Camaraderie and a cause warmed 116 runners roped together for a Guinness World Record attempt in the sub-zero wind chills that swirled through Wisconsin State Fair Park on New Year’s Eve.
Led by Cole Braun and shepherded by Robin Gohsman, the reincarnated Jennipede covered the 5K Run into the New Year course before the official 5K and 10K races. They sought to set a new record for number of runners to complete a 5K tied together and raised roughly $20,000 for Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer – the MACC Fund.
The rope and carabineers were fitting for the ice climbing conditions, and the effort may be recognized for the coldest attempt at a Guinness run.
“It was inspiring to be a part of the experience with more than 100 people,” said Jeff Crosby, who has participated in all three Jennipede record efforts. “It’s incredible, the amount of energy and spirit we generate collectively.”
Well-layered and enthused, Crosby said he stayed comfortable during the hour in the cold.
Gohsman created the first Jennipede, with 63 runners, and set a Guinness Record in the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in Oct. 2011. That outing helped raise $108,000 for Jenny Crain, the elite runner severely injured when a car hit her on a training run.
Together as Team LifeStriders, a group of 103 set the mark for the half marathon, with 103 runners in the Trailbreaker in Waukesha in April.
Once all the forms have been reviewed by the Guinness officials, Gohsman hopes to have a third record, with the 116 tied together on Tuesday.
To date, the roped runs have generated nearly $200,000 for charities.
John Cary, executive director of the MACC Fund, provided perspective and motivation to the group gathered in a pavilion before venturing into the cold. He noted that two-dozen rooms in Children’s Hospital, just five minutes away, are filled with children battling cancer.
“You’re helping kids all over the country, and all over the world,” Cary said.
While the World Record Runners provided the emotional warmth, layers and layers and layers helped 1,000 runners generate the physical heat to welcome the New Year with exercise. (click here for results).
It was a day to add a base layer under your base layer, said Gregg Eberhardt, of Pewaukee.
“We are certainly a hearty group,” he assessed, after finishing the 5K.
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