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

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
CONNECT WITH CHARLA

 

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!

 

CRYSTAL OLSON

Rebecca Luhm

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)

CRYSTAL SHIRK

Crystal Shirk
CONNECT WITH CRYSTAL

Crystal’s Blog >

 

Running started as a challenge back in 2005 when I was trying out a new workout plan. I then I had 2 kids, and it became a weight loss tool in 2012. It worked.
Over the years it became a strength from within. Running can make you tough. Tougher than you realized you could be and helps you physically and mentally battle whatever comes your way in life. You learn to battle the wind, rain, snow, heat… you create a comradery with a group of people who ‘get it’ like you do; and not many do. Especially as the miles creep up…
I love to motivate and be motivated. I can run alone, or with friends. A plan and commitment is all I need.
I started quick going from a 2 mile runner at most, to a half marathoner in 6 months time. My friend was sneaky in motivating me to do a longer race each month until suddenly we sporadically signed up for the Beckley Half marathon on Oct 1, 2005. I found out I was pregnant with my first child 2 days after the race. I raced 5 and 10ks here and there for the next 7 years. Returned to my half marathon days with the AVLmarathon half marathon in 2014, and have bravely conquered over 13 half marathons since that time.
My husband is an avid runner as well and we love to do racecations together. He assists with the race on race weekend when he’s not running it.
We are both now training for our first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2018. Follow my blog and motivate me!

Race Highlights: The beautiful views, the comfort of just being on the Biltmore estate after the race- you feel like you’re at home, the event is just so well put together. The swag is a big plus! Daphne knows what her runners like 🙂

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Black Mountain, NC
Farthest traveled for a race: Disney.
Upcoming Races:  Marine Corps Marathon 2018; Asheville Marathon (half) 2019; Hapula half Marathon 2019. I’m sure I’ll add a few more in somewhere 😉
Fun Facts: I swore I would never run another half marathon after my first.
I won 1st place in my age group at my first half marathon (I was also the last person through the finish line at a time of 2:24… Dang I had some fast competition and there were under 100 racers).
I have a goal of running a race in every state of the US
I have run this half marathon 5 years in a row.
This is my 4th year as an ambassador.

 

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

Deanna Avery
CONNECT WITH DEANNE

Deanne’s Blog >

Follow Deanne on Strava >

 

 

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)

 

ELIZABETH HOTALING CLINE

Elizabeth Hotaling
CONNECT WITH ELIZABETH

Blog: Tri-ingForChina
2015 AMA Feature

Elizabeth is enthusiastic about great races and thinks the Asheville Marathon & Half “is one of the best.” Find her promoting this destination race to the Greenville running and triathlon communities!

RACE HIGHLIGHTS: “2014 full – seeing the house, running through the gardens, running through the vineyard, getting my blanket at the end. 2015 half – seeing my friend see the house for the first time, cheering on the runners I met through the expo, flowers in the gardens already, the beautiful weather, sharing it with friends, and getting my blanket at the end.”

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Greenville, SC
Farthest traveled for a race: China! (it was a triathlon though) also Hawaii for a 15k, but that wasn’t the whole reason for the trip.

 

HANNAH FOUST

Hannah Foust
CONNECT WITH HANNAH

I started running back in 2012. I love that running has taken me to so many new and exciting places (like Asheville). I love exploring all the trails Knoxville and the surrounding area have to offer with my dog. I ran the Backyard to Vineyard challenge in 2017 and enjoyed it so much I’m coming back for 2019! The iDaph team is awesome and puts on wonderful events. This will be my 4th year as an Ambassador!

