As if it weren't hard enough to run a 26.2-mile marathon for charity, try it while juggling three beanbags the whole way. That's what Carnegie Mellon alumnus Zachary Warren did on Saturday, April 21, in Salt Lake City.
It's called joggling, and Warren was literally in the spotlight as he defended his Guinness World Record in yet another friendly duel against Canadian joggler Michal Kapral.
"We were followed throughout the course by Canadian and US news and documentary film crews in golf carts," Warren said. "The mountains were beautiful, and the spectators extremely supportive."
While Warren was outrun in this race by Kapral — who finished in 2:53.23 compared to Warren's 2:57 — Warren remains the Guinness record holder with a time of 2:52.15.
Warren has raised nearly $20,000 for cancer research with the activity and reports that the Salt Lake City marathon brought another $3,000 for the children's circus in Afghanistan, where he works in the summers. He says it's enough money to sustain the 14 Afghan teachers and circus mentors who work with the refugee children for an entire month.
His history of not only juggling but also unicycling — another circus activity he performs — dates back to his days at Carnegie Mellon. Likewise, his desire to make an impact can be traced back to his alma mater.
"The friends I met at the Heinz School were each concerned with making a meaningful impact in the world," Warren said, as he recalled spending countless hours juggling and unicycling in the Heinz School gym, "practicing till my legs were sore and hands raw with Heinz student and juggler Brian Fu." Student Life eventually arranged for the duo to perform their first juggling show together in University Center.
A researcher of the healing properties of play and laughter, Warren is heading back to Afghanistan on a Harvard traveling scholarship for the coming year. There, he will spend 10 months researching laughter in the war zone, collecting Afghan jokes for The New Yorker magazine, and studying how humor, laughter and play contribute to resilience among traumatized children.