Breakaway Running "Runner of the Month"

Each month Breakaway Running chooses from a long list of Memphis athletes nominated to be featured as our "runner of the month." Every runner has a story to tell and we are very thankful that we get to help tell it, spotlighting a new runner and a new story each month. 

Do you know someone who deserves to be featured as our "Runner of the Month"? Send who and why to info@breakawaymemphis.com 

Keep reading below to hear our runner of the month's story. To view past runners of the month, just click on View Archive's here or below our featured runner of the month. 



Runner of the Month: July-2011

Charles Robert Flanigan Jr., "Jumanji"

The July Runner of the Month is Charles Robert Flanigan Jr., also known as "Jumanji" to the local running community.

A Memphis native, Charles grew up in Frasier and began running at the early age of thirty-three. Unlike many runners who began running after they learned to walk, Charles started running to quit his drinking habits and to lose weight. He wanted to make a change in his life and has left that impact on others ever since. 

Dedicated and determined, he began his journey in November of 2007 running and riding the trails and roads of Memphis every chance he got. Charles entered his first race, the Wolfman Duathlon, in 2008 finishing 85th out of 100 participants. Although the race wasn’t Charles most rewarding race, he said his family was very supportive.

He continued competitively racing in the MRTC’s Road Runner Race Series and local 5k’s in Memphis, claiming after the first few races he was “hooked.”

Only three years and 45 lbs later, “Jumanji” pushed his way to top of the 2011 Wolfman Duathlon placing 3rd overall with the time of 53:30.

“I rode everyday at lunch time and worked hard, but it was all fun,” says Charles.

He added, “I see everyone working so hard and it makes me work harder. Being optimistic makes it easier.”

Memphis July Runner of the Month

Charles advised our readers to “just sign-up and do it, no matter what you think you will do.”

Since his oustanding finish in April, Charles has continued to grow competitively, setting a new personal record at the Harbortown 5k with a time of 18:57.

The thrill seeking athlete also recently completed the Chattanooga Mountain Stage Race which takes athletes on 3 days of tough trail running.

Not only has "Jumanji" shown leadership in races, the 37 year-old also organized and co-leads the Journeymen racing team, which started in 2009 among a group of friends that enjoy cycling, running and swimming. 

Co-organizer and fellow triathlete of Journeymen Racing, Shawn McKinney, says Charles inspires others through his dedication to the sport of running, friendship, great sportsmanship, and motivation.

Charles currently works as a Project Manager for Metro Construction and enjoys biking, swimming and “lots of push-ups.” His favorite products are Hammer Gel, Breakaway T-shirt (We didn’t pay him to say that...maybe a little), Brooks road shoes and Brooks Cascadia Trail Shoes.

His long-term goals are to place top 3 in the September Wolfman Triathlon and to complete a 100-miler in 2012.

We want to publicly thank Charles for having such a great attitude and positive effect on the Memphis running/biking/swimming... and everything else he does... community. If you see him, congratulate him on his recent success.

Know of a runner in the Memphis community that you think deserves to be our August runner of the month? Send us your nomination, and why to barry@breakawaymemphis.com . Please include contact information of the nominee.

Again, Thank you and Congratulations to “Jumanji” for being Breakaway Running’s July “Runner of the Month.”

 

 



Runner of the Month: August-2011

Caroline Blatti

Breakaway’s Runner of the Month is brought to you by Noggs Sports Sunglasses 


Q & A with Caroline Blatti 

Tell us about your running and athletic background? 

I can't even remember a time when I wasn't playing some kind of athletic event or sport. Some of my most visceral childhood memories involve soccer practices that ran late on cool, crisp fall afternoons, countless hours spent dribbling a basketball in our driveway at the house where I grew up, or getting such satisfaction in kicking up the dirt as my baseball cleat hit the satisfying weight of a successful slide into third base. 

I went on to play college basketball for 2 years at Princeton; following some injuries I contacted the XC coach there and asked if I could come out for the team in the fall of my junior year. I loved every moment of collegiate training, and the experiences and friendships there shaped so much of my life-long passion and love for running.

How did you get started? 

