Athletes of the Week from the Runners On The Go Faceboook Page.
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Athletes of the Week
November 3, 2015
Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner is originally from Grand Junction Colorado where she was one of Colorado’s top high school distance runners.
She learned that she had a talent for running in elementary school and began pursuing it seriously when she was in high school. Lora was recruited to run for University of Utah on athletic scholarship and later transferred to Utah State University where she earned the title of All-Conference runner and served as the Team Captain. She obtained a degree in Community Health Education with dual minors in Nutrition & Chemistry.
Lora is now focusing on training for triathlons and recently competed in her first Ironman event in Maryland taking 13th in her division and 65th overall female out of over 1400 athletes. She is a top level triathlete and has a passion for racing and coaching. Coach Lora is well educated with many coaching certifications (USA Triathlon, USAT&F, US Masters L 1 & 2 Swim coach, and NASM – Corrective Exercise Specialist). She coaches runners and triathletes of all abilities and has been coaching for over 19 years. She offers community classes, as well as individual & group coaching.
Lora enthusiastic, fun and positive coaching style has proven valuable to her triathlon team athletes. Team Blonde Runner (TBR) is Coach Lora’s most popular group training program. Lora is a wife and mother and currently resides in Bountiful Utah with her husband and four children. To learn more visit BlondeRunner.com
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October 27, 2015
My name is Skylar Riggs. I am 24 years old. I was born and raised in Logan, Utah. I attended Mountain Crest high school, and graduated in 2009. I am currently a senior at Southern Utah University, where I am majoring in Exercise Science with a minor in Spanish. Upon graduation at Southern Utah University, I plan on attending medical school to pursue a career in medicine. I am currently a runner in both cross country and track & field at SUU. I was recently married to my best friend, Josie Riggs, on June 6, 2015. Josie is also a student-athlete at SUU in both cross country and track & field.
I began running the summer before my sophomore year in high school. It all started after a city 5k fun run that I participated in. A neighbor of mine asked me if I had considered joining the high school cross country team. I told her that I didn’t even know there was a cross country team at my high school Besides, I wasn’t really interested in skiing anyway. Apparently, I was completely wrong. Cross country was not only a skiing sport, but also a sport that involved running. She invited me to come to the team practices throughout the summer. I did, and slowly came to love the sport of running.
In high school, I only participated competitively in cross country, and didn’t begin my track & field career until my first year at SUU. In high school cross country I was 1st team all-region my junior year, and region champion my senior year. I finished 11th place at the Utah State Cross Country Championships my junior year in the 4A classification, just shy of all-state honors. My senior year I earned all-state honors with a 4th place finish in a time of 15:47.
At SUU I have had the opportunity to run and train withsome amazing athletes, including the two time NCAA-D1 champion and Olympian Cam Levins. I had the opportunity to run personal bests in different events throughout my college career, and am grateful for the opportunities I have had to run collegiately. My personal bests include: 4:03 – 1500 meters, 8:37 – 3000 meters, 9:29 – 3000 meter steeplechase, 15:04 – 5000 meters, and 25:21 – cross country 8000 meters. I hope to continue to set new personal bests in my final season at SUU and throughout my running career.
In this upcoming track season at SUU, I have a goal to set a new PR in the steeplechase at sub 8:59. This will potentially qualify my for the NCAA-D1 western regionals, with a shot at making it to nationals. I also have high aspirations of running sub 14:35 in the 5k, an event I have only competed in a few times throughout my college career. Lastly, I would like to make it to NCAA-D1 cross country nationals next year, my senior year, and place in the top 80 to end my collegiate career. After completing my collegiate career, I want to continue to train and compete in everything from 5000 meter road races to the marathon. I aspire to run a marathon in under 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Running has become a passion for me, and I hope to continue to compete until I can no longer walk from old age. But even then, I will still have a love for the sport of running. The success I feel from pushing my body to the point of exhaustion is something that brings me a sense of achievement and joy. It’s been a great blessing to me to have such a wonderful wife who enjoys the sport of running as much as I do. I hope she can also pursue a long lasting career in running, as she is currently a junior at SUU.
