These 34 running enthusiasts have been selected as our 2021 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


Bilinda Kaufman

Before running, I was a competitive swimmer for 15 years. I didn’t actually start running until I started working at a womens performance apparel store. My first 5k was actually in downtown Asheville, the Belle Chere 5k back in July 2012. This was also where I broke 30 minutes in my 5k in 2013. 

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC


Born and raised in NC. #goheels

Married to my high school sweetheart ❤

I run distances so I can eat!

Asheville Marathon & Half HIGHLIGHTS

I absolutely love this race! It holds a special place in my heart. The PRs, the scenery, volunteers and everything in between (especially being able to run with friends and my husband is the best). I can’t wait to see how I’ll race post baby. 🙂

And most importantly, I love the medal at the end of the race, it’s always an awesome surprise.


Beth Vo

Kim’s Blog >

I woke up on my 35th birthday and felt this overwhelming desire to run. Which was crazy since I had always kinda hated running before. I had no real running shoes or watch, or any of the fun running accessories, but I headed out the door for my first run. The only way I could track my time or mileage was to look at the clock in my car right before I got out.

I went to a local park that had a track around it & I ran around it once. I called my husband & told him I had just ran a mile without stopping and he was like, “Wow, Babe! That is so awesome!”. He asked where I ran and I told him and he laughed and said, “That track isn’t a mile. It’s only 3/4 mile”. So, the next day I left the house again determined that I would run a solid mile and I did! I was hooked & I’ve been running ever since. I’ll be celebrating my 8th running birthday in August.

Hometown: Morganton, NC


I live in a house with all boys! 3 sons & my husband, John. It gets crazy! I love Legos as much as my kids do. I’m a thrill junkie & love roller coasters. The bigger the better! I love to read. I have 2 Husky puppies. They are so cute but they chew up everything! I’m an Ultra Marathoner


I’m looking forward to running the challenge again with my BRF, Deanne. And we have a new BRF, Nikki, who has never ran the Asheville Marathon so I’m excited for her to run it for the first time. Last year, Deanne & I pr’d for both the half & the full so we are super excited to see what we can do in 2020!!


Beth Vo


I found the gift of running in April 2013 when I ran my very first mile and I haven’t stopped running since. In April 2015 I ran my first half marathon, I ran my first marathon in 2018 at the Asheville Marathon and I am now an Ultrarunner!! I have participated in various races including the 5K, 10K, 15K, Half Marathons, 25K, the Marathon, 50K and 12 Hour Endurance Run. 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!

Hometown: Morganton, NC


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! 


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!! Last year I got both my half and full marathon PR’s running the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge and I look forward to running this challenge event again in 2020!


Beth Vo

A little about me, I am a 6th grade mathematics and science teacher in Charleston, South Carolina. When I am not running, I love High Intensity Interval Training, Yoga, Swimming, Hiking, binge-watching Netflix and spending time with loved ones.

Prior to December 2016, the furthest I have ever run was 3 miles. I was fifty pounds over weight, and couldn’t even run a mile without getting winded. With the support of my husband, I slowly built up the miles and ran my first half- marathon, the Kiawah Island half marathon December 2016 and ran my first full marathon 4 months later Wrightsville Beach Marathon. Since my first marathon I have ran 15 total races, with the Asheville Half Marathon being my all-time favorite! I love running and the community surrounded by their amazing sport.

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL


The view of the Biltmore Estate is breath taking! This race is never boring between the views and the hills. The afterparty beer isn’t so bad either 😉


Beth Vo

I have always enjoyed being a casual runner, running to keep up with my mental health. I trained for my first race summer of 2008 in Austin, Texas, the Nike Human Race 10K. Three months later I ran the Memphis half marathon, and directly afterward I started my journey into motherhood, only running casually if I could find the time.

In 2018 I returned to event/race running with the Asheville half marathon as my first big event after having and raising two daughters. While training for the Biltmore I joined the Chi Running group, where I learned to love trail running.

Inspired and feeling adventurous, I took the first step in ultrarunning and trained for the Cradle to Grave 30k in May 2019, which was a wet sloshy run and wading through Pisgah Forest. While I still appreciate running’s ability to keep my mood calm, it is now my way to adventure, explore and meet friends. Running has helped me move past my social anxiety, because I am never more open or willing to talk than when on a run. Most importantly I find that conquering mountains, running longer distances, and discovering new trails leaves me feeling confident of how strong I am!

