Jarrett LeBlanc Breaks Treadmill Half Marathon Record
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Jarrett LeBlanc Breaks Treadmill Half Marathon Record

Aug 12, 2023

Jarrett LeBlanc finished with a time of 1:02.50 for the 13.1-mile run—that’s 4:47 mile pace.

For one man, going the distance for children in need meant smashing a world record.

Jarrett LeBlanc, a former all-conference distance runner at McNeese State University and a five-time Southland Conference medalist, set a world record for running a half marathon on a treadmill on Sunday in Lafayette, Louisiana.

LeBlanc finished with a time of 1:02:50 for the 13.1-mile run, breaking the previous record time of 1:03:08 set in 2020.

Setting the record was just a bonus for LeBlanc, though. Called “the Fastest Man in Acadiana,” LeBlanc works as a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer at Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center. He was running to raise money for Camp Bon Coeur, a nonprofit organization that provides camps and programs for children with heart defects.

“Two ideas came together that motivated me to attempt this,” LeBlanc said in an interview with McNeese State University. “Getting back into shape after taking some time off (from running) after my daughter was born in May 2022, and as a cardiac sonographer, I see kids with congenital heart disease in the NICU before they end up having multiple life-saving surgeries.” LeBlanc has raised nearly $10,000 towards his $25,000 goal for the organization.

LeBlanc said he was inspired to run by a friend who broke the same record while running at a higher elevation.

“He broke the record at an altitude, so with me doing it at sea level, I knew I already had an advantage,” Leblanc said to McNeese State. “The thought of having a world record attempt would not only bring the community together but also the entire world to get behind a great cause to help the children.”

Family, friends, and a few supporters turned up at Red Lerille’s Health and Racquet Club in Lafayette to watch LeBlanc try and make history.

LeBlanc led the record pace by six seconds at the 5K split (14:54), then widened the gap to 13 seconds after 10K (29:46). He maintained a three-second lead at 15K and was tied at 20K (59:37). At the end of the run, he finished 18 seconds ahead of the record.

“The record to me is pretty small. Sure, this is a good indicator of fitness, but compared to the cause, it’s minuscule,” he said in the interview. “I’m really hoping to spread overall awareness about congenital heart disease and, at the same time, raise money for the camp.”

On May 23, 2015, LeBlanc became the first Louisiana native to run a sub-4 minute mile on home soil. He completed the race with a time of 3:59.95 at the Bill and Lena Henning Track and Field Complex in front of an enthusiastic crowd. LeBlanc also participated in the 2016 and 2020 United States Olympic Marathon Trials.

LeBlanc and his wife, Katie, are expecting their second child in October, which has slowed his racing frequency, but the 32-year-old says he still has more to offer.

“I’m hoping to get some kind of last-chance qualifying race for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, making it my third since 2016,” LeBlanc said.

Laura Ratliff is a New York City-based writer, editor, and runner. Laura's writing expertise spans numerous topics, ranging from travel and food and drink to reported pieces covering political and human rights issues. She has previously worked at Architectural Digest, Bloomberg News, and Condé Nast Traveler and was most recently the senior editorial director at TripSavvy. Like many of us, Laura was bitten by the running bug later in life, after years of claiming to "hate running." Her favorite marathon is Big Sur.

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