Knitting & Running for Alzheimer's Research



On October 19th, 2013, David Babcock - a professor from the University of Central Missouri - earned an unusual entry in the Guinness Book of World Records: The longest scarf knit while running a marathon (12 feet and 1 3/4 inches long, for those interested in the figure). He accomplished the feat during the Kansas City Marathon, and in so doing beat the previous record (5 feet 2 inches long) in the same entry, set by Susie Hewer of Ewhurst Green in England during the London Marathon. And you might think at this point, '...There has been more than one world record attempt at such an obscure and silly activity?' Yes, though not by coincidence. Susie Hewer - a knitter rather than a runner by tradition - had become her mother's primary caregiver as she began to succumb to vascular dementia and then passed away just after her 89th birthday. Hewer considered running in the London Marathon for her 50th birthday to raise awareness for Alzheimer's research, and then one of her friends recommended trying to do a knitting project towards the same ends. Hewer thought to herself, '...Why not both?' She posted about plans to knit and run on her blog, began fundraising & practicing, developed a technique for running and knitting at the same time and then, in 2008, earned her official entry into the Guinness Book of World Records by competing in the London Marathon. The self-described publicity stunt worked: Hewer managed to raise substantial funds and awareness for Alzheimer's research and became a small Internet celebrity.

The celebrity status resulted in David Babcock running across her blog and then meeting her on Ravelry. Inspired by the effort, he decided to make his own attempt at the same record and for the same cause. When news came to Hewer of David's accomplishment during the Kansas City Marathon, she was ecstatic, posting the news to her blog and hoping to encourage others to join in the fun. ...So. I don't suppose anyone knows of any upcoming marathons on the island? Asking for a friend.

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