MEET OUR 2019 AMBASSADORS!

These 34 running enthusiasts have been selected as our 2019 Asheville Marathon & Half Ambassadors. Get to know each of them, subscribe to their blogs and follow their Twitter pages to stay up to date on all their unique perspectives regarding running in the local community and preparing for the Asheville Marathon & Half at Biltmore Estate. You won’t want to miss out on their tips and resources!

Follow @AvlMarathon Ambassadors on Twitter with #AvlMA

2017 Asheville Marathon Ambassador Logo

ANDREA HIPPS

Bilinda Kaufman
CONNECT WITH ANDREA

Andrea’s Blog >

My running adventures actually started with the sport of cycling. I loved cycling but wanted something more, so, about 8 years ago, I went on my first run in hopes of eventually competing in duathlons. Although I could barely run a few blocks without stopping, I stuck with it and haven’t stopped since! Over the past 8 years, I’ve competed in duathlons, half marathons, marathons, and most importantly, running introduced me to my true love, the sport of triathlon. While I love stand-alone running races, there’s just something about going for a run after a bike ride that I really enjoy. I’m currently training for my 5th Ironman.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Columbia, SC
Favorite Race Length: My favorite running distance is the marathon and my favorite triathlon distance is the 70.3.
What I Love About This Race: I love the simplicity of this race – no cars or traffic, just my feet hitting the ground and the beautiful scenery of the Biltmore Estate!
2018/19 Races Planned: 2018: Ironman Louisville, Charlotte Marathon 2019: Asheville Marathon

ANDREW BARRETT

 

Beth Vo
CONNECT WITH ANDREW

Andrew’s Blog >

I am a married father of 20 year old twins and 29 year employee of Xerox/Conduent. I split time between homes in Tampa, FL and Pisgah Forest, NC. I started distance running in 2004 on a challenge from a friend. I ran my first two half-marathons followed quickly by a full marathon and I was immediately hooked. By 2007 I had expanded to ultramarathons, extending my race distances out to as far as 205 miles, and competing in 172 races of half-marathon distance or farther. I have been extremely lucky to have had the chance to run in numerous places out west, the Alps in Europe and the Himalayas in Nepal. Running has helped make me a better and stronger person, and I am looking forward to being an ambassador and give back to a sport that has given me so much.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Tampa, FL & Pisgah Forest, NC
Did You Know? In longer races, I have hallucinated numerous times from sleep deprivation. I once came into an aid station at a mountain race demanding to see the trail boss and complain about the number of rocks on the trail. Another time, I was convinced one of my clients from work had come out to the course and planted rocks in my path. I seem to have a sub-conscious aversion to rocks…
What I Love About This Race: I am a huge fan of Frederick Law Olmstead, including his design of New York City’s Central Park. I have visited the Biltmore Estate many times, but being able to circumnavigate the grounds and see his work up close and personal afoot instead of by car brought me closer to his design thinking. Then in the full marathon, being able to cross the French Broad River and run around the working farm side of the estate no one else sees is special.
2018/19 Races Planned: 7/28/18 Never Summer 100K, CO; 8/4/18 Tushars 70K, UT; 8/11/18 Ute 100M, UT; 09/22/18 Table Rock 50K, NC; 11/3/18 Pinhoti 100M, AL; 11/30/18 Chatanooga100M, TN; 12/15/18 Ancient Oaks 100M, FL; 1/4/19 Just Survive 200K, FL; 1/18/19 Long Haul 100M, FL; 03/16-17/19 Asheville Half and Full Marathons, NC; 3/3/0/19 Georgia Death Race 68M, GA

 

ANDREW CORBIN

 

Beth Vo
CONNECT WITH ANDREW

Andrew’s Blog >

I started really running in 2004 along with road riding to lose weight and relieve some stress. I actually raced road bikes for a year and then transitioned into triathlon. Why be good at one sport when I can be mediocre at three. I went from triathlon into high school cross country coaching and Fleet Feet Training Programs. Coaching and pacing races have become my true passion as a runner. It is always great to help others achieve their goals. (I suppose that’s why I am a teacher.)

