36, Civil Engineer at Neel-Schaffer, Inc., Walking Tall 50K Race Director & President of North Mississippi Endurance Race Team.
I started road running in the spring of 2014 and became more competitive as I trained for my first half-marathon at the Memphis St. Jude Marathon weekend in December 2014. I saw great progress in my training prior to that the Hernando Water Tower 10K.
I try and keep a race or two per month, some of which I race and others I do just as a fun tempo run with friends. This year has been almost exclusively the year for ultramarathon PRs. Most notably are the Georgia Death Race (74-ish miler), Elkhorn Crest 50-miler, and the Bear 100-miler. Venturing into new distances in locations with terrain and altitude that cannot be simulated here in the Delta makes it hard to be competitive, so most of these events I was the middle-of-the-pack guy.
The trail running community is full of the most friendly and supportive people. I’ve never met a stranger on the trail, and the aid stations remind me of a mix between Halloween candy and Thanksgiving dinner. Ultimately, the most fascinating part of this sport is how the fastest and youngest runners aren’t always the winners. The longer distances and technical terrain help level the playing field for all ages to have a chance at the podium.
At first, I started running to lose weight, quit smoking, and stave off the family history of diabetes. Since making key lifestyle changes in healthy eating and daily exercise, I have more energy and focus at work. I still haven’t mastered portion control, so I am a work in progress.
As long as I am not dealing with any major injuries, I try and keep at least one goal race on the calendar at all times. Currently, I have a 50-miler in northwest Arkansas on Nov. 9, the St. Jude Marathon on Dec. 7 (my birthday), and the Athens Big Fork Trail Marathon on Jan. 4.
When I first started running in 2014, I weighed over 250 pounds and smoked. Just a few months after making running a priority, I quit smoking completely and dropped 40 pounds. One year after running, I was back to my middle school weight of 200 pounds.
My wife and I share a love for the Italian restaurant Amerigo, off Ridgeway. We always make time to have dinner there around the end of July to celebrate our dating anniversary.
I really love traveling to the Salt Lake City area. There is an endless amount of outdoor activity for the whole family.
I spend most of my time listening to music to focus or relax. My top three albums would be Aerosmith’s Big Ones, Green Day Dookie, and Elvis Presley’s 50 Greatest Hits.
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will surely help you; I will uphold you with My right hand of righteousness. —Isiah 41:10
INTERVIEW BY HAILEY THOMAS. PHOTO BY TINDALL STEPHENS.