Former McNeese runner breaks world record while raising money for kids

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Jarrett LeBlanc with wife Katie and his daughter following his world record run.
Jarrett LeBlanc with wife Katie and his daughter following his world record run.

LAKE CHARLES – Former McNeese all-conference distance runner and five-time Southland Conference medal winner including two gold medals, Jarrett LeBlanc, added World Record holder to list of accomplishments on Sunday when the Hathaway native set a new mark when running a half marathon on a treadmill.

LeBlanc clocked a time of 1:02.50 in the 13.1 mile run, breaking the old mark of 1:03.08 that was set back in 2020.

But the record wasn’t the most important thing for the man dubbed “The Fastest Man in Acadiana” in a region he works as a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer at Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center. His focus was 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,” said LeBlanc. “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 wanted to use his platform and passion to raise money for the organization, which has reached nearly $10,000 of his $25,000 goal. You can donate by clicking HERE.

A friend of his, who broke this same record while running in higher altitude, was the inspiration behind the idea.

“He broke the record at an altitude so with me doing it at sea level, I knew I already had and advantage,” he said. “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.”

LeBlanc, his family, friends and supporters, gathered at Red Lerille’s Health and Racquet Club in Lafayette to watch history be made.

LeBlanc was six seconds ahead of record pace through the first 5k split (14:54) and built a 13-second cushion after clocking 29:46 through 10-kilometers. He had a 3-second lead following 15k and was dead even at 59:37 through 20k, then pushing through the final distance to break the mark by 18 seconds.

“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. “I’m really hoping to spread overall awareness about congenital heart disease and at the same time, raising money for the camp.

“These kids go to camp for free and they get to experience a summer camp just like any other kid, while taking safety and education as a priority.”

A 2012 McNeese graduate, LeBlanc became the first Louisiana native to run a sub 4-minute mile on Louisiana soil back on May 23, 2015 when he clocked in at 3:59.95 in front of a rowdy audience at the Bill and Lena Henning Track and Field Complex.

His running career has continued in his days since competing at McNeese, including participating in the 2016 and 2020 United States Olympic Marathon Trials.

He and his wife, Katie, are expecting their second child in October so racing has taken a backseat in life, but the 32-year-old is hoping he has one more kick left in him.

“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,” said LeBlanc.

Regardless of what happens with that goal, LeBlanc holds the title of World Record holder and is already a world champion in the eyes of the kids in need.

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