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'Joggling' Adds Spice to Sport of Running

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'Joggling' Adds Spice to Sport of Running


'Joggling' Adds Spice to Sport of Running

'Joggling' Adds Spice to Sport of Running

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Michal Kapral and Zach Warren are elite marathoners. But they don't just run; they juggle, too. The official term is call "joggling." Host Debbie Elliott talks with the two competitors about technique, training and going head-to-head for the first time in Monday's Boston Marathon.


There are other runners who turn marathons into an even more extreme sport. How about juggling for almost the entire course? Michal Kapral and Zach Warren are the two favorite runners in the so-called joggler division in tomorrow's Boston Marathon. Yes, jogglers.

Michal Kapral set a world record as a joggler, and Zach Warren is the young whippersnapper who stole the title. They meet for the first time tomorrow. We have them on the line now. Welcome, gentlemen.

Unidentified Man #1: Thanks, hi.

Unidentified Man #2: Hey, Debbie, thanks.

ELLIOTT: So we'll start with you, Michal. Joggling?

Mr. MICHAL KAPRAL (Marathon Joggler): Yeah, joggling. I read about it way back when my sister and I used to flip through the Guinness Book of World Records, about 20 years ago. Somehow it stuck in my head, and here I am, the joggler.

ELLIOTT: Is there a special technique to this?

Mr. KAPRAL: For me it took awhile to learn because I'm not a natural juggler. I knew how to juggle, but I'd only done it for maybe three minutes, max, and pushing that to three hours for me was a big jump, and it took me about a month of practice at about four in the morning so no one would see me dropping balls all over the place.

ELLIOTT: So, Zach, what do you do if you drop a ball during the race?

Mr. ZACH WARREN (Marathon Joggler): Every time you drop the ball, you have to go back and pick it up, so obviously a key strategy is to not drop the ball.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. KAPRAL: Yes.

Mr. WARREN: Particularly if you're on Heartbreak Hill, which is a notorious hill in the Boston Marathon. You know, and the ball could go rolling backwards, and you'll be chasing it for a while.

ELLIOTT: Sounds a little complicated.

Mr. KAPRAL: Yeah, it's best just not to drop.

ELLIOTT: What other rules are there?

Mr. WARREN: The Guinness rules require that you can't take a step without joggling. You have to always be alternating left, right, left, right, from the left hand to the right hand, and you can't do two in one hand, for example, and you can't hold the balls and scratch your eyeball or brush something away. You have to always be joggling.

ELLIOTT: Now, I would think that would make it kind of hard to pay attention to where you were going. If here you are having to keep these balls in the air, you would be paying attention to up high and not what's in front of you.

Mr. WARREN: Yeah, you...

Mr. KAPRAL: Well, we're good multitaskers.

Mr. WARREN: Right. You have to have good peripheral vision, but the danger is when people say, hey, high-five. Or come up and, or wave at you or a pretty women winks or something.

Mr. KAPRAL: Yeah.

ELLIOTT: What do the other runners think of you? I would think if I was like a serious competitor and here I am trying to get to the finish line, and here's this crazy guy juggling, I might not be so happy about it.

Mr. WARREN: Well, you have to consider that how ridiculous it is that people run marathons in the first place.

(Soundbite of laughter)

You know, it is 26.2 miles. The first guy who ran a marathon died from it. And here we are, we do it deliberately. You know, thousands of people put on their sweatpants and their short-shorts and get together at a finish line to go from point A to point B. From a Martian's point of view, this is pretty absurd, so if you add juggling, it simply makes it more exercise and more absurd.

ELLIOTT: Now, seriously, I hear that Michal is the better runner, but that Zach is the better juggler, so what is more important when you're talking about this kind of a race, the running or the juggling?

Mr. KAPRAL: I guess we'll find out.

Mr. WARREN: Yeah, oooh, that's what you gotta watch for.

ELLIOTT: Now, you guys do not sound very competitive. I'm sorry.

Mr. WARREN: Ah, goodness. We'd be more cutthroat, but this is joggling.

Mr. KAPRAL: Just wait till they, the race starts, then the...

Mr. WARREN: Yeah, right, and then we'll, yeah.

Mr. KAPRAL: The knives come out.

Mr. WARREN: There's gonna be blood.

(Soundbite of laughter)

ELLIOTT: Michal Kapral and Zach Warren will be joggling in tomorrow's Boston Marathon. Good luck to you both, gentlemen.

Mr. WARREN: Thanks, Debbie.

Mr. KAPRAL: Thanks.

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