Couple plans to finish third JFK ultramarathon together

'God brought us to it and God'll bring (us) through it'

'God brought us to it and God'll bring (us) through it'

November 19, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Editor's note: This is the fifth story in a six-part series about some of the people who will compete in the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon Saturday in Washington County.

o Midshipman to compete in her first JFK 50 Mile

o Greencastle man hopes to complete fifth JFK 50 Mile

o Rhoderick takes challenges in stride during JFK 50

o For Kitchen, the JFK 50 is grueling and special

  • View the JFK 2009 slideshow!
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    HANCOCK -- Fitness became therapy for Duane and Teresa Jensen before they met three years ago.

    Each was recovering from the end of a marriage.

    A parishioner at Hancock United Methodist Church, where Duane is pastor, was friends with Teresa, and introduced them.

    Teresa said exercise was a good stress reliever. Walking and talking also became a way for Duane and Teresa to connect.


On Saturday, the couple will attempt to complete their third JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon. The endurance event takes participants from Boonsboro to Williamsport along paved roads, the Appalachian Trail and the C&O Canal towpath.

The couple completed their first JFK 50 Mile in 2007, when they were dating.

They started together at 5 a.m. and finished together about 13 hours and 42 minutes later. Teresa, who battled a bladder infection, finish three seconds ahead of Duane.

"At 27 miles, I was totally out of it," she said. "My body was shutting down."

"We had to stop frequently," he said. "I'd say, 'Ten steps at a time.'"

In the 2008 race, Duane started at 7 a.m. and Teresa at 5 a.m. They again finished together -- 11 hours, 17 minutes, 37 seconds for him and 13 hours 17 minutes, 27 seconds for her.

"I trained better the second year," Duane said. "I knew what to expect."

At 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, Duane said he'd like to be 30 pounds lighter and concedes that his build isn't ideal for a long-distance race.

"When I run, I lumber," he said. "I'm like a big dump truck."

But he's committed.

"Finishing is like a super high ...," he said. "Plus, (running) keeps me honest. I like to eat."

"It was a personal goal of mine to achieve something," Teresa said. "Running this 50 miles for me felt like something big."

The Jensens, married since June 2008, live a block away from the C&O Canal towpath in Hancock, where they like to train.

They aren't hardcore runners -- as the race date approached, their longest training run was about 12 miles.

Mostly, the couple looks at the race with appreciation and awe.

Teresa said she likes being out when darkness fades in the early-morning hours.

"Just watching dawn break, you know that God's around," she said.

Duane enjoys the cheering fans at Weverton and other points and has developed confidence that he can endure.

"I feel like God brought us to it," Teresa said, "and God'll bring (us) through it."

The Jensen file

Name: Duane Jensen

Age: 45

Residence: Hancock

Occupation: Pastor, Hancock United Methodist Church

Number of JFK finishes: Two

The JFK in one word: "Thankful"

Name:Teresa Jensen

Age: 46

Residence: Hancock

Occupation: Deputy clerk at Washington County Courthouse

Number of JFK finishes: Two

The JFK in one word: "Humbling"

Coming Saturday: Meet four members of the Louderback family -- John, Tom, Ben and Sarah -- who among them have nine JFK 50 Mile finishes.

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