Heartbreaker Highlight | Jenna Bensko

Meet our latest Heartbreaker Highlight, Jenna Bensko! Since joining the team in June 2019, Jenna’s been a regular at our speed sessions in Boston. Earlier this month (9/13/2019), she earned herself the top podium spot (1F) at the Lake Auburn Half so, we thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate the accomplishment by getting to know her better. 

Get to know Jenna Bensko in this quick interview by Chief Heartbreaker Dan Fitzgerald below.

Heartbreaker Highlights receive a prize pack from our friends at Harpoon Brewery (including that cozy hoodie) so, let's raise a Rec League pale ale to Jenna! 

Tell us about the Lake Auburn Half Marathon. It was fun to see a podium of all Heartbreakers. Did you know them before? How many halves have you done?

I saw other racers wearing Heartbreaker singlets at the race this weekend near the starting area and was pumped! We briefly introduced ourselves and exchanged words of encouragement. It made it even better that we met up again at the podium and had another chance to get to know each other at this mornings workout. This was my fifth half marathon, but my first time ever on a podium. I ended up as 1st F overall!

I’ve noticed in our (occasionally) unruly 150 person Tuesday AM track session you’ve done a great job executing exactly what the workout is, following the pacer, letting the workout unfold rather than chasing the energy (going out too fast). Have you seen good results with this strategy?

The Tuesday AM track sessions are actually the first real speed workouts I have ever done. I only started running during college and have never run with a team before. Therefore, I try to take the advice of more experienced runners as much as I can (that being establish a consistent pace and don't burn out early) even though it can be tempting to blast out all my energy at the start. The pacers have been extremely helpful and I've definitely seen the hard work pay off!

What do you do professionally? 

I just graduated from Cornell University this spring with a degree in Nutritional Sciences. I am currently working as a Research Assistant for Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare in a mother/child nutrition study, but I am trying to change over to a career path in designing and/or implementing sustainable [urban] food systems. I am still in the figuring things out phase, but I am very passionate about wellness, nutrition and food!

What’s your favorite thing about being a runner in Boston?

My favorite thing about being a runner in Boston is the strong sense of community. When I was running in Ithaca, NY, it was rare to find another runner out on my long runs. I had a hard time finding other peers with the same passion for running as me. I will never forget the first time I did a long run in the city wearing Heartbreaker apparel...I probably got around 10 waves/thumbs up from other Heartbreakers I passed on the route. I also dig that its common place to walk around the city all sweaty in running gear.

What’s your favorite non-running exercise?

Outside of running I can be found at either the yoga studio or out on a bike ride. Yoga helps me stay in tune with my body and recognize when I need to rest or strengthen certain muscles (plus its great for the mind). I also started to compete in triathlons this year and found I love the biking portion; you can cover so much ground in a short amount of time!

How did you find the Heartbreakers and what’s your favorite part about being on the team? 

I found the Heartbreakers last summer when I was in Boston for an internship. I heard of the team through my sister who has been in Boston for several years now. I attended a Recruiting Night at the beginning of last summer and some of the weekly free runs. When I officially moved to Boston for the long term this June I knew I wanted to join because I had so much fun last summer!

My favorite part of being on the team is that I'm never alone. There's always another teammate to support me through a hard track workout, give me an encouraging thumbs up while running along the Charles, or to congratulate me after a good race. I am still touched by the amount of people that recognized me this morning and offered me words of congratulations. Running for a team is so much better than solo and gives me a whole new sense of purpose!