Hello All! We are so excited about our re-brand for the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon (if you haven’t heard the story, check out our last blog)! There are so many amazing, exciting things happening this year and one thing we are really excited about is our 21 Marathon Ambassadors! These diverse runners were hand chosen out of a large group of excellent applicants and range from local running celebrities to individuals who have yet to run their first distance race. That’s right, never ran a half or full! We had a chance to sit down with several of our Novant Health Charlotte Marathon Ambassadors to hear their thoughts on the re-brand and what running means to them.
NHCM = Novant Health Charlotte Marathon
NHCM: How did you hear about the Ambassador Program?
Meredith Dolhare: [They] sent a really cool package with an invitation to become an Ambassador, an awesome shirt and sunglasses plus what the program would entail.
Gigi Poveromo: I read about it on Facebook. I follow [Novant Health] Charlotte Marathon. [They] were looking for ambassadors to represent the race and help spread awareness for the race, Charlotte, and running. These are all areas of passion for me so I wanted to give it a shot and apply.
Sarah Rasmusson: Through social media! I saw a tag for it on Instagram! I’m a big believer in social media in our day and age- I honestly received my present job by posting a social media post!
NHCM: Why did you decide to take on the role of Ambassador?
Liz Foster: I love talking to people about running. I love when people tackle new distances and find success at those races. That and the free race entries.
Aaron Hewitt: Obesity is a raging epidemic here in the United States. Anything I can do to help promote a more active, healthy lifestyle, I’m on board. I want to use this position to reach people that may not otherwise consider running, but also do it in a fun and safe manner.
Adam Bratton: I think it was/is a great idea to help grow the newly branded Marathon in a way that coincides with the all-inclusiveness of the new race … Our Streets, Our City, Our Marathon (Our People!)
Cristina Rojas Agurcia: At first, I was hesitant. But I truly want people to know that if I can do it, anyone can. What I mean by that is when I first started running, I couldn’t run more than 1/4 mile. But I kept at it, and not all days were easy but I was able to train for a half and ran my first half on my birthday. I remember hitting mile 5 (I had a 6 miler due that day) and cried to my husband: “I can’t, seriously” and I went slow- but finished that last mile. Quickly, I realized that we can seriously do anything if we have the right discipline. I never thought I would run a full one- and I did. My friends from high school look at me now and can’t believe I am a runner now. So if I can do it- anyone can.
NHCM: What part of the program are you most excited about?
Sarah Rasmusson: I’m most excited about the training and learning the true meaning of being a “runner”. I always use to pick up the Runner’s World magazines and read about the training, gear and races but never fully have been emerged in all of it myself!
Katie Levans: I’m excited about training. I’ve cheered friends on from the sidelines at the (former) Thunder Road Marathon and always admired the discipline behind the training that got them to the finish line.
Meredith Dolhare: It is a fantastic way to meet other like-minded and civic-oriented runners who believe in sport for social change and bettering our city through creating phenomenal races.
Gigi Poveromo: I am honored to share my story. My story is not of an elite runner or a lifelong athlete. My story is of a lady who in her midlife, realized how much she liked being alone on runs and just kept at it! I hope someone sees me and decides to take control of their health. The forecasts related to chronic illness like Diabetes are not good. The way we can change the forecast is via nutrition and exercise. I do not claim to be an expert. I am someone on the path and I would love others to join me! I am also excited about the aspect of raising money for a local charity. Again to be authentic, I am one of those people who enjoy connecting with others, hearing their story and sharing mine, so this ambassador opportunity is right up my alley!
NHCM: Why are you excited about the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon?
Christi Milledge: This race is in our very own backyard. This is OUR city. And the very best way to predict the future is to create it.
Katie Levans: I’ve never run this distance before and I don’t usually participate in races so I’m excited to get way out of my comfort zone. I did a sprint triathlon a couple years ago and almost bailed the day before the race because I was so nervous. But I stuck with it and I finished and it’s probably my proudest physical accomplishment. I expect a similar emotional roller coaster with [Novant Health] Charlotte Marathon.
Meredith Dolhare: For us at RunningWorks.org, it is one of the best days of the year for our organization. Imagine seeing the dreams of homeless men and women come true as their discipline and hard work comes to fruition when they cross the finish line of a marathon or half marathon. It is truly magical and allows them to believe things like full-time jobs and housing are possible.
NHCM: Ok, truthfully, do you consider yourself a good runner?
Pamela Allison: I am good because I finish. Am I fast…no. Am I thin…no. Am I one of those perky, cute runners…hell no. But I finish. Every time.
