Andy Cloud is a 39-year-old family man from Carthage, MO. When he’s not busy with his job, family, church, or other hobbies, he can be found running around southwest Missouri competing in everything from 5Ks to ultramarathons, but this wasn’t always the case. About five years ago Andy was very overweight, pre-diabetic, and had other health issues such as sleep apnea. He realized that he needed to change something. Though his faith, community, and inspiration from the 2013 Boston Marathon, Andy found the courage and discipline to improve his lifestyle. Andy shares how changes in his eating habits, exercising and connecting with other people enabled him to make this significant change in his life, losing over 130 pounds. He encourages our listeners to lean on others and your community, reminding us that running and life are hard and we don’t need to do it alone. Andy gives back to the running community by being a co-host of the Heartland Running Podcast and a race director for the Rallye 66 5K and Ranger Run benefiting Peterson Outdoor Ministries.
Adele Garcia lives in Michigan and started running in high school but never really liked it. After being injured by a roadside bomb while serving in the Army, Adele returned home with post-traumatic stress and survivor's guilt. She grew to love running as she found it to be an effective tool for channeling the negative energy and stress in a positive way. Adele has since run marathons and ultramarathons, as well as used running for more than just herself, including starting an event called Upward Spiral, a 24-hour run/walk to raise awareness around depression, self-harm, suicide, bullying, and mental health. She shares her inspiration behind starting Upward Spiral, the impact they have made so far, and her dreams for the program’s future. If you enjoy this episode, make sure to listen to Episode 28 with Sasha Wolff from Still I Run.
Zuleyma Chazari is a hardworking student who is currently a biology major and junior at the University of Southern California. One of the ways she learned the power of hard work and setting goals was by training for and running her first marathon at the age of 12 with help from the Students Run LA program. Zuleyma tells us how the program and becoming a runner helped her become more socially and culturally aware since she was able to interact with some many different types of people while training and racing. Students Run LA and running has provided Zuleyma confidence and friends who are more like a family to her. Now having run seven marathons with the program, Zuleyma also gives back to the program by volunteering her own time to help students become who they want to be and to succeed in life and to make sure they know someone believes in them. If you want to learn more about the Students Run LA program, be sure to listen to the previous episode, 47, with one the founders Eric Spears.
Eric Spears started running by tagging along with his father as he was getting back to health after a heart attack, training for a 5K. Even though while as a kid he thought he would die when having to run the mile, it was children who inspired him to become a marathoner. While as a high school teacher in Los Angeles, he and a couple other teachers wanted to find a way to help at-risk kids. They started Students Run LA, a program that uses running to help students with character building and goal setting, by training for and running the Los Angeles Marathon. What started as a humble program has now grown to a program serving 175 schools. Eric tells us why he is so passionate about this program and how running has changed over 63,000 students lives, as well as his own.