The marathoner (times 11)

By
From the September 2010 edition

Some folks like to throw parties to celebrate a birthday.

Kalyn Jolivette commemorated her 24th year by running a marathon. OK, but consider the fact that she’d run a marathon each of the previous 10 days as well, setting a Guinness World Record once all its strict guidelines are met.

That’s right: 11 marathons in 11 consecutive days.

Starting at 7 am and running until a little after noon, Jolivette completed 99 laps each day around the track at Pickerington North High School from June 9 to 19.

It wasn’t easy, but it was for a good cause. The Ohio State University graduate, who’s preparing for her second year at SUNY Buffalo’s medical school, raised funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In her younger years as a Girl Scout, Jolivette had a friend with the genetic disorder. “It was the first disease I was really exposed to,” she says. Their friendship endured, and Jolivette decided she wanted to help raise awareness. By Day 11, she says her effort had raised roughly $7,000 for the foundation.

“It’s wonderful to see an empowered young woman focus her energy to help others,” says experienced marathon runner and author Tracy DiSabato-Aust. Of Jolivette’s feat, she adds, “It’s not something I’d recommend for most people.”

Jolivette, however, says she survived the trial relatively unscathed. “Day 7 was the hardest,” she says. “My right quad was bugging me and it was hot.” As for the easiest days, if there were any? “Days 10 and 11 were my easiest. I have no idea why.”

Another reason for her endurance and apparent immunity to muscle or joint affliction might be that Jolivette, who, it should be noted, did not run track or cross country in college, routinely logs 100 miles per week. Also in her portfolio is a month-long, 700-mile run that took her through all of Ohio’s 88 counties in August 2007.

To make the loops less monotonous, Jolivette had company. Runners from far and wide came to run alongside her (one man even drove in from Albany, New York, she says). “Anybody could come,” Jolivette says. “They could run however much they want, with a donation. Some days, there were people that ran a full marathon.”

Here’s a fun tidbit: Pickerington North’s last day of school was June 9, which meant Jolivette didn’t have access to the track until 3 pm. So, technically speaking, she ran two marathons within 24 hours since she started at 7 am the next morning.

Before heading back to school, Jolivette says she’s going to take it easy—well, “easier than I was,” she says. “I’ll maybe do five miles a day.” As for any residual side-effects from her 11 runs, “I have a couple blisters that are still healing on my feet,” she says. But that certainly won’t stop her from continuing to run or still raising awareness for cystic fibrosis.