Nova Scotia joggler taking his niche talent stateside to run – and juggle – the Boston Marathon

Published on April 6, 2017

Michael Bergeron on a short joggle on Wednesday. He will be joggling a longer distance later this month at the Boston Marathon.

©Patrick Fulgencio for Metro

HALIFAX, N.S. — In a race with 32,500 people it can be hard to set yourself apart.

But Michael Bergeron won’t have any trouble getting noticed at the Boston Marathon on April 17.

He's pretty sure he’ll be the only joggler competing in one of the world’s biggest marathons.

Joggling is a competitive sport that, as the name suggests, combines juggling with jogging.

“I want to finish in under three hours and five minutes with the first three or four thousand,” said Bergeron in an interview on Wednesday. “That would give me a time in the top 10 per cent.”

He started running when he was 13-years-old, and ran track and field and cross country at the University of Ottawa.

Bergeron, an officer with the Canadian Navy, said he started joggling three years ago.

“A friend showed it to me and asked if I could do it,” said Bergeron.

Bergeron said he learned his juggling skills at a circus camp, mostly with balls, but he can also juggle machetes and torches.

“It took me one hour of really hard training to be a good juggler,” said Bergeron.

He started by walking and juggling, and every few steps he would drop a ball. Once he got more comfortable he would run laps around his block, then competitive races, said Bergeron.

“It didn’t take much practice before I started competing and got to an elite level of joggling,” said Bergeron.

But during regular races, people don’t like getting passed by a joggler.

“People get a distressed look when they see me juggling and smiling during the race when they are fatigued.”

Bergeron said he hasn’t experienced any problems from race organizers for his joggling.

“No directors have stopped me from racing. The only race that doesn’t allow it is the New York Marathon, for security reasons in response to the Boston bombing.”

Bergeron said he’s only met one other joggler in Nova Scotia, but people have contacted him about starting joggling.

“A couple people have emailed me about juggling tips. Manipulating the balls is the hardest part and that stops people,” said Bergeron. “First you have to learn how to juggle and be able to maintain it, then you start walking, then running.”