Sunday, October 21, 2012

2013 Board Candidate Profiles

To help educate you on our CRC Board candidates, each candidate has the opportunity to response to a series of questions that has been provided to each candidate from the current president.

Responses from each candidate will be posted as they are received.  

Jaime McDonald
I am 35 years old and currently live in Marshville NC.  I grew up in Huntersville/Lake Norman NC area.  I started running in the summer of 2009.  I have a friend that was a marathoner and she inspired me to want to try and run a 5K.  I trained for a few months and on September 19, 2009, I ran my first 5K (Race for Fetal Hope in Charlotte NC).  When I crossed the finish line, that was it, I was hooked!!

From that point on, I began building my running journey.  I continued running 5K runs in the Charlotte area (I really can't pick one run that I like more than others in the Charlotte area. They are all unique and individual in their own way). In the summer of 2010, I enrolled in the USAFit half marathon program and ran my first half marathon in November 2010 at the Dowd YMCA half marathon (now the Rocktoberfest). I continued with runs in the Charlotte area throughout 2011.  

In January 2012, I ran the fun but tough Fellowship of the Idiots 20 mile run in Albemarle.  Shortly after, I signed up for my first marathon, the Chicago marathon!  I trained for the marathon from April until October 7 when I ran it.  WOW, what an experience!  During my marathon training, I became friends with an ultra-runner from Virginia named Pam RIckard.  Pam is an ambassador to a foundation named Runwell, which raises money to help people receive treatment for drug and alcohol addiction and helps them lead healthy lifestyles.  After talking with Pam and the Runwell founder Linda Quirk, I decided to join Team Runwell and take on the adventure of a lifetime!  I am traveling with 7 other teammates to Iceland with Racing The Planet's roving race for their 7 day/156 mile/self supported/stage run in August 2013.  I begin training for this amazing experience in November 2012 for 9 months.  

Having come from a completely non-runner in 2009 to a full fledge ultra-runner 3 years later (I have done the Mangum double shirt 30 mile run and Hinson Lake 24 hour ultra) shows just how much passion and drive I have for wanting to spread the love of running to people.  I think I represent runners on all levels and can bring a positive impact to the Charlotte Running Club and it's members.  I would be honored to be voted in as a Charlotte Running Club Board Member!

Thank you!

Jaime McDonald
Stephanie York

Hello! My name is Stephanie York and I'm 25 years old. Regarding family, this upcoming May I will be marrying the love of my life! Currently he and I reside in the South Park/Quail Hollow area of town but I'm originally from way out west in Phoenix, Arizona. I've been in Charlotte nearly 3 years and I couldn't be happier with the path my life has taken leading me out here. 

 Running Background
I've been running since Middle School. I'd initially tried Track and Field as my coaches decided my strong ballet background would prove beneficial in the hurdles. I competed in the event for 2 years but there was something about jumping over aluminum racks that just didn't quite do it for me; The races simply weren't long enough or challenging enough. I made my first appearance in distance running as a Freshman in high school but as my schedule of ballet, Phoenix Girls Chorus, show choir, and practices and rehearsals of the like filled up quickly, I lost interest in something that took away the little sleep I was actually getting each night. I had continued to race and volunteer each year in the Phoenix Race For The Cure, the Heart Walk (as I had since Middle School) and numerous other charity races and soon had more ties to these races than a 16 year old would ever care to admit. The more people I had to race for the more driven I seemed to become. For fun, I ran my first 10K as a senior in high school and found myself itching for more. Through college, running was a way to relieve stress and work out my struggles in a positive manner. It wasn't until moving out to Charlotte that my true obsession took off. I began running and training with the Dawdling Gazelles and made fast friends with a number of kind and talented runners. I ran my first half marathon this year in the Outer Banks and will have completed my 4th by this Christmas. I couldn't believe I'd missed out on so many races in such unimaginable places and so many truly amazing people prior to my scary journey to the Queen City.

Describe your passion for running
I run because of the challenge and thrill it offers. My passion is more of an obsession that I have to feed. I'm always wondering what the next challenge and thrill is going to be. I run for those who cannot.

Current or Planned Running Goal
Currently I'm training for the Myrtle Beach Full. I couldn't imagine a better excuse to run my first Full than on my 26th birthday. My next goal is to compete in a 50K and hopefully to begin coaching Special Olympic athletes in distance running (for the last 3 years I've been a SO cycling coach).

 Favorite race in town
I'm somewhat biased in regards to my favorite race as I'm a Race Director for 3 races, but my favorite one that I've actually participated in is the Firecracker 5K. 

