Sunday, March 21, 2010

Runner in the Spotlight: John Fillette

John Fillette is a Charlotte native who shares his enthusiasm for running with his Run for You athletes at Run for Your Life Dilworth. Although I won't hold it against him that he's a Tar Heel (Go Deacons!), he probably knows Charlotte's running trails better than any of us!

Where do you work?

I work at the Council for Children’s Rights in Charlotte, NC. More specifically I work on the Children’s Defense Team. Our agency and team specializes in protecting the rights of children and ensuring that all kids are healthy, safe, and educated. Additionally, I am a coach with the Run For You program at Run for Your Life-Dilworth Store.

What's your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?

My favorite restaurant in Charlotte is Mama Ricotta’s on King’s Drive. The tomato basil penne is the best thing ever.

How long have you lived in Charlotte?

My whole life! It’s rare, I know. Except for 4 years of college up the road at UNC-Chapel Hill, at least, I have always lived in Charlotte, NC. I must say that I love many things about Charlotte and that has kept me here.

When and why did you start running?

I started running seriously the summer before 9th grade at Myers Park High School. Before then, I was solely a soccer player, but that summer, I was encouraged to run by Julia Lucas, a rising senior at Myers Park, and Mason Hurley, another rising senior. Julia and Mason drove me to summer practices and helped me become a consistent runner. A big part of why I ran was that I looked up to people like Mason and Julia, and wanted to be like them. After that, I ran every season through high school and college!

What do you love about running?

I love how running brings people together to work on a common goal. With any running team, you need cooperation, communication, and trust between teammates and coaches. It is an awesome feeling to perform well as a team after running together all season. Laughing with my teammates are my best memories of previous teams I was on. Also, running just makes you tougher as a person.

Favorite place you've traveled and loved for running?

I loved traveling and running in Charleston, SC for the Cooper River Bridge Run in 2007 and 2009. The race was tough, but walking around Charleston and getting seafood after the race was great. I went with the UNC Club Cross Country and Track Team, which was an awesome group of runners for all four years at Carolina. Both years that I ran, the weather was awesome too.

Where is your favorite place to run in Charlotte?

My favorite place to run in Charlotte is Queens Road in the Myers Park neighborhood in the spring. There are usually other runners out there who smile or wave at you, and it’s just really pretty surroundings. Plus there are several water fountains on the sidewalk in case you need water. It’s basically the perfect place to run.

What’s the funniest or strangest thing that has ever happened to you on a run?

I think that the random people you see on certain runs can be really funny and strange. In high school, we always did long runs at McAlpine and Boyce Park on Saturday mornings. One morning, we passed a large burly-looking guy in a red speedo riding his bike. We all just held our breath until we passed him and then just laughed for like 10 minutes straight. It was so bizarre to see that at 8:30 in the morning. And from then on, we were always afraid we’d see him again.

Do you lead any Charlotte Running Club group runs? What time?

I actually do not lead any Charlotte Running Club runs during the week. But, every Monday and Wednesday I lead a run from the Run for Your Life-Dilworth Store at 6pm. If you would like to join us, you can sign up at the store…You should join us sometime!

What's your most memorable race and why?

My most memorable race was the Taco Bell Relays Invitational Mile my senior year of high school. In that race, I took the lead with 1000m to go and they announced my name on the loud speaker. Even though I ended up getting 6th place, my coach told me it was gutsy to take the lead like that and to push the pace. All of my teammates went crazy from the stands, too. It was great!

Favorite distance?

The mile…it’s cliché, but it requires a great balance of speed and endurance.

PR for that distance?

4:40.2…that was my senior year of high school at Clemson University’s Indoor Track. I was very happy after that race!

What’s next on your race calendar?

My next race will hopefully be the 10K at Charlotte Race Fest on April 10th, 2010. I am hoping to run 38:30 or faster. We’ll see! After that I am hoping to run the CPCC Skyline 5k on April 24th, 2010. My goal at Skyline is between 17:20 and 17:35.

Fun Fact

My favorite U.S.-born runner is Dathan Ritzenhein who runs for Oregon Track Club. Ritz is seriously tough and talented. My favorite non-U.S. runner is Haile Gebrselassie, because he has broken 27 world records and won two Olympic Gold medals. Haile can also run 2:03:59 for the marathon!


  1. Love the spot light on a fella Tarheel! Gosh we could use some good news these days with our sad b-ball season. I enjoy running with John. Another great addition to the running community. Way to go John and keep it up!

  2. Thanks Aaron! Yep, so true about the Heels' sad b-ball season. Running with CRC has been great so far...when I can hang with you guys, that is!

  3. But guys, we're in the Final Four! We have the longest postseason winning streak in the nation! I just pretend it's the NCAA tourney. One can dream. Sigh.