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Two Pairs of Sisters Take on Tough as Nails

|Photo by Emma Delk| Sisters Kieran Johnson, left, and Kendra Markovich, right, planned to push each other through Sunday's course.

Competing in the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge is a family affair for the two sister duos Maleigha and Alyssa Tamborello and Kieran Johnson and Kendra Markovich.

Both pairs include an older sister who are course veterans, Maleigha Tamborella and Kendra Markovich, and a younger sister who is a newbie to the course this year, Alyssa Tamborella and Kieran Johnson.

“I did the race last year, and it was a lot of fun,” Maleigha Tamborella said. “I ran with some of my friends and one of my cross country coaches, and this year I wanted her (Kendra Markovich) to do it with me.”

Kendra Markovich joked that her sister “pressured” her to try out the course, admitting that she has never run competitively before.

“She (Maleigha Tamborella) is definitely going to be pushing me along today, but I’m going to try and keep up,” Kendra Markovich said. “I’m nervous and excited. It just seems like so much fun.”

Kendra Markovich was most looking forward to the water obstacles on the course, with Maleigha Tamborella teasing her that they would be “a lot colder” than expected.

“I’m nervous about that rope climb, I can’t do that,” Maleigha Tamborella added. “I am not excited about the pool either since it’s always cold. We’ll be OK, though. I’m sure we’ll be pretty warm by then.”

The other sister pair, Kieran Johnson and Kendra Markovich, brought athletic experience to the course. Kieran Johnson graduated this spring from West Liberty University, where she played softball, and Kendra Markovich participates in CrossFit workouts at the Howard Long Wellness Center.

Kieran Johnson admitted that her sister might “drag her” through the course, as Kendra Markovich had previously competed in a Tough as Nails race.

Kieran Johnson was excited about the water obstacles as a way to cool down. Both she and her sister were most dreading the stair climb, but they were ready to rely on each other to push them through.

“We’re gonna try to help each other,” Kendra Markovich said. “I did not like the stairs last time I did this.”

Both enjoyed the opportunity to test their athletic abilities with their sister at their side.

“I did a little bit of running and lifting this softball season, so it was easy to incorporate other workouts to help with the race today during that training,” Kieran Johnson noted. “It was nice to have another athletic event to look forward to once I finished school. She (Kendra Markovich) will definitely have the upper hand on me today, but I’m excited to give this a try.”

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