to treat this like a job. You have to be mentally prepared. Above all, you have to take care of yourself. This includes proper hydration, nutrition, rest, recovery and every little thing in between as well. As far as if this journey to 104 was more mentally or physically draining, it was clearly the former for Hunt-Broersma.

“It has been 100 percent more mental than physical. It is one of those weird things where going into this, I thought my body would let me down more than my mental side. It definitely switched. It was so much more mental. When I got to marathon No. 50 and I was like ‘You know what? It is okay to stop now. 50 is a good number … You need to be careful or you will injure yourself.'”

In the immediate aftermath since breaking the world record, Hunt-Broersma has been blown away by the outpouring of support and the constant emails of how many random people she has inspired on her quest to No. 104. The impact she has made in the first third of the year will not be fully appreciated right away. As with a marathon, this is not a sprint. It is a journey worth enjoying.

The next time someone says you can’t do something, think about her 104 marathons in 104 days.

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