In 2009 I ran my first 50 miler. It was an amazing experience and a huge part of that experience was due to a darling lady named Jenna Gruben. She was the 2008 winner and also acted as the local volunteer race organizer. She not only helped put on the event, but she also ran the race, and she won it again.
Jenna and I traded of the lead for the entire race. We ran a 6 mile stretch together. When do you ever see two people in the lead position of a race running together, chatting it up, and developing a friendship on the trail? This is part of the magic that is ultrarunning, and also part of the kindness that was par for the course for Jenna. Jenna eventually pulled away from me at mile 42 and took the win, with a smile on her face and jumping into the arms of her husband.
Jenna and I had just a week to add each other on Facebook and throw around a few conversations about teaming up for the Trans Rockies Run this year, but first she was off on a 4 month honeymoon to Nepal. This girl lived life in a big way. She did things that we all dream of. She made them happen.
Recently back from her honeymoon, I saw Jenna on this starting line this weekend. She introduced me to her two running pals Cara and Angie. They were super excited to run the 33K which Jenna called “the fun run”. We exchanged a big hug and it was time for me to hit the starting line.
Jenna ran a great race and placed 4th amongst stiff competition. She hit the road with her gal pals to head back to Steamboat after the race.
Jenna and her two friends were involved in an auto accident on the way home and Jenna is no longer with us. I am so terribly saddened by this, and I know she wouldn’t want me to be sad but to think of the amazing things she did with her life. And, really, her short life was truly an amazing one.
Ah, she will be so very sorely missed.
Today all I can think of is her wonderfully loving husband, her running partners that adored her, and her family. I am willing thoughts of love and strength their direction. We all know what an absolutely amazing person she was, it oozed from her every pore.
One that Jenna liked:
“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”
Jenna makes an appearance in my Run Rabbit Run movie.