55; Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center

I LOVE RUNNING: IRunning long distances gives me the grit and mental endurance that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and it teaches me that I can overcome adversity.

GO-TO GEAR: Men’s ASICS Cumulus shoes, a running belt to carry my phone, and a visor are absolute necessities.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Running the Jerusalem half marathon in 2018. I was in Israel visiting my parents. My father was dying. Thinking of his life, his struggles to survive, his own “marathon” helped me up those steep hills. I had no excuse to give up. My father broke his neck in a car accident when he was 31. He exercised every day of his life. He fought to stay mobile and understood the importance of exercise. He was a role model for discipline.

BEST EATS: La Michoacana. All the ice cream flavors are yummy, but my top three are RumRaisin, Tres Leches, and Strawberry Cream.

MY GROUP: I’m a member of the Memphis Runners Track Club.

PET PEEVE: People who use exercise as punishment for overeating.

UP NEXT: The 901 series culminating in the Germantown half marathon; the Little Rock half marathon the following weekend; Great American River Run; and the Suzuki Midnight Half Marathon in Iceland in June. Whenever a half marathon shows up in Memphis, you’ll find me there.

INSPIRATION: My parents were great role models. My father’s example gives me no excuse not to exercise.

ON MY NIGHTSTAND: Beloved by Toni Morrison

BUCKET LIST: I want to run half marathons in some of our National and State parks, like Yosemite, Zion, and Yellowstone, as well as in other countries—South Korea, Japan, and Paris.

FAVORITE FITNESS ACCOMPLISHMENT: Running half marathons. I’ve only been doing this for the past eight years. In July 2015 I had hip surgery to remove bone spurs from the head of my thigh bone (femur) and to repair a torn seal around my hip joint (hip labrum). I was not allowed to put weight on my right leg for about 7 weeks after surgery and had to use a walker. I continued going to my favorite boot camp (Sgt. Tony Ludlow) while recovering and as soon as my skin incisions healed I got myself a membership to the YMCA so that I could run while partially submerged in the pool. I was signed up for the SJ half marathon that year and was adamant to do it. I was able to run on land by the end of October. My first race after surgery was the 4 mile Turkey Trot. It’s one of the few race shirts that I want to keep as a reminder. I did complete the SJ half that year and every year since.

Photo by Tindall Stephens