A Quest for Personal Best

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February 3, 2015

“Because I can.” This simple statement is what motivates AVIAN employee, Jennifer Sproul to get up at 5:00 a.m. every morning to run before work. “I like saying ‘I can run a half marathon’ or ‘I can train for a full marathon,’” Sproul said when asked what inspires her to get out of bed so early.

Sproul attributes her healthy lifestyle to the examples both parents set while she was growing up. Her mom is a nutritionist, and “pigging out” on junk food was not an option in the Sproul household.

She recalls attending a sleepover when she was about 11 years old. “I ate what everyone else was eating – pizza, chips, soda and candy – the next day I felt awful,” Sproul recalls. “I do like pizza and will eat it every now and then. I think that’s the key – don’t deprive yourself of the food you love; just eat it in moderation…and in conjunction with an active lifestyle.”

Sproul took up running as a way to spend time with her dad, an avid marathon runner. “He would run every morning and one time I asked if I could go with him, and I’ve been running ever since,” Sproul said.

Because Sproul no longer lives at home, she can’t run with her dad every morning, but they still schedule their Saturday runs together, and he helps pace her as she trains to accomplish her goal of a personal best.

Her love of running has prompted Sproul to compete in some extreme events such as the “Hood to Coast Relay” in Portland, Oregon http://hoodtocoastrelay.com/ last summer. The relay team consists of 12 runners covering a distance of 197 miles. Each runner is responsible for completing three legs of the race, ranging anywhere from five to nine miles per leg. Sproul’s distances were 6 ¼ miles, 5 ½ miles and eight (8) miles. “It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but it was so much fun!”

Last fall, Sproul achieved a personal best time at the Baltimore Half Marathon and hopes to run her first marathon in the near future, with her dad by her side.