I found a coach who I felt supported by and a team whose exuberance for the sport made me want to work hard every day and get faster.

When was your first race?

I probably ran my first XC race at Van Courtland Park in NYC and my first track race indoors on the track at Jadwin gym at Princeton.

What is your most rewarding race? 

I think it was winning the St. Jude Half Marathon in 2009. I lead a pretty busy life working at a job that I love. That fall I was busier than ever while trying to train, so I went into the race really nervous about what was possible. I ended up running a PR! I also LOVE running a local race that is in the service of such an inspiring cause.

What is your favorite moment of running (does not have to be a break through race.... could be workout, trip, motivational speaking, coaching, etc..)?

I think it will always be time on the track. I am fascinated by how workouts fit together in training programs and the role speedwork plays in impacting individual performances across various distances from the 5k to the marathon. I also love it when a track workout is difficult and challenging, but you push through and surpass your own expectations.

Simply, why do you run?

So hard to capture it all! 

I run because I can. Because I want to. Because it is life affirming. Because it makes me laugh--and cry. Because it inspires and challenges me. I run because of the amazing runners I meet along the way, the communities that form around this sport, and the hopes and dreams that running seems to bring out in all people.

Memphis was voted least active city in a several articles now

Mens Health Magazine 

Travel and Leisure 

Healthland 

Do you agree? Why do you think that is? What is Memphis doing now that contradicts that stereotype and what could they improve? 

I think we are a city most like the marathon itself- our success may not be won in the first few miles, but over the course of the entire distance we can come out with a victory!  

Moving to this city, I was AMAZED and impressed by the fact that Memphis has one of the biggest and most active running  clubs in the USA. Memphis Runners Track Club (MRTC) does so much good for this city and they deserve a lot of credit for helping to build the community of Memphis running. 

The few weeks before my husband and I arrived in Memphis I was nervous about starting over and finding a running community; however, pretty quickly I learned about the running workouts Paul Sax oversees every Tuesday night. He is a gift to the running community here in Memphis! 

I also have tried out the triathlon scene a bit as well, and even a brief cross over into that sport here in Memphis reveals an energized and enthusiastic community of athletes. I am also so thrilled by the Greenline and how many people I see out there when I am running.

How could you help change that?    

I would love to have the time to coach and help more people, particularly female runners. I would LOVE it if we could also help implement a middle school age developmental club running team for those athletes interested to train in the off season with other local youth athletes.

Something that has always impressed everyone about you is your training and consistency. What is your training schedule like? and what keeps you focused? 

I am honest about my talents and my shortcomings; because of this, I know I need to work for what I accomplish and I am never satisfied with less than 100%. I train 5-6 days a week, and when I am training for a particular race I will aim to get in speed, tempo and a long run per week. I average about 40 miles, but I have just started training for a marathon and am hoping to get up to the 50-60 range. 

I am also always interested in setting new challenges and pushing new limits; my love of new goals keeps me motivated. Lastly, I really enjoy training with other people, so keeping that as a main characteristic of how I train helps me stay consistently focused.

Your on the Breakaway Running Race Team. What role has Breakaway Running played in your running, lifestyle, etc.?

Breakaway Running has introduced me to a world of motivated and kind individuals here in the city. Everyone who works at the store is knowledgeable and always willing to share what they know with you. I love what the store stands for; in particular, the store's commitment to local running here in Memphis.  

What is your favorite running/motivational quote?

"Once you trust yourself, you will know how to live."

Any advice to women runners? 

I think my advice would stem from some lessons I have learned over the last few years. I am getting better at letting go of the less than ideal race times or workouts that don't go as planned. I am learning to take the long view.  Move on and don't let those moments rock your confidence. 

And, ask for help. That is a hard one too- be ok with questions and concerns and reach out to others for help; every single runner I have reached out to here in Memphis has been so giving of their time and expertise.

Anything else you would like to add? 

I am really nervous to tackle the marathon for the 1st time, but also so, so excited to give it a try! If anyone has any good advice for me I am all ears!

Congratulations again to Caroline Blatti! We are honored to have you as our August Runner of the Month. 

