Moffat County High School cross country coach Jennifer Pressgrove stands on the MCHS track wearing her bib from the 2012 Steamboat Marathon half marathon race. Pressgrove completed the race in 1:39:02 and was the 11th female to cross the line. It was her first half marathon in five years.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Moffat County High School cross country coach Jennifer Pressgrove stands on the MCHS track wearing her bib from the 2012 Steamboat Marathon half marathon race. Pressgrove completed the race in 1:39:02 and was the 11th female to cross the line. It was her first half marathon in five years.

Running strong — again

Knee surgeries, pregnancy no obstacle for Craig resident in half marathon

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Craig resident David Pressgrove was a bit disappointed in his effort at the Steamboat Half-Marathon on Sunday, but he had nothing but praise for his wife’s performance in the race.

“She’s tough. She’s a lot more mentally tough than I am,” said Pressgrove, 32. “I watched her race in college and was always impressed with her mental toughness.”

Jennifer Pressgrove, a Moffat County High School assistant girls cross-country coach, displayed that toughness in finishing 11th among women and 50th overall with a time of 1:39:02. She accomplished the feat while running 12 weeks pregnant.

Jennifer, 29, is the mother of two sons, Ryun, 2, and Jonas, 15 months. With a third on the way, she was not running in peak physical condition Sunday, but she was pleased with the effort nonetheless.

“I was pretty happy with it," she said. "I had a goal time of under 1:40 and hit 1:39. I was trying not to over-exert myself too much. I needed to pace myself. I wasn’t planning on running pregnant, but I had already signed up, and then got pregnant. I had already done most of the training, so I figured I would still do the race.”

Jennifer also stressed that she made sure to keep her child safe.

“A lot of people get nervous about running while carrying a child. As long as you’ve been running beforehand, it’s OK to keep running,” she said.

But, while running and finishing the race while pregnant was satisfying for Jennifer, it wasn't what she was most happy about.

Running has been a part of Jennifer’s life since an early age, growing up in Kearney, Neb.

She ran for Concordia University in Seward, Neb. Since school, however, she has had eight knee surgeries, and has dealt with complications.

At one point, she was told she wouldn’t run again.

Running and finishing the Steamboat half, her first race since 2007, was a great way to show she's capable of being a strong runner again.

“I’ve been racing since the fourth grade, and running has become a big part of my life. I had a lot of complications in my surgeries with my ACL,” she said. “One surgeon said I should try to become passionate about something else, like biking. He said to prove him wrong and I did.

“During the final four miles you’re coming down a hill and I was just overjoyed. My knee didn’t hurt at all. It was a great feeling.”

Despite the disappointment in his race, David, a Baldwin City, Kan. native, said he couldn’t help but be proud of his wife.

“It’s pretty cool for her to be able to run, after the race she was excited," he said. "She was definitely pretty pumped. She’s more heroic than I am.”

With proof she can still run competitively, Jennifer is now looking forward to being able to race in the future.

She finished four minutes and five seconds behind her husband in the Steamboat half, and said she might try to beat him if she’s able to get a full set of training.

“I think if I were 100 percent I would try and gun for him, because I’m really competitive,” she said. “He knows that.

"He would probably just run ahead. Five minutes is quite a bit to make up in a half marathon.”

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