DAVENPORT, Iowa – A Florida man is planning to run this weekend’s Quad-Cities Marathon backward, while juggling.
Joe Salter, a world-record “joggler,” is preparing for the 26.2-mile race on Sunday, according to the Quad-City Times (http://bit.ly/1f0XLX6 ).
The 32-year-old has already claimed several racing records, on sites such as recordsetter.com. He hopes to add Sunday’s feat to his accomplishments, which include fastest time to run a mile backward while juggling (7 minutes, 32 seconds) and fastest juggling triathlon (1 hour, 57 minutes). He taught himself to juggle while swimming.
“I swam a half-mile in the Gulf of Mexico, doing the backstroke while juggling three balls,” Salter said. “I also juggled for 16.2 miles on a bike and ran and juggled for four miles.”
Salter had hoped to set a Guinness World Record at the marathon. But to qualify, every second of his race has to be recorded. Videotaping is prohibited along several miles of the course that run through the Rock Island Arsenal.
Salter, a mental-health counselor, learned to juggle from his father, Mickey Salter, who was the entertainment headliner on the Queen of Hearts riverboat in the Quad-Cities in the 1980s. The family moved from Nashville to McCausland, Iowa, when Salter was a boy. He relocated to Florida in 1990.
“Dad worked on the Mississippi River right there in the Quad-Cities,” the younger Salter said Wednesday. “He juggled chain saws and bowling balls. My parents will be coming from Alabama for the marathon, and that makes it more special.”
For the Salters, their son’s feats are nothing new. But they won’t be able to cheer him on to a Guinness World Record, which was his original plan for the Quad-Cities Marathon.
But under Guinness guidelines, every second of what Salter predicts will be a five-hour marathon has to be recorded. Several miles of the course are run on the Rock Island Arsenal, and officials there are forbidding videotaping on the island.
“The Guinness rules are pretty stringent,” Salter said, adding he is not particularly disappointed. “I actually feel better, not having the stress.”
Salter said he has only one concern about the Quad-City course: the Interstate 74 Bridge.
“They’ve warned me about the expansion joints,” Salter said of the crossing between Moline, Ill., and Bettendorf, Iowa. “I’ll have to be a little lighter on my feet.”
He is hopeful the adrenaline of a competitive environment helps get him through the long course, especially because he never has joggled backward so far.
How do spectators and other runners respond to his peculiar brand of competing?
“Ninety-nine percent of people love it,” he said. “I think it brings people’s spirits up. It’s joyful. I would never try to rub it in, show off. Making others feel bad is not the point.”
Race director Joe Moreno regards Salter an elite runner because of his unique on-course talents. Moreno said he never has seen anyone run a marathon backward, let alone while juggling.
“I couldn’t imagine doing it forward while walking,” he said. “The concentration that is required throughout the race is amazing. I saw his calves once in a photo – just a mass of muscle.”
Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com