CLINTON, Iowa. (KWQC) - A woman from the Quad Cities set a world record Thursday for the heaviest female to complete a marathon!
Jennifer Smith beat the record at 346 pounds, according to 13 NEWS sister-station KWQC, and she couldn't be prouder.
The world record was set in 2017 with a 288-pound woman.
"Keep going, babe!" shouted Smith's sister, Danielle Norman. The words of encouragement from her family helping Jennifer Smith reach the 26 miles.
"It kept me having the inspiration to actually finish and again it's accountability, I can't let them down," said Smith.
Jennifer got into an accident in 2013, nearly losing her leg. When she wanted to get involved in races, she found it was difficult for a woman her size.
"When I started trying to get on my feet and walk, I got into 5k's I was highly frustrated that I couldn't find shirts big enough and there weren't many plus-sized people out there. So I became an advocate and pushed for more 5ks' and to get larger sizes and get more people active. And once I started doing that I decided 'why not push myself to my limits?'" shared Smith.
She had never gone more than eight miles at a time. Through training, she found she was slowly showing improvement: "then you feel so much better, I found I had so much more energy, I was ready to go."
When it got tough during the race, Jennifer just remembered why she's doing it. "I just kept thinking, I'm out here with a message and what I'm trying to prove. Not only am I trying to set a record, but I'm trying to teach people that you can push your limits, never give up, and you can do anything you put your mind to."
But that's not the only reason she was out there. "I promised my dad I was going to do a marathon, and he passed away in September. So I got a little emotional towards the end when I knew I was gonna finish because I know he was here with me" shared Jennifer.
In the end, she just wants to help others be their best, "I just want people to know one foot in front of the other, just keep pushing yourself every day!"
Jennifer says she's not stopping there. After completing this marathon, she's hoping to complete a 50k next year, which is 31 miles.
Her goal was to finish in under 12 hours, and she finished in 11 hours and 50 minutes! She would have burned nearly 4,000 calories by the end.