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Meet The Dirty Dozen: 2016 Ragnar, Austin

Christi Miller – TX

christi

I’m 34 and as a profession I work in receiving at Barefoot Athletics (with Kristin) and I teach hot yoga twice a week. 

I never considered myself to be athletic. I was lazy, never running, never working out. After years of feeling like crap, I joined a gym (yes, I was a New Years’ Resolution gym joiner:)  ) After a few months, I signed up for my VERY first 5K. I was petrified. How the hell was I going to run 3+ MILES?? I started training. My goal was to finish and not walk. I trained for a month! The day came and I FINISHED. I finished in just under 30 minutes. I was ecstatic.

Fast forward about a year, I have a few more 5ks under my belt, join Camp Gladiator, and sign up for the Spartan BEAST (12-15 mile obstacle course). Why I decided to sign up for the most difficult one first, I have no idea. Again, I was petrified. The day came and it was FREEZING (40 degrees with a strong north wind, chill factor 20 degrees). I had a great team with me, so that made me a little more at ease. We hit the start line together and take off. Somehow in the shuffle of the crowd, I get separated from my team after a couple of miles. I am alone. I end up finishing the last 12 miles or so by myself (surrounded by extremely  helpful and encouraging fellow racers). I vowed that I would never do that again. It was the hardest thing I had ever done and I did it by myself. Covered in mud, scratches and bruises, I’d never felt better (even though I could barely move the next day). Since then, I have fallen in love with obstacle racing, and I do as many as I can afford (3-4 a year).  The feeling of accomplishment when running through that finish line can’t be beat. Plus, they are a LOT of fun! I’ve even managed to rope a few newbies into doing races, my sister and nephew will be joining me for their first Spartan Race in a couple of weeks.

This year, I will be adding a new accomplishment…Ragnar. I am scared, excited and nervous. Training for this run hasn’t been easy, I’ve gotten discouraged and wanted to quit a time or two.  I am now looking forward to it and have even thought of signing up for more road races in the future, not just OCRs.

I am super excited to meet everyone and accomplish something a few short years ago I NEVER thought I’d do. My friends and boyfriend think I’ve lost my mind (again) but I know this is going to be great!

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Nancy Shelton- TX

nancyIowa born and bred. My heart is still there.

Began running high school cross country in 1972 when girls were first allowed in sports. We paid for all our own uniforms and meets, no school support at that time.

Moved to Texas, raised four fabulous children, while obtaining my Bachelor of Science in nursing. Have been an RN for 24 wonderful years. It is truly my life’s calling.

Running has been part of my life since high school and has been the common thread keeping my sanity through many of life’s transitions including a divorce, remarriage, loss of my house in a wildfire, loss of my parents just months apart and the arrival of many grandchildren.

I ran my first marathon in 2000 at age 46 and my second one a year later. I’ve ridden my bike across Iowa (About 500 miles) twice with my youngest sister (the second time with our families). I’ve ridden the Hotter’n Hell Hundred bike ride in Texas (in August, of course) and twice finished the 100 miles in one day. My first sprint triathlon was at age 58 in 2013, winning my age group (it gets easier as you get older! Less competition).

Heath and I have shared most of the above running and biking events. Even tho I am his mother, I would have to say he is my vote for the most inspiring, talented athlete with the persistence he puts into his training and the encouragement he has always given me to keep participating. We love to talk about nutrition, running schedules and the next event. Now we can add a Ragnar Relay to the list of our adventures. It keeps us both going.

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Erin Freel Mann – FL – Team Captain

erinI’ve been having an intimate love affair with running for three years. Not quite sure how I existed the previous 39 years of my life without it. In April of 2013 I weighed 239 lbs. In a year and a half, thanks in part to running, I lost 100 lbs. I eventually published my very private journal of that journey into a book that’s now on Amazon called Fat to Fit at 40. The funny thing is I’ve always been an athlete. Ok, maybe I never looked like an athlete, or trained or ate like one, but in my heart I knew she was in there.

My most humiliating race was when I was 12 years old. It was a track meet in Orlando. My dad signed me up. I had no business being on the start line. I was chubby and definitely not a runner, but it sounded fun and my dad and I are cut from the same adventure cloth. After 2 laps on the track the other kids were lapping me. Once I finished there was a huge cheer. What I didn’t realize is that they were cheering because I was finally done and they could start the next race. Everyone was hoping I would quit, BUT I DIDN’T!

Fast forward 30 years and the mind and body finally match. I’ve competed in triathlons and marathons and now this very special Ragnar race. On October 9, I’ll compete in Ironman Louisville, a goal I’ve had for some time now. The race is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run. There is a twinge of regret that I didn’t take care of my body for a number of years, but it gives me great satisfaction and encouragement during these triathlons to see athletes who are 70 and 80 years old still competing and loving life. Age means nothing to me. Health means everything. I plan to take care of this body and not take another day of health and wellness for granted. I whole-heartedly believe wealth is the first wealth!