October 20, 2015
Natalie Callister lives in Dallas with her husband and 1 year old son, Dallin. Dallin is currently her running buddy. He is such a joy! He’ll come along on her runs practically every day. They log about 50-55 miles a week with Natalie pushing him along in the stroller. Outside running Natalie enjoys going to the zoo, trying new recipes, hiking, biking, going on picnics, and reading Harry Potter.
When asked about how she was introduced to running Natalie said, “I have always kind of ran. My Dad would take us out when I was in 4th grade, we probably only went 2 or 3 miles but that was the beginning of it. In 9th grade my sister Morgan Haws, and I had a competition with our dad, we were going to beat him in the Kaysville 4th of July 5K. So we got up every morning and ran together. More so it was Morgan bossing me to get up and run with her and being the younger sister I had to oblige. We kept running everyday even after the race had passed. We ran into the Davis High cross country team one morning, Corbin Talley, the coach, invited us to be on the team and we still haven’t stopped running.”
This past summer Natalie ran her first marathon, the Utah Valley Marathon. She was the first woman and ran a time of 2:48:52. She also ran her first half-marathon, the Deseret News Classic, in a 1:16:18 and taking that first place spot as well. Other achievements from her collegiate years include Big Sky Conference indoor track champion in the 5K and 2nd in the 3000 her sophomore year (2010). Her freshman year she placed 9th at cross country region earning an individual spot to NCAA national cross country meet. Natalie battled many injuries during her college years, and because of this she only ran outdoor track her freshman year.
Natalie’s PRs include 4:57 in the mile, 10:20 in the 3000m steeplechase, 16:43 in the indoor 5K.
When asked what her next races and goals were she said, “I may run another half marathon in a couple months or so but I don’t have anything lined up right now.” Currently Natalie says she is training for life, to stay in shape and to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Good luck Natalie!!!
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October 13, 2015
Cody Draper is a self proclaimed trail running snob. He measures trails not by the mileage but by the vertical. More is better! He has this thing against flat asphalt or concrete runs. He is under the impression that asphalt is burning lava (remember that game as a child?) and can only spend minimal time on pavement before he burns up. Therefore, he seeks out the best trails to run on. Luckily for him he lives in a trail runners paradise. Logan Utah. Within a few minute drive he can find a variety of trails to soothe the burning feet. He is commonly found on the Bear 100 course and the Logan Peak Run Course (both races are on dirt, of course).
Cody has run both those races numerous times. He has tackled the Logan Peak Run 28 mile run 7 times. The first time was back in 2007 and was his first trail race. Even though the race was extremely challenging for him he was hooked. He could only dream about trail running. He has enjoyed success at the Logan Peak Race and has even finished in the top position 2 times. Home course advantage has its perks. The same advantage applies to the Bear 100 race which starts in Logan Utah and finishes in Fish Haven Idaho at the shores of Bear Lake.
Cody took 4th place overall in a time of 21:05 at this year’s event. He was happy to finish so well this year as in a previous year (2012) he had a rough DNF at mile 85. He spent 4 days in the Hospital as a result of Kidney Failure from that event. Watch out for those 100 milers, they can be pretty rough.
All that trail running experience has served him well and he continues to set new PR’s in his thirty’s. He dreams of new challenges and hopes to someday run the Hardrock 100. He is always looking for a new trail to explore and new friends to run with. He loves to organize group runs on Saturdays and early mornings before work. Just as long as there is some dirt and vert. You can read more about his adventures (and his awesome wife who takes his photos) on his blog at http://trailsnap.blogspot.com/
Good luck Cody!!
September 29, 2015
Isela Phelps is 37 years old. She was born in Mexico, and in her teens immigrated to New York. She grew up in Queens, NY. In her twenties, she moved to Utah to attend Utah State University. She graduated from USU with a degree in Business Administration. She has two amazing children, her pride and joy, and an extremely supportive husband.
Isela’s running career didn’t start til she was in her 30s. One day, Isela was working on a very tight deadline for her first knitting book, she was sitting on the couch and her son, 6 years old at the time, came and patted her on the belly and said “momma, is there a baby in there?” These were the words that sparked her into action.
