Record-setter Warren had a ball with this one
Zach Warren won his juggling battle with Michal Kapral, but their charities were the real winners. (Globe Staff Photo / Matthew J. Lee)
Juggling three yellow balls each step of the way, Harvard Divinity School student Zach Warren shattered his world record in the obscure sport of joggling -- running while juggling -- with a sub-three-hour finish in yesterday's Boston Marathon.
Eliciting cheers of ''Jog-gler, Jog-gler," some laughter, and his share of quizzical looks as he ran, Warren crossed the finish line in 2 hours 58 minutes and 23 seconds. His time was nearly nine minutes faster than the record he set in November at the Philadelphia Marathon of 3:07:05.
Warren bested his only competition, Canadian Michal Kapral, who held the record in marathon joggling before Warren. Kapral set a personal best of 3:06:45 while juggling three red balls.
The jogglers ran side by side until Warren pulled ahead around Mile 15. He literally never looked back.
''I wanted to turn my head and look, but I couldn't," said Warren. ''I had to just focus on the balls."
Jim Brusstar, a representative of the International Sport Juggling Federation, said the jogglers appeared to run clean races, meaning they took no more than two steps at any time without juggling. Still, his group plans on reviewing race video to verify the results.
Warren finished 911th overall, and Kapral finished 1,761st.
It was the first marathon on record in which two jogglers competed head to head, according to sport officials.
''I was happy with my time, but Zach just took off at the hills," said the 33-year-old Kapral. ''That guy is incredible."
''Having Michal there with me was such a blessing," said Warren, 24. ''It made it so much more fun for those first few miles. Toward the end I got lonely, to be honest."