When I’m not training I actually do work. I started a company called The Market Place 16 years ago (fellow runner Becky Raulerson helped me with this endeavor). It’s centered around my first love and passion of agriculture. We do agricultural marketing specializing in web design, video production and special events for the ag industry. I’m a proud Florida Gator, married to my sweet husband Rob and we have three miniature dachshunds. Oh, and my three nieces are the light of my life.

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Heath Brosi – TX

heathFirst off, I’m really honored to be on this team with my awesome Mom (Nancy Shelton) and amazing cousin and team captain Erin. I could not pass up this opportunity when Erin asked me to join.

I have been running since middle school and it truly makes me feel alive. I have run 5Ks, 10Ks, Halfs, and a few full marathons and enjoy them all. One notable race was the Boston Marathon last year when I had my family supporting and cheering me on at the finish in very crummy weather. I ran my first marathon at age 19 in Dallas and have been hooked on long distance running since. I have also done a couple triathlons and a lot of Century rides(including the Hotter n Hell Hundred with my Mom). While running will always be my big athletic passion, cooking for others is my other passion in life as well as my current profession. In 2012 I transitioned from a 9 year career in telecom engineering to the world of food. My wife and I moved from Dallas, TX where we grew up so I could attend culinary school in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. I have been working in catering and Whole Foods Market kitchens since then. What I really miss most about Colorado is running the trails on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Last year I celebrated 6 years with my wife Michelle (also a longtime runner) and had our first girl Malina in July. Since then my best running partner has been Malina in our Bob stroller. This Ragnar will be my first running relay race and I’m really looking forward to the challenge!

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Trey Warnock – TX

treyI was born in Plant City, FL in May 1985 to some really cool, Jesus lovin folks and 1 sister who is a crazy somebody (in a good way…ahem). Went to the University of Florida and tried to major in being a cowboy but that course of study was not officially offered at the time so I had to settle for Animal Science. In the meantime, I became a brother of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and started living on a steady diet of beer, weird frat house food, Joe’s Deli, Zaxby’s and Super China Buffet…so I kinda weighed like 3 plus! Moved to Benjamin TX for an internship in Jan 2006 and figured out that more work and less “collegiate life” = less of me. Additionally, in 2006 I awkwardly began running and found that I loved it!…so now I don’t kinda weigh 3 plus…which is cool. Left Gainesville America in 2010 with a BS and MS…headed to College Station TX to pursue a PhD in Ruminant Nutrition…I might have become a little distracted and decided I liked trading, growing, feeding and thinking about cattle better so never finished the PhD…really enjoyed the experience though! I now live in the TX panhandle where there is always a gentle-ish breeze and usually something that smells real funny in that breeze. I am way blessed with the opportunity to get up every day and pursue God, work alongside some wildly talented men/women and do life with a crew of really cool friends…not to mention I get to run!

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Todd Hingson – FL

toddSo, I’m not a runner.  I have lifted weights most of my life, but genetically I’m a skinny guy, so I’ve never really had to do cardio.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  Goal to do more cardio for health reasons.  Goal to run a half marathon (I’ve got a long way to go).  I’m here because I do whatever Erin tells me to do.  About me… I’m a lawyer (civil plaintiff’s personal injury / auto accident attorney aka “ambulance chaser”).  I used to have a more noble profession; I was a Prosecutor.  I grew up on a tobacco farm in north central Florida in a small town called Live Oak (it’s “Way Down Upon the Suwannee River”).  I attended undergrad at UF and am a HUGE Gator Basketball and Football fan (yes, I know we’ve sucked as of late).  I live in Tampa now.  It’s a fantastic city (you should visit)!  I met Erin through our involvement in FFA.  We served as Florida State FFA Officers together in 1991-92.  She made me look good!  We met the President together and were pictured on the cover of the National FFA Magazine!  It’s a cool story!  I served as a National FFA Officer the following year (I was way better than Brady).  I have two amazing kids (Ellie is 13 and Drew is 11).  I am gay and have been on a lifelong journey to find peace with that and my faith.  I’m finally there. 🙂  I enjoy going to the gym, sports (again Go Gators), traveling and spending time with my friends and family.  Bucket List items for the near future: Sky Dive and Bungee Jump from a tall bridge.  Oh, btw I’m afraid of heights.  Let’s do this!

