Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Meeting Lynn Jennings, Retired Olympic Distance Runner

I am beyond excited for next Thursday!  Lynn Jennings will be visiting the school district I work for and I will have the chance to listen to her speak three times that day!  I am also thrilled because one of my co-workers, who happens to be a fellow distance runner and helped me train for last year's marathon attempt, invited me to have drinks with them after the parent meeting that evening!  There is no way I am passing up a chance to meet her!  Just need to get a babysitter!  Anyone in blogland interested in hanging out with my 8 and 5 year old?  LOL.  Seriously though, how could I not want to meet her, she is such an accomplished athlete! 

                                             LYNN JENNINGS
Heralded as a pioneer in women's running, Lynn Jennings is convinced that women should pursue their passions above and beyond the traditional roles of marriage and child rearing that society has imposed upon them. If it's sports they wish to pursue, then so much the better.

Jennings was the first female on her high school's all-male track team. From her sophomore year until graduation, Jennings was ranked number one on her team and third overall in the league. She continued to run in college as part of the Princeton University track team, but struggled to keep up in school and stick to a rigorous practice schedule. In fact, she quit running several times out of frustration.

In 1984, she was inspired to resurrect her career as she watched Joan Benoit Samuelson win the Olympic Gold medal in the first women's marathon to be included in the Olympic Games. Watching Samuelson win was a thrilling victory for female athletes, yet a personal disappointment for Jennings. She not only trained alongside Samuelson as part of the Liberty Athletic Club, but also had beaten her several times in competitive races. At that moment, Jennings recommitted herself to the sport and trained her way into the 1988 Olympic Games, where she finished sixth in the 10,000 meter event.

After that it was all the way to the top: Jennings went on to win nine USA cross-country championships and an Olympic Bronze medal in the 10,000 meters in Barcelona in 1992. In addition, she holds the American record for the 10,000 meters, the American indoor record for the 5,000 and 3,000 meters, and the American road records in the 5K and 10K distances. She has won scores of road races all over the world.

I will of course be back with a blog post about this amazing opportunity!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and I have no doubt that Lynn Jennings will inspire me!!

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