 

Nominations for the September Runner of the Month are open and will close August 25th at 6 p.m. You can nominate an athlete by sending the who, what and why to info@breakawaymemphis.com 


Runner of the Month: September-2011

Billy and Max Simpson

September 2011 Runner(s) of the Month

The Simpsons

Like Father, Like Son...

Each month, Breakaway Running recognizes an athlete who has made an impact on the local running community. Nominations come flowing in with individuals sharing why a local athlete deserves to have the spotlight. This month we have chosen to shine the light on "the Simpsons." 

The Simpsons

No, not the longest-running American animated sitcom which parodies American culture and society - we are talking about long time runner and endurance athlete Billy Simpson and son Max Simpson, whose love and dedication displays a different type of entertainment to the running and fitness community.  

Billy Simpson, 56 years old, started running around 1975 while at a little college in East Tennessee in an old pair of Nike tennis shoes. 

"This place was in the middle of nowhere and I would go out on the hilly country roads and get lost," says Simpson. 

Billy transferred back to Memphis State the next year and ran his first race, an intramural 2-miler around Audubon Park on grass, finishing second place overall. The next year Billy walked on the Cross Country team and ran with a team that eventually won a conference championship. The coach was Glenn Hayes, owner of Cafe 1912 and Sweetgrass. 

Billy Simpson at Hardrock

Billy said Hayes was famous for recruiting excellent runners from the UK resulting in a handful of English runners who were "crazy fast."  

"Every workout was a race for me and it was very cool being part of that so early in my running career. To this day I seek out faster people to train with as a result of that experience and what it taught me," says Billy.  

"He is very dedicated and persistent," says Max Simpson, adding that his father's "commitment" to running, nearly every day, influences his own training as he enters his first year on Varsity for the MUS High School Cross Country team. 

Our youngest "Runner of the Month" to date, Max, began running when he was four years old because he wanted to run with his dad. Competitively, he began running when he was 8 years old.

Max Simpson"I did the classic Midtown races; the Bud Mile, Cooper Young 4 Miler, the 5 Mile Classic and the Mike Cody 4 Miler."

Max says running hasn't alway been "the" sport of choice amongst his friends and classmates.

"When I was 11 years old I started doing 5k's in Memphis, placing in almost every race I was in," says Max.  He says there are more of his peers running now, but he has not participated in many "outside" races because he is running for school now. 

Before entering high school, Max left his mark at Grace St. Luke's, breaking the mile record and shattering it again at the next meet.

In addition to the previously mentioned accomplishments, Max was named "Athlete of the Year," making it the first time a runner has received that title at GSL. 

Billy says, "Max has the potential and the heart to be a great runner, but as his dad, I'm proud of him whatever he does. He reminds me of a little Prefontaine."  

"Tough as nails, heart of a lion."

Billy helped coach Max's middle school Cross Country team last year to fourth at the state meet - "one of the best memories of my life," says the proud father.

"I have to add that I have four kids and every one of them are special and unique individuals and I am proud of each and every one of them and very blessed to be their dad."

Another thing Billy says he is blessed to have is the sport of ultra-running.  

"It has afforded me a way to stay passionate about the sport as I get older."  One of the ultra runner's favorite moments was his first Hardrock 100 in 2004.  Billy and Ben Simpson

"My son, Ben, was out there crewing me and he did the last 10 miles with me and it was just so cool that he was there in those final miles being so encouraging." 

Max Simpson said one of his favorite running moments was also at the Hardrock 100 while he was there cheering for his dad.

"It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. My dad was out there busting his butt and just kept on going." 

To name a handful of Billy Simpson's accomplishments:

  • A six time finisher of the Hardrock 100 in Colorado with four of those finishes in the top 20. 
  • A member of the Montrail Racing team from 2005-2008. 
  • A two time finisher of Leadville Trail 100.
  • A seven time finisher of Sylamore 50k with five of those finishes in the top 10.
  • A two time finisher of the Ouachita Trail 50k - best finish 2nd overall.
  • 1st overall in the first edition of Swampstomper 50k.

Billy Simpson has a list of accomplishments and many can be seen on his coaching website, http://billys100.com/about/. 

