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Running with Soul: Meet Melissa (#4)

Featured Runner: Melissa


The RedHeaded Runner

How many years have you been running?

A little over a year.

Little bit about yourself:

I’m a southern belle living in the outskirts of Atlanta with my husband, the Champ, and dog son Eddie Munster the mutt. I love live music and a good beer.

Now onto that whole fitness thing. As a youngster I was always active but as I entered college I began to slow down. However, I was part of my University’s Judo team (I maintain some street cred, k?) But after college I found my self-bound to the confines of a windowless cube. I would sit in my chair for 8 hours and not move. I learned so much about myself during that time. I learned I was an outgoing person, someone who yearned for sunshine, fellowship and movement. To break this cycle I decided to start jogging. Who am I kidding I jogged all of 20 feet and was heaved over my knees gasping for air. But something clicked that day. I learned how much more I wanted from myself and from my life and I decided to make a change and start a new journey through running.

Who or what inspires you to run?

Running in itself inspires me. No one can make you run. No one can make you train or be healthy. It’s all about you baby. At the end of the day knowing I ran 3 miles, 6 miles or 26 miles, I know I did it, on my own. That feeling you get after you accomplish or meet a goal well that is what inspires me.

What is your running mantra?

A year from now; you will wish you started today. It keeps me going. It’s so easy to push things off and I did for a long time. But the feeling of personal accomplishment is something almost indescribable. Stick with it and you will be in awe with yourself. Because of this I went from running a 5k to a marathon in one year (and I had to build to get to that 3.1)

What is your favorite running/fitness blog?

I love the AngryJogger. He is a little rough around the edges but right on about almost everything and makes me laugh till my stomach hurts. I also enjoy HRG, and Once Upon a Lime.

What has been your most memorable race?

Honestly, my most memorable race was my first 5k. My entire family came to see me run it. You would have thought I was running in the Olympics because we treated like it like that. It was a huge milestone. We had no idea at the time that this run would be the start of something much, much more.

What is your dream race? (Besides Boston)

I would love to run the NYCM. I think there is something dreamy about it. Plus, I love people! I get excited when I see like two people cheering for me. I can’t imagine seeing an entire city out there. I would also like to do an international race. I have my eye on the Swiss Alpine Marathon. I can’t even fathom the beauty there let alone the privilege to run it!

What are you currently training for?

I am currently training for my first Ultra, the Fat Ass 50k, the Atlanta Marathon and the Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estates. The 2 marathons are 8 days apart and I am hoping to earn Marathon Maniac status with it. Oh, I’m also an ambassador for the Asheville Marathon and Half at Biltmore Estates so hit me up if you have any questions about the race. Wink. Wink.

What one piece of running gear can you not live without?

I know you asked for a piece of gear but one thing I can’t live without is my necklace. My husband surprised me with it when I first started jogging. It’s of the tortoise and the hare. I wear it at every race and when things get tough I touch my necklace and it gives me super powers ;)

If you could share any words of advice/encouragement to a new runner, what would it be?

Believe in yourself and you will go far. I had someone literally tell me I was too fat to ever run a marathon but now I’m working on my third. Just remember everyone has to start somewhere and every step counts.

Be sure to follow Melissa on her running journey:

Thank you so much Melissa! You are so right, one step at a time and every step counts. Over a year ago when I decided to finally commit to running, I felt so great each day and each mile I covered. There will always be people who say you don't "look like a runner" or not understand why you love running. I say, prove them all wrong, inspire yourself to achieve the impossible. Good luck on training for your third marathon! Keep us updated!  

Be sure to check back each week, as another runner shares their story of running with soul.

Happy Running!


  1. Such a great feature. Melissa is so positive. Also, a note to Melissa, I love the tortoise and hare necklace. :)