Training pays off as friends finish half marathon

After months of early morning training, Penny Britt and Kelli Humphries felt ready for the 2011 Soaring Wings half marathon race in Conway, Ark., Saturday.
The two joined more than 1,800 runners to help raise money to build a new dorm for Soaring Wings Christian Home and Ranch in Conway.Soaring Wings is a Christian ministry that serves children who are abused, abandoned or neglected.
This was Kelli's first-ever long race. "It was very emotional for me," she said. "When I got to around mile eight, I could feel the tears starting. I was thinking 'Get it together, Kelli' because it's hard to run and cry at the same time. It was such an amazing experience for me, and I just felt so good about what we were accomplishing."
Penny's husband, Gene, trains with the two girls in their pre-dawn runs. "He didn't race with us," Penny said. "That's not his thing, but at mile six, there he was, waiting for me. He ran the last seven miles with me. He's the best coach in the world."
The two 38-year-old women, both employed at Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Ark., have children. Evenings are filled with ball games, checking homework, family dinners and household chores. They get up well before dawn to fit their training into busy lives.
Penny finished the 13.1 mile race with a time of 2:19:06, and Kelli finished right behind her with a time of 2:20:41.
Penny and Kelli are already planning their next big run - a full marathon in April.

<p>Penny Britt and Kelli Humphries</p>

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