Two more marathons

Giebner to run in Tokoyo, London

Jennifer Giebner

Back on Sept. 25, 2016, Dunkirk native Jennifer Giebner was able to notch another accomplishment under her belt as she ran in, and completed, the Berlin Marathon. And this coming year, she will do something that less than 1,000 others have done, as she will complete the fifth and sixth legs of the World Marathon series when she runs the 26.2 miles needed to finish the Tokyo and London marathons.

“I did pretty well,” Giebner said, referring to her performance in Berlin. “It wasn’t my best to date, but I overcame a couple of injuries over the past couple of years, so I did pretty well.”

Running 26.2 miles is a daunting task for anyone, but Giebner seems to thrive on it.

“I can’t even describe it,” Giebner said, when asked how much she is looking forward to running in Tokyo and London. “I get chills just thinking about it. I’ve been working real hard the past few months, but after I ran in Berlin and New York City, I took a couple of months off.

“I’m excited to get there and do the runs,” Giebner added. “My adrenaline is going knowing I’m going to run in these big races and get the Six-Star Completion Medal for completing all the World Marathons. I just keep hoping I stay healthy and that I don’t get sick,” Giebner said.

Jennifer Giebner

The Six-Star Completion Medal, which is given to those runners who have completed the Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Tokyo and London marathons, has been awarded to less than 1,000 people according to Giebner, so to say she will be in rare company is a bit of an understatement. But she also won’t be alone on that April day a couple months from now, as she will be traveling with a pair of friends, one of which will join her in the ceremony.

“We haven’t made any travel arrangements yet,” she said. “We’re all going to meet up and stay together. Myself and my friend, Dawn, will both be Six-Star finishers, so what started as a dream is now something that is pretty special, because we’ll both be finishing in London and receiving the awards at the same time. We will also be running ambassadors, which is quite an honor.”

Besides just running in the marathon in Tokyo, Giebner will be going abroad with other American citizens, who will all be able to experience what one of the biggest cities in the world have to offer.

“For Tokyo, I’m actually going with a marathon traveling group out of Boston,” she said. “They have made all of the travel arrangements, so we’re all traveling together. And they have all the local attractions set up with bussing to where everything is. We’ll have schedules and I thought that was the best thing for me, was to have a schedule set up by someone who has already been there, and who knows where they are going when they’re showing us the different places.”

Although she took some time off after running in New York, Giebner picked up the pace as she began to prepare for the upcoming events, until the days drew closer that is.

“I did my last long run on Sunday (Feb. 5), which I did 23 miles,” Giebner said. “So from there on out, the miles will kind of taper down. You take it a little bit easier on your legs, because I know it’s what’s necessary. You need those recovery miles, which is what they call them when you lower (how much you run). You’re just giving your legs a break.

“I’m just going to focus on staying healthy, making sure I get my workouts in, eating right, getting enough rest and staying positive,” Giebner added. “This is a chance in a lifetime for me to go and travel to these places and experience the things I’m experiencing, so I don’t want to take anything for granted.”

Although she was able to qualify for the other five marathons, Giebner was unable to do so for the much-tougher-to-get-into London event. But she nonetheless found her way in.

“They’re all qualifying marathons,” Giebner said. “You have to qualify in your age group, but the one I didn’t qualify for, and actually got in through a charity, was the London Marathon, and that will be my final road marathon.

“That one you can’t qualify for,” Giebner added. “It’s very hard for American citizens to get into the race unless you run for charity. And I didn’t want to put it off for another year, so I did get into a lottery, but I didn’t get accepted. And two of my friends tried to get in through a lottery and neither of them got accepted, so all three of us decided to run for charity. And we’ve been raising money and will be traveling together to run in these marathons.”

The London Marathon will be her third event she will have run for charity, with one of them coming in 2014, when she ran in honor of her brother-in-law, Aaron Smith, who died of kidney cancer. She signed up a lot of charities and decided it would be a first-come-first-served decision.

“I don’t think any charity is a bad charity,” Giebner said. “I was accepted by Pre-Eclampsia, which I didn’t know much about until I researched it. But the more I talked to friends and family members about it, it’s something that many of the people they know have experienced.”

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy condition characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys.

“It became important to me,” Giebner said. “And because it touched some of their lives, I decided I was going to stick with that and I’m excited to be a part of that team.

“It’s great, because I love a good cause and raising money,” Giebner added. “And it’s extra incentive to work hard and do some good for other people at the same time.”

In terms of what she has planned for after she’s done running distance races the magnitude of one of the World Marathons, Giebner has a good idea of what she is going to do.

“I’d like to be able to spend more time doing other things like seeing my nieces,” Giebner said. “I don’t get to see them enough right now. I make sure I see them every day, but I want to make sure I see them for more than a half hour. There’s things I want to do other than just run, so I will definitely stay very active.”

Hard work aside, Giebner has received motivation from all her friends and family.

“They have been super supportive,” Giebner said. “I don’t get to do much because I work all day and then train. But they understand that I have to go and get to the gym, but I do want to see my nieces a little bit more every day.

“I have a ton of friends who are all wishing me luck,” she added. “And the people at the gym. I can feel the friendships and the love and it really kind of fuels me. And I just want to thank everybody for offering their support and the people that are sponsoring me in the London Marathon.”