Runners and coffee. Always a good pairing. (Source)In order to make it to our 8am run date on Friday, the Jayhawk and I packed up after work Thursday night arriving in Jacksonville in time to catch some shut eye. Of course we slept through the alarm and nearly missed the whole event, leading to some frantic running around that morning (this is also why I look like I just woke up in all the photos because I did). Thank goodness we still made it just in time.
Finishing up the run with the Jayhawk.
The WhereThis year the shake out run was hosted by Lillie's Coffee bar in Neptune Beach, a great spot to refuel after a couple of fun miles. From there we ran through the beach communities of Neptune and Atlantic beach. A nice out and back 3 miler (or more for those who blew ahead at a very quick shake out speed, i.e. Joanie, Alana, and Donna's husband Tim), the run gave everyone a chance to run with different partners, learn about why they were there, and get some cool, crisp beach air. I ran with the Jayhawk and fellow Ambassador Melissa and her husband. Melissa is a two time breast cancer survivor who frequents 26.2 with DONNA with her family (they meet in the late miles and cross the finish line together). Her enthusiasm for running, and passion for the cause is downright infectious.
With Melissa, when we are all cleaned up.
Alana Hadley: Alana is a 2:38 marathoner and winner of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in November, striving for an Olympic A qualifier at 26.2 with DONNA (note: she dropped at mile 8 with an Achilles injury). Oh, did I mention that she just turned 18 years old in January and is a high school senior?! Mature beyond her years, Alana logs ~110 miles a week while going to school and plans on attending UNC-Charlotte. She is coached by her dad (who joins her on runs on his bike) and is absolutely delightful to talk to. Impressive and inspiring, I am so excited to see what the future holds for Alana. I'll start her fangirl group.
Joan Benoit Samuelson: The first ever women's Olympic gold medalist, champion of both the Boston (2x) and Chicago marathons, incredibly down to earth human being, and proud Mainer, Joanie is an icon of women's running. Though it was a bit chilly by Florida standards on shake out morning, Joanie was just happy their was no snow. I didn't chat with her long at the shake out run (I had the opportunity to sit down with her later in the day and will save that for another post), but one of my favorite moments was seeing her and Alana run together (an awesome sign for the future of US Women's distance running).
Coffee with one of my fellow Mainers (Almost photobomb by Dave McGillvry).Jeff Galloway: Olympian and namesake for the Galloway Method, Jeff and his wife Barb are the cutest. No seriously, the cutest. We chatted for a few minutes at the run and then had dinner together on Saturday at the Mayo Dinner (Nothing like double dating with the Galloways on Valentine's Day). They both remain incredibly active through running trips and race appearances, and loves to see people begin to run and enjoy it. It's always fun to get a thumbs up from Jeff.
The Jayhawk, Jeff, and I bringing a little ATL to Jacksonville.Dave Krupski: Winner of last year's DONNA 110, Dave was back to defend his title. The DONNA 110 starts Saturday morning and runs a loop course for 84 miles before taking a break (if time allows) before joining the 26.2 with DONNA start on Sunday morning, for a total of 110 miles. Dave not only won again, but also PR'd the 50 miler, ran a 3:28 marathon, and even stopped for a beer around mile 75. His recap is awesome (read it here) and I would be lying if I didn't say the 110 is on my bucket list.
Dave McGillvray, Dave Krupski, and Chris Twiggs (member of the DONNA board and Galloway team)Dave McGillvray: Race director for the Boston Marathon and talent runner in his own right, I didn't get as much time as I hoped to talk to Dave (he doesn't think he is that much of a 'pull' and shied away from the crowd), but it is safe to say he is a solid runner. He not only runs the Boston Marathon every year after everyone finishes, but he also runs his age every year on his birthday. I dream of being this in shape when I am 40 (P.S. he is 60).
Donna: Yep, that Donna. Perhaps one of the most energetic and determined people I know, Donna's a 3 time cancer survivor and committed breast cancer advocate (her scientific knowledge of the disease is impressive). She not only is the face and name of the organization but incredibly approachable and available throughout the weekend. She is constantly greeting runners and chatting with survivors with a huge smile on her face.
Donna, a former evening anchor, interviewing with the morning show about the weekend while we pretend to be quiet (we were mildly successful).
Have you ever participate in a shake out or a meet-up at a race? Do you like meeting guests at race weekends?