Amputee Jacky Hunt-Broersma on Completing 104 Marathons in 104 Consecutive Days: 'Why Can't I?'

Jacky Hunt-Broersma tells PEOPLE that she started running a marathon a day just to see if she could do it as an amputee

Jacky Hunt-Broersma sets record for 104 marathons in 104 days
Photo: Jacky Hunt-Broersma

Jacky Hunt-Broersma is shattering misconceptions about what she and her fellow amputees are physically capable of.

Last Saturday, the 46-year-old completed her 104th marathon in 104 consecutive days — which, if confirmed, breaks a Guinness World Record.

Though many have complex reasons for chasing records, Hunt-Broersma recently spoke to PEOPLE about running the daily marathons simply because she wanted to see if it was possible after having her left leg amputated below the knee in 2001 due to a type of cancer called Ewing sarcoma.

"I always thought runners were crazy like, why would you do that?" she tells PEOPLE. "And when I became an amputee you kind of get put in a box and everyone's like, 'You can't do this, you can't do that because you're an amputee' … Why can't I?"

Hunt-Broersma, who started running in 2016, adds, "Even though I wasn't a runner before, suddenly now there's a drive that you want to try and do everything everyone else is doing. You kind of become a little bit more stubborn. It frustrated me and I wanted to see if I could do it."

Jacky Hunt-Broersma sets record for 104 marathons in 104 days
Jacky Hunt-Broersma

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As a new runner, Hunt-Broersma says she started with 5K races. Her enjoyment of those shorter races led her to push her own boundaries and try marathons.

"As I got into it and started loving it, I kind of just started pushing boundaries and it just gave me this sense of freedom and made me feel really strong," she says. "I was doing something I didn't think I could do as an amputee so I just kept pushing."

In January, Hunt-Broersma started her marathon-a-day goal after finding the Guinness record online and wanting to "see if I physically could do it on a prosthetic," she says, noting the many factors that go into running with her prosthesis. "And here we are."

Jacky Hunt-Broersma sets record for 104 marathons in 104 days
Jacky Hunt-Broersma

Hunt-Broersma documented the entire journey on social media, running 2,728 miles in 104 days, all while raising money for Amputee Blade Runners, a charity dedicated to providing running blades to amputees.

"I'm still in disbelief. It's phenomenal to have gotten to this point and I'm just glad that my body was able to do that," she says. "I'm a big believer that you're stronger than you think and this has definitely proven that to me. This took some serious mental strength to get through this."

Throughout the journey, no marathon was the same for Hunt-Broersma. She completed her marathons in a variety of settings, some on her own and others in big events like the Boston Marathon, which landed on her 92nd day.

"With the Boston Marathon, you have this big crowd cheering you on and the other marathons I have to run on my own, which mentally can be quite hard," she explains. "You basically have to cheer yourself on."

Jacky Hunt-Broersma sets record for 104 marathons in 104 days
Jacky Hunt-Broersma

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But she points to her family — husband Edwin Broersma and children Dexter, 11, and Eliza, 9 — and over 49,000 social media followers for supporting her journey, which has allowed her to be more confident since losing her leg.

"My husband and my kids have been my biggest cheerleaders. My kids, when they come home from school they're like, 'Mommy have you done your marathon already?' And on social media the amount of messages I get from people cheering me on, I kind of feel like I'm getting a Boston [Marathon crowd] from everyone, but virtually," Hunt-Broersma tells PEOPLE. "It's just been incredible."

"For me, getting cancer and losing my leg, it took me a few years to accept my body," she continues. "It was kind of a process where I had to realize that this is my new life which is why I'm such a big advocate for other amputees getting into running because I wish I had started running a lot earlier, because it definitely helped me from a mental point of view."

Ending her daily marathon journey at 104 days, the athlete is now excited to catch up on spending quality time with her family. She is also going to take time to recover physically and rest her body in preparation for her next goal.

In October, Hunt-Broersma is planning to run the Moab 240-mile race, a goal she set for herself at the beginning of the year. She also plans to continue raising money for the Amputee Blade Runners through her GoFundMe account for the organization, which currently has more than $193,300.

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