In a night full of close races at the annual intramural track and field meet, spectators had to wait only 12 minutes for a blowout to occur.
Fifth-year senior Jena Kincaid lined up for the 1,500 meter alongside a large field of competitors. At the ear-blistering crack of the gun, the women took off and remained mostly even for the first lap.
But then, before anyone could even comment on how close it was, Kincaid vaulted into first and never looked back.
She finished in five minutes and fourty-five seconds. Kincaid was so far ahead of the pack, she had finished the race, bent over to catch her breath, was told her time and got two high-fives before second place finished.
High school experience? She had none. Coach or parent to push her to run? She did not need that either.
“I started running just for fun after high school,” Kincaid said. “I played volleyball in high school, and when that ended, I started running because it was something I could do on my own. It was inexpensive, and it kept me in shape.”
From the get-go, Kincaid thought of running as nothing more than a punishment.
“I hated running in high school,” Kincaid reminisced. “It was always related to punishment. If you messed up, if you were late or if you did anything wrong, then you had to run. I hated it.”
With a family history of staying active and love for any sport, running can turn into many things for a former athlete.
“My dad ran pretty consistently; he worked out a lot,” Kincaid said. “He never really ran long distance though, just around three to five miles. I guess I just got addicted to it. It’s a good stress reliever. It’s easy and doesn’t take a lot of skill; it just takes a lot of discipline, and that’s what I liked about it when I started so late. I didn’t have to learn anything about it; I just had to work at it.”
Kincaid’s late love for the art of running eventually led her to accomplish a feat that only a few people have done, usually only once.
“I eventually built up and started running marathons,” Kincaid said. “Over the past five years, I’ve run eight. I really love the Austin Marathon. It’s awesome. I’ve run that five times now. My best time for that was 3 hours, 32 minutes.”
This commitment to run requires not only physical toughness but also mental toughness.
“I would like to stay in Austin [to teach],” Kincaid said. “There aren’t many jobs in education right now though. I am just trying to finish up strong in school and eventually search for a job.”