Jacky Hunt-Broersma is a very self motivated and inspirational runner. Born and raised in South Africa she moved and traveled often until she ended up in the United States 3 years ago in North Carolina. She has been actively seeking her limits and not finding them as she continues to take her distances farther and farther. Jacky is a cancer survivor & amputee who each day continues to show the world how far perseverance and determination can take you in life, literally.
How did you get your start into running?
Jacky: I started running back in 2016, not quite 3 years yet so it hasn’t been that long. My husband is a runner so I thought why not give it a try, he was always talking about how addicted he was and how much he loved it. We started going out running together and I sort of just got addicted as well and I just fell completely in love with it. I started with a 5k distance and primarily on roads; I thought that was as far as I would go but had signed myself up for a 10k in December of 2016. By that time I had only been running with my blade since September of 2016. Come race time my farthest distance I had done was 6 miles and at the packet pickup I saw they had a half marathon option so I on the spot changed my distance to the half marathon and give it a go. I did it my best and it went fairly well and that was how the passion started.
So you were big into road racing, how did you get into trail running?
Jacky: It took me a little while to get into trail running. I had been pushing the distances all the time on my other runs and had just done this marathon and got invited out on a trail run. I was so scared because I wasn’t sure how my blade would handle the trails but I was willing to try and just see what was going to happen. The worst that was going to happen was I fall flat on my face and I would then know that I couldn’t do that, so I definitely had to go for it. So I tried it and loved it and got totally addicted to trail running. It is definitely where I want to be and what I want to do. I began pushing distances and I did my first Ultra last October and loved it, I was smiling the whole way and I mean it was rough and painful but I loved every minute of it. It was so good being on the trails and just pushing the distance and getting to the end knowing that I was capable of doing that.
Did you find any difficulties making the switch to trail running?
Jacky: It was actually really hard to adjust at first. Because the terrain is so different and my blade kind of curves up a bit I would find that it was easy to get caught under a tree stump or up and over any kind of rock. I had to really concentrate while trail running and didn’t get to look around at anything; I was watching my feet the entire time. I had to change the way I run in ways to place my blade and my leg to balance me a little better.
So in the past have you been into fitness or was running sort of your introduction to the more healthy and fit lifestyle?
Jacky: I used to go to the gym but I wasn’t crazy big into it but I was pretty active but it’s been very different since I started running. The more I got into it the more of a lifestyle it becomes.
So looking ahead at 2019, what kind of goals do you have?
Jacky: I am super excited for 2019! I will be taking on some really tough trail races and actually have one this weekend, the Uwharrie Mountain Run. It will be one of the hardest trail races I’ve ever done but I feel ready for it and I am very excited. I am doing a 50 miler in April which I am really looking forward to. I have a few more trail races here and there to try and get better at them as practice for just racing and experience. This year for me is all about pushing boundaries and seeing where my limits are if I can find them. I absolutely plan to keep taking the distances further until I do, I for sure have my eye on a hundred miler down the road.
What is your bucket list race you are working towards?
Jacky: I would have to say Western States is at the top of my list later on. As a beginner so to speak, I am still looking around to find that some races that fit into the scope of what I am trying to do.
Being a person who uplifts and motivates others, what drives you to be that person?
Jacky: I just want to give something back. Sometimes you’re put in a situation and I believe everything happens for a reason in the grand scheme of things. I want to be inspiration to others to help get them out of the door and onto the trails. The amount of messages I get from people telling me I have helped them to push farther and farther is so amazing and those mean the world to me, it literally gives me goosebumps and that’s why I do it.
Outside of running what do you spend your time doing?
Jacky: I have 2 small children so that’s where most of my time is spent. It keeps me pretty busy! They come before me or my husband’s races but fortunately for us our races have become a family tradition and everyone gets involved and comes to the races.
If the world could only know one thing about you, what would you want them to know?
Jacky: One of my most important values is to always be kind. People can be really nasty and the world doesn’t need more of that. In relevance to running, you never know what that person has gone through to be able to put those miles on their legs. There are so many factors in each of our lives that strangers don’t know about or we don’t know about them. So be kind, don’t judge anyone, and be a positive in someone’s life.
What tips do you have for people who may want to start running, or pushing into farther distances?
Jacky: All I can say is just to do the best you can. It’s so easy to get lost in social media and compare yourself to everyone else and that’s not a good habit to form. It can become overwhelming, so just do what you know is best for you and more importantly do what makes you happy.