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Her time read 6 hours, 34 minutes, 11 seconds.
But everything about Jennifer Baughman screamed winner.
Baughman was the final finisher Saturday of the Mill Race Marathon, but her race began long ago.
In April 2012, she faced a much tougher challenge after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The 59-year-old Morgantown resident took it straight on and came away clean six months later.
So running more than 26 miles in less than 6½ hours was just icing on her victory cake.
“Since cancer, I’ve been challenging myself to do more things in life,” Baughman said. “This tops that list.”
Baughman said after finishing her treatments in September 2012, she decided to give running a try, first joining a running club and then competing in a handful of shorter-distance running events.
Participating in the annual Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon had been the acceptable highlight of her experience, but then she wanted more.
“I started preparing for this once I heard about it,” she said. “I didn’t really know if I could actually do it and kept battling those doubts about every mile along the way, but I wasn’t going to give up.”
With her husband, Jim, happily greeting her just a few feet past the finish stripe, Baughman had put all those doubts to rest. Her running friend had to drop out a little past the half-way mark when physical problems and leg cramps forced her to deal with her own physical threats.
Those were only delays.
“I used to think I was a big, fat wuss,” Baughman said. “But fighting cancer showed me that I wasn’t.”
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