With the help of her husband, Samuel, who ran cross country in high school, she began running. Her first run was a mile, the longest mile ever! It took her probably 30 minutes, with a lot of walking/crying breaks. She came home that day and realized that it would take a miracle for her to run for an entire mile without stopping. Her family made it a point to help her get in shape. Each afternoon, three times a week, they would strap the baby to the stroller and make their way around the neighborhood—it had to be late at night, so no one would see Isela make a fool of herself.
Little by little, Isela’s self-confidence started to increase. One day, she laced up and went out the door by herself! She ran and ran and then realized that she had run 3 miles! Her little son got into school and she took the opportunity to walk him to school. After dropping him off, she would push the stroller for 3-5miles. By the end of the school year, she was consistently running 5 miles, 5 days a week.
Then, one day, inspired by her husband, who ran the Top of Utah marathon, she decided she could run a race, too. She ran her very first half marathon in 2008, the Ogden ½. To her surprise, she didn’t die, but felt a sense of pride in herself in accomplishing 13 miles.
A year later, she took the biggest leap and registered for her first marathon, Top of Utah. She trained like a mad woman, slowly running and upping the mileage. Her goal was to run 12 minute miles, walking whenever she had to, in order to finish the race.
On the day of the race, due to school, her husband could not attend the event. Isela was deflated. However, it made her realize that she could rely on her training and on herself. To her surprise, Isela’s neighbors and friends came to meet her all along the course. They brought her little children along to cheer for their Mom. The support from her circle of friends was enough to bring her to the finish line in under 4 hours!
Isela loves being a part of the running community in Cache Valley, UT. She loves race day, not so much because of the racing, rather for the opportunity to see all her running friends in one place! She loves being a runner and looks for opportunities to help others achieve their running goals. She tries to give back to the community that has given her so much by volunteering as a pacer for different events.
Isela ran her 20th marathon last weekend in Huntsville, Utah. She has qualified for Boston several times and has had the opportunity to run Boston twice. In 2012, she made a dream a reality: qualify to run her hometown marathon, ING New York City; in 2013 she traveled to NYC to run through her neighborhood.
Isela says, “Dreams are attainable. Making dreams a reality takes three ingredients: courage, resiliency, and heart!”
September 22, 2015
Ricardo Maldonado is 51 years old. He was born and raised in Arizona. Ricardo earned a Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arizona in Tucson and he has three wonderful children, ages 15 to 28.
Ricardo initially started running in junior high school track, mainly the mile and 880 yard distances. He won the gold medal in the mile and 880 for the United States Western Region the summer after 8th grade. He ran track and cross country at Palo Verde High School in Tucson. His best finish in track was 4th in the mile for the state of Arizona his senior year and he helped his cross country team to two second place state championship finishes.
After high school Ricardo gave up running to focus on school and then raising a young family. He finally started running about 8 miles a week starting at age 35 and stayed at that level until age 46 when he decided to run a marathon. His first marathon was the 2010 Tucson marathon where he ran 2:42:14 and finished 3rd place overall. His first half marathon was the 2011 Lost Dutchman Half Marathon at age 47 when he finished 1st overall with a time of 1:18:04.
Ricardo was a member of the 1st place men’s masters team at the 2013 Boston Marathon where he ran his PR of 2:38:05 and place 5th in his age group. In 2014 he was the 2nd place finished for the USATF Masters Marathon National Championship in the 50-54 age group with a time of 2:39:01 at the Twin Cities Marathon. In 2015 he was the 1st place finisher at the Boston Marathon for the 50-54 age group. Ricardo has run 11 marathons. In 2015 Ricardo ran his half marathon PR of 1:13:32 at the Arizona Rock n Roll Half Marathon, and was the 1st place master. Later in 2015 soon after the Boston Marathon and the Eugene Marathon (where he had already committed to being the sub 2:43 pacer) he finished 2nd in the 50-54 age group in the USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championship at the San Diego Rock n Roll Half Marathon. Also, in 2015 he finished 3rd in the 50-54 age group in the USATF Masters 8K National Championship in Brea California.