The latest prized moment of Billy Simpson's was being featured in Trail Runner, October 2011 edition. 

Trail Runner

In late August, Max said he had to go to school at 6 a.m. for a 5k time trial. 

100 speed.

Serious. 

Max said he knows why his father does so well.

"It is his commitment, his persistence, his mentality to give 100 percent - that is what helps push me."

Billy has had that same mentality for many years now.

He began training and road racing after college with a group of guys that he says have become some of his best friends, still after 30 years.  

"Mark Edwards, Barry Roberson, Barry Hood...and after that it was Paul Sax, Eric Laywell, Joel Lyons, Nash, and a bunch of other guys that had a very deep passion for the sport."

"In those days, the Tuesday night track workout was blood on the track every week.  I remember doing ladders and the mile splits would be sub 5. It was nuts! We were young and hungry and if you weren't running in the 15's for 5k you were nobody."

"It was a real band of brothers."

Max plans to keep improving throughout high school and is striving to work hard to make the Varsity Track team for MUS.

"I just want to have a good time, says Max. 

Billy Simpson has been a competitive tri-athlete, adventure racer, mountain bike racer, long distance backpacker, mountain climber, and just recently an ultra marathon running coach (www.Billys100.com), offering his services to runners interested in personal coaching in 50k's, 50 miles, and/or 100 miles.

Billys 100 He advises runners to have patience, eat well and hydrate well in the first 50% of the race. 

Billy says doing so you are giving yourself a much better chance of success.  

"Make each workout count for something.  Quality over quantity," added Billy. 

He believes that you can get more out of a 50-mile week if you do it right than a 70-mile week with no direction. 

“Billy’s trail running know-how is boundless. His irrepressible passion for the sport is contagious and inspiring. A six-time Hardrock 100 finisher and Appalachian Trail thru-hiker says it all. Whether you’re a beginner wanting to finish a race or a seasoned runner looking to maximize performance, you can’t fail to benefit from his knowledge and expertise." 

~ Justin Day, 2010 Swampstomper 50k Champion.  

Billy says, "I run because it is who I am. I have an ultra running friend who says, 'there aren't a lot of problems that a good long run won't solve.'"

"I live by that," says Billy. 

"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement." 

                                                                     ~ Steve Prefontaine


Congratulations again to Billy and Max Simpson for your recognition as Breakaway's September Runner of the Month.  

*Nominations for the October Runner of the Month are open and will close September 25th at 6 p.m. You can nominate an athlete by sending the who, what and why to info@breakawaymemphis.com 


Runner of the Month: November-2011

Breakaway Running: 30 Years


Runner of the Month: December-2011

Scott McNeil

“Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.” 

Scott McNeil Runner of the Month

 

Scott McNeil got his start in running not because he enjoyed it, but because it complimented his real passion at the time, cycling. 

The 41-year-old committed himself through the ranks to Category 1, eventually "tiring of the travel and the time commitment."

Next on his agenda:

Train For A Marathon

In 2005, McNeil vowed to take on 26.2 miles leaving his bike in the garage ever since. 

"I love to train, compete and push my physical limits," says the overall winner of the Memphis Runners Track Club (MRTC) Road Race Series 2011. 

The half marathon put on by MRTC, the 5th largest running group in the United States, was noted by McNeil as his most rewarding race. He had been fighting a cold, the weather was "problematic," and the wind was overly rough. McNeil doubted his chances of conquering mother nature that day, but ended up only stunting 34 seconds from his predicted time of 1:16. 

McNeil says one of his favorite moments of running was the morning of the Boston Marathon in April of 2011. He was under a big tent, shivering from the cold, with his two sisters and brother. 

"It was a big deal for all of us not just because we were about to run the Boston Marathon, but also because we were celebrating my sister's 5 cancer free years after being diagnosed with melanoma."

Support for and from his family is what fuels McNeils running. His wife Kati and two boys, Aidan and Ian, often drive out on his long runs to give water and gels. "I am lucky and spoiled, says McNeil. 

"I think by getting out there and by being active every day and encouraging others to be active is how to make the city of Memphis more fit."