Hometown: Horse Shoe, NC 


When not running or on an outdoor adventure, I can be found tending to my family and my flock of chickens and geese. I grew up as an army brat, living in California, Texas, Germany, Kentucky, Indiana, and Memphis all before the age of 10. As an adult I continued that trend, moving to California with a few years as a Zen monk, New Mexico, Texas and finally to the Asheville area in 2014.


I love the support of this race- the swag, the treats at water stations, and the strong moral support from the people alongside the race. The Biltmore Estate’s lush scenery and historical buildings are great eye candy, keeping you engaged in the environment more than a normal road race. I really look forward to running the Asheville Half Marathon again this year!


Beth Vo

I’m a teacher and started running about a year and a half ago as a way to relieve stress and have a more healthy life style. I signed up for my first half marathon as a way to motivate myself to stay consistent and fell in love with running. It became a way for me to have time for myself to reflect and also helped me improve my self confidence. I’ve met so many great people at races and trails thanks to running.


Hometown: Waynesville, NC 

I have a goal to see all the national parks and so I’ve been finding half marathons near different national parks. I love tie dye anything, including my tie dye running shoes.😆 I’m a Let Me Run coach.


It’s so fun to meet people from all around and you just can’t beat the amazing views running past the Biltmore house.


Beth Vo

I began running in Middle School, when my dad suggested I join Cross Country to keep in shape for soccer. It was NOT “love at first sight,” but it worked… and I eventually came to love my Cross Country team and the atmosphere there; so much less competitive than the soccer aspect of my life!! I ran CC all through high school, then played soccer in college. Toward the end of college, I got back into running for myself (not as required by Brevard College Soccer workouts!). For a while, I was lost… didn’t know how to healthily become an “avid runner,” and my health declined for a while… God wasn’t done, though! Through some amazing people and support, I learned what my body needed to run (literally and figuratively), and I began to change my entire lifestyle. NOW, I can’t imagine NOT running… I simply love it! OF course, there are times I don’t… but overall, it’s part of my journey to who I’ve become and who I am becoming, and I LIKE that journey, and that person!!


Hmmmm… I really want to do a triathlon, but I can’t ride a bike without being a danger to myself and those around me!!! NO balance!


All of it, honestly. Mostly the scenery, the camaraderie, and the animals! Plus the positive atmosphere throughout all of it, from the expo down to leaving the hotel after the fact! The local eats are great, too!


Beth Vo

I started running at a young age, and went on to run cross country in college. However, my second collegiate running season (2011), I was diagnosed with compartment syndrome in both legs. After surgery, a long/slow recovery, and being told I might never be able to run again, I decided to give running a try. Since then, I have competed in many races, joined a local running group, and found my love for running half marathons! I may not be able to run as fast as I used to, but I still enjoy running, set new personal running goals, and encourage others to run!!


HometownLinwood, NJ

I have ran a half marathon in 7 states (NJ, PA, DE, NC, ME, FL, CO), with a goal to run a half marathon in all 50 states!
-I often run my speed workouts with my German Shorthaired Pointer (Piper)! She is unbelievably fast and does not get tired.
-I am a Girls High School Cross Country Assistant Coach.
-I use bridges connecting the mainland to the island if I want to get a “hill” workout in.
-I met my fiancé at a 5k race and we are getting married in October 2019!
-I own an airplane; a Mooney! This comes in handy when I sign up for out of state races, and want my fiancé/dogs to come cheer me on.
-I have ran numerous race distances; 1 mile, 2 mile, 5k, 7k, 10k,11k, 15k, 10miles, half marathon, 18miles, & marathon. I would love to try running an ultra in 2020.


By far one of my top favorite courses/races! It is a BEAUTIFUL and somewhat challenging course. The race is super organized and you get to explore the estate after the race!


Beth Vo

I was never a runner until the year after I finished undergrad. I got talked into running a local 5k, and I’ll never forget the first run that really clicked for me – the first time I was able to run a mile without stopping. After that, I was hooked! I ran my first 5k in April and my first half just six months later in November. The following March, I ran my first full at the Biltmore. Now, six years and 15 half marathons, 5 full marathons, and 2 ultras later, the Asheville Marathon is still my favorite! The scenery, the aid stations, the people, and the location make it the ultimate destination race!