Ricardo’s goals are to run a marathon under 6 minute pace which is about 2:37:25. He hopes to do this at either the 2015 California International Marathon or the 2016 Boston Marathon. He also wants to try for the 2016 USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championship in 2016.
Why does Ricardo run?
“I love the comradery of running with friends and also the fun of training for a goal and doing my best to achieve it.”
Ricardo is a member of the Phoenix Free Soles, a fairly new and growing running group in the Phoenix area. The Phoenix Free Soles put on the Mountain to Fountain 15K, a race that combines tons of fun for all and a chance to see some of the top runners around.
Good luck Ricardo!!!
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September 15, 2015
Mike McKnight is a 25-year old student from Cornish Utah
Mike’s running career has been on and off since he was a sophomore at Sky View High School. Mike was very overweight as a child. He loved to eat and watch TV. When Mike turned 14, he finally got tired of all the fat jokes. He wanted to lose weight. That summer, he started running/walking a mile a day. It was very hard. But, after a lot of dedication, Mike lost a lot of weight and got into sports.
However, Mike says he actually hated running, so he started doing football. He loved lifting weights. Mike did do track in high school but that was only because he was required to, for football, so he decided to be a thrower.
After graduation, and serving a 2 year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Mike’s sister challenged him to do the Top of Utah Half Marathon with her, so he signed up. He didn’t train too much. Mike would run 4-5 miles a day and call it good. The day of the race, Mike was pleasantly surprised. He finished in 1:29:43. Mike realized that, with training, he could potentially be a good runner.
After that, Mike focused on working on his 5K and mile times. He got his mile down to 4:54 and his 5K down to 17:30. Mike decided he wanted to keep pushing himself, and try to walk on at Utah State University for track
A few months before walking on with the team, Mike was in a skiing accident, and he broke his back. The Dr. told him that he would be laid up in bed for a while. He told Mike that he shouldn’t even think about running for a while, 8 to 9 months to be exact. Mike was devastated.
Mike’s therapy was to walk a mile a day. He had a walker, and it took him 45 minutes to walk a mile. However, after 3 ½ weeks, he could walk without the walker, and was able to finish his walk in about 18 minutes. So, naturally, after 4 ½ weeks, Mike needed to try running. Long story short, he signed up and ran a 10K six weeks after Mike broke his back.
During this time, Mike met a friend who introduced him to trail running and ultra-marathons. Mike was fascinated that people could run such extreme distances. Within a year, Mike had signed up for the Logan Peak race, a 28 mile trail run up to Logan Peak and back. Mike was able to do it in 4:49:14, and he took 5th place.
Since then, Mike has run multiple 50k’s, two 100K’s, and two 100 milers. Most recently, Mike ran the Wasatch 100 and finished 13th overall with a time of 24 hours and 13 minutes. On average, Mike runs about 65 miles a week with 14,000 ft of climbing. He says he is “addicted to trail running.”
He has finished in the following places: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 12th, 13th, 32nd, 58th, and 13th place.
September 8, 2015
Erica D. Sanders-Hurst
Erica D. Sanders-Hurst is a life long Chicagoan. She got into running five years ago, at the age of 41, as a result of a challenge by her husband for them to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle. Since then, the weight came off, she became a vegetarian, and she has run 24 Marathons.
Erica has met some of her closest friends through her and her husband’s passion for running. Her goal is to run a Marathon in all 50 States. Running the New York City Marathon this November will be State #17.
Erica is a self described “HaPpY Runner Chick” who loves to run in “fun” outfits. Her motto is, “Since I’m not the fastest runner on the course, I may as well be one of the most noticeable!” Good luck Erica!
September 1, 2015
Danny Noall is 26 years old. He is married to the beautiful Britt Noall and they have a sweet little daughter named Ella.
Danny really got into running while on a trip to California during his senior year of high school. While he was there, he decided to run the open mile. As he lined up alongside the other runners, weighing in at 185 lbs, he was a little bit bigger than your typical miler. As the gun went off, he thought he would try to keep up with the guys in front for as long as he could. During the the first three laps, Danny stayed in the top 3, with all of his coaches and friends laughing as he went by. On the final lap he decided he had a little bit left, so he pushed into 2nd place on the first corner, and on the second corner, he took the lead. As he did, the laughing changed to cheers, and he crossed the finish line in a time of 5:08.