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Matthews, NC
Random Facts: I love trail running, or as I call it, “playing in the dirt”. I have directed several musicals and plays, yes I can and most likely WILL sing on course to motivate myself. My best friend and I can hold an entire conversation in How I Met Your Mother quotes. I love Star Wars. I am a born and raised North Carolinian, Go HEELS!!
What I Love About This Race: The beautiful views. The Asheville atmosphere. The three mile climb close to the beginning of the course… (What the Hill??)
2018/19 Races Planned: Richmond Half – Nov. ,Huntersville Half – Dec., AVL Half – March

 

BILINDA KAUFMAN

Ambassador Veteran!

Bilinda Kaufman
CONNECT WITH BILINDA

I ran my first 5k in Orlando Florida in April 2012 and then ran my first, The Inaugural Asheville Marathon, in March of 2013. From a flat, crowded, fun course in Orlando to a Mountain, challenging, freezing, 1,200 runner course in Asheville and I finished smiling and crying. Wrapped in a cozy blanket at the finish line by some wonderful volunteers who stood in the cold for hours just to help us out. It is a favorite memory for sure. I still have the fleece blanket and the wood medal from made from the trees on the Biltmore property. A great memory I shared with one of my oldest friends, Lisa.
Running has changed my life as a Coach and Board member of Girls on the Run and member of many running groups including Black Girls Run Orlando. I now support my daughters on their HS XC and Track teams. I’m lucky to be surrounded by runners of all ages who inspire me to keep going.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Orlando, FL
Favorite Race Length: Half is my favorite because it’s still fun and yet challenging.
Asheville Marathon & Half Experience: This will be my seventh time running the Asheville Marathon or Half and it’s always challenging and inspiring, no matter the weather. It’s a close community of runners from all over and of all different running levels. Great to be around such an inspiring group.

 

CASEY STEPHENS

 

Sue Caplan
CONNECT WITH CASEY

 

I currently live in Charlotte N.C. with my boyfriend, Peter, and my rescue pup Sox. I love to do anything outdoors (kayak, hike) and love to do anything crafty. I also enjoy spending time and laughing with friends over a glass of wine or a Disney movie.

I began running as a hobby in the spring of 2017. I had never been a “runner” due to my exercise-induced asthma, but something told me I needed to conquer this “mountain”. My mom had been diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, which was devastating news. I saw her go through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation— all with a smile on her face (most of the time, she’s human too). I always thought, if my mom can overcome cancer (she is currently in remission), then I can learn to run long distances. I always run for her and this past March she was able to walk as a survivor in the Colon Cancer Awareness 5K in Charlotte with me, which was amazing. Running has taught me that my body is strong, but my mind and heart are stronger.

The 2018 Asheville Half Marathon was my first half marathon, and it was the best feeling to cross the finish line (shown in my picture).

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Valdese, NC
2018/19 Races Planned: Charlotte Marathon Half, Asheville Marathon Backyard to Backyard Challenge!
Did You Know? I LOVE sports, particularly Wake Forest football and basketball (alum 2009) and watching the Chicago White Sox! Chicago is one of my favorite cities to visit.

My boyfriend and I also love to visit new breweries— we’ve collected over 60 sets of pint glasses and have visited over 80 breweries in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Illinois.

What I Love About the Asheville Marathon & Half: I love the comradory of the running community. I always meet the best people and everyone always roots for each other. The adrenaline of getting up early and hearing the countdown to the start of the race gets me pumped!

CHARLA GREENE

 

Deanna Avery

I am a “later in life” runner, not running my first race until I was 40! I have run ever since, running many 5 and 10K’s, half marathons, and the Marine Corps Marathon, the Boston Marathon (twice) and the Black Mountain Marathon. I was really able to step up my running game while living in Hopkinton, MA (the start of the Boston Marathon) and running with the local running club. Running is a social activity for me, and I many of my very best friends started as running/training buddies. I look forward to meeting even more running friends through connections made as an Asheville Marathon Ambassador this year!

