Nathan Leehman – Ultra Running Company

We know marathoners are a special breed – it takes a lot of time, energy, and dedication to train for a 26-mile race and be any good at it. But let’s quadruple that distance for a moment, and consider the energy, sweat, and *we’re pretty sure,* TEARS that come with a 100-mile race. If you’re good, that’s 20-some hours of running at once.

We’re joined today on the Running Around Charlotte Podcast today by one of those very special people, who travels the world competing in Ultramarathons. Even better, he opened a running store in 2013 so people who love running could gather, hang out, talk about running, and yes, buy exactly the right shoes for them. It’s our pleasure to say hi today to Nathan Leehman.

Donny Forsyth – Charlotte Running Company

We always hear that age slows us down, but our next guest on Running Around Charlotte defies that idea. Donny Forsyth is one of the top Masters triathletes in the country, winning his age group at races all over the U.S. with his team, Triple Threat Racing. In December, he competed in the XTerra World Championships, and hasn’t stopped there.

It’s a good thing he owns a shoe store, with all of the rubber he wears out! Yes, Donny is one of the owners of Charlotte Running Company, which has 5 locations around the Charlotte area and -STOP THE PRESSES- was just named 2021 Best Running Store in America at The Running Event in Austin, Texas. He’s joining us now to tell us how a guy with a Masters Degree in Park & Recreation Management landed his first job in pharmaceuticals, only to transition to owning the best running store in America a few years later.


Lorna Martinez – Famous Toastery

Want a fun, fresh breakfast? The answer is apparently, “Yes,” because a small house-turned-restaurant that first served breakfast in Huntersville in 2005, now has more than 30 locations across 6 states! Yum! If you live in the Charlotte area, chances are you’ve eaten at a Famous Toastery. 

And if you hurry, you can sign up for the Famous Toastery Shamrock 4-Miler coming up March 12th. Get your green on and go run! It’s a really fun, “top o’ the morning” event in a sea of green. Lorna Martinez is joining us now on the Running Around Charlotte Podcast to fill us in on what’s new at Famous Toastery and their involvement in the first race of our 6-pack series.


John Gerst – Ironman

We all make resolutions at some point – and we often make them in the New Year, whether we speak them out loud or not. Tops on those lists are diet and exercise, which many of us follow through on, though not always with the desired results. We get it.

But our next guest on Running Around Charlotte made a plan and stuck to it. John Gerst is a preacher, an auto-finance guy, a husband, and a father… so we know his time is not his own. But in 5 years, he’s gone from 352 pounds of praise and love to a half-marathon and half-ironman finisher… and half the weight he used to be! How did he do it? Well, let’s hear it from him.

Chris Elkins – Run For Your Life

We love all of those ‘running gifts’ we got for the holidays, but you’re not alone if you didn’t get everything you were looking for under your tree. Our next guest can help! Chris Elkins owns Run for Your Life – a store we’re very familiar with here at the Running Around Charlotte podcast – and he’s here to tell us what the hot trends are this year, and what folks like you are looking for.

Tyrone Irby – Together We Stand NC

All runners everywhere were HORRIFIED to hear what happened to Ahmaud Arbery nearly 2 years ago, in February 2020. He was simply doing what so many of us do – taking a run through a beautiful neighborhood, taking in the local scenery with awe and curiosity. Except HE was chased down and shot, as 3 neighbors assumed he was there to commit a crime instead of just running.

The outcry led to a lot of social justice movements, and the leader of one of those is with us today on the Running Around Charlotte podcast. Tyrone Irby is a certified personal trainer and sports performance coach, and former strength and conditioning coach at NC Central University. But he’s here with us today as the founder of Together We Stand, a statewide effort to have conversations about race with a good run and a tasty beer. The annual Maud 2.23 run is coming up here in Charlotte, and Tyrone joins us to talk about the run and the movement – welcome Tyrone!

Cornell Jones – Mad Miles

If there was ever a guy who could “walk the walk” AND “talk the talk,” it’s our next guest on the Running Around Charlotte Podcast. Cornell Jones has a resume of work at the Charlotte Hornets and ESPN, and can “talk the talk” about sports. He’s also a runner – and he’s “walking the walk” by bringing hundreds of runners along with him on his daily runs, both in person and across the country.

It all started with a New Year’s Day decision 3 years ago – to run a mile a day, every day. Yes, Every. Single. Day. And he’s done it! The promise turned into a movement, and the daily jog turned into a Tuesday group run that encourages others to learn, get healthy, and go for goals. Cornell is here to tell us how he’s doing, starting year 4 of the “Mad Miles Club.”

Ashley Armistead – Let Me Run

We know running can be good for a lot of things at any age — health and fitness, our minds, and our confidence, to name a few. So when a running program for girls spread like wildfire across the nation, one of their coaches here in Charlotte thought something similar would be good for boys.

Working on a degree in Sports Science opened Ashley Armistead’s eyes to the role mental and emotional health play in overall wellness. As a running coach and mom of two boys, she was aware of the “Boy Code” that sometimes stifles boys’ feelings and emotions. The result of Ashley’s efforts was Let Me Run, a running program for boys that also lets them know it’s okay to have feelings and lean on each other for support. Ashley joins us now to bring us up to date on a refreshed, post-pandemic Let Me Run program – which just finished its first post-pandemic 5k. Welcome!

Spencer Lueders – 24 Foundation

One of the best-known charity fundraisers in Charlotte rides in circles every July in Myers Park. And this year, the 24 Hours of Booty celebrates 20 years of rounding the famous Booty Loop to raise money for cancer navigation services at Atrium Health.

If you know of the 24 Hours of Booty, you probably know its founder, Spencer Lueders. But did you know he’s also an engineer, attorney, entrepreneur, business owner, and former D-1 soccer player? There’s a lot to Spencer, and we’re honored to have him here on the Running Around Charlotte podcast to tell us what he’s up to next.

Mimi Smith – Marathon Winner

You’ve heard us say it before – it was really nice to be back under the sunshine and crisp fall air of the Carolinas at our in-person Novant Health Charlotte Marathon this year. We had a great turnout for the marathon, half-marathon, and 5k … and our women’s winner was a name that should be familiar to runners across the Carolinas.

Mimi Smith was first over the line at 2 hours and 48 minutes, and if her name sounds familiar, it’s because she ran cross-country and track for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons for 4 years. Now she’s over at Duke University and joins us here on the Running Around Charlotte Podcast to let us get to know her a little better.