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
2018/19 Races Planned: Pigeon Forge 8k, Peak to Creek Marathon, Norris Dam Hard Trail 50k, Helen Holiday Half, Santa Hustle Smokies 5k, New Year’s Day 5k, Knoxville ‘Marathon, AVL Backyard to vineyard challenge

 

JANICE LEISTER

Deanna Avery
CONNECT WITH JANICE

I am a Lieutenant in the US Navy Reserve, as well as a teacher in South Carolina. I started running competitively when I was 11, but only started running marathons four years ago. Since then, I have ran five full marathons in five different states, three of which were in a 70-day span, qualifying me to become a Marathon Maniac. I have also completed the Disney Dopey Challenge. I have ran 15 half marathons in 10 states, and plan to add at least two more states this coming year! I enjoy running with my Golden Retriever, as well as my toddler, who recently started running in her own races.

FUN FACTS

About Me: I’ve ran five full marathons and half marathons in five different states. I hope to run a full and half in all 50!
What I Love Most About the Asheville Marathon & Half: Running in the beautiful Biltmore Estate! I’m looking forward to one of the prettiest runs in the country!
2018/19 Races Planned: 
Asheville Marathon, Air Force Marathon, Kiawah Island Marathon, Disney Fairytale Challenge

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!!!!

 

 

JESSE WARREN

Deanna Avery

Spent 25 years in the Marines Corps where i completed most of my marathons. I have ran over 100 marathons and nearly that in half’s. Since living in Asheville, I have continued to run / race/ cheering runners. I’m a motivator.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Orginally from Tennessee. Now in Asheville , NC
About Me: My enjoyment is happiness. Bikram Yoga have given me the tools to relax, stretch and enjoy the gift of pain. As an Instructor at Asheville High MCJROTC, I have the privilege to teach and mentor young minds.
What I’m Most Excited About the Asheville Marathon & Half: The Challenge: I need to continue to challenge myself. Running both half’s will be my goal. Heading into the Age of SIXTY-TWO and changing careers for the third time; when I complete THE HALVES “When can I do it again”
2018/19 Races Planned: 
So far this year, 7 total races and 1 bike race. Tour Apple bike race,Cashiers bike race, race to taps “New Beligum, Cherokee half, Asheville JCC; 2019 Starts with the Res. 10 miler

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

 

 

 

 

 

KRISTEN BURKE

Deanna Avery
CONNECT WITH KRISTEN

I began running in 2013 as a way to manage stress. My husband and I trained together for the Oak Island half marathon. My favorite running memory is my husband waiting for me at the finish line and putting my medal around my neck after finishing my first half marathon. I had to stop running during my pregnancy in 2014 and feel like running took on a new meaning to me once my son was born. I’m much slower, but love the miles outside pushing the stroller. My son loves to “run” with me and sing me songs.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Apex, NC
About Me: 
Green is my favorite color. My wedding anniversary is race weekend! I love to bake, especially cupcakes. If I weren’t an accounting nerd, I’d be a baker.
What I Love Most About the Asheville Marathon & Half: The beautiful course! And the costumes!
2018/19 Races Planned: Race13.1 Raleigh, City of Oaks, Race13.1 Durham, Ridgewood Turkey Trot, Oak Island Half, and Asheville Half. So far that’s it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAUREN SESERKO

AMA Logo
CONNECT WITH LAUREN

Lauren’s Blog >

Lauren is an adopted Maryland resident who has been running since she ran her first 5K in 2011 and never looked back, even completing the 2018 Boston Marathon (a dream come true!). By day she is an occupational therapist and the rest of the time can be found running, working out with November Project, travelling, and exploring Baltimore. She is a running coach out of her local running store, Charm City Run. Besides running, she enjoys working out with November Project, practicing yoga, travelling, and exploring Baltimore. She loves fitness, good food, post-run coffee, and enjoying a cold beer. Lauren shares her adventures at Breathe Deeply and Smile .

