If Kalyn Jolivette had just been running for herself, she might have quit.
She was hurt and tired. Her quest to set a world record by finishing 11 marathons in 11 days meant running around the same track-in the same lane-99 times each day. It was tedious, and by the seventh day, the 85-degree sunny weather was taking its toll.
"That was the hardest day. It was really hot. I had a quad injury," she said. "But I was inspired to keep going."
Jolivette was trying to raise $10,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's central Ohio chapter. She needed to finish for her childhood friend, who lost two siblings to cystic fibrosis and is suffering from the disease herself.
So on her 24th birthday, June 19, Jolivette finished her last lap and set the world record for running the most marathons in consecutive days. She had completed 1,089 laps-288.2 miles-but she didn't even cheer. Instead, she cried softly and quietly thanked her donors and supporters.
"She was the kid who went to the mall and had to buy something for all her friends," said her mother, Faye. "We had to watch her when she was little, because she would try to give away all her toys."
Jolivette, who competed in cross country in high school, has always loved running. In 2007, she decided to combine her passion with a desire to help people with cystic fibrosis. The Coshocton native and
Ohio State University grad solicited donations and ran 700 miles across all of Ohio's 88 counties.
Then she set her sights on the marathon record.
Donors paid to run a lap-or an entire day-with her, and she was rarely alone on the Pickerington North High School track. Young children with cystic fibrosis-a disease that often attacks the lungs-ran wildly around her.
Yee Hang from Pickerington had never met Jolivette, but he came to run a half-marathon and two full marathons with her. "Her determination and mental fortitude is just amazing," he said. "She's what kept me going."
A young man who had a double lung transplant six years ago joined Jolivette for a few laps. A man in his 80s ran several days, and finished with the young woman on her last day.
"They were having a good time running, and that's what inspired me. It was really touching," said Jolivette, a second-year medical student at the University of New York at Buffalo. "It made me realize that what I was doing was completely worth it, even if it was a struggle sometimes."
"I don't know of anyone else who is willing to put in the time and the sacrifice, and just the sheer pain, to help the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She has really shown a commitment to help."
SUSAN DEUTSCHLE, executive director of the Central Ohio chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation