World Record Breaking Success: Jenna’s Story at the Boston Marathon
When Jenna Wrieden arrived in Boston last weekend, she had a goal to break a world record. When Jenna left Boston, she had shattered the women’s treadmill half marathon record by 14 minutes. Read on to discover Jenna’s story—her favorite moment, the toughest mile, and her contribution to a cause close to the heart of every Boston marathoner.
Meet Jenna Wrieden
As of April 20, 2014, Jenna Wrieden holds the women’s treadmill half marathon world record at 1:20:39—held in Boston, Massachusetts.
Jenna Wrieden was promoted to head women’s cross country coach after leading High Point University to its first-ever Big South Championship in women’s cross country in 2011. Also an assistant coach in track & field, Wrieden joined the Panthers in 2010 after working at Queens University, Arizona State, and Appalachian State.
“The energy and pride of Boston is unparalleled by any other marathon I’ve ever attended.”
What was your favorite part of the world record-breaking experience?
That is a very difficult question. I think my favorite part was the last mile of the run when the crowd was really cheering loud. It’s amazing how much I was able to feed off their positive energy. I really didn’t want to let these complete strangers down.
My other favorite part had to be experiencing the community, unity, and passion that IS Boston during Boston Marathon Weekend. The energy and pride is unparalleled by any other marathon I’ve ever attended. It was pretty neat to share that experience with a few of my college teammates and friends.
Did you have any friends or family at the attempt?
Yes. The good thing about being in one place for 13 miles is that you can actually take a phone call—especially early on in the run. So of course my parents were on speakerphone with my friend Amy Hastings for a bit. And my High Point University team also called and cheered for me over the phone. They yelled some of the same advice I shout at them during a track meet. I may have to reevaluate some of the things I yell at them now that I’ve heard it from their perspective.
What was the most difficult part of the attempt?
It started to get mentally and physically fatiguing with about three miles to go. I remember looking at one of my friends who was doing the official timing and telling him that I was going to need some help the last three miles. He got the crowd pumped up and then I knew I was in it for good. There was never a question of breaking the record; I just wanted to do the best I could. I set a personal best in the half, so I was pretty happy with it. I had to make the last mile somewhat exciting. Too many people were staring at me for me to slow down.
My favorite part was the last mile of the run when the crowd was really cheering loud.
What are the technicalities of a world record attempt? What was required to make it official?
There were a few hoops we had to jump through. And by “we” I mean ProForm and me. Without their support, none of this would have happened.
One of the rules is that the attempt had to be in an open public arena, so the Boston Marathon Expo was the perfect stage. Other rules included two to four witnesses, one of which had to be certified within the sport of running. There had to be video and photos, which is never really a problem in this era of social media. (I think I learned more about Twitter during this attempt than any other time in my life!) There are some depths of Twitter that I didn’t even know existed!
We also had to have an official logbook with mile splits and notes during the attempt. The treadmill had to be certified and calibrated to make sure I was running the actual pace it said I was running.
Tell us about the special donation opportunity to the One Fund?
I thought it would be purposeful and hopefully engaging for some of the people who were invested in this attempt with me to donate to a cause that was bigger than just me running on a treadmill. The One Fund was the obvious answer as it was extremely meaningful to me and everyone else who was a part of the marathon.
I decided to donate one dollar for every minute I broke the record (rounding up is about $14). Now I am challenging people to match that amount. Go online to onefundboston.org and donate $14. There’s no attachment to me or the world record event; it’s just an attainable goal to help an incredible cause.
ProForm was so supportive of this cause that they committed to donating a dollar for every second I broke the record! I was thrilled when I heard they would do that. They also rounded up and donated $1,000 (as opposed to the 803 seconds I broke the record) to the One Fund. Everyone I have dealt with at the ProForm company has been very genuine and very supportive from the moment I asked them about the opportunity to attempt this record on one of their treadmills. It’s been a pretty amazing experience.
“I decided to donate one dollar for every minute I broke the record. Now I am challenging people to match that amount.”
How has your recovery process gone so far?
My recovery has been great! I feel pretty good physically and am ready to get back out there and keep training. I will say I did sleep a lot when I got back from the trip. It was a whirlwind of four days.
What’s next for you?
Next for me is continuing to train through the summer. My next big race will be a fall marathon where I plan to go for the marathon trials B standard of 2:43:00. I haven’t picked a fall marathon yet, but am excited to see what I can do.
As told to Erica Colvin, ProForm writer