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Baltimore, MD
About Me: My favorite food is pizza. Despite completing many morning workouts, I’m actually a night owl so the struggle is real to get up early!
What I Love Most About the Asheville Marathon & Half: I love the beautiful scenery and being surrounded by nature along the Asheville Half course. A highlight of the race is always running right in front of the Biltmore Estate.
2018/19 Races Planned: Berlin Marathon 2018 (Berlin, Germany), Baltimore Running Festival 5K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESLIE SLOAN

Leslie Sloan
CONNECT WITH LESLIE

I played soccer all of my life and after the birth of my second child, I picked up running to get into shape and to spend time with friends. I ran my first 15k at the Biltmore Estate and ran it a few times after that. Then I thought I would run my first half-marathon when I turned 35. During that time, the NYC Marathon got canceled for Hurricane Sandy & I grew up on the Navy Base where the Marathon starts. I thought it would be great fun to try to run the NYC Marathon. I ended up running it with Inheritance of Hope, a cancer charity on behalf of a friend who passed away from breast cancer. I ran it again the next year, the Marine Corps Marathon after that and here I am 10 marathons later! I was able to qualify & run the Boston Marathon this past spring and will run it again next year (2019).

I work for Young Life of Asheville & Buncombe County and we started a charity running team with the Asheville Half Marathon. This will be our fourth year having a team in the race and it will be the best year ever!

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Fletcher, NC
Did you know?: I was on the Family Feud in 2016 with my husband Matt and his family. I have moved 11 times because my dad was in the Army (I was born in Las Vegas, lived in Berlin; while the wall was up and in Korea!). I played college soccer at the University of South Carolina and won a National Championship with my youth soccer team scoring a goal in the championship game.
What I love about the Asheville Marathon & Half: I love the weather 🙂
2018/19 Races Planned: Asheville Marathon and a Half and 2019 Boston Marathon

Michael Pesant

 

Leslie Sloan
CONNECT WITH MICHAEL

 

Ran 3 miles every other day for years and years, and never could push past it until my wife got me out on a trail at Bent Creek. Since then I’ve been finding new distances and trails, the longest so far was the Frosty Foot last year. I’m looking forward to attempting my first marathon at Biltmore this year.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Asheville, NC
Did you know?: I once vomited on a thousand year old rug?
What I love about the Asheville Marathon & Half: Those quiet moments through the race where it feels (unlike other moments) that everything is clicking and you can enjoy where you are.
2018/19 Races Planned: Hullabaloo 50K Relay, Asheville Marathon, Frosty Foot 30K

Michelle Halstead Meyers

Leslie Sloan
CONNECT WITH MICHELLE

I started running less than a year ago, since I have completed the Asheville Half Marathon, Downhill at Dawn and have a few races coming up. I have also become a team member of 3TSports

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Weedsport, NY
What I love about the Asheville Marathon & Half: I LOVE the Biltmore Estate so this run is definitely a beautiful one. This race is now extra special to me as I have dedicated my runs here in memory of my recently passed nephew Tripp Halstead. He passed 2 days before my first ever Asheville Half in 2018.
2018/19 Races Planned: 8/4 Lake Logan, 8/5 Asheville Spartan, 9/8 Bigfoot 5K, 2/22-2/23 Disney Princess, 3/16/19 Asheville Half Marathon

 

Monica K

Leslie Sloan

Semi-Retired Respiratory Therapist, currently working a few days / week with special needs people.
Recently separated and making the best of it by enjoying “me!”
50/state marathon finisher and also completed 100 marathons last fall!
Coached for Team n Training for several years, coached a cross country team in SC and brought them to their best year in a few years, 2017 Marathon Maniac ambassador.
Got to run US Marathon under Fred Lebow, the founder and got to meet him.
Also took training from world renowned running coach Jack Daniels and met and ran with Jeff Galloway, former Olympian and founder of the Galloway method, which I highly recommend to everyone!

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Belle Vernon, PA
Fun Facts About Me: I enjoy every day that I wake up with my (female ) dog; I hug her and tell her “We don’t need no stinking men!”
She agrees!
I’m giving up men and work in my new life!
Running has been my savior, everything I learned in life, I learned from running ,
And dogs! When all else fails, say your tail and go for a run!

