The multiple-time ultramarathon finisher and world record-holder has committed to running 100 marathons in 100 days, to break the Guinness World Record for most consecutive marathons.
Broersma got the idea after she saw Alyssa Clark of Vermont set the record last year at 95 days. Clark had been aiming to hit 100 marathons but was forced to cut her challenge short after contracting COVID-19. “This got me thinking, maybe this is something I could take on and it would be a great way to start the new year and help me build up a great base for The Moab 240 race in October,” says Broersma.
Being an experienced ultramarathoner, Broersma is well-equipped to handle a challenge of this magnitude. She finished a 100-mile race at the beginning of January, and although she says she hadn’t fully recovered by the time she started her marathon streak, she says this challenge is more mental than physical. For this reason, staying positive through each of her runs has been the most important key to her success thus far.
When we first spoke with Broersma, she had completed 10 marathons, and by the time of publishing that number had grown to 14. She tells us her biggest challenge is getting enough sleep to recover. “I am amazed at how incredible our bodies are,” she says. “The first five marathons were tough because my body was adjusting to the distance, but slowly my body started adapting.” She adds that her shin is hurting and her knee feels a bit sensitive, but her stump is holding out very well.
Broersma says she’s taking each day as it comes and trying her best to listen to her body. “Some marathons are slower than others and some are faster, it just depends on how my body feels in the morning,” she says. “I am making sure I use my massage gun every day on any tight muscles, eating well so I can recover and icing my stump if it is needed.”
Aside from trying to break the Guinness World Record, Broersma is using her challenge to raise money for Amputee Blade Runners, an organization that provides running blades for amputees. She explains that running-specific blades can cost between $10,000 and $20,000, and in the United States they’re not always covered by health insurance so many amputees don’t have the opportunity to run the way she has.
“When I became an amputee one of the biggest challenges for me was accepting the way I looked and it can be a really tough journey,” says Broersma. “Running changed that for me, it gave me confidence in my body and confidence to be who I am. Running makes me feel strong and fearless and grateful for the body I have, even when part of it is missing. This is what I want for all amputees.”
So far, Broersma says she has had incredible support from around the world, with people sending messages of encouragement every day. She’s also received messages from people with disabilities who’ve been inspired by her to start running and hiking, which was her ultimate goal to begin with. “I hope by doing this that it will inspire people to get out of their comfort zones, even if it is to have the courage to take on their first 5k race,” she says. “We are always more capable than we think.”