HometownAlexandria, VA

I’ve run the Asheville Marathon twice and the Half Marathon twice – once on their own and once together as the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge! I coach a running club for kids in grades 1-5 at the school where I teach K-5 Math Lab. Our team is growing every year!

Fun fact – My running streak will turn a year old just a couple weeks after this year’s race!


This is a truly boutique race. Every detail is carefully planned, from the commemorative wine bottles at the expo to the annual custom socks! The aid stations at the Asheville Marathon and Half are the best of any race I’ve participated in, and the course views are unbeatable!


Beth Vo

I began running in 2012 as a way to stay in shape for figure skating. I really began training when I moved to Alabama in 2013 and quickly fell in love with racing. I never thought I would be able to run a marathon but since 2013, I’ve completed 5 marathons and 2 ultramarathons. I’ve learned so much about myself through running and I love the places running has taken me.


HometownKnoxville, TN

This is my 5th year as a AMA. I foster dogs through a local rescue.


Working with the amazing iDaph staff and running on the estate.


Beth Vo

I started running about 13 years ago. I needed something different in my life and decided to run a 5k. I was instantly hooked! I have run over 50 half marathons over the years and three marathons. This will be my fifth year running Asheville. I had a baby in December so this year I am running the half marathon virtually with my husband while pushing a stroller! But I am already making plans to be back in person next year. I absolutely love this course! It’s challenging and so beautiful. It’s on my to-run list every year now!


HometownBirmingham, Alabama

Fun fact: I love dogs! I will leave the race course to pet a dog 🙂 And I also have been known to drink a mimosa during a race. I like to have fun with running and not take it so seriously!


This has become a trip I share with my mom and look forward to every year. She’s also a fantastic runner! We’ve now added my grandmother to the trip. She doesn’t run with me, just cheers from the sideline and enjoys a glass of delicious Biltmore wine with me (after the race, of course!).
But what I look forward to the most is running up to the Biltmore house. It takes my breath away every time! I can’t get enough of that view.


Beth Vo

Hello! My name is Michelle. I have a pretty handsome husband Rob, and some pretty cool kids. I love my family and friends more than anything. I even started running in 2017 because of family! I DID NOT want to! My sister in law put out there that she and my brother were running the AVL Half so I thought, “Sure I’ll do it.” Who wouldn’t want to run on the Biltmore Estate?! I’ve never ever been a distance runner. My super awesome friend and also Ambassador (Crystal Shirk) was my very first ever running buddy. I fell in love with running. Who would have ever thought!


HometownWeedsport, NY


The views and the scenery!!! They are amazing. And Daphne. Working with her has been a blast 🙂


Beth Vo

I started running in January of 2016 as a new year’s resolution to complete a marathon that year. I did not have a running background, however I knew I needed to kick start this “crazy” idea. I started off small and continued to build my way up in distance. I completed my first marathon that November and will never forget the emotions that poured out of me that day. For so long, I put running in a category most often associated with punishment. Once I started running, I immediately fell in love. I have learned so much about myself and about leadership and life through this process. Running has brought me such joy and I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to influence others in this journey. I have now run 21 half marathons (Asheville Marathon x 4) and 3 marathons including Chicago 2018.


HometownSpartanburg, SC

My family fuels me–I am so thankful for my wife and two sons! I am a Dave Matthews Band fanatic. As of July 2019, I have seen them 44 times in concert. I am a photographer and educator–my students know me as ‘Dean Hammett.’


The beauty of Biltmore Estate is second to none. My favorite part of the race is the first moment we see and run by the house. I love the way the light from the sunrise bounces off the house that time of morning, plus I know we are about to go down a hill for a bit. 🙂 The whole course is stunning. For first time Asheville Marathon folks, you are in for a real treat!


Beth Vo

My running adventures actually started with the sport of cycling. I loved cycling but wanted something more, so about 9 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 9 years, I’ve competed in duathlons, half marathons, marathons, but most importantly, running introduced me to my true love, the sport of triathlon. While I love stand-alone running races, there’s just something that I really enjoy about going for a run after a bike ride.