What I love about the Asheville Marathon & Half: Running and promoting the most beautiful and well organized races around!
2018/19 Races Planned: Lake Lure 10k, Run the Rock 5k, Apple fest 8k, The Billy goat gruff., 

 

 

RAEGAN SOLOMAN

Raegan Soloman
CONNECT WITH RAEGAN

I began running with the 5k, after my daughter was born. I enjoyed the distance but wanted more. After my son was born I trained for my first 1/2, I loved the distance, the social aspect of training with friends, the race atmosphere. I became a runner within this distance and participate in a few 1/2’s each year.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Asheville, NC
2018/19 Races Planned: Kiawah Island 1/2
Fun Facts About Me: I coach Girls on the Run and love getting girls hooked into the running community. I run with my boxer puppy Phil, every run is a brand new experience which is fun for both of us! Some days he loves running, some days he loves bikes, some days he loves the grass!!!
Race Highlights: I love the Biltmore race, the steady incline up and the beautiful reward of seeing the house. The participants who are excited and happy to be there which makes the community such a joy! The grounds, oh the grounds… it is such a beautiful race to run!!

SARAH ALBRECHT

 

Raegan Soloman
CONNECT WITH SARAH

 

I actually didn’t start running until the summer of 2012 when I started working for a women’s performance apparel store. Before I started running, I was a competitive swimmer for about 15 years. To this day, I’ve completed 2 marathons, 1 trail ultra, several half marathons (my current PR is from the Biltmore Half in 2017), and 5ks.

 

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC
2018/19 Races Planned: Highland Brewery Night Flight, Hillsborough 5k, Marine Corps Marathon, Gobble and Gorge 8k, Jingle Jog 5k, Asheville Half Marathon, Tarheel 10 miler
Fun Facts About Me:I love food, I spoil myself with really great coffee from the Roasterie outside Kansas City, I work for Fleet Feet Store Support Team, I have over 30 pairs of running shoes (I do not wear them all for training!), my favorite place to travel in NC is Asheville/mountains versus the beach and my favorite season is fall.
Race Highlights: It’s a great weekend with great camaraderie and beautiful scenery. One of these days I will go into the Biltmore house when I’m in town. 🙂

THOMAS BOOTHBY

 

Raegan Soloman
CONNECT WITH THOMAS

I’m a globe trotting scientist that studies how organisms survive in extreme environments. I’ve gotten to go to some awesome places like the Kalhari and Antartica for work, but I always try to get in some running too. I also love running and that’s how I like to experience and interact with the world.

I don’t really consider myself a race runner, I mostly run for fun and just do races that I think are in interesting/fun places. AVL Marathon and Half definitely fit the bill – the course is so cool for this race and Asheville is a fantastic place to visit for a weekend (or longer).

 

 

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Durham, NC
2018/19 Races Planned:Asheville Half Marathon, Northface Endurance Challenge DC (marathon distance – Done), Ragnar DC, Marine Corps Marathon
Fun Facts About Me: 

  • Grew up in Africa and Switzerland.
  • Got to go back to Switzerland this summer for some training in the Alps – also got in a bunch of mountain biking 🙂
  • Currently getting ready to send some of my experiments to the International Space Station, unfortunately they said I couldn’t go 🙁

Race Highlights: The Biltmore course is awesome, fun, and beautiful, but beyond that, Western NC is so beautiful and Asheville has an awesome vibe. There is a ton of great outdoor stuff, art, and food (vegan and vegetarian options are fantastic in AVL) options in the city. I’m definitely planning on making a runcation out of the race.

