The Huntress Project: Overcoming Substance Abuse

I have a story to share. A story that I am now tied to and have my own little part in. Maybe after I tell the story, you will find your part.

Meet Teri Tenseth Market. Some of you may know her from her work at KQAL, the WSU radio station, or perhaps you’ve met at the YMCA, or have seen some of her video productions. I heard about Teri from a friend who suggested I contact her for help on making a few videos of my music to get more material online. (Note: I hated even the thought of making videos). But she was amazing. She was so good at keeping me relaxed and she helped me remember that I wasn’t the only performer who couldn’t stand the thought of a YouTube video featuring my music on the internet for everyone to see. Anyway, during the making of my “Embrace” video she began to tell me about her project for a very good friend named Sarah Hunter (let’s just call her Hunter).

I didn’t know Hunter personally at the time but was taken by Teri’s description of her project for her friend. Teri has given hours and spent $X,XXX from her own pocketbook trying to help her friend tell her story through a short film called, “The Huntress.” She is currently filming and plans to release this video sometime in late Spring 2014.

The Huntress is a film about recovery from substance abuse, and all of its challenges. It follows Hunter as she pushes herself at athletic events and life. Recovery from substance abuse has been an over 8 year journey for Hunter. Since January 2nd, 2012 she has maintained complete sobriety. In the film, Teri examines how and why Hunter chose to focus on athletics as part of her recovery. She also examines how Hunter balances being a single mother of three with training for a variety of physically demanding events, all while displaying the courage and persistence it takes to overcome substance abuse.

Having recently completed a bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, the world is wide open to Hunter. What is her next step? What is it like for her to face each day fearing people will hold the past against her? How will she conquer athletic events that routinely challenge her physical limits? The documentary will explore these questions and more through an honest and raw look at Hunter’s struggles, strength, and determination.

Hunter hopes to inspire others with her story and teach others to never give up.

Some of Hunter’s progress:

Trinona 2013: Olympic Distance – 5th in age category
BK5K 2013: 2nd in age category
Lake Harriet 2013 Swim: 2nd in age category for 1 mile and then 2 mile swim. Total distance in a day – 3 miles over 2 races back to back.
October 2013: Hunter received an invitation to the USA triathlon nationals competition (age group Olympic distance) in August of 2014 for placing in the top 10 percent of her age up at Chisago Lakes this year.

Here’s where my part comes in. When I first heard about Hunter’s journey and documentary, my first thought was to try to write a song. Songs don’t drop in “on demand” for me. I told Teri I would like to try to write something for the documentary for Hunter. I didn’t know if anything would come to me and was doubtful in my thoughts.

About three months later I had the chorus of the song written, “Running Down The Sun”. The premise of the song is that us valley dwellers run in the dark even at the breaking of dawn. We can’t see the powerful light of the sun behind the bluffs, but we keep going. I got excited. But then I got stuck. I put it down. I felt disappointed.

The Morrie Miller 5K was fast approaching. I used to run in high school but didn’t put much thought on trying out for either track or cross country at WSU as I was big into music and in a rock band called Nuanda – we were gonna take the world by storm! Anyway, after having the kids I found that running was the most relaxing and enjoyable way to get some time to myself while working out.. So, I have slowly been re-entering the running world with 5K runs.  I remember the morning well. The day of the Morrie Miller I was scheduled to sing in Rochester at the children’s remembrance ceremony and was already feeling a sense of stress knowing how much time I needed to prepare to leave/kids/gear, etc.. and my husband was in Minneapolis.  I eventually relaxed and chatted with a number of friends and acquaintances that morning and was relishing in the feeling of seeing everyone all pumped up to make a difference with their participation. Hunter was there with her three kids (Teri was there for moral support and helped watch them) and we walked around and warmed up before the start of the race. She asked me to run with her.. I tried.. I really did… But after the first quarter of a mile I knew her pace was waaayyy to fast for me to match up with.  So I made a new goal, which happened to be my original goal (ha): Do My Personal Best. I did! Although my race time wasn’t documented that day due to chip failure, (that’s what they all say) I am pretty sure I finished within the top 5 of my age group and I am SURE it was because of Hunter. Seeing her DIG IN; setting her face in a downward pose, while taking herself to the front of the pack with force was altogether breathtaking. I was stunned. Within a day of that race I had the rest of her song written. All I had needed to finish writing her song was to see her in person. She is so inspiring!

Together with the donation of his time and studio space, Brett Huus from Soundstrations in La Crosse and I want to record, “Running Down The Sun,” and release it for use for Hunter’s documentary. I also plan to find a way to give a free download card/mp3 of the song if you donate to the documentary.

This documentary is being produced by Terese (Teri) Tenseth Market and Robert Pack in partnership with KQAL 89.5FM Winona MN. This film is also a project of their show “Culture Clique” on KQAL. Please email them if you are interested in donating to their fundraising campaign to cover travel expenses and athletic event registration costs for “The Huntress” or click here.

Of course you don’t have to give money. Just show up to her events and cheer her on. I hope to do the same! In fact, we may just run a half marathon together in Rochester in May!

Stay connected with Hunter and her team:




Her featured article in Live Well Winona.

Thanks for taking a minute to read this. Please find the “yes” inside to share this blog post anywhere you can. She needs our support and her documentary may touch the lives of many who are undergoing the same pressures.



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