By Lisa Goodwin, Community Contributor
Walnut High School freshman Basketball Coach and AP Human Geography teacher Jerry Knox has run 70 marathons and has played basketball since age eight. But what is most impressive is how he became a two-time Guinness Book World Record Holder by combining his two favorite sports: running and basketball.
Jerry earned his first World Record for completing the fastest marathon while dribbling a basketball at the Camarillo Marathon in January 2015. AND he did it in an astonishing time of 3 hours 11 minutes and 26 seconds! But world champions are never content to let their record stand, only to be broken by the next competitor. Jerry decided he needed to set an even more challenging goal: dribble TWO basketballs.
Only three months later, in April 2015, Jerry completed his second World Record at the Virgin Money London Marathon, for fastest marathon while dribbling two basketballs. To make it into the official Guinness Book contenders must complete their marathon in London, England. His finish time was 4 hours, 10 minutes, and 44 seconds. “It was an amazing experience and a whirlwind trip. Lots of pictures were taken.”
How did he decide to work toward this amazing feat? “Seven years ago when my son was ten, we just started talking about how cool it would be to do it. So I did.”
Jerry explained how it took a great deal of dedication and training. “The hardest part was not physical, but mental. It requires unbelievable focus to keep dribbling for 26 miles without bouncing the balls on cracks in the pavement, discarded cups, or other runners’ heels. I had to stay completely alert and vigilant every minute. I had to steer clear of any obstacles. My brain was exhausted afterwards! Also, during races other runners sometimes gave me dirty looks for pounding loudly by them with my two basketballs. Most people were very encouraging though. ”
When asked how his students respond he admits, “They think it’s cool. They like to take pictures of the framed Guinness Book award in my classroom and post it on Facebook. They say, ‘This is my teacher’ or ‘My teacher is better than yours!’”
The story of Jerry’s record-breaking race on the official site at guinnessworldrecords.com included Facebook posts like “That’s my geography teacher yo,” and “cool bro!” – undoubtedly some of his student admirers. Jerry smiles as he reports however, that the biggest supporter in the world has been his wife.
“I told Jerry to really dream big. If he could achieve any world record, what would it be?”
“That’s easy. I would become the fastest runner in the world: complete a marathon in 2 hours and 3 minutes.” Go for it Jerry. The world awaits your next record.