We all have our own story and reasons to start running, some not as pretty as others. This member had determination and did not give up. This week our featured Steeplechaser Spotlight is on Jenny Ribecca.

“The year I turned 41, I learned that I had osteopenia as a result of my history with eating disorders and early onset menopause. My gynecologist suggested a weight bearing exercise, so I chose running.

My early running career was plagued with shin splints, knee pain, labored breathing and inconsistent performances. Within two years, I developed trochanteric bursitis in my left hip. I could barely walk and was in constant pain. Multiple steroid shots and six weeks of physical therapy later, I was no better. Three separate doctors told me that I’d never run again.

Not wanting to give up, I did some research and diagnosed myself with Iliotibial Band Syndrome. I found some exercises online that helped and within six months, I ran the Baltimore Half Marathon.

In 2014, I had an anaphylactic reaction while doing a four-mile run. I broke out in severe hives and struggled to breathe. Six years of doctors, medicines, process of elimination with foods, allergies and weather conditions, I was finally diagnosed with Food Dependent Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis. I now run with my cell phone, Benadryl and an EpiPen.

Many people don’t understand why I run. To be perfectly honest, neither do I. It’s not as if I will ever win a race or qualify for a racing team as I’m not that fast. The only time I place in my age group is when the turnout is low or the outdoor temperature is below 55 degrees. I’m hoping that if my performance can maintain its current level, I’ll age gracefully into some more impressive results.

Despite my wide array of medical conditions, I have completed every race I’ve started! These include two marathons, 22 half-marathons, two marathon relays, two half marathon relays and several 5k and 10k races.

I’m looking forward to the day when all races return to live events! Hope to see everyone on the course soon!”

Jenny Ribecca at the RRCA 10-Mile Challenge
Jenny Ribecca is pictured in the front row, second from left.

We really do have the most diverse and amazing members! I would love to share your stories, accomplishments or anything else you would like to share, please send them to barb.meely@staging.steeplechasers.org.