 Advice on Getting Family Fit

"I have two young boys at home and research shows that when kids see their parents exercise they in turn are more likely to exercise as adults," says McNeil. 

Memphis has been recognized as one of the least active and most unfit cities in the United States, shamefully McNeil says he agrees with the stereotype. 

"The local culture doesn't really promote an active lifestyle beyond high school or college and the climate can be a little tough for outdoor activities --- especially in the summer," said the fitness enthusiast. 

In the cities defense, McNeil did give props to Shelby Farms for its expansion of the Greenway and completion of the Greenline.

"Money spent on these types of projects are really an investment for the future and really help the citys ability to attract new people and even new corporations," added McNeil. 

Memphis Running Groups

In addition to praising the fitness movement and the cities path to a fitter and healthier community, the elite runner applauses the MRTC and Breakaway Running for their involvement in making this city as active as it is. 

"The Memphis area is very lucky to have such a large and active running club. The MRTC helps make this city very liveable for many people. I am personally grateful for all the events they help promote and all they do to support the sport of running." 

Breakaway Running is honored to have the Maine native and passionate runner as a representative of its "Race Team" and the city of Memphis. Scott McNeil has not only paraded an excellent position among the cities most privileged runners, but has also excelled on a national level, placing 2nd overall in the St. Jude Marathon with a time of 2:39:17, roughly one minute from the first place participant. 

Congratulations again to the "December Runner of the Month" Scott McNeil for his outstanding running performance, leadership in the running community and inspiration to the city of Memphis to get up and moving! 

 


Know someone who deserves to be the January Breakaway Runner of the Month? Email info@breakawaymemphis.com with:


 

  • Nomination Name & Contact Information
  • Why he/she deserves to be the Januaray runner of the month


Runner of the Month: February-2012

Angie Zinkus

Each month we receive nominations on who should be featured as our "Breakaway Runner of the Month" and a board chooses amongst those nominations. Our February Runner of the Month is Angie Zinkus! Check out the interview we had with our star runner. 

Angie Zinkus answers how she got started, her most prized race, craziest run and more.... 

 


Runner of the Month: March-2012

Clay and Nancyanne Hickman

Each month we receive nominations on who should be featured as our "Breakaway Runner of the Month" here in Memphis and a board chooses amongst those nominations. This month we just couldn't decide between two lovely runners, Clay and Nancyanne Hickman,  so we chose both! Check out the interview we had with our star runners! 


Runner of the Month: April-2012

Paul Spunky Ireland

You nominated and Breakaway Running has chosen Paul "Spunky" Ireland as its 2012 April "Runner of the Month."

Paul Ireland is one of the most humble and giving individuals we have ever known. As you can you can see in the interview, Spunky rarely mentions himself, his focus is on his Bartlett Running group and primarily his ultimate goal and passion, the childrens running program at Youth Villages.

 Spunky has been running for over 35 years and has been influencing other runners along the way.

We shared roughly 5 minutes from the interview we had with Spunky. Please be sure to congratulate Spunky and thank him for all he does for our Memphis running community.

Want to help Spunky with the Youth Villages running program or join his Wednesday night Bartlett Running group? Contact Spunky 901.826.7496 


To nominate our May Breakaway Running Runner of the Month please who and why to info@breakawaymemphis.com by April 25, 2012. 



Runner of the Month: May-2012

Nick Lewis

Each month we receive nominations on who should be featured as our "Breakaway Runner of the Month" here in Memphis and a board chooses amongst those nominations.

Our May Breakaway Runner of the Month is Nick Lewis. Check out the interview we had with our star ultra runner as he shares his most memorable races, personal nutrition habits, how he manages a full time job, family life and ultra running training, and his feedback on breaking his own record by 20 minutes in the Ouachita 50 miler.

Some key races Nick Lewis has ran are Ouachita, Leadville, Sylamore, Three Days of Sylamo, and Swampstomper.

 


Runner of the Month: June-2012

Ying Malady

The 2012 June runner of the month is Ying Malady. Each month we receive nominations on who should be featured as our "Breakaway Runner of the Month." Our June Breakaway Runner of the Month is Ying Malady. Watch this interview as our star runner shares some key moments in her running. 

