UT San Diego – Chasing marathon dribbling record
There was the English gentleman in his late 30s who jogged the London Marathon looking over his shoulders the entire way, a requirement when running backward.
There were the women in Nashville who gyrated their hips 13.1 miles, swaying hula hoops.
Jugglers tossing knives, balls and bowling pins while running have become so blasé there’s a word for the attention-seekers: jogglers.
To the list of can-you-top-this marathon stunts, a new one will be uncorked during Sunday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon.
Miami’s Darren Weissman and Jerry Knox of Chino Hills, will battle head to head, running 26.2 miles, each dribbling two basketballs.
In answer to the obvious question – Why? — Weissman, 31, supplies an answer that makes all the sense in the world.
“Because my friend dared me,” he said.
When it comes to dribbling, Weissman is the Jewish version of former Globetrotter Curly Neal. He became fixated on bouncing a basketball off the pavement when he was 6, dribbling a mile to the park to play hoops.
He can walk parallel to a wall, dribbling one ball against the wall, another off the floor.
Resting on the floor, his arms and legs spread at 45-degree angles, Weissman can crank out one-armed pushups, one hand pressed against a basketball executing the push up, the other dribbling a ball.
One-legged squats while dribbling two balls?
Insanely fit at 6 feet, 160 pounds (“I’m in marathon mode. I’m usually 10 pounds heavier.”), Weissman said his body fat measures 7 percent. The average male has 18-24 percent body fat.
On a whim, he decided to enter the 2012 Miami Marathon a week before the race, finishing in 3 hours, 58 minutes, a sub-9-minute-mile pace.
“You say you can do anything dribbling a basketball,” Weissman’s friend, Natalia Liss told him. “Can you run a marathon dribbling two basketballs?”
He crossed that off the to-do list in January, dribbling and weaving his way through 23,000-plus runners, finishing in 4:48. Unbeknownst to Weissman, that was fast enough to break Knox’s Guinness World Record of 4 hours, 55 minutes.
One problem: Weissman didn’t videotape the feat, a Guinness requirement. No worries. Three weeks later he jogged and dribbled his way 26.2 miles at the Fort Lauderdale Marathon.
Finishing time: 4 hours, 38 minutes, 12 seconds. This time a friend trailed him on a bike, capturing the feat on film. On Thursday, Weissman received an e-mail from the Guinness organizers. The record is his.
Now the ball, so to speak, is in Knox’s court. With an Ironman triathlon on his resume, plus a 100-mile ultra marathon, Knox boasts the more impressive running credentials.
But when it comes to Yo-yoing a basketball, Weissman insists no one’s better.
“I’ve got about 70 miles dribbling two basketballs under my belt with zero turnovers,” he said.
Weissman’s estimated number of dribbles bouncing two balls 26.2 miles: 14,000.
To fight a marathon’s monotony, Weissman dribbles between his legs, behind his back, walking backward.
“The basketball distracts my body from all the pain it’s going through,” he said.
Never more than a backup point guard in high school, Weissman has cobbled a career out of his craft. Besides being a personal trainer and motivational speaker, he performs at clinics and coaches young players on the art of the handle.
His stage name: Dr. Dribble.
Marathon spectators love his act. Among the lines he hears: “But can you shoot? Share the ball. Pass and move.”
And his favorite: “LeBron’s got nothing on you.”