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Black Mountain, NC
About Me: I am a Girls on the Run Coach and certified Group Fitness Instructor
2018/19 Races Planned: Gateway 10K @ Camp Grier, Bethel Half, Kiawah Half, & Asheville Half
Favorite Part of the Asheville Marathon & Half: Running on Approach Road and catching that first glimpse of the house. That view never gets old!

 

CONNECT WITH CHARLA

 

DANIELLE BURCH

 

 

Deanna Avery
CONNECT WITH DANIELLE

Danielle’s Blog >

Hi! My name is Danielle, and I got started running way back in 7th grade, when my dad encouraged me to run cross country in middle school, mostly to stay in shape for soccer. However, the running is what really stuck!! I ran cross country all through middle and high school, played soccer in college, and then focused on running pretty hardcore after college. Recently, I’ve gotten into ultras, HIIT workouts, and overall well-being as it relates to running, and I absolutely LOVE it! Some may say it’s an addiction, and maybe it is, but I find so much peace, happiness, stress relief, and FUN when I run… so if it’s an addiction in the common sense, I think I’m okay with keeping this one, so long as it doesn’t become unhealthy! I love meeting new people through running, and run for the pure enjoyment of it… I’m really not all that fast, but I like to take in my surroundings while I run, so it works out perfectly! Can’t wait to see everyone out ON THE BILTMORE GROUNDS!!! One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever run, by far… once in snow and once in rain, but still gorgeous!! Third time’s a charm and we’re gonna have perfect weather this year!!

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Boiling Springs, NC
About Me: Fun Facts!!! I do this with my Art Students all the time… they sort of hate it; I sort of love it! haha. So, I’m an Art Teacher (6th-10th grades!), and an artist. I love painting and creating, but also the conceptualization and meaning behind a piece. Ummm… I’m deaf! I hear with a Cochlear Implant that I’ve used since I was six years old, and it’s a blessing. I am a middle child, and the only of the three of us who is still flying solo! haha
2018/19 Races Planned: 2018: September- Wild Vine Half Marathon, USNWC; November- Ruby C Hunt YMCA Turkey Trot; December- Huntersville Holiday Half Marathon. 2019: March- Biltmore Marathon!!! (woot woot); April: (maybe the Cooper River Bridge Run), and Promiseland 50K in Virginia! That’s all I’ve got planned so far… we will see what else crops up!
Favorite Part of the Asheville Marathon & Half: Oh goodness–I look forward to the WHOLE thing. The grounds, the people, the adrenaline, the running itself, the expo! All of it, literally. I think one of my favorite parts, though, is when the crowd thins out a smidge, and you get a chance to really run and take it all in… I love the part by the horse pastures, and OF COURSE the magical stretch leading up to the house! I could go on for days, though!

DEANNE AVERY

Ambassador Veteran!

 

