Category Archives: Uncategorized

Joe Smith – Ambassador

We love our ambassadors — the guys and girls who spread the word about the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon, and train, and post about us all year. And they come from all walks of life, with the common threads of running and positivity.

Joe Smith is one of those ambassadors, even though he looks more like a defensive lineman than a marathon runner. But he’s also an incredibly multi-faceted guy, business owner, entrepreneur, photographer … and runner. And he’s here with us on the Running Around Charlotte Podcast today to bring some of that energy into the room.

David Jessey – Charlotte Turkey Trot

One of Charlotte’s largest Thanksgiving traditions has nothing to do with pumpkin pie or stuffing – and the only turkeys you’ll see will be on people’s heads – not plates. What could we be talking about? Why the Charlotte Turkey Trot, of course. That’s right – early Thanksgiving morning, thousands of people take to the streets and run off dinner before they eat it.

Joining us today is David Jessey – one of the owners of the Charlotte Turkey Trot.

Mike Sweeting – Rucking Division

Runners love a challenge – and training for a marathon is a great way to push yourself a little further than you ever have. If you’ve run one and enjoyed it, you push yourself a little more to do a PR the next time around. But we’ve got a challenge only a few hardy souls sign up for…. Running the half-marathon with a weighted backpack.

You may have heard of rucking – which is basically a form of military training where you run miles with a full backpack. The Novant Health Charlotte Marathon has a Rucking Division in the half-marathon race, and on today’s Running Around Charlotte Podcast, their fearless leader Mike Sweeting joins us to explain more about it.

Tim Rhodes & Alaina Williams – Charlotte Marathon

We’re dedicated to making this year’s Novant Health Charlotte Marathon the best one yet! Whether you’re running virtually or in person, we’re stepping up our game after all runners have been through with postponements and cancellations in the last 18 months.

That’s one reason we brought a pro on board to be our Event Experience Director. We first spoke to Alaina Williams last March on the Running Around Charlotte Podcast, and now we’re talking to her again about what kind of awesome experiences she has planned for the race.

Jessica Osborn – Hemby

We love our friends down at Novant Health and all of the support and guidance they give us here at the Charlotte Marathon. And we love turning over that big check to them after every race, with money we’ve earned, because we know it goes for a great cause — the Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital.

There is a lot of good work going on there, and if you’ve ever had to make a hospital stay with your child, you know how important that is. Jessica Osborn is an Ambassador at Hemby Children’s Hospital, where she advocates for the non-medical needs of kids and families during their stay. And she joins us now on the Running Around Charlotte Podcast to tell us how your race entries help kids.

Mike Cooke – Runner

We all have our reasons for running — for some of us it starts with wanting to get more exercise and lose a few pounds, right? Our next guest on the Running Around Charlotte Podcast is definitely one of those folks — a Charlotte native who looked at his high school Senior photo, tipping the scales at 300 pounds — and decided to do better. For the next 16 years, Mike Cooke decided to do better every day, but the journey was not easy.

Along the way he made changes in his food, his drinking, and himself, to get where he is now. We think a lot of you can identify with someone who makes the effort to go from less-than-perfect to better, without necessarily trying to be perfect along the way.

Bekah Eljoundi – Ambassador

In just a few short weeks, our big race will be here! We couldn’t do it without a lot of help, and all of our enthusiastic friends we call Novant Health Charlotte Marathon Ambassadors. Bekah Eljoundi is one of them, though you may know her as Run Coach Bekah. She has more than 13 years of running, coaching, and personal training experience to give you the boost you need for your fitness or racing goals.

Sarah Penney McDonald – Nash’s Ray of Light

It’s a diagnosis that no parent ever wants to hear — your sweet, bouncy, fun-loving, child has a terminal illness and there’s no cure. But if you found out that you could have slowed the illness — maybe even kept it at bay — with a blood screen when your baby was born, your grief then might turn to anger and then to action.

Today we’re talking to a Mom taking action, about a scenario just like that. Sarah Penney McDonald’s son, Nash, had a seizure when he was 5, and shortly after that, doctors delivered a diagnosis of ALD – Adrenoleukodystrophy. A simple blood screen at birth would have prompted testing that might have slowed it down… and that’s what Sarah is trying to get for newborns in North Carolina.

Stay up to date on Nash:

Run on Nash’s Team:


Larry Frederick – RFYL

You could simply describe our next guest as a math teacher who also runs — but that would barely scratch the surface when it comes to Larry Frederick. Sure, he’s taught gifted math classes for the last 14 years, but before that, he was known to old-school Charlotte runners as the founder and owner of Run For Your Life stores (Hey, we know that place!)

And before he even opened his first Charlotte store in 1989, Larry was a runner — a very GOOD runner. His hometown paper, the Utica Observer-Dispatch, called him “one of the best distance runners ever in the Mohawk Valley” of New York, citing that in his day, he was the most accomplished marathoner ever in Utica’s history. Pretty big accomplishment! And now he’s a Charlotte guy who led the running scene for years.

Laura Morrow – Ambassador

If you need a bit of cheer, a motivating word, or a great running route around Charlotte, ask any one of our Ambassadors. The Novant Health Charlotte Marathon Ambassadors will make you want to run through a wall — (we don’t recommend that) — or at least get you out on the road putting one foot in front of the other on days your motivation falls short.

And if you want your run to be full of colorful murals, we’ve got an Ambassador who knows that too. Laura Morrow is a runner whose Instagram alternates a post about where she ran that day with a positive, inspirational, or even just funny thoughts about life. And she REALLY likes food. (That’s why we run, right?)