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‘I had one goal’: Quebecer sets world record at London Marathon | CityNews Montreal

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A Guinness World Record was set by Quebecer, Jani Barré, who completed the fastest marathon in a non-racing wheelchair at the end of April in London, England.

CityNews caught up with the athlete in Saint-Hyacinth, about 70 kilometers east of Montreal, where the she trains and continues to motivate others.

“I didn’t have a second to lose,” said Barré. “It was so important in my head, I had one goal, the Guinness record.”

Quebecer, Jani Barré, holding her Guinness World Record frame at the Club de boxe de St-Hyacinthe on May 22, 2024. (Credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

“It’s good,” said Barré, laughing. “Try to beat me!”

“But I will return.”

The record time she set: 4 hours 19 minutes and 21 seconds.

The moment marked her tenth marathon completed across ten different cities.

It happened on April 21st — in this exact chair.

Jani Barré and her father training at the Club de boxe de St-Hyacinthe on May 22, 2024. (Credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

“It’s very difficult,” explained Barré. “I’m making my life more complicated because if I were sitting in a racing chair, things would go much faster.”

“On the other hand,” she added. “The challenge is precisely that.”

“That’s what made me so unique, because not many people, actually, do marathons in regular wheelchairs.”

Barré has suffered 157 fractures due to her osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. 

She credits Montreal’s Shriners Hospital for saving her life — but she couldn’t recover from the treatments alone — she also had to build muscle to better protect her bones.

Quebecer, Jani Barré, at the Club de boxe de St-Hyacinthe on May 22, 2024. (Credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

Her last fracture, now over 20 years ago.

The strength, built through boxing –- something her father, who opened the Club de boxe de St-Hyacinthe in 1979, inspired her to do.

“She’s an inspiration for a lot of people,” said Bernard Barré. “An inspiration for me too.”

“I’m very very proud to be Jani’s father,” he added. “She’s a tiger!”

Jani Barré (centre) alongside her father, Bernard Barré (left) and partner, Manon Pilon (right) with the Guinness World Record frame at the Club de boxe de St-Hyacinthe on May 22, 2024. (Credit: Pamela Pagano/CityNews)

“I think that’s what makes me the most proud,” said Manon Pilon, Jani Barré’s partner. “She inspires millions of people when we go to marathons all over the world.”

Setting this record –- an actual dream come true for Barré.

And she isn’t stopping here — she gives motivational speeches across the province, is a comedian, and is already training for her next marathon in Berlin this September.

“If I was capable of accomplishing this,” said Barré. “People are capable of achieving great things.”

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