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PHOTO: Ninette Menna of Franklin was all smiles after she completed her first Boston Marathon. / Photo submitted

By JOHN McBRYDE

Ninette Menna of Franklin, a member of the first graduating class of the Williamson County DUI Court who overcame odds to run in her first Boston Marathon, said the April 15 run was more than she could have imagined.

“Boston was the most amazing experience of my life outside of having my two girls,” Menna said in an email Thursday. “I was able to pull off a decent time of (3 hours, 36 minutes) considering I missed almost a month of training.”

In the months leading up to the Boston Marathon, Menna had sustained a compressed nerve in her back that made her foot and ankle feel as though they were fractured. Her sports medicine doctor told her it would heal in time, but she missed a good bit of training.

And for someone running in the world’s oldest and most iconic marathon, Menna wasn’t exactly a seasoned veteran in the 26.2. She didn’t start running until she entered the Franklin Classic 5K on Labor Day 2015, and prior to Boston, she had run in only four marathons.

The injuries and inexperience were hurdles Menna had cleared so she could run a race. They were nothing compared with what Menna accomplished to get her life on track. She had had a drinking dependency for 21 years before a third DUI arrest introduced her to Judge Denise Andre and the Williamson County DUI Court. That experience ultimately made all the difference, and Menna graduated from the program in September 2011.

In the nine years since, Menna has been operating her massage therapy business, Kneading Solutions by Ninette, and spending time with her daughters and other family and friends. And she’s still running, having qualified as well for the New York City Marathon to be held in early November.

Menna credits her coach, Jenny Clayton, for helping her reach her goals — in running and in life.

“If there is one thing that I have learned from being in recovery, it is that I cannot do it alone,” she said. “It’s a ‘we thing’ and it has extended into the rest of my life such as running.”

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