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100 Marathons in 100 Days: Jacky Hunt-Broersma is Knocking Out the Miles

We checked in on the ultrarunner midway through her attempt at a women's world record.

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If you’ve ever run a marathon, you know that the day after a marathon generally involves peeling yourself out of bed after a nice, long sleep, eating everything in sight, and proceeding through the day in some sort of fugue state. This is all totally reasonable. You have, after all, just run 26.2 miles.

If you’re 46-year-old Jacky Hunt-Broersma, however, you’d wake up and do it all again. And again. And again–for 100 days in a row.

That’s right, the ultrarunner is running 100 marathons in 100 days. If she is successful, she will hold the world record for the most consecutive marathons run by a woman (the current record is 95 in 95 days).

“I was inspired by the 95 marathons in 95 days record and I thought to myself, ‘I think I could do 100 marathons in 100 days,’” says Hunt-Broersma, who learned of the current record via social media. “I’m the type of person who will often commit to a challenge like this before I’ve really thought about it.”

Not only is Hunt-Broersma completing a marathon a day for 100 straight days, she is doing so with a below-the-knee prosthetic on her left leg.

“I lost that part of my leg due to cancer about five or six years ago,” said Hunt-Broersma. “I’m very lucky to have two running legs I can alternate between because there are some extra considerations I have to take during this challenge due to my prosthetic leg.”

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This multi-time ultramarathon finisher has never been afraid of a gargantuan amount of miles, though. Hunt-Broersma told us her “training” for this challenge was to run a 100-mile race about a month before starting her daily regimen of marathons.

What a Marathon a Day Looks Like

Although training for ultras is Hunt-Broersma’s day job, she is also a mom to a boy and a girl, ages nine and 11. She usually starts her day around 6 a.m., even after running a marathon the day prior.

“Some days I wake up and I’m like, ‘Yeah! Let’s do this!’ Other days, I wake up and slowly sip my coffee and I’m like, ‘Oh god, I have to get this done,’” says Hunt-Broersma.

Fortunately, she has a few hours to wake up and get the blood flowing. She always spends each morning eating breakfast with her kids–who are enthralled in their mom’s challenge–and getting them off to school.

Once Hunt-Broersma’s family is off to school and work, she prepares for her daily journey.

“I start to get ready to tackle the miles each day by thinking of it as my job,” she says. “I remind myself that for now, this is my job and what I need to get done each day. I think we all go through that ‘I need to tick the box’ type of mindset in both training and running.”

Hunt-Broersma then spends the next five-to-six hours checking off the miles, one by one. She runs some of her marathons on the treadmill and some on an asphalt loop near her house. A run is a run no matter where you do it, is her mindset.

By the time her sons and husband return from school and work, Hunt-Broersma is already one day closer to her world record. She spends time with her family, does the laundry, plops into bed at 8 p.m., and prepares to repeat it all again tomorrow.

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Using a Running Blade for High-Mileage Training

Because Hunt-Broersma uses a below-the-knee leg prosthetic, she has to take extra care to keep her body ready to repeat its daunting mileage day in and day out.

With two running blades at the ready, Hunt-Broersma is able to strategically prepare for the run. “Think of it as having two different pairs of shoes. You might switch between the pairs depending on fit and sizing. The same goes for my two running prosthetics.”

Hunt-Broersma noted that the increased mileage can cause her leg stump to become swollen, especially at the back of her knee, and that having one running blade whose socket is a bit wider helps her get through the miles and days where swelling is a bit more prevalent.

Just like for everyone though, Hunt-Broersma listens to her body as her number one way to stay healthy and ready to hit the pavement for 100 days in a row.

“I am so amazed at how adaptable the body is,” she says. “After the first few days of running a marathon a day, my body really started to adapt and ‘harden’ to the mileage. My appetite, my muscles, my sleep–they all adjusted to the distance. My best advice is to listen to your body during a challenge like this to prevent injury.”

How Jacky Hunt-Broersma Handles Nutrition and Recovery

A 2,620-mile journey requires a lot of fuel and a lot of attention to keep the body primed and ready to roll.

Hunt-Broersma knows the key to having a good day is to start with the breakfast of champions: For her that’s oatmeal with raisins and coffee.

She remains flexible throughout her run depending on what her body needs. Spring Energy is a brand Hunt-Broersma has used for years, noting that it always sits well in her gut thanks to the all-natural ingredient list.

“If I get really hungry throughout my marathon, I’ll throw in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” she says. “I’m a big fan of only consuming ‘real,’ natural foods because I find they tend to sit better in my digestive tract…but I do sometimes throw in peanut M&Ms or gummy worms.”

Recovery starts as soon as Hunt-Broersma hits the 26.2-mile mark. That includes consuming a serving of Tailwind Recovery Mix “like clockwork” after each run is completed to get in the protein and carbs necessary to begin the body’s internal recovery process. She continues to eat a steady stream of protein and carb intake throughout the evening.

She also takes care of everything external: icing her stump, foam rolling any tight muscles, and elevating her legs.

So far, she says, this is keeping her injury-free.

Running for a Cause

The first thing to know about running blades is that they are very expensive.

“Most running blades aren’t covered by insurance because they’re seen as a luxury item,” says Jillian Okimoto, a certified prosthetist orthotist (CPO) at the Hanger Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. “By the time the fit is complete, the blade is built and shipped to you, you can be looking at a price tag of more than $20,000.”

Such steep price tags can be a barrier to entry for many amputees looking to get into running. As part of Hunt-Broersma’s 100 marathons in 100 days challenge, she is fundraising for Amputee Blade Runners, an organization that helps lower the cost of running blades.

To date, Hunt-Broersma has completed 21 marathons with 79 more to go.

You can follow along as she pursues the world record of most consecutive marathons completed by a woman by following her social media, where she posts daily updates about her running journey.

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