HometownColumbia, SC

Favorite Things: Music, animals, destination races, good coffee, anything lavender or ginger

Favorite Race Length: My favorite running distance is the half marathon and my favorite triathlon distance is the 70.3.


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!


Beth Vo

I’ve been running since high school cross country. I stuck to 5K and 10K at first, then did my first half in 2009 and my first full (Paris) in 2013! I did the Asheville full in 2014 and I’ve been back every year since, even when I was pregnant or had new babies. I have 2 kids and I hope they’ll make it to the finish line at the 2020 rave.


HometownCullowhee, NC

I ran a 5K on my wedding day.
I’m double jointed in my fingers.
The furthest I’ve traveled to race was a long distance triathlon in China in 2014.


Everything! This is honestly my favorite race. I’ve loved Biltmore since I was a kid, so running there is great. I love the community feel of the race and the after party. And the medals are pretty great too.


Bilinda Kaufman

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 Past 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.


Hometown: Orlando, FL
Favorite Race Length: Half is my favorite because it’s still fun and yet challenging.
Asheville Marathon & Half Experience: The obvious answer is the breathtaking views throughout the course but the comrade of the participants never disappoints either.


Beth Vo

Tom completed his first marathon in 2011, and since that time has completed over 175 half marathons, 65 marathons (including 6 indoor marathons), and 45 ultras (including eight 100 milers, most notably the Western States Endurance Run). Tom also completed the Dreadmill Endurance Challenge – a 100 mile treadmill run. On many 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.


HometownPittsburgh, PA

When Tom isn’t running, he enjoys playing with his two Bernese Mountain Dogs, attending concerts, and people watching at coffee shops.

I belong to Steel City Road Runners and is legacy runner for the Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate.


Having run the marathon and Backyard to Vineyard challenge every year they’ve been held, Tom looks forward to discovering something new on the course each year.


Beth Vo

I lived in NYC for most of my twenties managing an off-Broadway theatre and got into running while living there. I have a neuro immune deficiency that’s characterized by debilitating and prolonged fatigue made worse by physical activity, so naturally I took up running. I stuck to mid distances for many years until I moved to Asheville and Haruki Murakami inspired me to start running everyday. I discovered I was capable of more and more. The more miles I ran, the better I felt. I was told I could never run a marathon but I inherently knew that was a fallacy. I ran my first full marathon last March here in Asheville. Being capable of running the distance is my proudest accomplishment. Naturally I’ll keep chasing the dragon and being grateful for my body and my running.


HometownAsheville, NC

I’m a massive professional tennis fan. The endurance and mental strength that it takes to overcome the circumstances of best of five set matches inspires me to run stronger and longer and equally to live life stronger and braver. I am intensely invested in my players and rarely miss their matches. 


The quiet and calm of the estate early in the morning, running through the vineyards and all the cold weather training runs!


Beth Vo

I started running to support my dad in his goal of protecting himself from heart disease – he was running to try to improve his health so I started joining him as a way to be supportive! That was in 2013 – my family started doing 5ks as a group most weekends and that morphed into my “addiction” to running. Now I run as a way to be social, as a way to decompress after a long work day, and just to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. The Asheville marathon was my first ever marathon and I LOVED it – and can’t wait to share that experience with friends and family along the way this year!


HometownGreensboro, NC 

-I ran my first several 5ks in costume (think a giant roasted turkey… a snowman… a mounted deer head…)
-I love animals! My husband and I have 2 dogs, a cat, and 2 horses!
-one of my life goals is to run a half marathon in every state!


One of the most exciting thing for me this year is getting to share the experience I had last year with my friends, family, and other runners as we run the race this year!


Beth Vo

I began running later in life as a means to stop some bad habits and get healthy. I have completed 1 50k, 2 marathons,, 11 half marathons and to many to count 10k and 5ks. In the last 5 years. I also coach CrossFit and have used it to become a stronger runner. I have competed in 6 CrossFit competitions.


HometownAbingdon, VA

I’m a school nurse and EMT. Asheville was my 1st marathon!! I enjoy coaching others in their running and fitness journeys.


The views and the runners! It’s an amazing atmosphere from what you will see to people you will meet along the way.


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!  


