A half-marathon with a hula hoop | AspenTimes.com

A half-marathon with a hula hoop

ASPEN – It’s not every day that a Roaring Fork Valley resident breaks a world record. But in just over a month, Betty Shurin – aka Betty Hoops – is hoping to do just that.

“Yes, we’re going for it again – but this time we’ve raised the bar,” said Shurin, who, along with her Team Hoop, is entered in the Hollywood Half-Marathon. “It’s going to be a challenge, that’s for sure.”

If she succeeds, she will break the world record for “hula-hooping while distance running.”

She also will have traveled 13.1 miles with her hula hoop, making more than 3,500 rotations.

“There are two rules: no stopping and no dropping the hoop,” Shurin said.

Setting world records is nothing new to Shurin. She first set a Guinness Book world record by hula-hooping the 10-kilometer Boulder Boulder in 2005. She went on to beat her own time every year for the next three years.

“It’s really pretty amazing because I have no rhythm and am totally uncoordinated – I was actually kicked out of a step aerobics class because I had no rhythm,” said Shurin, who in addition to competitive hula-hooping is a fitness trainer, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

In fact, her upcoming world-record attempt is also a fundraiser. Shurin is partnering with the Los Angeles Youth Network, with proceeds from various hula-hoop-related events going to the California-based nonprofit.

“They are all about empowering kids who have had a tough time,” Shurin said. “It’s a cause that’s very close to my heart. … My sister died young of a drug overdose. As a result, I have always wanted to help and empower young people.”

A fundraiser for the Los Angeles Youth Network and Team Hoop’s expenses for the Hollywood half-marathon is scheduled March 22 at the Aspen Brewing Co.

“People around the world are excited about what I do, so we’re hoping we can get a little more local support,” she said, adding that Team Hoop comprises six runners and two videographers who essentially form a blockade around Shurin so she can keep on hula-hooping. “This isn’t about me, though – it’s about the team.”

Team Hoop is actually the most impressive part of her world-record attempt, Shurin said.

“It’s really very strategic, as we need to weave into and out of the crowd,” she said of the Secret Service-type entourage she races with. “They encapsulate me physically, but it’s their love that keeps me going.

“And other racers seem to love it, too. We’re very respectful to not interfere with their running, but the looks on their faces when they pass us or we pass them is priceless.”


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