John “The Penguin” Bingham, a longtime friend of TNT, motivates us at our pre-race Inspiration dinners and sticks around on race-day long after the middle-of-the-packers have finished to proudly high-five the final crossers at our finish lines. I first heard John speak at my second half-marathon in Anchorage approximately ten years ago. I’ve read his books, look forward to laughing at his humorous Inspiration Dinner speeches and some of my friends make fun of me for trying to get pictures with him at events.
Until recently, I admittedly knew more about John than I did about his wife, Coach Jenny Hadfield. Last year Coach Jenny spoke at one of our Inspiration Dinners. She spoke to a room of hundreds, and while she probably only knew small percentage of the room personally, she had a cool calm confidence in us all that I’m sure helped many across the finish line the next day.
I started to read up on Jenny, “endurance athlete, writer, motivator, adventreprenuer…” and thought “I wanna be like Jenny when I grow up.”
One morning after starting up the @Mile_Stones twitter account, I followed Coach Jenny. Approximately 10 minutes later (I think it may have been 9, but who’s counting?) Coach Jenny tweeted about Mile Stones, and we’ve received lots and lots of love ever since. She ordered some coasters, and also some as prizes to award on the Caribbean Marathon Cruise. She also featured Mile Stones in an Active.com article, Coach Jenny’s 11 Running Must-haves For Spring. We were included in the May/June issue of Women’s Running Magazine as one of Coach Jenny’s “Favorite Things” and we were also honored to be part of her segment that aired on ABC News in Chicago (on my birthday) here: ABC News – Chicago Coach’s Top Picks For Running Gear.
Thank you Coach Jenny for sharing Mile Stones with your friends and fans. As a result, I’ve gotten to “meet” so many fabulous people with their own race numbers, stories, words of encouragement and even great training advice! To quote one of my Ironman customers after sharing congrats and a small piece of my own sprint triathlon experience, “They say you live through your first tri, and live for the ones that follow.” I’m registering for my next in a few days.
I do what I do because I believe in the people behind the bibs. None of you are just that number pinned to your singlet, bike shirt or tri suit. The commitment and dedication put into achieving amazing things is overwhelming and inspires me to be better. As an endurance athlete myself, I get that those hours you wore it were some of life’s most challenging yet rewarding. Every bib that arrives is handled as though it were my own, and I’m honored and grateful for the opportunity to help permanently preserve your race-day memories.