Thursday, April 8, 2010

Runner in the Spotlight: Boriana Bakaltcheva

Boriana is a University of Virginia grad, works at Bank of America and spends her spare time running. She is one of the ten ladies who can keep up with the boys on the Thursday early morning Dowd run. Tough and extremely supportive of the Club, Boriana is a fun person to run with!

Where do you work?
Bank of America, as a credit underwriter for high net worth individuals.

What's your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?
Big Daddy's! Nowhere else can you build your own salad and add a burger pattie on top. Rusan's is great for sushi, and Mimosa Grill is delicious all-around.

How long have you lived in Charlotte?
Pushing 3 years now.

When and why did you start running? In 9th grade I tried being a sprinter on the indoor track team, in order to get in shape for the soccer team in the spring. I was such a terrible sprinter, that the coach barely had patience to wait for me to finish 200m intervals, as I lagged considerably behind the rest of the team. Some teammates finally convinced me to try out "long distance" (which in high school terms consisted of the mile and two-mile), and needless to say, I loved it so much and forgot all about the soccer team. Since then, it's been over 10 years and perhaps 13 thousand miles, and I hope I continue to love running this much for many years to come.

What do you love about running?
Everything! It can be deeply personal and cathartic. It can also be the backbone of relationships, a camaraderie, a whole social fabric and place within a vibrant community. It can feel exhilarating and excruciating... all within the same run, perhaps! It is finite, measurable and objective - you can not argue against the clock or interpret it any differently than what it reads. It is a never-ending challenge of mental stamina, focus and self-understanding. Ha - and some people think that running means only lacing up shoes and putting one foot in front of the other!

Where is your favorite place to run in Charlotte?
Location doesn't really matter... the company counts more for me!

Favorite place you've traveled and loved for running?
I studied abroad in Germany one summer in a small town called Marburg, which is about an hour outside Frankfurt. I enjoyed exploring the old, historic town that summer during my runs, as well as the countryside. I remember going for a solo 10 mile run on my birthday along some trails, with deer crossing my path several times.

What’s the funniest or strangest thing that has ever happened to you on a run?
Neither funny nor strange, but it's simply interesting to me that I can have the deepest and most personal conversations while on a run... perhaps even with people who I may not know extremely well. The running bond makes us all automatically closer to each other in a way.

Do you lead any Charlotte Running Club group runs? What time?
I have been at the AG track on Wednesday evenings from time to time with Shenna. However with the heat coming upon us, and school soccer games, I would propose to start leading an AM track group. I prefer Tuesdays at 6am, but am flexible. Please feel free to email me at if you'd be interested!

What's your most memorable race and why?
There are many to choose from! Perhaps King Tiger 5k in 2008. I ran a 19:41, which was a 30-second PR from two months prior. I learned how to take a risk in that race. I had been so used to going out in 6:30's on autopilot for 5ks, and only in that race did it finally dawn on me to just bite the bullet and go out at a pace I knew I was prepared for based on workouts (6:15). It was scary to go beyond my comfort zone. After the first "risky" mile, it was all mental to hold it for each subsequent mile. Also, I never broke 20 minutes in high school, so it was a bit of "unfinished business" that I was proud of achieving with my own training and regimen, not relying on a team or coach.

Favorite distance? PR?
Ten miles. Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in 2009 - 1:07:30
Speaking of which, good luck to the 2010 Cherry Blossom runners from CRC competing this coming weekend!

What’s next on your race calendar?
Tar Heel Ten Miler in Chapel Hill on April 10.

What do you love most about the Charlotte Running Club?
I love that there is such variety in the club members, yet all are so welcoming, friendly and dedicated to the sport they love. Some prefer short over long distance, some have Olympic aspirations, others chase PRs or age group prizes, still others aren't in it for the races at all, we are all in the midst of different life phases and career paths... but boy, we all really love running!

Fun fact:
My favorite running quote, for a bit of (cheesy?) inspiration:

"In running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions."
-Glenn Cunningham

Thanks Boriana for such a great read!


  1. Great read, nice perspective.

  2. Boriana had such a terrific and optimistic take on running. She is every bit as interesting as this quick blog and then some. Another fabulous club member to get to know.