Hometown: Hickory, NC

Longest race: Frosty 50k, work in clinical trial project management

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


The scenery and camaraderie


Beth Vo

I hated running in high school. To me, running was punishment for mistakes made during a basketball game and running a whole mile seemed like an impossible, painful feat. Thus, my first season of endurance running came directly after I graduated from college and was desperately trying to find a new social life and some sort of control over the whirlwind that is young adulthood.

I was surprised to find a good running community in my small hometown and soon fell in love with pushing myself to new limits. However, I would be remiss if I did not admit that at that time, I was running for all the wrong reasons.

Only a year into my Eating Disorder Recovery journey, I was still running out of punishment; to make up for perceived failures, “bad foods,” or uncomfortable feelings that I could not get rid of fast enough. Thankfully, life circumstances (aka my first “big girl job”) soon made my intense running schedule impossible to maintain. Several years and a lot of self-reflection (and therapy) later brought me to what I like to call “Running 2.0” –running out of genuine love for what my body is capable of, the places my two strong legs can take me, and the unbelievably supportive community that makes up endurance running.


HometownSpruce Pine, NC

I pride myself on making perfectly curated Spotify playlists for every important race, trip, or special person in my life.
Although I’m currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and if I’m not listening to a new playlist while running, then I’m listening to political gab-fest podcasts like Pod Save America.
I am the proud dog mom of two rescue pups.


The thrill of having the entire property wide open for runners, the incredible views, and seeing everyone smiling at mile 6 as we approach the Biltmore House.


Beth Vo

Hi! My name is Kim. I am a Project Manager in Fort Mill, SC. My husband and I have been married for 3.5 years and we have a 1 year old son and 4 year old rescue lab mix.
I started running in 2014 and my first half marathon was the Diva Race in Myrtle Beach. The feeling of accomplishment crossing that first finish line was all it took! I was hooked! I have completed 10 half marathons thus far and there is no stopping me now!
I ran the Marine Corp Marathon in 2015 and if I ever decide to run another marathon I would run that one again!
When I am not training or running races I am lifting weights and riding the Peloton! I hope to one day do a triathlon. #goals


HometownFort Mill, SC

I was born and raised in NY.
I grew up playing ice hockey and played for 27 years.
We love cruising vacations.
I have watched all the Grey’s Anatomy seasons from the very beginning!


Running towards the Biltmore House is absolutely the best view! I love the quietness of the course and the scenery!


Beth Vo

Over the past 19 years, running has been my constant. While completing my bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees, getting married, becoming a mom, teaching full time, and race directing, the one thing that I’ve been consistent in my life is running. My dad got me hooked when I was a senior in high school, and here I am, 19 years later still going strong. I still love those super early mornings (4:30am) out with my dad.

Over the years I’ve ran countless half marathons, 5ks, 10ks, 15ks and completed one full marathon in 2016. The most enjoyable part of running is the running community. I have met so many great people through running over the years that have became my good friends.

My biggest passion in running, is sharing the love of running with others. I love to see others complete their first race whether it be a 5k or a marathon. This passion over the years led me to directing races in our local community and becoming the founder of the McDowell Race Series in Marion, NC.


HometownMarion, NC

I’m a huge coffee lover!
I love teaching middle school math!
I love to explore new places!
I am a rookie kayaker.


This is my favorite race. I love the wooden finisher medallions. I love how quiet it is and the views as we run along the Biltmore Estates.


Beth Vo

I never considered myself an athlete until I fell in love with running when life spun out of control with college, a failed engagement, and my father’s 13 year battle with cancer. I remember the day I ran my very first 5k because I thought the 3.1 mile distance was just too far! But the freedom of running lead me to a few half marathons, marathons, and ultra distances up to a 100k within 15 years. Running is a place for me to forget all the real world problems, connect with friends, and have fun. I’ve also found passion in running as an angel athlete with Ainsley’s Angels, a nonprofit organization that gives runners the opportunity to lend their legs to a rider athletes unable to use their own legs to complete races. 


HometownWashington, NC

Although I’ve completed 12 ultra distance races in the last 2 years, the 2019 Asheville Half marathon was the first official half distance I had run since 2008.

In high school I skipped school just to avoid PE class, because my teacher was the track coach and I knew I’d have to run if I showed up! Ironically, here I am!