Travis Furr: I think “good” is a relative term. Someone might think I’m “good” compared to them, and someone might think I’m awful. I personally think we all win just by running.
Edwin Peacock: I’m an above average middle aged male runner.
Quinn Reynolds: Truthfully, no. I am a former college soccer player who swore off running after my playing days were over. Most athletes, in sports other than track, hate to run and only do it because they have to. I am just recently returning to running–my motivation has changed, LOL. So to answer your question truthfully, I consider myself a decent runner with a competitive spirit.
Christi Milledge: Well, I’m no Théoden Janes…. 😉 I proudly represent the middle-of-the-packers. Not fast but not last!
NHCM: What motivates you to run?
Sarah Rasmusson: Being outdoors. It’s one of my favorite things- to feel the sun and using my own two healthy feet to get from one point to the other is a blessing. Especially in Charlotte, all the established neighborhoods and hidden gems located in NoDa, Plaza Midwood, Elizabeth, Uptown etc. are all a part of the site seeing along the way!
Pamela Allison: The health benefits. I have lost 100 pounds, 25 of which over the last year while running.
Travis Furr: I like to have fun, but I also push my limits. It’s amazing what our bodies can do if we have the right mindset.
Jordan Allen: Life isn’t always so easy. From breathing problems to bad relationships, I’ve hit a few bumps in the road, but running keeps me grounded and there is nothing like a marathon to prove myself to myself.
Cristina Rojas Agurcia: Clearing my mind! And I also bake and eat loads of ice cream, so…balance 🙂
NHCM: Have you run this distance before?
Meredith Dolhare: Yes, I have run in excess of 79 marathons when broken down between 12 Ironman marathons, 9 double marathons, 3 50-100k races, 8 running races between 81-135 miles (four of which were more than 126.2 miles) and 12 regularly sanctioned marathons(Boston three times).
NHCM: We know what you’re wondering… “Is she human?!” Yes – she’s human.
Christi Milledge: This will be my 8th half marathon. I’m ready for a new PR!
Gigi Poveromo: NO. Gulp…. Seriously I am excited. I will be absolutely ready! I will do whatever Divine above thinks my best is that day!
Katie Levans: Never. The longest distance I’ve ever run was 10 miles and I haven’t done that since college.
NHCM: Have you run this race before (under the name of Thunder Road?
Aaron Hewitt: Yep, two years ago…On one of the coldest dates on record.
NHCM: We believe there was a polar vortex that year!
Travis Furr: I have never run the marathon here, but I have done the Half-Marathon 2 times, and I was on a relay team last year!
Liz Foster: I’ve run the race every year since 2012. The half, two fulls and then the half again. The 2012 race was my first half and crossing the finish line was the best feeling ever.
Jordan Allen: Yes, I ran the marathon in 2013 and the half in 2015. It is not the easiest race, but it’s my favorite race. I love the hometown vibe.
Meredith Dolhare: Yes, I ran it in 2014 with one of our RunningWorks.org homeless runners, Chuck Allen, who went 3:57 off a park bench! (He’s the one in the middle!)
NHCM: Do you have any closing thoughts, musings, advice, comments, etc.?
Aaron Hewitt: It’s very easy to avoid things that are hard. But personal growth does not come from retreating. Accept challenges. Get out of your comfort zone. I promise you that if you put in the work and effort, crossing that finish line will bring you a lifetime of memories!
Sarah Rasmusson: There’s a first to everything and this will be my first Marathon! (May be my last [HAHA], but it’s all about the experience along the way, right?!?)
NHCM: Yes it is!
Pamela Allison: My plan is to show a runner doesn’t have to fit the mold. The only requirement to finish a race is to start one.
Gigi Poveromo: One of my favorite things to do before a race is pick out inexpensive sparkly small stud earrings to wear. My running nickname is Bling Bling. I like the sparkle! This seems silly but this small act helps me not to take life, running, and myself too seriously.
Liz Foster: The thing I hear most often from people is “I can’t run that far.” But I remind them the race is only part of it. The training is the critical part. But in the work during training, get your rest and stay healthy, and the race is the reward at the end.
Adam Bratton: Have you ever actually thoughts about Forrest Gump’s run? Pretty impressive. I think it would be cool to attempt with a small group of friends – See Forrest’s journey here!
Runners come in all shapes and sizes; there is no specific mold that someone has to fit. We are so excited to have such a great group of runners to go on this journey with us that is the NEW Novant Health Charlotte Marathon. Our City. Our Race.
Stay tuned for our next blog later in the month on Running Friends by our very own Gigi Poveromo, Novant Health Charlotte Marathon Ambassador.