Since high school, Danny has been an avid runner, running 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, and obstacle races. In college, he received his bachelors in Exercise Science and an MBA from USU. While he was in the MBA program, Danny invented a product that will allow people to have flavoring added to the water as it comes through the straw in their hydration packs. This is the first inline flavoring system for hydration packs. The company is calledInFuze Hydration and they will have product available soon.
Although Danny has yet to break the 5 minute mile mark, he still plans to win the local founders day 5k one of these years.
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August 26, 2015
Lee Labrum is 49 years old, a loving wife, an incredible mother, and now Grandmother!
Growing up Lee excelled in multiple sports including soccer, baseball, volleyball, basketball and track. In high school she focused on basketball and – no one saw this coming – cheerleading! She quit track (100 hurdles, 880 and relay teams) after her 9th grade year because “it just took too much individual effort!” or so she thought!
Once she began her studies at USU Lee ran just enough to keep the “Freshman 15” at bay and dabbled a bit in local 5k races. Then came life: full time employment, marriage, 6 children and 1 grandchild! Running took a back seat for nearly 17 years as Lee’s focus on her family left just enough time to get in a quick mile here and there. It wasn’t until her oldest son needed a ride to the local high school Cross Country summer running program that Lee was introduced to runs over 3 miles. She was pretty much hooked after that!
Lee has ran dozens of 5k, 10k, 15k, half marathons (12) , marathons (7) multiple trail races, international races(2) and even an ultra mountain marathon. Though her first half marathon wasn’t until age 38 and her first marathon age 40 she holds PR’s of 1:31:05 (Hobbler Half Marathon at age 49 yr) and 3:19:55 (St. George Marathon at age 41).This 3 time Boston Marathon runner claims that the joy in running comes not from running fast but enjoying the road or trail she share with others!
Lee now devotes most her running time to exploring and racing in the beautiful Northern Utah mountains . Despite getting a late start in competitive running Lee has come to realize one thing: “Age has nothing to do with the living out your dreams! If you dream it – if you believe it – if you work for it – your goals and dreams will be realized!” Good luck Lee!!!
August 18, 2015
Taylor Ward, a native of Logan, Utah is a professional distance runner. Sponsored as a Saucony Hurricane, Taylor’s focus is the Marathon.
In college, Taylor ran for Weber State University where she found a great deal of success. While at Weber, she was part of 3 Conference Championship teams, 1 NCAA Regional Championship team, and competed at Cross Country Nationals twice. She obtained 7 All Conference Awards, was named to the 2014 Division I All-Academic Team for Outdoor Track and Field, and won the Big Sky Conference Individual Title in the 10k in 2014.
While at Weber State, Taylor met her husband Kurt Ward, who is also a runner and developed the Running Recovery Drink RunQuick. He is currently working on his PhD at Auburn University, and she is obtaining a Master’s Degree from Weber State University.
After collegiate running, Taylor began training for the marathon, and completed her first marathon in Houston this last January. Her time of 2:38:32 qualified her for the 2016 Olympic Trials which will be held in Los Angeles in February. Taylor says she is enthusiastic and excited to continue her marathon career, and feels that it is just the beginning. Good luck Taylor!!!<
August 12, 2015
Sean O’Very is an extraordinary athlete who specializes in Olympic distant triathlon. Sean was raised as a swimmer, and was very competitive from a very young age. Sean competed in his first sprint distance triathlon at the age of 8 and has been hooked on the sport ever since. As he entered high school Sean joined the XC team and swimming team for Mountain Crest High School. Sean was a State Champion in the 100 freestyle in 2013 and he also competed at the sectionals meet in Seattle his senior year of high school. His junior and senior year of high school Sean competed nationally in triathlon. Sean became an All-American triathlete in 2012. He has since served a 2 year LDS mission to Guatemala and recently returned in June. His goals are to get back into shape and make the National USA team in triathlon. Good luck Sean!
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