I took a 3 year running hiatus after a miserable marathon experience. It ended when I signed up for my first trail marathon on a total whim. I found my running groove again on that trail and fell in love with running all over again. After that marathon I signed up for my first ultra, just 3 weeks later, where I ran 54 miles. Not too shabby for a girl who everyone thought would never run an official race again!


I ran the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge in 2019, and it was a dream! Not going to lie, the trek up the mountain on mile 5 was pretty brutal for an eastern N.C. gal, but that view at the top was worth it all! I couldn’t wait to do it again the next day for the full!
Even better than the breathtaking view in front of the Biltmore was the piece of heaven I ran along the cobble stone path winding up the the hill somewhere after mile 13. I was completely lost in how beautiful the scenery was and had no idea what mile I was on. …who says that in the second half of a marathon, y’all?! The views and scenery in mile 11-19 set my soul on fire and carried me all the way through till the end.


Beth Vo

My running journey started late in life. All through school and most of my adult life I was overweight. I loathed running and all exercise.

I was fast approaching 50, when my light bulb went off. I was not about to spend the second half of my life overweight.
So at 49 on Valentine’s Day, I started my journey.

As of today I have lost around 120 pounds, and found my love of running as well as fitness. My journey has included numerous 5ks, 10ks, half marathons as well as two full marathons.

I always try to remember no matter how slow you are going you are lapping every one on the couch. As well as when you obey all the rules you miss all of the fun! And this journey continues to be filled with fun surprises, the most recent becoming and Asheville Marathon Ambassador!


HometownHendersonville, NC

I am a certified spin instructor, pursing the rest of my fitness certifications. I love pie and I really LOVE ice cream. I am a turtle runner but I never give up! Not ever!


I love coming around mile 6 for the first glimpse of the estate, but my absolute favorite view is when you are at the lagoon and look back at the house it is breathtaking. The race is one of the best organized, the whole weekend is just fabulous! Daphne and staff put on an amazing weekend!


Beth Vo

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 and training to run her 8th marathon in Fall 2019. By day she is an occupational therapist and the rest of the time can be found running, working out with November Project, travelling, practicing yoga, traveling, and exploring Baltimore. She is a running coach out of her local running store, Charm City Run. She loves fitness, good food, post-run coffee, and enjoying a cold beer. Lauren shares her adventures at


HometownBaltimore, MD

Despite completing many morning workouts, I’m actually a night owl so the struggle is real to get up early! My favorite food in general is pizza, and I love a cold beer and some brunch after the race (Biscuit Head after the Asheville half marathon, anyone?).


A highlight of the race is always running right in front of the Biltmore Estate and getting to take in all of the beautiful nature and scenery on the course, some off the beaten path, all by foot!


Crystal Shirk

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.


Hometown: Black Mountain, NC

Fun Facts: I have been an ambassador for the Avl Marathon for 6 years
I like to run w my dog Lizzy and my husband Conrad when not running w friends
I work as a Certified Athletic Trainer for Pardee hospital
I go to the Biltmore Estate every chance I get
I applied a cast to actor Caleb Landry Jones when movie was shot/filmed locally 3 Billboards as a prop
3 Billboards in Ebbing Missouri was filmed and the Asheville Spartan are 2 miles from my house
My husband is a heavy lifting smurf for the idaphe team on Asheville marathon weekend

Asheville Marathon & Half Highlights:

Helping the event run smoothly. Happy runners

VICTOR Siclari

Beth Vo

I’m an RRCA certified coach with the Steel City Road Runners Club (powered by P3R), and have been a Galloway training coach in Pittsburgh for 5 years, training hundreds of novice and experienced runners for races from 5k to full marathon. I love to pace races using Galloway run walk intervals from 5k to half marathon distances. I ran my first full marathon at 51 and have completed 4 full, 6 half, 3 relays of >150 miles and numerous other distances.


HometownPittsburgh PA

I love pacing races to help people complete their first time at a particular distance or to get a PR. I enjoy the camaraderie of my Galloway group and the “fun” we have running together. My wife inspired me to get back into running, but she got injured just when I started. We were finally able to run together at the Napa to Sonoma half marathon this summer and celebrated by sampling lots and lots of wine the next 2 days.


