Meijer State Games of Michigan Athlete Spotlight:

Jennifer Linchy, 5K

by: Kenneth DeGraaf

Originally from Massachusetts, 44-year old Jennifer Linchy has come to love life in the Grand Rapids area. This US Navy Veteran’s hobbies include photography and the increasing interest in aviation and space. In fact, last year Jennifer fulfilled a lifelong dream of attending Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. She loved the experience so much that she plans to return this year for a special program in which she will be able to train with an actual astronaut.    
Indeed, Jennifer Linchy has never lived a life short of passion and exciting experiences. Sport, however, is something Jennifer just recently started getting involved in. Last year, Jennifer ran her first ever 5K event at the 2014 Meijer State Games of Michigan. “It was a truly rewarding experience as I ran the whole thing without stopping,” Jennifer described. “I want to run this year and try to actually win a medal.” 
So, just how did this Space Camp enthusiast turn into an active 5K runner? “Actually, a former colleague posted on Facebook that he had registered for the State Games and wanted to know who would join him," Jennifer replied. "I said I would do it with him. Ironically, he never did run it. However, I was not going to let his absence stop me and went anyhow.” To say the decision for Jennifer to stay determined and finish the 5K has benefited her would be an immense understatement. Even Jennifer’s mom, Gloria Collins, has seen the positive effects of running 5Ks in her life. Gloria stated, “It provides a good challenge for Jennifer and I am proud of her for completing her 5Ks.”
While starting her career as a 5K runner has definitely paid off, Jennifer admits the process of maintaining a healthy living has been a challenging one thus far. “It is definitely a work in progress, especially as you get older,” Jennifer described. “I am trying to follow sort of a Paleo Diet. I also go to the gym and use running apps to help me train for the 5K."
Despite the obstacles that come with training for a 5K, Jennifer gives her parents a lot of credit for her continued determination to keep trying. Jennifer said, “I had great parents who instilled in me the thought that as long as you did your best you should not feel bad and accept the defeat with grace, meaning congratulate your competitors if they win.” The wisdom Jennifer has gained from her parents has turned her into a great competitor who engages in positive sportsmanship everyday. Jennifer elaborated, “Everyone would love to win a medal and it is easy to be happy and gracious if you win, but if you can truly lose with grace then you have true character and that is a gold medal in itself.”
With the Meijer State Games of Michigan less than a month away, Jennifer continues to train hard for her second Meijer State Games of Michigan 5K event, where her passion for the sport started. 
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The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event(s) that welcome athletes regardless of age or ability level. The Games embody the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living.
In August 2017, the Meijer State Games of Michigan will play host to the
2017 State Games of America.
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