A Truly Inspirational Runner – An Interview with Jacky Hunt-Broersma
- Cary, North Carolina, USA
When and why did you start running?
I started running in 2016. Originally I started because my husband is a runner and I thought it would be something nice we could do together. I now run to inspire others to get fit and healthy, especially other amputees, as I am living proof that life goes on after cancer and amputation.
What is the biggest challenge in running as an amputee that others may not be aware of, and how do you overcome it?
In the beginning I had to learn to trust my blade. You don’t know how it is going to react when you run on mud, gravel, water etc. Once you trust your blade you can work on your running endurance and form. I need to make sure my blade doesn’t slide off. Sweating is a big problem, but with all these issues there are always creative solutions.
I also get blisters on my stump which can be very painful. When I started running my good leg would get injured a lot because I didn’t fully trust the blade. I would use my good leg a lot more. I would get calf strains and IT band issues all due to overuse. I now trust my blade totally and my injuries of my good leg have got a lot less.
SEE ALSO: Having issues with blisters? Why not read some of our advice articles:
- Treat Running Blisters: A How-To Guide
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- Blisters on the ball of my foot: caused by gait, not shoes
What has been your biggest running adventure to date?
It was definitely the Chicago marathon. It was an amazing experience and starting in the front with the elite runners was just incredible. The crowds were great and carried me all the way.
What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan?
I used to use the Adidas MiCoach program, I prefer to work on miles rather than time. I now have a coach (Samantha LeBlanc from RunFastah) and she is great with motivating me and pushing my limits. I prefer to work with a coach as it is a bit more of a personal approach.
Describe your ideal race (let us know if it’s real or fictional, and describe details including the location, climate, terrain and duration)
Difficult question, but I would say that it would be something like the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. It is an Ultra race and as a child I always watched it from start to finish on TV. I felt so sorry for the people who just didn’t make the cut-off times, but I admire them, because most of them come back year after year to try it again. It is a fairly hilly course and it is a road race, which is different from most other Ultra races which are normally trail races.
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The Comrades has so much history and the experience and atmosphere must be absolutely amazing. I couldn’t find a record of a female amputee who has run the Comrades yet, so maybe I can be the first to do it. [That would be AMAZING Jacky!! – Alastair]
It’s really sweet to see the photos of your daughter coming running with you on Sundays. What advice would you give to other parents hoping to encourage their kids to get active with them?
Lead by example and start slow. You don’t want to push them too much, because it has to stay fun. It isn’t about pace, but building their endurance up slowly and keeping them enthusiastic.If my daughter wants to stop half way through a run, we stop and I am ok with that. She doesn’t stop anymore and I am sure she will be a lot faster than me in no time
What is your favourite bit of running kit (apart from your awesome running blade!)?
After my blade it is my Garmin watch because I upload all my training workouts to it and I would be lost without it. I also love my Wilja Labs Hydration pack. I am not someone that can run with a water bottle in my hand and having a hydration pack on my back just makes running so much easier. It is also good practise for hydration for running Ultras. Sometimes I even use it without the water pack just to carry my phone. It is very comfortable.
What do you do with all the left shoes?
Good question, but the answer is simple. Nothing. I recently saw a charity online that donates single shoes to amputees. I’m going to see if I can get involved. It will also help me clear out my cupboard.
SEE ALSO: Some of our recent Trail Shoe Reviews:
- On Cloudventure Peak Trail Running Shoes Review
- Inov-8 Trailroc 285 Review
- Inov-8 Trailtalon 235 Review
- Salomon S-Lab Wings 8 Review
- Inov-8 Parkclaw 275 Review
You’re running Boston Marathon this year! How is training going?
Training is going well, except that I had to slow down to get rid of my Shin splints in the beginning. I am now fully back on track building up the miles. I’m feeling much stronger going into Boston than what I did going to Chicago. I’m really excited for Boston Marathon and the great thing is my husband is running it too. We won’t be starting together as he is faster than me but it will be fun seeing him out on the course.
Tell us about your next big challenge, I gather it involves running 40 miles…
That is correct. I registered for a 40 mile race in October. It is a trail race in Greensboro, North Carolina. I am looking forward to it, but it also scares the hell out of me. I’m using this as a test to see how my blade copes with trails and with this distance. If this is successful, then I want to run the Umstead 50 miler next year with my husband (who is doing the 100miler). This race will be even harder, because of the elevation.
What’s your favourite running/adventure book, and which songs keep you going when things get tough?
My favourite book is Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. My husband bought it for me as a gift and this was a turning point for my running as I realised you can push your body much further than your mind tells you.
For my music I use an app called RockMyRun, it gives me a variety of music, but my top choices are normally 80s and country music.
SEE ALSO: Our list of the BEST Running & Adventure books.
Finally, what do you get up to in life when you’re not running or adventuring?
At the moment running takes up a lot of my time and bringing up 2 children, which is a tough job. If I’m not in training then we love to travel. This is our 4th country we lived in (South Africa, The Netherlands, UK and now the USA) and travelling is in our blood.
SEE ALSO: Our Adventure Category to get your Run-cation travel inspiration flowing.
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Thank you, Jacky, for taking the time to answer all our questions. You are such an inspiration for all runners It’s clear that you have a real passion for running and it really shines through in your Instagram feed. I cant wait to see how you do in your upcoming races too! 🙂