We first met Jesse Joyner at the recent IJA Joggling Championships. He finished second in the 5K and medaled in a bunch of other races. He is a professional juggler and agreed to an interview with JYAJ.
Jesse Joyner is a 27 year old living in Richmond, Virginia with his wife Sarah (five years married next month). He works full-time as a speaker-performer. Jesse travels nationwide and performs a juggling show with a Christian message at events (usually church events geared towards families and kids). He also occasionally teaches juggling classes locally and does festivals and parties. He LOVES his job!
JYAJ: What is the story of how you learned to juggle?
JOYNER: When I was in middle school, my friend Tim could juggle 3 balls. I thought that was cool and learned from him how to get the basic cascade. I was so enamored with juggling that I got books from the library on juggling and worked on tricks and more than 3 balls (like 4 and 5).
JYAJ: When did you start joggling?
JOYNER: I think it was for a 5K in Lexington, KY in the summer of 2006. I knew about joggling, but never really tried. I was very good at juggling, so I entered the race and just learned how to joggle right before the race and along the way during the race. I think I dropped three times and made a time of about 30 minutes.
JYAJ: Why did you start joggling?
JOYNER: I wanted to do something interested during that 5K run when I started joggling. I realized that it is a great way to get people to cheer for you while running a race! Also, my wife is an avid runner. She has done 2 half-marathons and will be running her first marathon this November. I don’t like running that much. But I enjoy it when I get to joggle. That helps me connect with my wife in a sport that she loves so much. If I can juggle while I run, then I love it too.
JYAJ: How many races have you done while joggling?
JOYNER: I did that 5K in 2006. Then I did a 10K in Richmond, VA this past Spring (of 2008). I ran that 10K in an hour. Then I competed in the World Joggling Championships this past July and competed in about 6 events (5K, 100-meters (both 3-ball and 5-ball), 400-meters, and two relays). And to my surprise, I won 2 golds and 2 silvers. The medal about which I am the most proud is the silver in the 5K. I lost to some guy named Romanowski
JYAJ: What are some of your favorites?
JOYNER: I loved running the 10K in Richmond, Virginia. There were about 25,000 people in that race and plenty of cheering for me along the way.
JYAJ: What are some of your most interesting joggling stories?
JOYNER: Other than the sly comments we all get (like, “show-off” or “I can’t even do that standing still!”), my favorite story was during the 10K in Richmond. About a fourth of the way into the race, I started to hear people on the roadside tell me that there was another joggler way out in front of me (and one person told me he was doing 4 balls). That got me jealous, because that means that joggler was stealing my thunder in that race. I wanted to be the first joggler this crowd saw in this race. So I sped up and asked people along the way how far ahead was the other joggler. They would tell me and I kept charging forward.
Finally, about half-way through the race, I saw him and caught up with him. He was only juggling 3 balls, and it actually turned out to be an old friend of mine whom I had not seen in some 8 years. We once hung out as juggling friends years ago but had lost touch with one another. We chatted a little, ran together for some time, and then he dropped a few times – and I kept going and maintained my position as “first joggler” in that race (to the end). I finished the race with only one drop, and my friend and I are happily reconnected.
JYAJ: What kind of training do you do? How fast do you run?
JOYNER: I rarely train with my joggling, but I would like to do more now that I have recently gotten into this thing. It really is the only way I can be motivated to get up and run with my wife. I really love to bike and unicycle. I run longer runs at anywhere between 8-10 minute/mile pace
JYAJ: Do you eat a special diet?
JOYNER: My wife eats mostly raw vegan and I just eat whatever she makes me (and it actually tastes really good). So I eat a lot of vegetarian/vegan dishes, sometimes raw. I do like a good meat every once and a while (when we eat out or something).
JYAJ: How long do you think you will keep joggling?
JOYNER: For the rest of my life!
JYAJ: Any advice for would-be jogglers?
JOYNER: If you can juggle 3-balls with ease and know how to put one foot in front of the other, it’s not that hard to do it all at the same time.
JYAJ: Where do you see the sport of joggling in 10 years?
JOYNER: The 2016 Olympics?
Thanks Jesse. We could only hope to get joggling in the Olympics. It really is the sport of the future you know. If you want to know more about Jesse, check out his website Jesse The Juggler.
Check out the joggler interview pages for more joggling interviews.