 

TOM MANGAN

Tom Mangan
CONNECT WITH TOM

Tom has been diagnosed with Adult Onset Running. He completed his first marathon in 2011, and since that time has completed over 165 half marathons, 65 marathons (including 6 indoor marathons), and 39 ultras (including five 100 milers). On most Wednesday evenings, he can be found on his favorite training run which includes hill repeats on the sixth steepest street in the world! Tom routinely paces everything from 5Ks to marathons. He provides tips and encouragement along the way and has been known to be quite the tour guide as he paces runners around his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His biggest thrill when pacing is helping runners cross the finish line after they wanted to quit halfway into the race. When he’s not running, he can be found researching obscure races to fulfill his quest of running a half marathon and marathon in all 50 states. His ultimate running goal can be summed up in one word: Barkley.

Tom is CPR, AED, and First Aid certified. Tom also belongs to the Steel City Road Runners and is a race ambassador and legacy runner for the Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate. He paces simply because he loves to inspire others to reach their goals. His marathon PR is 4:23 and his half PR is 1:48.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Races Planned: Heart & Sole half marathon, Leave No Trace trail marathon, Amish Country half marathon, Barkley Fall Classic 50k, Boulder Beast trail marathon, Worlds End Fall classic trail half marathon, Oil Creek 100 miler, Mahoning Shadow Shuffle half marathon, Buffalo Creek half marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, Silver Falls trail marathon, Silver Falls trail half marathon, Tunnel Hill 100 miler, Asheville Half Marathon at Biltmore Estate, Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate, Hyner View trail 50k, Pittsburgh Marathon, Cleveland Marathon, Worlds End 100k, Last Vol State 500k.
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.
Fun Facts About Me: When Tom isn’t running, he enjoys playing with his two Bernese Mountain Dogs, attending concerts, and people watching at coffee shops.

 

 

TRACEY GARRANT

AMA Logo

My name is Tracey, I live in Florida. I am married to my high school sweetheart Don and we have 3 children, Kaylie 20, Christian 18 & Ryan 15.
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
2018/2019 Races planned: Park to park half, City of lakes half, Red carpet half, Cocoa beach half, Maui Marathon, Florida run, Spacecoast half, ouc half, Mt dora half, WDW marathon, St Pete Marathon challenge, Celebration half, Daytona beach half challenge, Publix ft lauderdale, Gasparilla amber challenge, BDR challenge, Excalibur, And many 5k’s and 10k’s

WENDY STIVER

Ambassador Veteran!

 

Wendy Stiver
CONNECT WITH WENDY

Running is therapy. There’s nothing quite like checking out for a few hours with music and sinking into a steady groove while working through life in your head. And there’s no better way to do it than while exploring, going on adventures and meeting new people.

I got hooked in 2011 and am up to 9 full marathons and 100 ish halfs. My 2017 big hairy challenge was the Asheville Backyard to Vineyard followed by the Bataan Death March the next weekend, which came out to 65 miles in one week – the actual distance of Bataan. It was an unbelievable experience and I was honored to come back to AVL in 2018 to help out.

These days, I play a little rugby, do a little powerlifting and run a little less, but am still looking forward to bringing a little rainbow magic and unicorn love to AVL 2019. You can totally do this and we will be here to root for you along the way.

FUN FACTS

Hometown: Dayton, OH
Did You Know?:

  • I’m part of a not very secret team of superheros who are crime fighters by day but transform into super nerd data analysts and researchers when no one is looking——yeah, maybe that’s the other way around in the movies, but we are way nerdier in real life.
  • I joined a rugby team at age 45 – I play Number 8 and Lock.
  • I was born in Hawaii, but haven’t been there since I was a wee little rainbow.
  • I went to high school in West Berlin and the Berlin Wall fell down during my senior year. We didn’t do it. We also didn’t start the fire.
  • I know all the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby.
  • I worked as a bodyguard in the US Army for a few years. It’s not as interesting as it sounded just then. We spent a lot of time just waiting around.

2018/19 Races Planned: Well——ah, Gasparilla 2019 and maybe some other races if I can get back in the groove.