For most of us, it would be impressive enough just to run a marathon. For some runners, the elusive goal is qualifying for the Boston Marathon. And then there are those strivers for whom that’s not enough. They want the Guinness book of world records to memorialize their name. But they fear they’ll never beat the men’s marathon record of 2 hours, 2 minutes and 57 seconds or the women’s record of 2:15:25.
For these ambitious types, Alison Wade of Runner’s World and Running Times (“How to Set a World Record in 2015,” www.runnersworld.com) suggests this: Put on a Maryland blue crab costume and run those 26.2 miles. If you finish in less than 3:55:13, you’ll break the Guinness record for “fastest marathon dressed as a crustacean (male).” Or find 73 friends to run with you in a group. If the 74 of you finish, you will beat the record for “most runners to complete a marathon whilst linked together.”
Or maybe you can take advantage of your other skills and aim for “longest scarf knitted whilst running a marathon,” which is 12 feet, 1.75 inches; a photograph shows the current record holder, David Babcock, knitting as he runs. (The scarf is a pleasant shade of green.)
Wade says scanning the Guinness book suggests a lot of other running records to attempt, but she notes that “the verification process will likely require some work.”
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The case for surrogacy
The unadorned facts of Rhonda and Gerry Wile’s quest for a family cover a lot of ground on the subject of fertility. Rhonda, a nurse who had been abandoned by her first husband after a year of marriage, met and married Gerry, a firefighter who didn’t tell her he’d had a vasectomy. Wanting children, the two spent a lot of money and time getting the vasectomy reversed. After Rhonda suffered a miscarriage, doctors discovered that she had two uteri – one of which functioned, but not well enough to carry a child to term.
The couple decided to try getting a surrogate to bear their child; because it’s so expensive in the United States, they went to Mumbai (surrogacy is booming in India) and signed up with Surrogacy India, where women are willing to be surrogates for a $5,000 fee. Rhonda’s eggs turned out not to be able to produce a viable fetus, so they found an Indian woman who was willing to provide eggs.
After one was fertilized with Gerry’s sperm, the surrogate bore a healthy son. Two years later, the egg donor indicated she would be willing to make more eggs available so the Wiles’ son could have a sibling. They agreed and, using sperm Gerry had already frozen on the previous trip to Mumbai, found a second surrogate to carry the baby. This surrogate conceived triplets; one of the fetuses did not survive, but twin girls did.
As Leslie Morgan Steiner writes in her new book, “The Baby Chase: How Surrogacy Is Transforming the American Family,” the Wiles were finally a family of five.
While telling their story, Steiner explores psychological, historical, medical and legal issues, Indian social strata and women’s status, and, over and over again, the expense of it all. And she makes a strong if controversial case on behalf of surrogacy.