Deanna Avery

I have always loved running from childhood PE or between family houses. In middle school and high school I ran track and cross country. I continued my love of running in various races in college. After finishing nursing and nurse practitioner schools I needed to get back in shape, the Asheville 1/2 marathon was an excellent goal for me. I actually ran it 7-8 weeks pregnant.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Morganton, NC
Favorite Length: Half Marathon (I also love the 15k)
About Me: I have run in both America’s Largest Backyard (at the Asheville Marathon) and America’s only under water mile (at the Detroit International Half Marathon). I love exploring the world on foot!! Running has taken me on some of my greatest adventures!
What I Love About the Asheville Marathon & Half: I look forward to this course. This is just an incredibly beautiful course. Asheville is nestled in the gorgeous NC Mountains and the Biltmore Estate is breathtaking. The rolling landscape provides both challenges and incredible rewards! I also love the course support!! These amazing people are the most encouraging and uplifting volunteers I have ever known!! The wine for after is also pretty amazing!!
2018/19 Races Planned: 
9/29/18 Isabella Santos Foundation 10K for Kids Cancer (Charlotte, NC), 10/20/18 Triple Lakes 40K (Greensboro, NC), 11/16/18 Hullabaloo 50K (Hendersonville, NC), 12/1/2018 Night of Light 5K (Morganton, NC), 1/19/19 Hot Chocolate 15K (Charlotte, NC), 3/16/19 ASHEVILLE MARATHON!!!!, 4/16/19 Savannah Women’s Half Marathon (Savannah, GA), 4/2019 Carolina Donut Festival Bob to Bob’s Half Marathon, 6/2019 Black Mountain Monster (Black Mountain, NC)

 

HEATHER WENSIL VENRICK

 

CONNECT WITH HEATHER

 

 

I found the gift of running in April 2013 when I ran my very first mile, I haven’t stopped running since. In April 2015 I ran my first half marathon and I ran my first marathon in 2018 at the Asheville Marathon!! I have participated in various 5K, 10K, 15K, Half Marathons, 25K, the Marathon and 50K . I run both on and off road!! I also am a Couch to 5K Program Coach, I am a race director for a local 5K and I lead a local Track Club for Kids. I am a 5am runner who blogs about all of my adventures and this amazing running journey. I am a full time working mother of two beautiful daughters and am married to a wonderfully supportive husband. I am blessed with an amazing group of BRF’s (Best Running Friends) and madly in love with the running community! Runners are the nicest and most welcoming people I have ever met! It’s all those endorphins!!!

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Rockwell, NC
About Me: I am mother, wife, and nurse practitioner. I run so I can eat sweets especially ice cream.
What I’m Most Excited About the Asheville Marathon & Half: I am excited that my husband plans to run with me! And, as always, the scenic views while running.
2018/19 Races Planned:
Rugged Mania Greensboro NC
I haven’t decided but 1/2 or full marathon possibly Charleston SC in Jan.2019

 

 

JENNIFER TORIELLO

Deanna Avery
CONNECT WITH JENNIFER

 

 

I started running after my friend introduced me to a 5K and I couldn’t believe how much fun the race turned out to be although I was so slow! I had two kids and ran on and off the years after that while completing some 5K’s and always knowing I wanted to accomplish a half marathon. Ive been visiting Asheville since living in NC for 14years and fell in love with the Biltmore. When I saw they were having a a half marathon on the estate I knew that would be the first half I would run! It took me years to actually accomplish this goal. My 1st half was the 2018 Asheville Biltmore half with the help of the Fleet Feet Morrisville family! I am beyond excited to be apart of the 2019 AVL Ambassador Team!!! 😁

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Wilmington, NC
About Me: 
– I am currently training for a duathlon
– My 8yr old son loves to run with me
– I can eat dessert over food any day especially if it’s mint chocolate chip ice cream 😆
– I’m originally from NJ but I love the NC coast and will never leave

What I’m Most Excited About the Asheville Marathon & Half: I look forward to the scenery on the estate, the amazing group of runners that gather at the race and lots of wine after the race.
2018/19 Races Planned: 
City of Oaks, Wrightsville Beach, Outerbanks Southern Fried Half, Holden Beach Half, and my and favorite Asheville at Biltmore Estate!!!!