 Favorite place to run in town
My favorite place to run in town is throughout South Park and Quail. I love the challenges of the hills but there's always something to look at and keep my mind occupied.

What you think you can contribute as a Board member in 2013.
I think I can offer the perspective of those who aren't vocal and as involved in the club as they could be, the unhurried runner (IE those 9-11 minute millers)! I look to make all those in the crc, and those who could be part of the crc, feel like they can participate in activities and training opportunities without feeling as though they will be left behind or looked down upon for not being an elite. As a Race Director, I can also offer the perspective of someone who looks to improve the running community from a business standpoint. We are a strong community and should work together for our specified race goals.
Jonathan Halter

My name is Jonathan Halter, and I am 43 years old. I was born in the Philippines and I grew up in Kodiak, Alaska. I graduated from UNC Charlotte and now work there in the Information Technology Services (ITS) Department. My group specifically manages the high performance research compute clusters on campus. My wife Virginia and I have been married for 18 years now, and we have 2 children: a (almost) 16-year old son, Micah, and a 13 year-old daughter, Maya. We have lived in Harrisburg for the past 8 1/2 years.

I first got interested in running when I was in the 8th grade. Three of my friends and I won a regional 4x100m relay race, and traveled to Hershey, PA for the national finals. I continued running track in high school and had my best success as a 400m sprinter. After high school, I didn't run until I was introduced to road racing in the early 2000s, when I was in my early 30's. I raced for a few years, but then got out of it for several. In 2009, I got back into it to train for my first marathon. I've been running ever since.

My passion for running stems from several things, all of which can be summed up by saying: "It betters my life." The health benefits are obvious. Beyond that, I enjoy the friendships I have formed through running, and I look forward to meeting and getting to know more of the Charlotte running community. Lastly, I am goal oriented, which goes well with running. I enjoy setting new running goals, then training to meet those goals.

My most recent running goals have been to 1) train for and run a Boston qualifier, then 2) run the Boston Marathon. I am right in the middle of achieving these goals: I BQ'ed earlier this year at the Myrtle Beach Marathon, so I am signed up and set to run Boston this coming April!

My favorite race in the area is the Lungstrong 15K in Cornelius. There aren't a lot of 15K's around, so it's a nice change in distance. The race has a beautiful course and is typically blessed with perfect running weather; it is well organized and well attended.

My favorite place to run in town is the University City greenway system. Between the Mallard Creek, Clarke's Creek, and Toby Creek greenways that all interconnect and incorporates the UNC Charlotte campus, there are several miles to run and explore. This is "home base" for the University City Road Runners, which is a GREAT group of runners with whom I run regularly.

I have enjoyed being a member of the Charlotte Running Club over the past couple of years. Through the Club I've made some new friends, and have also reconnected with old friends as well. It would be an honor to be a CRC Board member, to continue to build on the solid foundation the previous Board has laid. I hope to provide a fresh point-of-view and positive energy that will encourage people to get involved in running as well as CRC events.

Rob Ducsay

My name is Rob Ducsay and I am 46 yrs old.   I am married to Laura with 3 boys and 1 girl (Tyler 21, Justin 18, Bailey 16, Jarett 13.  I live in Fort Mill. I grew up in NE Ohio. I am a 1990 graduate of Kent State University. I lived in Irmo, SC from 1990 till 2003 and moved to Fort Mill in 2003.

Running Background
I’ve been running since 7th grade. Started running track to stay in shape for football. Took me till the 10th grade to figure out that a 6’ tall 145 lb. dude was more suited for track and X-Country then football. Ran on and off for the next 25 yrs. or so, probably never running more then 300-400 miles a year. Finally in Jan of 2010, I was about 220 lbs., my butt and gutt were too big and my jeans were too tight. I figured that I better make some changes, because I refused to go up to a size 38 . That year I ran the most miles that I ever ran in a year (900), and lost about 20 lbs. In the Spring of 2011 I started running some local races and decided to join CRC. Until that time, 99.5% of all my running was done on my own. Since that time, I have made many great friends and have really enjoyed the Charlotte running community. In the past 1.5 yrs, I ran my first marathon, ran the Blue ridge Relay (2x’s), numerous 5k, 8k, and 10k , Halfs and 30k races, and also embarked on 3 different 24 hr. races. . To this date, I can’t figure out if I’m a Ultra Runner or just a Jack-of-all-Trades runner. Now a days I run about 200 miles a month, and probably 40% of these miles are done with others.

