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Riley McLincha the Drubbling Joggler

We first learned of Riley McLincha from a book called Running Wild about the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. He and I were both featured in photos. Me joggling, him…drubbling. That is running while bounce juggling three basketballs. Here’s his interview below.

Introduction

Riley lives in Clio, Michigan, and is known by some around the area as the Wizard of Clio. The name stems not just from his “drubbling,” but began over 30 years ago when he held a Guinness World Record for memorizing pi. He invented drubbling, (dribbling 3 basketballs while running) which he will argue with anyone, is more difficult than joggling. Click this link to see an example of his drubbling. And a longer version can be found here.

Riley was born in 1951 and began joggling in 1981, making him one of the mclincha_45501oldest jogglers out there. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint and is now retired (from working anyway).

What is the story of how you learned to juggle?

MCLINCHA: I learned to juggle from a book my wife checked out for me at the Flint Public Library. Boy, was she sorry after. I photocopied many pages before returning it.

When did you start joggling?

MCLINCHA: That was in 1981, but I stayed in the closet, I came out at the 1987 Crim 10 Mile.

Why did you start joggling?

MCLINCHA: Heard about jogglers from a story in the Runners World. It was about the same time that I was learning to juggle, so I just had to take running to the next level.

How many races have you done while joggling?

MCLINCHA: It was only once a year, at the Crim 10 Mile, from ’77 to ’93. Once I converted to drubbling in 1994 I have not gone back to joggling. The number of races I’ve drubbling since ’94 is countless.

What are some of your favorites?

MCLINCHA: The Crim, NYC Marathon, Boston, and Chicago, Peachtree, Indy Mini, and The Brooksie Way.

What are some of your most interesting joggling (drubbling) stories?

MCLINCHA: I startled one man I was passing while dribbling three basketballs, he, yelped, “Jesus!” I said it was kind of amazing, but nothing like walking on water.
I have many favorite comments, the same many jogglers have heard, but my favorite was from a Bostonian, As I passed dribbling 3 basketballs, in disbelief he screamed, “That’s unf***kingbelieveable.”

I also met Barry Goldmeier at the start of the ’97 NYC. He saw me sitting on the ground with the basketballs and asked if I was going to juggle them. I was very much impressed that he was going to juggle 5 balls, and mostly because he said he averaged only a few hundred yards before messing up. Can’t imagine stopping 200 times or so in a marathon, bending over and picking up my balls. That is the only time, I knew I was in a race with another joggler. Michigan is a joggler desert.

What kind of training do you do?

MCLINCHA: I don’t train much anymore since the Boston in ’04. I swore off ever drubbling another marathon, for it nearly killed me. Now, once in a while I’ll do one training run before I do a half marathon.

How fast do you run?

MCLINCHA: With basketballs, a marathon takes me 5:30 – without 3:45 (3:17 was PR when 40). In a 5k, 28 min. w/b-balls, and 21:30 no balls (17:45 PR when in 30s).

How long do you think you will keep joggling (drubbling)?

MCLINCHA: With running being the first degree, and joggling the second, I will boldly say drubbling is the third. Those are the steps I took on the road to drubbling. When drubbling becomes too taxing I can go back to joggling, and eventually revert to just running. I hope that is 20 years from now. I turn 58 next month.

Do you have any advice for would-be jogglers (drubblers)?

MCLINCHA: Always start at the very back of the race. Remember for a drubbler its not about time. Think safety.

Where do you see the sport of joggling in 10 years?

MCLINCHA: I really don’t see joggling growing that much. Maybe if it was combining two sports, but juggling does seem to draw athletic types. I’ve never been to a IJA festival or any big scale juggler event. In my own personal experience, the non/joggling jugglers are a different breed.

Do you expect drubbling to grow?

MCLINCHA: I invented drubbling in 1993. Many have seen it, but not duplicated it. Out of a big group of jogglers, one or two might be willing learn, and switch, but where can I meet with a large group of jogglers to convert them?

Recently I saw a youtube video of a basketball “performer” who ran across a gym floor dribbling three balls. It was weird and awesome sight, seeing someone else do what only you had done before. So, he can drubble, but that doesn’t make him a drubbler. Drubblers like jogglers have to go the distance.

Thanks Riley. We look forward to joggling/drubbling another race with you sometime. Perhaps you might even inspire a few of the joggling community to try their hands at drubbling.

You can learn more about Riley McLincha at his website www.mclincha.com

And check out our interviews with juggling runners page to learn about more jogglers around the world.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Joe January 10, 2009, 3:53 pm

    His video is great. Very talented and entertaining. Makes me think my joggling is definitely easier.

  • Erv January 13, 2009, 7:40 pm

    Always a joy to see Riley drubbling in the Flint Crim. He makes it look so easy and it’s so entertaining for so many, particularly kids. Am impressed with his endurance! Go! Riley! Go!

  • JH January 21, 2009, 2:31 am

    I’ve referenced this on http://www.streetjuggling.com but I wanted to make a comment about juggling not drawing athletic types. I know of a couple of jugglers who’re avid sportspeople and I think the skillset is complementary too – it’s probably rather that conventions are not drawing athletic types :)

    Personally though ( I speak for myself here), I run a lot, I juggle a lot but I still haven’t seen the appeal of joggling. No offense or anything because I do respect you jogglers a lot but to me it feels a little pointless and clumsy. I run to clear my head. I juggle to clear my head. Doing both brings me out of that zone.

    On an irrelevant note, any thoughts on joggling the run leg of a triathlon?

  • Perry January 22, 2009, 8:13 am

    @JH – Thanks for the mention. No offense taken.

    To me, joggling is no more pointless than juggling. It doesn’t feel clumsy once it gets integrated into your running motion. Now I don’t even realize or think about the fact that I’m juggling while running. The bean bags just seem to go to exactly where my hands are. It’s very strange.

    I find joggling makes my workouts more interesting. Just running can get a bit boring.

    We actually reported on a guy some time back who joggled the marathon leg of the Canadian Ironman Triathlon. When I do an Ironman, I’ll definitely joggle the marathon leg. I might even try joggling the bike. Haven’t quite figured out the juggling/swimming leg.

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