 

 

JESSICA PAYNE

Deanna Avery
CONNECT WITH JESSICA

JESSICA’S BLOG >

 

 

Mother runner for 8 years, personal trainer, run coach! I wasn’t always a runner! Hated the act of running in school. From a 14-minute miler to a 3-time Boston qualifier! Running helped me overcome strong depression and anxiety tendencies. Previously single mother, now married, running my own coaching business and living the abundant life!! All thanks to running.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Pisgah Forest, NC
About Me: I drink all the coffee, enjoy singing my heart out, and have an embarrassing large collection of Altra running shoes!
What I’m Most Excited About the Asheville Marathon & Half: Running the scenery…oh, and maybe racing my way to podium! 😉
2018/19 Races Planned: 
Swamp Rabbit (SPINX) full, reindeer run 5k (brevard), 2019 Green Valley 10-miler, Biltmore Half, Nashville Full

 

 

JULIA BIPS

 

Deanna Avery
CONNECT WITH JULIA

 

 

I started running after college as a way to lose weight and stay active. I trained for my first 5k and was hooked! That same year, I ran my first half marathon, the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon. Since then, I have run two full marathons, ten half marathons, a Spartan Super, and countless 10ks and 5ks. I also started a running club at the school where I teach and have a blast coaching kids in grades 1-5!

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Aiken, SC
About Me: 
– I teach first grade. Running is good training for chasing little ones!
– I will finish my Master of Education this December from Clemson University.
– I am originally from Dracut, MA.
– I fell in love with the Biltmore and Asheville while on my honeymoon in 2016!

What I Love Most About the Asheville Marathon & Half: This is truly a boutique race, with every detail carefully planned and thought of. The course is breathtaking, and the aid stations always offer the most enthusiastic support!
2018/19 Races Planned: 
Whiskey Road Race 10K 2018; Run Hard Lexington Half Marathon 2018; Atlanta Spartan Sprint 2018; Asheville Marathon and Half 2019 (still deciding on the half or full); Run Hard Columbia Half Marathon 2019

 

 

 

KIM ANTHONY

 

Deanna Avery
CONNECT WITH KIM

 

 

 

I’m married to my best friend of 19 years who also loves running. We have 3 boys and love making memories with them.
I always thought runners were weird. I never understood the draw of running. But one day, on my 35th birthday, I woke up and thought I’d like to give running another go. I had no real running shoes to speak of and no watch or app to track my mileage. I went to a local track here in town and just ran around it. It wasn’t pretty but I didn’t die. I called my husband to tell him the good news. He had tried to get me to run over the years but I wasn’t having it. “Hi! Guess what? I just ran a mile!” I said. He asked which track I was at because we have a couple. I told him where I was and he said “That’s awesome, babe, but that track isn’t a mile”. So, the next day I went back out to get my first mile, and I kept on getting miles. I’ve been running ever since and I absolutely love it. It finally clicked with me! I’m not sure how I managed the first 35 years of my life without running.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Morganton, NC
About Me: 
– I love Legos. We have them all over our house. We even “decorate” with them.
– I love to read. I have stacks & stacks of books that are waiting to be read.
– I love Scotland and all things Scottish. Yes, especially kilts. My best friend & I went on a trip to Scotland last year and I can’t wait to get back!
– I live in a house with 4 boys. I crave girl time!!

What I Love Most About the Asheville Marathon & Half: I absolutely LOVE the Asheville Marathon. First of all, its the perfect time of year! You never know if it will be snowing or if it will be a sunny day. I love Winter marathon training. It’s my favorite! The Biltmore Estate is so lovely and I think that being able to run in places that you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise is super cool. This race has always been a top notch race. The expo & race day has always been a great experience. I am looking forward to being an ambassador this year because I love running & love talking about it & this is really my favorite marathon of all time. I’m excited to see all the behind the scenes stuff that I wouldn’t be able to experience had I not been picked. I’m looking forward to doing the B2V Challenge so I’ve got to work extra hard to get all my friends signed up!! I always like to see what happens if I don’t quit. I like to apply that motto to running & life 🙂
2018/19 Races Planned: 
Scream 13.1, Triple Lakes 40k, Hot Chocolate Charlotte 15k, Night of Lights 5k, Asheville Marathon & Half at Biltmore Estate , Bob to Bob’s 13.1, Fonta Flora 50k

 

 

 

 

KIM SHOMAKER

 

 

Deanna Avery
CONNECT WITH KIM

 

 

 

 

 

I started running seriously in 2014. I ran my 1st half marathon in 2015, where I fell in love with long distance running.
I had the honor to become a pacer in 2016 and have paced 6 half marathons since. (With two of those being the Biltmore Half Marathon)
And I ran the Backyard to Backyard Challenge this past March. I have coached run clubs at YMCA.