Beginning her running journey in 2005, Ying has become a very disciplined runner and has over come a lot since starting out with 5K's including accomplishing her first stage race last year where she had to figure out how to beat the mountain when odds were against her

Ying got lost on the 3rd day after suffering an ankle twist and got lost behind the sweepers of the race. Determined, the young runner kept going and finished the race.  

In December 2011, Ying ran her first 50 mile race at Lookout Mountain where she was yet again faced with a new challenge, which included running in the darkness while freezing wet cold.

Ying is an inspiration to both men and women with her go-get-it attitude and courage to take on new challenges.

If you happen to see Ying please do congratulate her for being named our 2012 June Runner of the month. 

 


 

Know someone in the Memphis community who deserves to be in the spotliglht? Nominate the next runner of the month by sending us who and why to info@breakawaymemphis.com 

Thanks for all the support! 

 

-Breakaway Running Team 


Runner of the Month: July-2012

July Runner of the Month - Lance Jones

Congratulations to our July runner of the month, Lance Jones.

Each month we receive nominations on who should be featured as our "Breakaway Runner of the Month" and for the month of July you have chosen not only an outstanding athlete, but an amazing coach.

          

Watch the interview as our star runner shares some key moments in his running including:

  • how he got started in middle school 
  • what made him decide to run in college
  • how he has knocked minutes off of his 5k time
  • how we finished as the first American in the 2007 Detroit Marathon
  • how he manages his training
  • advice on running 
  • his role as the coach of the Bolton High School Girls Cross Country and Track and Field team. 
  • and more. 

Check out our previous Runner's of the Month.

Nominate our next runner of the month by sending an email to info@breakawaymemphis.com

  • The deadline is the 25th of every month


Runner of the Month: August-2012

Miles Durfey

Congratulations to Miles Durfey for being named our 2012 August Runner of the month 

Each month the running store receives nominations on who should be featured as the "Breakaway Runner of the Month." Watch this special feature of Miles as friends share his important role in the running community. To find out more on Breakaway Running visit www.breakawaymemphis.com

Thank you Miles for all you do for our running community in Memphis. 



Runner of the Month: September-2012

Beth Garrison

Congratulations to Beth Garrison for being named our 2012 September Runner of the Month. 

Beth begin her running jouney when friends encouraged her to join the Women Run Walk Memphis program, a walk/run program created just for women. 

Soon after joining the program, Beth fell in love with running and the people at came with it.

Beth has now ran numerousu 5k's, half and full marathons, as well as an ultra marathon. 

Watch the video as Beth tells her story and passion of running. 

Congratulations again Beth! 

Do you konw someone who deserves to be Breakaway Running's Runner of the month? Send who and why to info@breakawaymemphis.com


Runner of the Month: November-2012

Jane Cox

Jane Ridsdel Scott Cox, 74 years old, named 2012 November Runner of the month.

Watch this special feature of Jane Cox as he shares that it's never too late to start your own running story. She now is very passionate and dedicated to the sport since she first began shortly after she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She is currently training for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, and plans to run the London Marathon when she is 80 years old.

To find out more on Jane Cox and/or Breakaway Running visit www.breakawaymemphis.com 

Nominate runners of the month by sending who and why to info@breakawaymemphis.com


Runner of the Month: December-2012

Paul Sax

Legendary Memphis runner, Paul Sax, is named Breakaway Running's 2012 December Runner of the Month. Paul Sax dedicates hours upon hours to help local Memphis runners get on the right track. 

Not only has he lead the Track and Field workouts at the Old Track and Field house at the University of Memphis for years, he also organizes and manages the Overton Park 5 Mile Classic, The Overton Park Memorial 5k, The Annual Christmas Holiday run, and much more. 

Although Paul won't mention this because he is too humble, he has won every major race in Memphis, including the Memphis marathon, now known as the St. Jude Memphis marathon. Paul has competed very successfully nationally, which includes the Boston marathon, giving the city of Memphis a memorable repretation for running. In addition to his impressive running resume, Paul Sax is a tennis pro as well, mentoring and coaching professionals nearly every day. 