I look forward to returning to enjoy the majesty and beauty of running on the estate in milder conditions (last year was unseasonably cold and windy), buy more wine at the estate after the race (the wine tasting is awesome), and tour the estate and the city (lots of breweries and good dining).


Beth Vo

I began running in 2005 and set my sights on the Cooper River bridge 10k in Charleston. I instantly fell in love with everything about a race event. The training, anticipation before the gun went off, the competition, being in a sea of others from all walks of life going after the same end game, yet with so many different reasons for being out there. And that sweet high of accomplishment with that buzz of complete physical exertion. I was hooked! It brought me the balance I was craving in life.

I then read Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes and became very intrigued in distance running and began adding miles. I also began road biking around this time and found pairing running with training for a double century to be the perfect combination.


Hometown: Renton, Washington

Some fun facts about me are… I grew up near Seattle, Washington and have spent my adult life here in North Carolina. (Charlotte, Wilmington, and Asheville) I have a huge appreciation for the mountains. It simply never gets old. Sometimes I go for a long drive just to take in the scenery. My favorite color is purple. Possibly more of an obsession. My biggest passion in life is health and fitness. I believe it to be the fountain of youth. But! I still love a good beer and pizza. I am a barista, photographer and have 3 daughters.


Being that I have spent a lot of time running miles on the property, it will be pretty sweet to have crowds of others enjoying it along side of me.

Casey Stephens

Beth Vo

Never say never. I NEVER thought I could run more than a 5k. I NEVER dreamed I would be able to run a 10K, let alone a half marathon.

Then I found my purpose and passion as a runner. I like to call her mom, most people call her Cindy or Mrs. Stephens (she taught for 30+ years in Burke County, NC).

She is the most positive person you will ever meet; retired teacher, friend to all, church deacon, and also a stage 3 colon cancer survivor. Diagnosed in January 2016, she has endured surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and is SUCH an inspiration to everyone in our small little town of Valdese, NC and beyond. My thought was (and still is today) if she can handle all that life has thrown at her, why can’t I endure those 13 miles? That almost seemed like nothing to me when looking at her cancer journey.

Once you figure out your purpose, everything else flows together and training becomes challenging and exciting as a growing runner.

Since then, I’ve run 6 half marathons and I am training for my first marathon (eeeeek!), the Chicago Marathon, in October 2019.

You never know how strong (mentally and physically) you are until you find your passion and purpose for running.

Running has shaped me into the resilient woman I am today.


Hometown: Charlotte, NC 

*I am a statistician for Atrium Health. I perform statistical analyses for research studies.
*I have the SWEETEST rescue pup in the whole world, Sox. He is my EVERYTHING.
*I am going back to school in August to pursue my PhD in Health Services Research.
*I LOVE to be outside, kayaking, hiking, or taking care of my many plants. #crazyplantlady


Beth Vo

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 15years 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 Training Program! I am beyond excited to be apart of the 2020 AVL Ambassador Team!!!


HometownWilmington, NC

My favorite running partner is my son who loves to run with me
I can eat dessert over food any day especially if it’s mint chocolate chip ice cream 
and I absolutely can’t live without coffee 😁
I’m originally from NJ but I love everything N.C. from the coast to the mountains


 I look forward to the scenery on the estate, the amazing group of runners that gather at the race and lots of drinks afterwards in beautiful Asheville


Beth Vo

I am a 4th grade teacher and Asheville native.
Growing up I never played any sports, but I started trail running when I was in my early teens. It instantly became medicine for me! I always enjoyed running but was never competitive. Now as a consistent CrossFit athlete, running is a great way to increase my endurance and is still the part of my athletic life that I do just for fun! I believe running is a great way to bring people together.

The 2019 Biltmore run was my first marathon and now I’m hooked!


HometownAsheville, NC 

I only had 3 weeks to prepare for the 2019 Biltmore marathon (my first ever!) and still can’t believe I finished.

My boyfriend, of 2 years, and I met in Budapest while backpacking across Europe.


What I look forward to most is the challenge and struggle of the race alongside others who share a love of running. The running community is a beautiful thing!
Also running through the vineyards and farm area during the second half of the marathon, so gorgeous!


