Local banker Charlene Pennymon is very excited these days. Even on a “regular” day, the petite vice president of Citizens Bank of Americus exudes a positive attitude and is usually smiling, but these days, she’s practically walking on a cloud.
Pennymon, a runner since 2002, has been selected to run in the Boston Marathon on April 15, and that’s why she’s so high.
She had applied for admission into the famous foot race on Sept. 14 in her age group — women ages 45-49 — which requires a time of 3 hours and 55 minutes. But this vivacious 46-year-old’s time is 3 hours and 48 minutes and she was chosen in the first group of qualifiers for Boston. She learned of her admission that same day, about three hours after applying.
The fact that she will be running, along with some 27,000 other athletes ages 18 all the way up to 80-plus, adds even more to Pennymon’s enthusiasm. There are even divisions for people in wheelchairs or who are blind.
Pennymon said she was so elated when she learned she had been accepted into the Boston Marathon that she was “drunk on adrenaline.”
She said she was hyped for an entire week after running the Albany Snickers Marathon in March. She finished third in her age division out a field of between 1,700 and 1,800 runners.
“I just felt like I could have run a lap around the world,” she said, flashing her signature smile.
“Being chosen as a participant in the Boston Marathon is not only a huge honor, it is a privilege as well,” said Pennymon. “The route is point to point from Hopkinton to Boston. The Boston Marathon is known as the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks as the most prestigious of road racing events.”
The Boston Marathon has distinguished itself as the pinnacle of events because by virtue of its traditions, i.e., longevity, and method of gaining entry into the race, (via qualifications).
But being included in the Boston Marathon, while monumentally thrilling, was not completely a surprise for Pennymon.
“I thought I had a good chance to run in it,” she said, adding that she had the qualifying time or better and cited Dr. Mike Busman’s training methods.
“We train together,” she said of Busman, a local physician.
Pennymon runs at least five miles every day, rain or shine, cold or heat (she admits that she doesn’t run during thunderstorms) and runs 12 miles on Sundays.
While Pennymon is continuing her regular training schedule for now, she will begin a more rigorous regimen about three months out, then tapering off as the race draws near.
While running daily is no problem for Pennymon, she is trying to raise funds for her trip. She and her husband Ken will fly to Boston on April 12. She said she will not run at all for the two days prior to the race. Two of her best girlfriends also plan to meet her in Boston and cheer her along.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said. “To be chosen from thousands of people who love to run ... I’m really looking forward to it.”
When asked why she runs, her answer is simple.
“It’s something I love to do, a passion. I’ve always encouraged people to exercise and get out there and test yourself and set goals for yourself. Everybody ought to have something they’re passionate about.”
To help Pennymon get to Boston, contact her at email@example.com