Maybe you have seen the headlines already, "Olympic hopeful struck by car" or "Community rallies around injured runner." Jenny Crain, 39 of Milwaukee, is a very familiar name among local and national runners. I had the privilege of meeting Jenny and running with her back in 1996 at the University of Wisconsin Parkside. Jenny, who went to Franklin High School and Ohio University, called my Coach and asked if she could train with us. She was a wonderful addition and inspiration to all of us runners at UWP. The determination and her spirit inspired us all to be better runners. Jenny now lies in ICU with a swollen brain. All we can do is wait.
Jenny helped me qualify for a big race back in the spring of 1996. It was the outdoor track season and our coach had lined up some tough Division I races for us, but we had to qualify with some pretty tough times. We were trying to get to a race at the University of Tennessee – a great road trip. My chance to make it was in the 3000, not one of my specialty races. Our qualify race was in IL somewhere, I can't even remember. Jenny was with us and ran the 5k. My race was about an hour after. My teammate and I had to run 10:13 which was a big PR for the both of us. I was so nervous and not positive at all. We asked coach if Jenny could "rabbit" the race for us and get us on pace. She was so excited to help us. She set the pace for us and coached us throughout the race. I remember her saying, "come on, lets go" and "you are so strong, you can do this" and other encouraging words. She made the race so easy and we both ran our personal bests and qualified for the race in Tennessee. Jenny introduced me to Krispy Kreme donuts on that trip to Tennessee. I remember when she saw the sign, "fresh donuts" she yelled at coach to pull over and go through the drive through.
My last "run in" with Jenny was the Bastille Days run on 2006. I was warming up and ended up running next to her. I said, "Hey Jenny, not sure if you remember me" and she gave me a hug and said, "Of course I do Tracey, lets go do some strides."
That is Jenny. She is so positive and full of energy. She is always so fun to be around and just a strong, amazing woman. She has touched so many peoples lives. The running community is in a state of shock right now and we are pulling for her. People are praying so hard for her and her family and to guide the doctors that are taking care of her.
Come on Jenny, I know you can do it, lets go, you are so strong. Please pull through this. I know I will be running after you again someday!