 

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Marion, NC
About Me: 
– Mother of 4
– Nurse
– PiYo certified instructor
– Never ran a Marathon but if I decided to, it will choose the Asheville Marathon at Biltmore
What I Love Most About the Asheville Marathon & Half: It is the most organized race I’ve ever done. And so much fun! I love running the beautiful grounds of the Biltmore. And nothing like the feeling you get as you turn the corner and run up to the Biltmore house. (My favorite moment, everyone is smiling and stopping to take pictures)
2018/19 Races Planned: Asheville Hot Chocolate 10k , Biltmore Half , Black Mountain Monster

 

 

 

 

 

HANNAH FOUST

Ambassador Veteran!

 

Hannah Foust

I’ve been running consistently for about 5 years. I love to race! Something about a bib makes just me happy! I’ve completed a 50k, 4 marathons, and too many half marathons to count. I’m also a volunteer race director for the Knoxville Track Club and a figure skating coach. I’m excited to be returning as a race ambassador because I LOVE this race! It’s such a wonderful event and the most scenic race I’ve ever run. I’m a 2017 Backyard to Vineyard Challenge finisher!

RACE HIGHLIGHTS: “I recently ran the Knoxville Half Marathon… My friend Tony ran the full… On the way home, I saw Tony just passing mile 20. I knew this race would be challenging for him. I pulled over and ran back to meet him. We ran almost a mile together before the course split again. It was awesome to be able to find a friend and share that tough moment in a race (mile 20!).”

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Knoxville, TN
Miles ran every week (on average): 35-40
Favorite race length: 5k

CONNECT WITH HANNAH

TRACEY GARRANT

AMA Logo

My name is Tracey, I live in Sanford, FL.  I am married to my high school sweetheart Don and we have 3 children, Kaylie 19, Christian 17 & Ryan 14.

I am a Breast cancer and Brain cancer survivor.  After my last brain surgery 2012 I started having seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. My doctor advised me if I could lose weight and eat healthier it may help reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.  I was in a wheelchair for a brief time and then a walker so I had to start walking really slow. At that time I weighed 297 lbs and it took me 20+ minutes to walk a mile.  My friend Barb bought me a membership to her running club and I started really slow.  Now today I am hooked! I have lost about 150 lbs and I love when I can go for a run!  By no means am I a fast runner, I only can do intervals, but I still get out there and Do what I can! There are some days that I can barely get out of bed never mind run because of medical issues that I can’t control but I keep trying!! I have continued to keep running and keep a pretty active race schedule!

FUN FACTS:

Hometown: Sanford, FL
Ambassador experience: I was an ambassador for the Donna marathon in Jacksonville, FL and I am currently an ambassador for Soxy Feet, Girlsrunfast and skirt sports
2017/2018 Races planned: Team RWB 4 miler 7/1, Cops & Joggers 7/15, Masters of all Terrain 7/16, Oakmonte 5k 8/5, FL ROC moon 10 miler, Shenandoah half 9/2, Great Smokey half 9/9, Weekie wachie half 9/23, Sanford Riverwalk 10/7, Marine corps full marathon 10/22, Cocoa beach half 10/29, Spacecoast full marathon 11/26, Mt. Dora half 12/17, Flamingo 5k 1/1/18, Disney Dopey 1/4-1/7, Disney 5k 1/4/18, Disney 10k 1/5/18, Disney half 1/6/18, Disney full 1/7/18, Sharkbite half 1/14/18, Celebration half 1/28/18, Daytona beach challenge 2/4/18, Donna challenge 5k and 10k 2/10 & Half marathon 2/11, Gasparilla challenge 5k and 15k 2/24 & Half marathon 2/24, BDR challenge 3/3/18, Swamphouse half , Asheville marathon 3/17/18, Excalibur 3/18/18, Run the Bluegrass half 3/31/18, National womens half 4/29/18, Usa beach championship 5/6/18

