Real Life

Marathon effort

This November, just after celebrating her 57th birthday, Auckland receptionist Lynne Jensen will run her 21st consecutive ASB Auckland Half Marathon.
Lynne Jensen

I can still strongly remember the pure disbelief that came after I ran my first half marathon – I couldn’t believe I could actually run that distance. It was a miracle for me! After finishing, the pain was but a distant memory. So I decided to run it again the following year – after all, I now had a whole year to train.

And so it continued for the next few years. After completing five consecutive half marathons, I became a ‘roadster’ and it inspired me to keep going. My goal then was to try to run 10 Auckland half marathons, and keep going year after year.

Staying motivated

I am by no means a fast runner, but I guess at the ripe old age of 57 I’m doing okay! I put my headphones on when I’m doing my long Saturday run, and just do it. Sometimes the hardest part is getting out the door, but once I’ve done that I’m fine. I have to keep my head thinking positive – I always have the words ‘I will never give up’ in my head, which seem to get me through even when I want to stop. I do have days when I don’t want to go running, but I just say to myself that it’s only one or two hours out of my day. When I need a little extra encouragement, I always think of the lovely hot bath I can relax in when I get home – and the equally lovely coffee and muffin I can have as my reward!

My kids Ashleigh, 28, and Kurt, 30, are very proud of me, and have been my support crew forever! Kurt’s wife Kim is a ‘roadster’ as well, but she’ll be walking the half marathon this year as they’re expecting a baby in February. My partner Andy has supported me for the past 12 years at the half marathon as well. After every one, we get together for a nice lunch somewhere to compare notes about the run – and heave a sigh of relief that the training is all over until next year!

I like to run at least six two-hour runs leading up to the event if possible, just to get my body used to the impact on it for the big day. I run two one-hour runs at 5am during the week, a long two-hour run on a Saturday and I also do Box Fit a couple of times a week.

Slow and steady

My fastest running time was 1hr 59min – we are talking quite a few years ago here! Unfortunately over the years my times have increased. I will be more than happy to get over the finish line in one piece this year, probably with a 2hr 20min-2hr 30min finish time. As you can imagine, my body is no longer that of a 20 or 30-year-old, and I’ve sure had my share of injuries along the way, but I would hate to see my body if I didn’t exercise at all. Eek! Running hasn’t become trickier, just slower. But that’s okay, at least I’m still pounding the pavements. Of course I’d like to do well, but the relief and satisfaction of reaching the end is the best feeling; all the hard work suddenly seems worth it! I’ll keep running half marathons until I can’t anymore… But I’ll still be able to walk them.

Words by Emma Clifton

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