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Morgantown resident Jennifer Baughman credits her running regimen, which she started in 2008, with helping her overcome both the physical and mental challenges that breast cancer threw at her.
Baughman, 59, was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2011. But roughly two years later, she completed the 26.2-mile Mill Race Marathon.
Being fit was a difference-maker.
“When cancer came along … I was better prepared to deal with that kind of emotional sucker punch,” she said.
Baughman runs a home-based floral sales business and joined a running class in 2008 on the suggestion of a friend. Baughman initially reacted with skepticism, as she had not run since junior high school, but she said the class taught her about the proper shoes and running form and how to push yourself when you “hit the wall.”
At the end of the class, Baughman ran a 5K race and won in her bracket.
“And then it just made me want to do another one and do it faster,” she said recently as she sat outside Columbus Regional Hospital before a doctor’s
She is cancer-free but still sees her physician for routine follow-ups.
Her diagnosis was followed by chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and radiation. Despite treatments taking their toll, Baughman competed in the Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis last year and finished the race just 30 seconds slower than the year before.
“I was really pumped about that,” she said.
Beyond physical fitness, Baughman has focused on eating healthier foods, trying to stay away from processed foods and eating the things she loves — chocolate and Italian food — in moderation.
Baughman and running partner Darlene Harden logged about 500 miles from May through September as they prepared for the inaugural Mill Race Marathon.
The Brown County woman said that people should try to find a sport they enjoy and to start slowly.
A lot of times people decide to start running, grab an old pair of tennis shoes and give up because after 200 yards they feel as though they are going to collapse.
Baughman advises that beginners combine running and walking and/or join a running club.
Unless a physical condition prevents you from running, she said, almost anyone can be a runner.
Lives in: Morgantown.
Diagnosed with breast cancer: 2011.
Ran first marathon: Sept. 28 (Mill Race Marathon.)
Began running: 2008.
Notable: Credits her physical fitness with helping her overcome the physical and mental challenges that cancer threw at her.
Occupation: Runs a home-based floral business.
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