Burwood Group VP Jennifer Courtney Prepares to Run Her 20th Marathon

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When Jennifer Courtney finished her first marathon in Chicago in 2009, she thought her 26.2-mile running career was over.

“When I finished that race, I said I was done, that I was never, ever going to do this again,” said Courtney, a North Center resident.

Turns out, she was just getting started.

On April 8, Courtney will participate in her 20th marathon – this time in Paris. The Pendleton Heights (Indiana) High School and Ball State University graduate said running has taken her around the world, with marathon finishes in Prague and Reykjavik internationally, plus races in Ohio, Michigan, Maine, Georgia, Oregon and her native Indiana.

“It’s crazy to me that I’ve gotten to my 20th marathon,” Courtney said. “Running has become such an important part of my life.”

Courtney runs outside most days out of the year, especially during the spring and fall marathon training seasons. For the last several years, she’s been a group leader with Chicago Area Runners Association, helping to lead experienced and newbie runners through marathon training programs.

She said runners in CARA have become like “family.”

“It’s such a great organization,” Courtney said. “It’s a group of like-minded people going out and running.”

Courtney said running also has helped her with work-life balance. For the past 12 years, she’s worked at Burwood Group and was recently promoted to Vice President of Professional Services – becoming the third woman to join the company’s executive leadership team. In her new role, Courtney focuses on enabling the consulting team to deliver strategic technology solutions to meet the needs of customers. This includes partnering with the technical practice areas to drive innovation in technology solutions, keeping pace with industry trends and marketplace needs along with the alignment of the right people, processes, and solution delivery approach to produce real business value.

Running is not about crossing the finish line first for Courtney as her fastest marathon time is 4:12. Instead, it’s about accomplishing a difficult task and applying those lessons to her life.

“It teaches you that if you want to accomplish something, you have to show up to train,” Courtney said. “And you have to be prepared and take care of yourself. What I love most is the display of mind over matter. I’ve always found it very inspiring that people push themselves to a goal and they’re not giving up. It’s a beautiful display of the human spirit.

“And it’s taught me to be tough and get the job done and to always bring that attitude into my work and home life.”

Priscilla Dave