MURFRESSBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — After years of health problems, Murfreesboro resident Pamela Jennings was finally diagnosed with lupus back in 2011.
Her diagnosis makes typical exercise nearly impossible. She always wanted to participate in community 5K runs, but never could until she found Michael Burrows and H3O.
Now she’s not letting lupus hold her back. Jennings is inspiring others and filling those with autoimmune disorders with hope and she’s doing it with 5K’s.
“Even if you can’t be completely well, you don’t have to give up. You can have a degree of that health back and you can have hope,” she said.
Jennings said aquatic running has taken the stress off of her joints, and allowed her to do the things she could never think about doing on land.
“It’s kind of a freedom, the one place that I feel normal,” she said.
Burrows said Jennings has made it work and is inspiring others to get active.
She’s running the Viva La Diva 5K benefiting Fifty Forward. Nissan North America sponsors the race, and Nissan business analyst David Franzen heard about Jennings’ virtual race.
He was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Polymyalgia a little over a year ago and decided to join her.
“The fact that she’s got that spirit to not let this disorder get to her and tear her down, it’s great. I’ve had to go through that same thing this past year, not to give up and go back to where I was and be 250 pounds again. I like the fact that there are options open for anyone that has a desire to get involved, and see that sense of community you get from running,” he said.
For Jennings, the sky is the limit. She said if her knees will allow it, she’s not stopping at 5K’s. She’s hoping to do a full next year.
“Once you get to where you can’t go to the things you used to go to and do the things you used to, it can kind of make you feel separated. All of a sudden, I got all of that back in a run.”
Jennings is hoping one day that race organizers will recognize those that finish their races off-site.
“I would love to see organizers add a separate category for aquatic running. That’s my end goal. To really have enough runners out there running aquatic for race organizers to go, we need another category.”
You can be a part of the Viva La Diva race this Saturday, and get a discount off your entry fee thanks to Jennings. Use the code vivalapam15 in person on race day. Click here to find out more about the race.
The fifth annual race is held on the campus of Nissan North America in Franklin, Tennessee.
The race benefits Fifty Forward, and celebrates and supports health, wellness, and safety programs for girls and women of all ages.