The best thing about hippity-hopping, according to women’s world record holder Kelly Stauffer, is “being done.”
A Hippity Hop, just so we’re all clear, is a big exercise ball with a handle attached to it. It takes longer than walking and consumes much more energy. An Italian originally created it, called it a PON-PON and patented the design in 1968.
“I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for two hours,” Kelly said as she neared the end of the 5-mile race course on June 17.
The course took place along the Greenbelt, starting in Julia Davis Park, winding along Boise State, bordering Warm Springs golf course, passing the Ram restaurant and returning to the start. The course, a mile long, has to be completed in five laps, from start-to-finish to finish-to-start.
Kelly and her husband Andy Stauffer started participating in the race when it began three years ago and have done so every Father’s Day since.
“We’re not normal anyways,” Andy said. He holds the men’s world record for the 5-mile Hippity Hop race at 1 hour and 9 minutes.
The race took its toll on the couple, with Andy’s calves chaffing from the rubber ball, and Kelly’s hands blistered and bleeding. Finishing in 1 hour and 58 minutes, Kelly rolled off her ball onto the grass in relief.
When Kelly isn’t bounding around on a rubber child’s toy, she teaches P.E. at Middleton High School.
“My high-school kids get a kick out of hearing what Mrs. Stauffer did,” she said.
Andy works as artistic director at digital marketing agency WireStone. But there’s money to be made at being excellent at hippity-hopping. The couple walked away with $700 in winnings between the two of them.
“This is just something you come out and push yourself to your limits. But this, obviously, it just takes determination,” Kelly said, adding leg and upper body strength to that list as well.
The couple’s world records aren’t actually recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records because getting an official out to validate the event would cost around $2,300. Right now, the record is held officially by a New Yorker who “sounds like he’s a pretty talented, skilled guy,” Andy said. “He can juggle and do all kinds of crazy stuff.”
But the couple said they’re happy with their accomplishments and their winnings. As Kelly hippity-hopped along the Greenbelt, a man on a bike passing by said to his kid: “See, this is why you don’t swallow your gum.”