Until 2004, Jennifer Meyer wasn’t a runner. “I was walking quite a bit at the time, and it was taking too long,” Jennifer says. So she started running. A lot. Her twin sister, Joanne Mihm, talked her into signing up for a marathon in 2008, and by the time the two crossed the finish line at the Grand Rapids Marathon, Jennifer was hooked. She’s run 11 marathons so far, and isn’t planning to stop anytime soon. “Running levels the playing field,” Jennifer says. “You’re all doing the same thing. And everyone is having fun.” (Cory has his doubts.)
When the sisters run together, they run as "The Goon Squad," a reference to a childhood taunt that's now a term of endearment. Jennifer loves that there is a broader “sense of camaraderie at races,” too. And there’s an added dose of that at her favorite race, the Twin Cities Marathon. That’s because the race includes a Corporate Team Challenge, in which around 200 companies compete “in a fun-spirited celebration of physical achievement.” Jennifer, supervisor of Development Data Services at Mayo Clinic, has been part of Mayo’s team in years past, and this year she’s serving as the unofficial team captain/head cheerleader/chief motivator. She’s set up a Facebook page (Mayo Clinic Twin Cities Marathon Corporate Team Challenge 2016) and a Yammer group (Twin Cities Marathon Corporate Team Challenge 2016) to connect Mayo runners. You can also reach her via email.
The team challenge “is a great team builder and a fun way to show pride in Mayo,” says Lauren Hazuka, a marketing specialist at Mayo Clinic. There are also tangible benefits to team challenge participants, according to the race website, which boasts of a “spacious Corporate Team Challenge tent” at the finish line, “complete with food and beverage, private massage, and entertainment.” Team participants are also eligible for “tons of great prize drawings” and, of course, awards. The top three teams in each division (fastest team and largest number of participants) receive bragging rights.
Jennifer encourages all Mayo staff who will be running the Twin Cities Marathon to register for the Corporate Team Challenge and connect with others on Facebook or Yammer. If you’ve never run a marathon before, Jennifer says this race is a great one for first-timers, who make up 30 percent of the field. “The spectator support along the course is awesome, and the race organization is down to a science,” she tells us. And you don’t need to be a Meb Keflezighi or Shalane Flanagan to run a marathon. “If you ever go watch the end of a race, you’ll see all shapes and sizes,” Jennifer tells us. “There will be all kinds of people crossing the finish line.”
If you want to be among them, tune in to this week’s Mayo Clinic Radio show to hear Edward Laskowski, M.D., co-director of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, share tips on how to start a running routine. Then, you can share your comment below before you share this story with others using the handy social media tools atop this page.