The old saying “opposites attract” might be true for many couples, but, for Cate and Steve Fenster, it couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In fact Steve lights up when he tells the story of how they first met at a race in Alabama.
“This woman finished right behind me, and she looked so young so I said, ‘Wow, you had a good race, where do you go to high school?,” Steve said. “She’s like, ‘No, I’m a graduate student,’ and of course she was cute, so I remembered her name.”
Steve kept his eyes open looking for Cate at many local races and finally bumped into her again and got her number. They started running together and have been together ever since.
Cate began running in high school after a fall in gymnastics.
“I fell on my head and decided I would do something a little more safe,” she said.
In college she made it to nationals and, except for the occasional injuries, has been running strong ever since.
Steve began running at around the age of 11.
“My Dad started jogging to get in shape, and I would go along with him,” Steve said. “Prior to that, I played baseball.”
On the suggestion of a high school friend, he went out for cross-country and discovered he was good at it.
When he went to college he didn’t plan to run.
“I thought college runners were way out of my league,” he said.
As it turned out, he was one of the better runners and really enjoyed it.
Since moving to Durango from Ohio two years ago, the Fensters have made a name for themselves in the local running scene, winning many local races and getting involved with the Durango Running Club.
They especially love Durango’s trail system because they used to run mainly on the roads.
“We had to go really far to find trails (in Ohio),” Cate said. “So we do more trail running here, and it’s kind of like cross-training.”
The couple tries to train together at least three days a week, and they always run together when on vacation.
“When we plan a vacation, we always have to have a place to run,” Steve said.
Asked whether running has strengthened their marriage, Steve was quick to say, “The couple that does things together usually stays together.” But he readily admits it can cause some tension, especially if one of them is injured and can’t run.
“To be honest, we have had some of our worst arguments running, usually about pace,” Steve said. “Some days, she wants to run easy, and I don’t.”
“I like to run farther, and Steve likes to run faster,” Cate added.
In August they plan to run the Mount Sneffels Half Marathon in Ouray. Beyond that goal, they have been thinking about their future.
“We’re at that point where you get slower and need more time to recover,” Steve said.
“I’m kind of in a transition phase,” Cate admitted. “I’m deciding whether I want to hang it up (racing) or start doing Ultras just to finish. I don’t really know what I want to do yet.”
“I’ve thought about doing a marathon,” Steve said. “Maybe try to qualify for Boston. I need to have a goal, or I just get lazy.”
Whether racing or running for fun, it’s clear they’ve found a mutual passion that continues to strengthen their marriage.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at firstname.lastname@example.org.