Paul, selflessly gives and gives to our running community and for that we want to thank him and ask that you do as well by sharing this video and personally thanking Paul Sax in person. 

View the video to see what others had to say about Paul Sax's wonderful contribution and success in the Memphis running community. 


Runner of the Month: January-2013

John Payne

John Payne, paralyzed when he was just 18 years old from a mountain bike race in Chattanooga, shares his story of how he has overcome his physical limitations by focusing on the positive and not the negative. Now 33 years old, John inspires not only the Memphis running community with his optimism, but many others with his dedication and achievements as a runner. Watch the video as John Payne shares his journey to date and what plans he has for the future. 


Runner of the Month: February-2013

Vic and Kathleen Thayer

Vic and Kathleen Thayer have found great success in running, beyond competively; they simply run because they can -- because it keeps them grounded and closer to each other. The two met nearly 22 years ago via the love of running and have continued to grow in heart, tropheys, records, bragging rights, states, countries and beyond...

We are proud to name Vic and Kathleen Thayer our 2013 February Runner(s) of the Month and hope that their love of running inspires you to share what you love with the one(s) you love.

Watch this video of Vic and Kathleen as they share their story. 

Congratulations Kathleen and Vic!


Runner of the Month: March-2013

Matt Pruitt

Please join us in congratulating our 2013 March Runner of the Month, Matt Pruitt. 

A Lesson From Every Run

Matt Pruitt, 29 years old, kicked off his running career in seventh grade as a conditioning to Basketball. He continued the sport throughout high school, followed by a nine year "break," as many of us can relate to.

In 2010, Matt was approached by a coworker to participate in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, in which Matt had never ran that far before. Ten miles was his longest endurance run and this was going to be a challenge, but he was ready to take it on.

Picking running back up was far from easy. As he began his training in August 2010, he had struggled to get to twelve minutes before he began having issues with his IT band flaring up, amongst other injuries. He quickly learned that this was going to have to be a "slow" and "gradual" process. 

His hard work training got him 24th overall in the half marathon. 

As you may already know, this was not a stopping point for Matt. He began racing several races after the St. Jude half marathon and was soon introduced to our Wednesday night Wolf River trail runs. It only took a few runs to convince him to enter his first trail race, Syllamore 25k, in which he won. 

He fell in love with the trail and knew that this was not going to be his last time running it. 

Slowly working up his mileage throughout the year, his next big race in 2012 was going to be his first ultra, Ouachita 50K, and he came out with a victory. 

His next big race, Stump Jump 50k, didn't turn out quite like he had wanted. "I had always heard that in Ultra, you're going to hit a low point at some point" said Matt, adding "I found that to be true at Stump Jump!" 

He recalls starting out feeling really good and even managed to catch up to third place around mile 17 amongst elite ultra runners, but his run took a turn. He was hit with naseau and nutrition problems. "I couldn't get over it. I kept pushing and kept running, and I couldn't eat anything. I couldn't get any calories in." 

Quitting was not an option for Matt. He managed to finish the race 6th overall even with his difficulties throughout the race.

He would continue experiencing nutrition problems in his next big race in late 2012, the St. Jude Marathon.  

His big comeback, which brings us to date with Matt and his running career, was the 2013 Syllamore 50k. It began much like his previous runs, a great start and then some nutritional and nauseau problems. This time, Matt took his lessons learned from his runs and was going to make sure he was getting the proper nutrition while running. He took his time when needed to get food down, even if that meant walking.

His lessons learned in running paid off, granting him an overall victory in the Syllamore 50k.

Congratulations Matt on all your great success in running and thank you for sharing your great running story with us!

Watch a short video as Matt shares his running story.  

 

 

 


Runner of the Month: April-2013

April Flanigan

A family that runs together stays together. Congratulations to April Flanigan of Memphis, TN, for being named Breakaway Running's 2013 April runner of the month.

Being a new wife and mother has not gotten in the way of April and her goals. In fact, it is a priority for her and her family to keep an active life. She got her athletic start by playing soccer in high school, shortly followed by short distance in Track and Field. She attempted Cross Country, however said it was too much for her at that time. It wasn't until years later that she would run again while teaching abroad in Japan. 