CRYSTAL OLSON

Rebecca Luhm

Ambassador Experience: This is my first years as an ambassador, but I recently represented the American Liver Foundation and raised money to run this year’s Boston Marathon ($6,000)!  In 2016, I was selected to march with the U.S. Delegation at the Opening Ceremonies of the NYC Marathon.

I started running distances half marathon and longer in 2009 and have not stopped since!  In 2015, I experienced serious illness (mono, strep, and bilateral ear infection), and that was a wake-up call for me to change several important aspects of my life.  I started taking vitamins faithfully, changed my eating habits to eat “cleaner”, started reading labels on food, and really became conscious of taking care of myself/my body.  My first race post-illness WAS the 2016 Asheville Marathon, which was a great experience for me as it was such a beautiful run (challenging weather conditions, yet still beautiful).  Between October 2015 and now, I have lost almost 30 lbs.  I’ve been working with a coach (as a hybrid athlete) since November 2016 and am in the best shape of my life so far!  I was able to do a lot of these races listed above through my last job as a Clinical Research Associate.  As part of that job, I was required to travel nationally on a weekly basis.  I was able to see and do a lot in the 4 years that I held this post and accumulated over half a million frequent flyer miles.  Most of my training up until 3 months ago occurred whilst on the road and in hotel gyms/CrossFits across the country.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Hickory, NC
Races completed: 13 half marathons and 6 full marathons. 

I’ve run the following half marathons: Charity Chase in Hickory, NC (4x); Downhill at Dawn in Black Mountain, NC (4x); The Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, OH (1x); The Diva Half Marathon in North Myrtle Beach (1x); The Mistletoe Half Marathon in Winston-Salem, NC (1x); The NC Half Marathon at Lowes Motor Speedway (1x); The RunLiveGive Half Marathon in Conover, NC (1x)

I’ve run the following marathons: Walt Disney World (2013); Charleston, SC (2014); Dallas, TX (2014 – formerly the White Rock Marathon); Asheville, NC (2016); NYC Marathon (2016); Boston Marathon (2017; charity runner)

Upcoming Races: Chicago Marathon (October 2017)

Goal: To run all of the World Major Marathons (Abbott) and run a marathon in all 50 states (in my lifetime)

 

TOM MANGAN

Ambassador Veteran!

Tom Mangan

Tom is a founding member of Steel City Road Runners and is a member of Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics.  His list of planned races makes one wonder… does he sleep?

RACE HIGHLIGHTS: “Seeing a blind runner on crutches running the Chicago Marathon. If you’re not inspired by that, you don’t have a pulse.”

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Races completed: Since beginning running in 2011, over 150 half marathons, 58 marathons, and 30 ultras including 3 – 100 milers
Farthest traveled for a race: ~2,700 miles. From Pittsburgh, PA, to Vancouver, BC. Twice.
Favorite race length: Half marathon, though there is something very appealing about the 100 milers.

 

CONNECT WITH TOM

2015 AMA Feature >

LAUREN SESERKO

AMA Logo

Lauren is an adopted Charm City resident and marathoner. She is a current Occupational Therapy student by day as well as a fit foodie. Besides running, she enjoys working out with November Project, practicing yoga, travelling, and exploring Baltimore . Lauren is the creator of Breathe Deeply and Smile where she discusses life, running, health & fitness, food, and Baltimore. 

Race Highlights: Running right past the Biltmore Estate and on the grounds during the 2016 half marathon was a memorable way to first see Biltmore on my first trip to Asheville. This race definitely has one of the most beautiful and scenic course I’ve run. The event organization, swag, and scenery make it an awesome event, even with some challenging hills along the course! 

