Footballs in the marathon: world record dribbling and juggling

It's a marathon, not a sprint! Jan La Caille during his world record marathon dribble (Photo: Jan La Caille)

It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Jan La Caille during his world record marathon dribble in 2013 (Photo: Jan La Caille)

There isn’t enough football in my life right now. So, after seeing some famous footballers who ran marathons, let’s have another look at the Venn diagram where ‘football’ overlaps with ‘marathon’.

Whenever I watch the London Marathon on TV I’m always fascinated to see the runner (and there’s at least one every year) who sets off on the course while kicking a football. Does this guy really dribble the ball all the way to the finish?

Apparently, yes.

The London Marathon even keeps an official course record for the fastest time while dribbling a football. The current course record-holder at the time of writing is Alan Simeoni, who ran and kicked his way to a time of 5 hours, 10 minutes and 46 seconds in the 2013 race.

And just in case he didn’t stand out enough on the course, Simeoni did so with half a beard and half a head of hair. Here‘s the photographic proof that he crossed the line with the ball, bagging a Guinness World Record to go with his finisher’s medal.

However, Simeoni’s record was taken by an astonishing performance that had actually place a month earlier but was only ratified later that year. Jan La Caille of Denmark is now the world record holder – at the Sydkyst Marathon in Denmark he dribbled to an amazing time of 3:29:55. The course was verified by the Danish athletics federation and the record time ratified by Guinness. A sub-3:30 marathon while kicking a football!

What’s more, part of that Sydkyst Marathon went over icy surfaces as well as on roads and a running track.

Amazing as that record is, there’s a greater prize out there. Guinness also list a world record for the fastest marathon while juggling a football i.e. doing the ‘keepie-uppies’ we’ve all tried in vain. In the 1990 Prague City Marathon, local man and noted football juggler Jan Skorkovsky set the current record time of 7 hours, 18 minutes and 55 seconds.

However, Guinness include an important caveat: “If the participant lost control of the ball, he had to return to the last point where the ball had remained under control and restart from there.” So, the record-holder can stop and start again; colour me underwhelmed.

Until some hero or heroine can keep the ball up for the entire 26.2 miles, here’s our current footballing-marathoning icon, dribbler Jan La Caille, in a Guinness World Records feature:

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