Boston-based New England editor Bill Kole tells the feel-good story we needed, in the person of Jacky Hunt-Broersma — an amputee athlete from South Africa who’s closing in on a new world record: running 102 marathons in 102 days.
Kole himself has a dozen and a half marathons under his laces, and his social media feeds are always buzzing with compelling news from fellow runners.
But Hunt-Broersma’s story was special. Kole surfaced it for a global audience, telling the incredible story of a woman who lost one of her legs to a rare cancer, only to set a grueling goal: covering the 26.2-mile marathon distance each day for 102 days, all on a carbon-fiber prothesis.
"You make peace with pain," she told Kole, adding that she hoped to inspire people regardless of their physical challenges: “You’re stronger than you think — and you’re capable of so much more.”
Kole’s story, pegged to Monday's 126th running of the Boston Marathon, won instant and widespread traction in the international running community and beyond. It was showcased by The Boston Globe and NBC News, splashed across the front page of Hunt-Broersma's hometown Arizona Daily Star, and racked up likes on the wildly popular Good News Movement’s Instagram page, with some 4.2 million followers.
Among the hundreds who commented was a person who said: "WHAT!? I’ve run 2 marathons in my life and it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt -- so I literally cannot imagine how badass she is for doing this. Wow. This is amazing." And from Paul Haven, AP’s head of global newsgathering: “My legs hurt just reading that.”