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Northwestern graduate sets new joggling world record

During the peak of last week's heat wave that lingered over the Midwest, former Northwestern High School athlete Trish Evans (Weyandt) set out to break a world record.

During the peak of last week's heat wave that lingered over the Midwest, former Northwestern High School athlete Trish Evans (Weyandt) set out to break a world record.

She ended up breaking three.

Evans, a 2003 Northwestern graduate originally from Iron River, set a new Guinness World Record in women's 5K joggling on July 20 at the International Juggling Association's (IJA) Joggling Championships in Rochester, Minn.

She also set world record marks in the 800-meter and 200-meter joggling races and took a gold medal in the 3-ball 100-meter dash, finishing less than two seconds off world record pace in that event.

"July 20 was the peak of the heat wave down in Rochester," said Bob Evans, Trish's husband. "The 5K races were at 8-8:30 a.m., and the temperature was right around 90 degrees and humid, and there was a headwind down the homestretch -- a little less than ideal conditions."

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Bob Evans, who made an attempt at the men's 5K joggling record, watched his hopes of a new world record evaporate in the unrelenting heat.

After speeding through his first 10 laps in 13 minutes, 40 seconds, Evans abruptly fell off pace. He took more than five minutes to complete his final two laps and said he was virtually staggering across the finish line.

"I was on record pace after 10 out of 12 laps, but then I was taken down by heat exhaustion," Evans said. "I did manage to 'finish,' but it was not pretty."

Trish Evans, meanwhile, surpassed the previous Guinness World Record in women's 5K joggling by nearly six minutes. Her time of 21:46 also sets a new IJA Championship Record and IJA World Record. The previous IJA record was 23:45.

"Trish finished with a time of 21:46, which was a relatively slower time for her, but a great effort considering the conditions," Bob Evans said.

Despite the heat, Trish Evans continued on to set two more world record marks -- in the women's 800- (2:44) and 200-meter races (31.83 seconds).

Leading up to the competition in Rochester, Bob and Trish spent months training for their record attempts. They'd run in at least one race every month since September and put in countless more hours just running laps while tossing and catching three balls.

"Joggling is something that is not as difficult as it looks," said Len Ferman, IJA director of joggling. "I am trying to convince runners that with a little bit of practice they can learn to joggle and add a whole new dimension to their workouts."

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That was the case for Trish and Bob. Both were collegiate athletes at Michigan Tech, but neither took a serious interest in juggling until their college years. From there they develop a juggling and acrobatics routine, and about a year ago the couple began joggling competitively.

Ferman said joggling requires mental and physical focus, but it's a very worthwhile pastime. The combination of running and juggling gives athletes a full body workout, exercising the upper and lower body at the same time, while improving running efficiency.

"And it's just plain cool," Ferman said.

For the next year, Bob and Trish plan to take time off from their teaching jobs in Arizona to travel the country and perform their juggling and acrobatics act.

Along the way, they also hope to claim a few more world records.

"We are already making plans to set up another record attempt, possibly up in northern Wisconsin," Bob Evans said. "Trish would like to go for the fastest 1-mile, 400-meter and 100-meter records; and I would like another shot at the men's 5K -- the longest standing joggling record in the book."

If the couple does decide to make another attempt in Wisconsin, Bob Evans said it would take place between Aug. 7-13.

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