ALBANY, Ga. -- By Jenna Carver's reckoning, she has logged more that 2,000 miles in competition as a marathon runner. She plans to tack on 26.2 more miles Saturday in the Snickers Marathon Bar Marathon -- her 65th in 17 years of racing.
"I started running as a student at Georgia Tech in 1994," Carver, the daughter of Ben and Gay Adler, said. "The freshman 15 (pounds) finally caught up with me and I wanted to get into shape. Atlanta is a great place to run run around, especially in the Georgia Tech area."
Carver, a project manager with Skanska Building USA, said, "I started getting into it and wanted to stretch out my distance. That's when I got involved with Team In Training."
Team In Training, a fundraising arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, offers runners and walkers the opportunity to take on the challenge of a marathon or half-marathon while also making a difference in the lives of nearly a million Americans living with blood cancers.
Along with a customized-training program and expert coaching, participants will train with a local group of like-minded individuals for motivation and inspiration.
Team members then run half-marathons and marathons to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
"Team in Training provided me with training sessions (for a marathon), shoe advice, a coach and encouragement," Carver recalled. "The experience has been invaluable. I've gotten to meet some really good people, make friends and also help fund a really good cause."
In June 1997, Carver participated in her first full marathon in Anchorage, Alaska.
"I decided that if I was going to do it, I wanted my first one (marathon) to be at a great destination," Carver answered. "Surprisingly, it wasn't hard at all. TIT had prepared me very well. Every mile was exciting, and the next thing I knew I was at the 20-mile mark."
According to Carver she has run in 46 marathons and 18 ultra marathons -- races of between 31 and 50 miles. Her best time in a 26.2 mile event is 3:28.17, but the times are really secondary.
"I run because I enjoy it and I get to meet new people," Carver said.
The 38-year-old has participated in the biggest marathons in the country in New York, Chicago and Boston, and she prefers to chat as she runs.
"I love to talk and run at the same time," Carver said. I always like to find someone to talk with because it helps make the miles drop more quickly. In fact, I'm bringing a friend down to Albany with me to run with Saturday.
"But if I don't have someone to talk with I think about different things. If it's cold I think about the weather. If it's warm I think about my family."
While Saturday's race will be Jenna Carver's 65th marathon, it certainly will not be her last.