Beth Vo

I’ve been running for 4 years now. Started out on the coach to 5k plan to run a local glow run race with some family. A little over a year later, I ran my first half marathon (Great Smoky Mountains Half). I didn’t train very well for it and I think the only reason I got through it was because I met a girl at the start line and we decided to run together to motivate each other to finish! After that, my dad was inspired and he started running with me and he ran his first half marathon the next year. I’ve ran 5 half marathons so far and will be running my 6th in Sept 2019. I ran my first full marathon in January 2020 in Gulf Shores, AL! 


HometownCarriere, MS

My 4 year wedding anniversary will be a few days after Asheville Marathon weekend so it will be a “runcation”/anniversary celebration! We have 2 fur babies (a cat and a dog), Meredith and Mildred. We love the Great Smoky Mountains! I’ve been a surgical tech since 2014 and have been on 4 medical mission trips and 1 village mission trip to Honduras. It’s the best experience and it has strengthened my relationship with God. I’m a chocoholic and I love sandwiches!


The course is the most beautiful!! A challenge for this south Mississippi runner but so worth it! The race expo is great. The whole race atmosphere is just amazing! So much to look at and so much cheering along the way! A tour through the Biltmore House after the race is a great way to help those legs recover. There’s also so much to do in Asheville and it’s a wonderful place to visit! I can’t wait to cheer runners on this year as an AMA!!


Beth Vo

Hi EVERYONE! I am a 40 year old computer nerd that has a running problem. I am from Washington, DC and live a mile from our great Capitol. What a great place to live and ESPECIALLY run. I stumbled into running after a challenge to do the Disney marathon. I have done a few marathons since (7 to be exact), as well as other insane things like an Ironman. This year I will tackle the Dopey race at Disney because I have a fear of missing out. That often gets me to do something I have no interest or business doing. You’ll often hear me say – Challenge Accepted! I am also a coach for Team In Training, the endurance event fundraising arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. You’ll find me in purple and green on the trails – GO TEAM! I am excited to be an ambassador and help you all to experience this great event!


HometownWashington, DC

Play Enter Sandman and you will see I bleed Virginia Tech Maroon and Orange! I also love sports – Baseball (Go Nats!), Football (Go Hokies and Go Bills!) and Hockey (Go Sabres!) – I also love to play softball, tennis, basketball and always enjoy a good bike ride. Oh, also, I once ran the Disney Half Marathon as Tinkerbell in exchange for a LARGE donation to LLS. Don’t ask for pictures, its not pretty!


How many times do you get to run through a course featuring incredible gardens and a gorgeous castle? How can you not want to experience that! Oh, and there is wine at the end. Count me in!

Christine Yablonski

Beth Vo

I moved to Asheville from the Boston area in fall of 2011. I met some new friends and was encouraged to join them in walking the Hot Chocolate 10K in January together as a group. During that weekend I met another new friend who told me about a sprint triathlon event she was doing in four months and, impulsively, I decided I wanted to join her. I had never run before, but was an avid recreational cyclist. During those four months I set up a swimming, running, and cycling plan that worked great for me – I did the triathlon and loved the experience…and now I had the running bug! I decided that my next goal was to run a half marathon in Asheville that was another four months away. I trained carefully, often running parts of the very course for the half, and on race day happily exceeded my expectations. Since then I’ve done a bunch of 5Ks, a 15K, and two other half marathons, and in January 2020, my first full marathon! 


HometownWeaverville, NC 

I didn’t start running until I was 44 years old and ran my first half marathon one month after turning 45.
I am a classically trained singer and believe that learning breath control for singing now helps me as I run longer distances and harder trails.
Back in MA I was a camp director at a LARPing camp for kids (live action role playing). I was Chrysalis, the Master Healer and Alchemist, and joined the young heroes on many great adventures in the woods and battle fields. And sometimes I would disguise myself as a werewolf or evil minion and secretly battle those same heroes with foam swords and daggers!


I love running at Biltmore – I’ve been a Passholder since moving here and have used the trails to train since back in 2012 when I was a novice runner. I’ve run the half and the 15K here and love having the rolling hills, the river, and, of course, the Biltmore house as my views while running.

Other Awesome Ambassadors not pictured:

Leslie Sloan

Raegan Solomon

Casey Stephens

Wendy Stiver