From not knowing what Boston Marathon is to the Guinness World Record Holder

From not knowing what Boston Marathon is to the Guinness World Record Holder
If there is one thing you can count on in life is that things change. I mean one day your friends don't want to run with you since you are a new slow runner, and 5 years later you are a Guinness World Record Holder in the fastest marathon skipping category. That's Volkan Yildiz for you.

Back in 2012, Volkan was a non-active father to a delightful little girl. One day, while playing at the park, and his daughter's ball got stuck on a tree, Volkan, 31 years old at the time, was staring at the tree and the ball trying to figure out how he would climb up there with his large belly. It was on that day Volkan, a public administration manager from Hatay, Turkey, decided to do something about his weight and started running. 

He had completely no history in sports, and thus, he was slow and did not realize his potential at the time. He started running during his lunchtime with some of his colleagues and joined an "afternoon runners' team" at Kosu Dunyamiz, a Turkish Runners Group that hosted virtual races known as "Kapisma." He was running daily and after several months of consistency and dedication, he realized he was leaving his co-workers behind as he got faster and faster over time. 

In 2013 he ran his first marathon in Istanbul Marathon with a time of 3:19:23. His first respectable marathon time. Finally, his love of running showed some signs of hope for the next level. It was in his running group where Volkan heard about the Boston Marathon and qualification for the first time. He even joked about it, claiming he could not qualify or go to America! After two years of dedication and consistency, Volkan at the age of 35, qualified for the Boston Marathon and sponsored by Kosu Dunyamiz, headed to Boston in 2017. 

By that time Volkan's only dream was to run a Sub-3 marathon. He finished the Nov 2016 Istanbul Marathon at 3:00:03 and those 3 seconds devastated him! So, how was he going to run the much harder Heartbreak Hill at the Boston Marathon, in America? But he was determined and worked harder and finally ran his dream time under 3 hours with 2:56:28. For him, Boston always holds a special place in his heart. Nevertheless, Volkan's marathon PR happened 5 months after Boston in Berlin Marathon with 2:51:07. So, what does an endurance athlete do after achieving their goals? Move on to the next one! 

When Volkan hears about the Guinness World Record of the fastest skipping being around 4:23, at the time, his next challenge comes to his mind. At first, start trying out 2-3KM runs while skipping a jump rope. He soon progressed to 10KM runs. After a successful 10K, he believes he has a shot at the world record and decides to attempt it. His supportive running group at Kosu Dunyamiz all cheer for Volkan to achieve that goal. Volkan trains about 15 hours a week before his Runatolia Marathon attempt. One thing he was concerned about was ensuring he did not "trip over" during the attempt. 

The Guinness World Records has very stringent guidelines and certification process. While the runner can stop during the race, they cannot move one step without jump roping, and everything has to be live recorded. During the race, Volkan was having the time of his life. Here is the start of the record race. At one point, even a stray dog attempted to chase after him during the race, and Volkan had to try to control his running and at the same time distract the dog so he would move away. The race ended with lots of cheers as Volkan finished the race in 3:29:54. Here is the record finish moment. After the attempt, it took almost a year of certification processing before Volkan was officially declared, as a Guinness World Record Holder in November 2018.   

When we asked Volkan if he intended to run another marathon skipping, he indicated that he would, but, he needs to have motivation such as breaking his record or have another competitor to keep his concentration. His future dream is to be one day in Turkish Survivor, and until then, he continues his endurance sports and triathlon training. 

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