Goals: Hopefully in April Lauren will check off her big goal of running the Boston Marathon. She would love to work on a new half marathon PR as well as do more trail running and eventually run her first 50K. 
 

CRYSTAL SHIRK

Ambassador Veteran!

Crystal Shirk

Local runner entering her 3rd year as an ambassador.  After a year of unexpected setbacks, her running goals are to reach the same level of fitness she was at 1 year ago.  Crystal has run the Trifecta series for the last 2 years and plans to complete it this year as well!  She is attempting a half marathon in a new state at least once a year.  When she isn’t running, she is working as a certified athletic trainer for Pardee Sports Medicine in the community, keeping her dogs active, and chasing her 2 boys around. 

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Black Mountain, NC
Farthest traveled for a race: Disney.
Upcoming Races:  The Gateway 5k or 10k August 2017, Asheville Du October 2017, Soakupthesun half marathon Gulfport, Miss in December 2017, Disney Princess Glass Slipper Challenge and 5k Feb 2018, Asheville Half 2018

CONNECT WITH CRYSTAL

Crystal’s Blog >

LESLIE SLOAN

Ambassador Veteran!

Leslie Sloan

Leslie runs with Inheritance of Hope and raising funds with them and created a small running group of women who do long runs! “My running has come a long way since that first 15k. I love to run and it has given me a great platform to talk about and encourage a lot of the people in my life to do ALL kinds of things.”

RACE HIGHLIGHTS: “I love running [the Asheville Marathon & Half] races! They are beautiful! Simply put… you get to race on a private estate where the Vanderbilts lived… they had the same landscape architect [as Central Park]. I love running up the approach road to the house. The fact that you don’t get to see it until you are RIGHT THERE, is such a tease and really inspires you to get up that hill. Then, I love barreling down the hill through the gardens and past the Bass Pond. There is truly nothing like these races.”

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Fletcher, NC
Running Goals: My running goals for the year is to change it up. I want to run a triathlon, a trail race, a big city marathon and try to qualify for Boston and to run the Asheville Marathon (I’ve run the 1/2 twice).
Ambassador Experience: I’m an ambassador for Pearl Izumi. Also, I’ve been a charity runner for NYC Marathon 2x and for Marine Corps Marathon for Inheritance of Hope.
Races completed: 6 marathons and 6 or 7 half marathons.

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Leslie’s Blog >

RAEGAN SOLOMAN

Ambassador Veteran!

Raegan Soloman

Raegan is a veteran Lead Coach and Sole Mate with Girls on the Run and helped plan the Haw Creek Elementary School race. She’s active in the Asheville running community, participating in many races ranging from 5ks to 1/2 marathons; usually running in at least one race a month, and sometimes more.

RACE HIGHLIGHTS: “The Biltmore is an amazing landmark to our city… my children are growing up in the backyard of the Biltmore. It was magical to run on the grounds and run while taking in the majestic views of the estate. I completed the race as a Sole Mate for Girls on the Run and raised scholarship money for local girls to be able to participate in the program that is so near and dear to my heart. That was such a fantastic bonus!”

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Fletcher, NC

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WENDY STIVER

Ambassador Veteran!

 

Wendy Stiver

Running is how I explore the world. I started race traveling in 2011 and love that it has taken me to places I might not have otherwise visited. Every race is an adventure. Sometimes I have a great race and chase a PR, but more often, I meet amazing people and make lifelong friendships. So…my goal is to collect as many adventures and new friends as possible. (And break 2:15 in a half)

I’ve never been to Asheville. This race has been on my radar for a few years. I have  heard so many good things recently about the race and the city. I’m looking forward to exploring and supporting the local brewing economy.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Ketchikan, AK
Races completed: 150. 53 half marathons and 6 fulls.
Farthest traveled for a race: Dayton-San Diego.

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