Coming back to the states with her new found passion for running, she started entering competitve races, with the Nashvile Country Music Half Marathon being first on her list.

As April racked up on races, she also gained new running buddies within the Memphis running community. It was the Salty Dog Running group, a running club located in downtown Memphis, that really introduced her to the Memphis running scene. The running group meets every Monday night at 7pm from Bardog Tavern. 

Through the Salty Dog runners, she met her husband Charles Flanigan (who was named Breakaway's first runner of the month).

The two running fanatics got married and welcomed their first child Winston Wolf Flanigan late 2012. April kept her running up and even to the last days of pregnancy, she maintained walking. 

Now being a full time mom, she and Charles have made it a priority to keep an active lifestyle and take turns to get workouts and runs in. April's advice in keeping this commitment is to make a goal and work towards it. As soon as she got the go ahead from her doctor, she began training and completed her goal of finishing the Land Between the Lakes Marathon in March 2013. 

April's dedication to her family, an active lifestyle and her goals is an inspiration to us and we hope that it inspires you and your loved ones to pick a goal and move towards a healthy lifestyle. 

Watch this video as April shares her running story and how she is leading her pack to a healthy and happy life. 

 


Runner of the Month: May-2013

Jennie Vee Silk

Our 2013 May Runner of the Month is Jennie Vee Silk. Jennie has been running competitively since 2003 and persevering her way to and through the races, more specifically the Boston Marathon since 2007. Despite all of the challenges and obstacles she has faced since running, and the most recent tragedy at the 2013 Boston Marathon, she has continued to push through with her personal goals top of mind. Congratulations Jennie and thank you for sharing your inspirational story with us! We wish you the best of luck and many years of happy and successful Boston Marathons!


Runner of the Month: June-2013

Kendra Jones

Kendra Jones is Breakaway Running's 2013 June runner of the month. Kendra started running when she was just in middle school when one of her gym teachers recruited her after she tested for the standing long jump.

Kendra continued running through middle school and high school and then college at Purdue where she focused on shorter speed distances and was an integral part of her schools relay teams. After graduating college, Kendra continued to run and even tested new waters by running a half marathon.

Just two years ago, Kendra moved to Memphis where she said was "surprised" and "shocked" by how great and encouraging the memphis running community was. She has tested new waters with longer distances and races, including the St. Jude Marathon and the notorious Boston Marathon. Kendra has also helped with many mentoring running programs in the midsouth, including Youth Villages. She has also been a pacer for the St. Memphis Marathon. 

Please join us in congratulations Kendra and take a few minutes to watch and hear Kendra tell her running story.


Runner of the Month: July-2013

Aaron May

Please join us in congratulating Aaron May for being named our 2013 July Runner of the month.

Aaron is an eighteen year old graduate from Christian Brothers High School who has found great success in running. He first began running cross country and track at St. Louis elementary school, but he admits his first true passion was soccer and even played football in his early years of high school. He was snagged to give competitive running a second chance and aren't we all glad he did!  

He has competed very well not only locally here in Memphis, but also in State-wide competitions and always strives and pushes his limits to do his best, as his coach Nick Dwyer says. His motivation is setting big goals and going after them. He is currently injured but is looking forward to running again and competing in college.

Watch the following video as Aaron shares his running story, his accomplishments, proud moments, motivation and more.


 



Runner of the Month: August-2013

Renee Stanfield

Renee Stanfield's running journey began in 2009 when she was encouraged to run the St. Jude 5k with friends from church and coworkers. Since then she has ran numerous 5k's, 10k's, and half marathon's. Renee admits it has been challenging, but every bit rewarding. Currently she is training for her first full marathon, the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, and has lost over 70 pounds along the way. Renee is also a coach for the Women Run Walk Memphis beginners group, often sharing her struggles and success and motivating hundreds of women. We are inspired by her strength and her determination. Please watch this testimonial of Renee's hard work and milestones and join us in congratulating her for being recognized as our 2013 August Runner of the Month.


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