Describe your passion for running
I just love to get out there and put one foot in front of the other. And If I can do it with others, it makes the time spent even more enjoyable.

Current or Planned Running Goal
I have no definite long term running goals, other then to try and stay healthy and injury free. Next year, I would like to continue improving on my running and keep on racking up some PR’s in all events from the 5k to the 24 hr. Ultra. What the heck, throw in a mile PR also.

Favorite race in town
Truthfully, my favorite area race in town has been the Unsanctioned Race Series that those of us in the Sunday Long Run Crew (especially Phyllis Neriah) has put on this year (Race to the Cake Half, Stuff Your Face Half and The Paul Ryan Get your PR Almost Half). It’s been great watching this little all for fun race, with some charity, and a lot of tasty baked goods, grow and grow.

Favorite place to run in town
There are currently 3 different places that I really enjoy running in Charlotte. McMullen Greenway, McAlpine Creek Greenway and Ann Close Springs Greenway. H’mmm, so if it has Greenway in the name, I seem to like it....

What you think you can contribute as a Board member in 2013
By implementing FREE SHOES FOR ALL... (Wouldn’t that be great?).   I can only hope to continue with the foundation that has been started by those who founded CRC. They have done a fantastic job in starting and moving this club forward. They are reaching out to those of all abilities and that is great.  I think I relate to all the area runners, be they fast or slow, young or old, beginners or seasoned, street runners and trail runners, those that specialize in shorter races, or embark in the Ultra field. I have made more friends then I could ever imagine in the past 1.5 yrs and it all comes from running in this Great community of ours......And don’t believe a word I said about the FREE shoes.

Rob Ducsay

Bill Shires

My name is Bill Shires and I move to Charlotte some 23 years ago so I have been a part of the Charlotte Running Community for a long time. For the most part, I have always lived on the north side of Charlotte either in the university area or in the North Lake/Huntersville area.

This means I have spent a lot time exploring the roads north of I-85 and in recent years I have spent a tremendous amount of time running in and around the Huntersville Business Park. If you are not familiar with this area, this is the most well light part of Huntersville. Cyclist, Runners, and walker take advantage of the wide roads and shaded sections to get in their workouts.

Running on the roads is something I have always enjoyed doing which probably comes from how I started my running career. My running background didn’t follow the typical pattern of most runners. I grew up a road racer running 5ks and 10ks and never running either cross country or track. From there I have moved to longer distances and eventually, I moved to the marathon and in the last few years I have enen ventured beyond running a 50k.

Some people might call my desire for running an addiction. I always think of it as a passion. There is nothing like the satisfaction that comes from the sore and tired muscles at the conclusion of a hard workout or race. Give me that feeling any day.

Currently, my training has me preparing the OBX marathon on 11/11/12. OBX is a fun little race on the coast and one that I have done the last 4 years in a row. If it is the first of November, you can pretty much always count on me making the 6 hour drive out to the shore line.

Being based on Charlotte, I have run many races that I have really enjoyed doing but most recently, I have become a huge fan of the “Big South 5k”. The course layout is tough in the beginning but runs well over the 2nd half. Add to it, the race date falls in early to mid October so the conditions are ideal for fast times.

Having run in Charlotte so many years, you might think I have a few favorite places that I really enjoy running. Truth be told, my favorite place to run is any place where there is a bunch of other runners that want to share some miles with me.

Now to the final question on Aaron’s list – concerning potential contributions to the ’13 board, having been a member of the ’12 board I have the experience of 1 year under my belt and I feel like I have more to offer to the club. In ’12, I served as the assistant to the board secretary. Meaning, I took and wrote up the notes from our monthly meetings as well as kept track of the tasks list from meeting to meeting. Additionally, I served on the ’12 Winter  Classic 8k race committee and have been serving in the same capacity for the ’13 Winter Classic race committee.  Lastly, I started the club’s first mileage program and with it the associated group runs. As each runner logged their miles, I tracked of them and acknowledged those reaching 1000 miles in our club newsletter, on our club blog, and they will receive an award at year’s end. But the best part, this resulted in me making a whole lot of new friends.

For ’13, I see our club continuing to grow both in numbers and influence in and around the Charlotte area. Only through having active members can our club continue to sustain its self. I want to be active in the club runs, in the club races, in the club activities, and active on the board to help the club run the uncharted trails we call the “future for our club”.


Mike Beigay

I am 34 years old and currently live in Concord, a good 25 miles from Charlotte, with my lovely wife of 10 years, our 3 yr old daughter and 6 month old chocolate lab.  If you have ever ran with me you probably have heard me complain a time or two about waking up at 4am to drive into Charlotte for a group run, but regardless of the sleep deprivation it is always worth it!

