Whether she can believe it or not, Sheinelle Jones ran 26.2 miles on Nov. 5, completing the New York City Marathon and reaching the finish line after months of training.
On the 3rd of Hour of TODAY, Sheinelle took a moment to reflect on the race, what it meant to her — and what she wants other people to know about “doing hard things.”
“Everybody says it’s amazing, that it’s one of the best days of your life. It transcends running. Every time you feel like you can’t run any more, there’s someone cheering your name. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.”
Sheinelle went on to send a special message to her well wishers: “If there’s anybody listening to me, everyone should challenge themselves and step outside their comfort zone and do it. I did it and I feel like you did it with me with all of your positive notes, DMs and posts on social media.”
“26.2 miles. I did it! I ran a marathon,” Sheinelle said.
“The longest and most rewarding 4 hours and 41 minutes of my life,” she wrote on Instagram, captioning a series of pictures from the day.
As the TODAY co-host crossed the finish line in Central Park, Sheinelle threw her hands up in the air. She completed the race beside her fellow runners, TODAY family members Yosef and Rainy.
She thanked her team, including her Nike running coach Jes Woods, in her post.
“I could NOT have done it without @yoyosafe @jeslynnyc and @rainyfarrell. They are stuck with me for life,” she said.
In several of the pics, Sheinelle appeared emotional, holding back tears as she wore her medal and hugged Rainy and Yosef. During the race, Sheinelle also teared up when she saw Al Roker and Stephanie Ruhle cheering from the sidelines, and she stopped to give them a hug.
She expressed some of those emotions — namely shock and exhaustion — in her post.
“Did I just run 26.2 miles? My legs just responded … why, yes I did,” she wrote.
She then shared her marathon time, calling it the “most rewarding” experience.
“The longest and most rewarding 4 hours and 41 minutes of my life,” she concluded.
Sheinelle’s finish, which was 30 minutes faster than she expected, was hard won. She shared that she planned to run the marathon on TODAY back in August, saying she wanted to “change the narrative” around what she can and can’t do.
“I want to prove that just the average girl, we can do it,” she said. “I am 4’11”. I am not a model. I’m not a runner, but we can do this!”
She reflected on her training experience before the big race in an Instagram post, sharing her “sincere prayer” for people following her journey in the caption.
“It is my sincere prayer that I encourage someone to try something new, perhaps outside of his or her comfort zone … whether it’s in the form of exercise, or even a new musical instrument … whatever it is. I have to be honest, some days have been *really* tough for me … but here we are. Running has often been the therapy I didn’t know I needed. Almost there!”
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