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Runner-Amputee Does Hard Things

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    Jacky Hunt-Broersma runs near her house in Gilbert, Arizona. This was her 80th day! (Edwin Broersma via AP)
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    Jacky Hunt-Broersma broke Kate Jayden’s unofficial record of 101 marathons in 101 days. Guinness lists the men’s record for consecutive daily marathons as 59, set by Italy’s Enzo Caporaso. (Edwin Broersma via AP)
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    BrickRunners honored Hunt-Broersma with a LEGO-style minifigure. (BrickRunners)
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    Jacky Hunt-Broersma finishes her 102nd marathon in 102 days at Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler, Arizona, on April 28, 2022. (AP/Ross D. Franklin)
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    Jacky Hunt-Broersma, left, stands next to her husband, Edwin Broersma, as she talks about her epic marathon goal. (AP/Ross D. Franklin)
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When Jacky Hunt-Broersma says, “I can do hard things,” she means it. The amputee-athlete recently completed an epic quest: 104 marathons in 104 days—running on a carbon-fiber prosthesis.

The 46-year-old South Africa native lost her left leg below the knee to a rare cancer. She gained global attention and a large social media following after embarking on her world record attempt on January 17.

Every day since, Hunt-Broersma covered the 26.2-mile marathon distance either on a loop course laid out near her home in Gilbert, Arizona, or on an indoor treadmill.

Hunt-Broersma’s original goal was to run 100 marathons in 100 days. That mark meant she’d beat a record of 95 set in 2020 by Alyssa Amos Clark, a nondisabled runner from Vermont. Clark had run as a pandemic coping strategy. But last month, nondisabled British runner Kate Jayden unofficially broke Clark’s record with 101 marathons in 101 days. That’s when Hunt-Broersma realized she’d need to run at least 102.

Goal-setting is a worthwhile endeavor, especially when the goal involves godly pursuits. (Philippians 3:14) Ultimately, Christian endurance is intended for persevering in faith and accomplishing God’s will. (Hebrews 10:36)

A scroll through Hunt-Broersma’s Instagram account reveals her humor, directness—and her impressive T-shirt collection. Among the shirt slogans she sported during her record running spree: “Having two legs is so last year” and “Running 4 those who can’t.”

The runner also writes frankly about fatigue, the temptation to quit, and losing a toenail. She even bragged on Day 76 that she’d “only lost one,” but then added, “amputee advantages.”

BrickRunners is an organization that supports athletes who raise money for charities. The company honored Hunt-Broersma with a LEGO-style character. The minifigure sports a running blade, Arizona ball cap, and a T-shirt emblazoned with “Strong Has Many Forms.”

Guinness World Records will review documentation of Hunt-Broersma’s attempt before the record becomes official.

Along the way to her unofficial record, Hunt-Broersma raised more than $192,000. The money will go to help fellow amputee blade runners purchase the expensive prostheses they need. Health insurance typically doesn’t cover the cost of the blades, which can exceed $10,000. She hopes her quest will inspire people everywhere to push themselves—regardless of physical limitations.

Following her 104th marathon, Hunt-Broersma wrote that she’ll pursue “a new world record for most consecutive rest days.” But with drive like hers, it seems doubtful she’ll stay still for long.

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. — Hebrews 12:1

Why? Running the Christian race means continuing in dependence upon Christ’s perfect grace and daily renewing our faith in Him. The Christian’s ultimate wonder should be for the God who created and redeems the bodies and minds that can accomplish great feats.