A University of Arkansas at Little Rock employee and his twin brother earned the top two spots in the men’s 55-59 age group in the Little Rock Half-Marathon on March 4, continuing a tradition of running together that spans nearly four decades.
Karl Lenser, employee wellness coordinator for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, finished 22nd overall out of 5,875 runners with a time of one hour, 24 minutes, and 29 seconds.
“It’s a pretty good time for an old guy,” joked Lenser. “I remember scrolling down the results section for the half-marathon, and the top finishers are all in their 20s and 30s, and suddenly there is an anomaly in the form of a 58-year-old.”
What made his grand finish even sweeter was sharing the race with his identical twin brother, Kurt Lenser of Nashville, who finished second in the 55-59 male age group with a time of one hour, 31 minutes, and 13 seconds.
“It’s nice that we got it back to back, brother to brother,” Karl Lenser said. “We’ve done lots of races over the years, hundreds and hundreds together.”
While in high school, the Lenser brothers played tennis and basketball and didn’t pay much attention to the long-distance competitions.
“We used to think that running was so boring,” Karl Lenser said. “In a couple of years, we were running addicts.”
The twin brothers have been running together since they took a Jogging and Fitness 101 class as juniors at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Their first race was a 5-mile run at Oktoberfest 1979 in La Crosse.
Now they visit each other’s hometowns several times a year to continue their racing tradition of 38 years.
That class also inspired both brothers to continue their education, earn a master’s degree in exercise science, and go into health and wellness careers.
While Karl spends his days getting UA Little Rock employees in shape and teaching indoor cycling classes at Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center, his twin works as a personal trainer at Prairie Athletic Club in Franklin, Tennessee.
“It’s funny how one class can change your life,” Karl Lenser said. “After a few years of running and having more energy, self esteem, and confidence, we both thought it would be cool to help others gain the benefits of being more active, eating better, and making overall positive lifestyle changes.”
In the upper right photo, Kurt Lenser (left) and his twin brother, Karl Lenser (right), earned the top two spots in the men’s 55-59 age group at the Little Rock Half-Marathon.