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Local 'Joggler' Barak Hirschowitz Is Training to Compete in the Chicago Marathon

We caught up with Hirschowitz to see what he's been up to since we last spoke in 2019. Turns out joggling is a family affair.

By Kim Doleatto February 23, 2022

Barak Hirschowitz juggles while jogging—also known as joggling.

Barak Hirschowitz juggles while jogging—also known as joggling.

Yes, juggling and jogging at the same time is a thing—it's called "joggling"—and Barak Hirschowitz, who we wrote about in 2019, does it well. Locals often spot Hirschowitz joggling over the Ringling Bridge in downtown Sarasota.

It might be in his genes. At age 76, Barak's father, Jack Hirschowitz, is the oldest known marathon joggler. And last year was momentous for the ultra-fit psychiatrist: Jack placed third in his age category (75-79) at the New York City Marathon, ninth at the BMW Berlin Marathon in his age category, and 10th in his age category worldwide in the Abbott World Major Marathon Series. He was the only joggler who made it to the top 10, and it was his first time placing in a major marathon.

Jogglers Barak and his father Jack Hirschowitz competed in Berlin.

Barak and his father Jack Hirschowitz in Berlin.

His son also joggled at the BMW Berlin Marathon and didn’t drop the ball the entire race, “which is a first for me,” Hirschowitz says. It's an improvement since his first run at the Celebration Marathon in Orlando in January 2019, where he "dropped a ball every mile-and-a-half to two miles,” he recalls. Of more than 23,000 participants, Barak and his father were the only jogglers in Berlin.

Lately, you may have a harder time spotting Hirschowitz joggling in Sarasota. Because he has to start training for the Chicago Marathon in May—in which he’ll joggle, of course—he’s taking a little time off joggling to enjoy kitesurfing.

On dry land, Hirschowitz still runs a few days a week but is going shorter distances. Favorite joggling spots include Siesta Key, over the Ringling Bridge from downtown Sarasota to St. Armands Circle, and Nathan Benderson Park. He has now run six marathons and two ultra-marathon 50-kilometer races—all while juggling at the same time. Chicago will be his seventh marathon; Barak's wife, Sharon, will be there, too, but she'll just run this one. Meanwhile, Jack will be 77 when he joggles in Chicago.

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