The Asheville Marathon and Half at Biltmore Estate partners with different local charities each year. These charities have runners who, on top of training for the race, also raise funds for the charities. This is the second post in a series profiling some of the charity runners in this year’s Asheville Marathon and Half at Biltmore Estate.


Many people do not think they want to run a race for a charity because of the amount of money raised. You could say Marisa de la Fuente and Maggie Howe thought that at first but they said it all seemed easier if they were doing the fundraising as a team. Both agreed that while raising $1500 each seemed a bit daunting, raising $3000 together did not seem so bad. They were nervous at first about the goal but liked that the Boys’ and Girls’ Club set small goals along the way, breaking that amount into manageable chunks.


Howe and de la Fuente originally signed up to run the half marathon. They were going to be running their first full marathon in Savannah in November of 2015. Unfortunately, due to extremely hot, humid weather, their Savannah experience did not become a full 26.2 miles. The two of them then decided to run the Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate as their first full marathon each. The two are training partners and spoke with me after running a warm up race together in February. This March marathon will not only be each runner’s first full marathon, it is each of the women’s first experience as a charity runner.




Both Maggie and Marisa volunteer for the cause they are supporting with their running. They say the Boys’ and Girls’ Club has a mission they can get behind. Knowing they are supporting a cause they are passionate about makes the training miles a bit easier. Both women work with children in their jobs and enjoy volunteering where they can continue that contact with young minds.


Both Maggie and Marisa are participants in the S.M.A.R.T. Girls, Run! and S.M.A.R.T. Boys, Run! which is  “a health, fitness, prevention, education and self-esteem enhancement program for girls and boys” of elementary school age. This after school program includes not only running but also healthy living and good life skills. It is about whole person wellness through the lens of running.


M&M Bunny Hop


When thoughts turned to ways to raise the money needed to be charity runners, de la Fuente and Howe have done a variety of items. Of course, they asked friends and family. They have also done an email campaign and utilize Facebook. They like to put out fun photos and do say that if you cannot donate, come join them for a run. They also turned to a local business to help them with their fundraising. On February 22nd – a secondary date due to winter weather, the two ladies had an event at Oskar Blues Brewery which included a performance by the Pisgah Thunder. The event is part of the brewery’s Make a Difference Monday and 10% of the tap room proceeds from 5-8 pm went to the fundraising efforts of Howe and de la Fuente. On top of that, the Pisgah Thunder performed to give those attending some entertainment.


When asked what advice they would give to other runners  toeing the start line with them in Asheville, Marisa said listen to your body. You may find that walking hills makes the entire race better for you. Stretch when you need to during your race. Take the course in digestible pieces and make it fun. Maggie reminded that you can be totally prepared for a race but you have to run the race that presents itself that day. Enjoy the experience.


And as a last word about their charity, both agree that when you can impact a child’s life, you impact the rest of that child’s human experience. In their efforts with the Cindy Platt Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Transylvania County, they not only get young children thinking positively about movement but they also teach goal setting and achievement. The group cultivates community and wellness and makes it fun.


Should you wish to support Marisa and Maggie’s efforts to raise funds for the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, you can visit their donation page at

Pisgah Thunder