I began running when I was 14 years old to keep up with my sister who was running track and cross country in high school (Newton, NC).  Even though I had some moderate success in high school by qualifying for several State XC & Track meets, I did not run in College (UNCC).  I still continued casually running various road races in Charlotte and attempted my first marathon in 2006 (Twin Cities); I quickly fell in love with the longer distance.  I began meeting more and more people in Charlotte to train with and found it to be a very crucial ingredient to my running performance.  Since I have turned 30 I continue to run times faster than I did when I was in high school and have even surpassed my best high school 5k time while pushing my daughter in the baby jogger!

Being a member of CRC has continued to fuel my passion for running.  Not only do I get excited about my own races, but I am equally excited to see other club members have their own success!  I've taken a little time off from training during the latter half of 2012, but will be ramping the training back up to prepare for my first Goofy Challenge in January and then back to Boston in April.

I've enjoyed being a board member during this past year and have a much better understanding of the effort it takes to keep the Club going.  There is a tremendous amount of work that our board members perform on a weekly basis that goes unnoticed; which is the way it should be!  The majority of my involvement last year was focused around the Winter Classic 8k and other various tasks' such as keeping up with the Club email and Club gear inventory.  I would certainly welcome the opportunity to continue my involvement with the board for another 2 years.

Jason Blackwood

My name is Jason Blackwood and I am soon to be 31 years young. I grew up in Charlotte in the Plaza-Midwood area, not far from where the Common Market is now. I now live in the Sedgefield area, on the outskirts of Dilworth and South End.

Running Background
I have been running since I was very young - about 9 years old. It all started with a few victories in the "Endurance Run" during Physical Fitness Day at school every May. I went to high school at Charlotte Christian and enjoyed my experience running there, turning best times of 4:42 in the mile and 17:11 in the 5k. We also set what was then the lowest score ever in the conference championship meet, but I have a feeling Ben Hovis's Providence Day squads have probably broken that by now. From there, I went on to run track and cross-country at UNC Wilmington from 2001 to 2003, setting personal-bests of 16:55 for 5k, 27:07 for 8k, and 35:54 for 10k - all in cross-country. I performed horribly in track at UNCW but enjoyed the experience as I was part of a team that won the CAA Championship in spring 2002. That was all a very long time ago! I took 7 years off competitive running before getting back into it in 2010. Since then, I have completed a marathon in 3:29 and a half in 1:24 in addition to many small, fun local races!

Describe your passion for running
I run mostly to race and compete but I also have a keen sense of the fun, lighthearted side of the sport as well. Sometimes running is just plain spiritual to me. Anyone who gets out of bed hours before the rest of the world is awake and functioning to do a run under the streetlights is accomplishing something wonderful in my eyes. To me, running is the purest sport there is, as it is simply your mind controlling your body and squeezing out whatever it is your have in you.

Current or Planned Running Goal
My current running goal is still to qualify for the Boston Marathon eventually. For the short-term, I will be easing back into half-marathon shape next spring and then training for another full from there - possibly late summer before the BQ cutoff.

Favorite race in town
Even though it's usually a miserable experience because it occurs in the summer, I have always liked the Summer Breeze, going back to when it was called something else. I just think it's awesome to be able to finish around the lake at Freedom Park. Unlike most people, I think our marathon - Thunder Road - is a potentially fantastic event that could use some work.

Favorite place to run in town
I will always love McAlpine Park. I ran my first race there when I was in third grade and it was our backyard at Christian. Bring on the snakes, coyotes, deer, etc - I can't get enough of McAlpine!

What you think you can contribute as a Board member in 2013
I have always been in leadership roles, dating back to when I was younger. When I was 25 I co-founded a business that is growing steadily, and it's a business that basically involves building relationships with clients through quality employees. Therefore, I feel I understand how to bring people together and meet the needs of others. I have a keen understanding of social media, particularly Blogger and Twitter, and understand how to use those resources to promote events, ideas, and groups. I have also heard rumors that I can be pretty fun when I put my mind to it, and I want to help our club find more ways to meet other members socially, if possible. Last but not least, I want to help CRC promote the racing scene in Charlotte, particularly our marathon. With such a strong running community here, there's no reason the local marathon cannot be a much bigger event. Tim Rhodes and Run for your Life do a great job, but we could help them. I was born and raised in Charlotte and have been around the running scene for a long time, and so I feel I can help with those things.

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