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Becky Raulerson – FL

beckyHi. I’m Becky. I’m new to being 40 years old and I’m runner #11. I’m a skinny, non-athletic farm girl by birth, mixed with a little city. I grew up in what I call the 850 (the area code for the Florida Panhandle) in a little town called Bonifay in Holmes County, FL. I was in 4-H and FFA and was active in all that that entailed. I was never encouraged to play sports and so I never did. I tried out for cheerleading once and made first alternate…almost but not really is what that means. My senior year, I decided to join the track team. I couldn’t run fast, but I could run, and running track did not require catching anything or throwing it back. That sums up my sports experience.

I served as a state FFA officer the year after high school and then went on to the University of Florida as a freshman. While there, I joined a sorority (AOII), got tapped for Florida Blue Key, served on student government, led several undergraduate student organizations and met who I thought was the love of my life.

I finished my BS in Ag Communications in 3.5 years, and after completing an internship with Dow AgroSciences, started graduate school. I earned a master’s in ag education, worked for the Food and Resource Economics Department as a student recruiter, and worked for Novartis Animal Health as a sales rep for two years. All of this while staying pretty skinny, never “working out” ever.

Then I got pregnant and had my son Zeb, weighing almost 200 pounds still six weeks after his c-section birth. We moved to Maitland, had a baby, and I quit working all at one time. One day, while wallowing in my own sorrow, I watched an episode of Dr. Phil on his “7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom” book. I read the book and within six months, and after just walking and burning it up on an elliptical machine, I weighed 129 pounds again. Yay! But no… what?! I’m what?! Pregnant again, unplanned. So I watched every calorie and continued cardio. I had my baby girl 15 months later via c-section again. I got back down to 130 much faster that time.

A lot of stuff happened between then and 2015, but to summarize, I raised kids, gained weight, lost weight, gained weight, found kickboxing, weight training (CrossFit), running (mostly fun 5Ks), Zumba (became a certified instructor), lost weight, gave my kidney (named Alberta) to my best friend from childhood (Candi), gained weight, became divorced, gained more weight, and now I’m running this Ragnar Relay thing because I trust Erin Freel Mann.

I’m slow…super slow, but like to have a good time. My philosophy on fitness is not to compete as an athlete but to take care of what God gave me the best that I can. On Saturday, April 16, I will be celebrating my one-year transplantiversary! Fortunately, Alberta is rocking it still and Candi pees like she’s supposed to now. So I’m going to run my little (well really it’s big now) tush off for that reason! Happy Ragnar’ing Dirty Dozen! So honored to be a part of this team!

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Kristin Dupre – TX

kristinI am a 35 year old county girl, who loves to spend time with her friends and family. I live on a 220 acre farm where we raise cattle. I work at a company called Barefoot where I sell custom Tshirts full time.  I also coach, play and ref club volleyball. I have a beautiful 13 year old daughter who motivates me to be the best mom I can be by setting a healthy, hard working, example for her to live by.

I love all of my jobs and my life is pretty fantastic, which is why I am pretty much always in a good mood. I am a simple person with a love for the outdoors. I love new adventures and challenges to keep me going. I will try anything once…and my friends say that I am the most random person they have ever met.

Living Free Is the Only Way To Live

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Jim Blake Childers – TX

jim-blakeI was born and grew up in Canyon, Texas (just south of Amarillo) in the Texas Panhandle.  I graduated from Canyon High (CHS #1) in 1995; while in school I ran cross country and track.  I also played basketball.  After high school I went to Texas Tech (Wreck’em Tech!) in Lubbock.  I went there for 2 years then transferred to West Texas A&M (Go Buffs Go!).

I graduated from WT with a BBA in Finance.  While in college I worked as summer camp counselor/staff member at Camp Champions.  Camp Champions is located near Marble Falls on Lake LBJ and is about 1 hour west of Austin.  What is unique about Camp Champions for our relay is that one of the founders of the camp is also the guy that put Luckenbach, TX on the map (which we all will run/stop by outside of Fredericksburg).  His name is Hondo Crouch.  Other founders of the Camp were Texas football coach Darrell Royal and Pete Runnels who played with Ted Williams on the Boston Red Sox way back in the day.  I’m name-dropping at this point – sorry.  Moving on, shall we.

Okay, so I have been working in the banking business for over a decade here in Amarillo Metroplex.  I also work at Get Fit, which is a running specialty store to help fit people with the correct running shoes.  I’m still finding out what I want to do when I grow up.  This will be my 2nd Ragnar Relay.  My first (also with Trey Warnock) was up in Colorado.  I am a proud uncle of Sarah Jo, Kell and Will.  Their ages are 13, 10 and 7.  I made a very bold goal to run a marathon in every state (50 marathons 50 states) last year.  Right now I have 5 states under my belt – so I have to get after it!  Also, my goal is to retire rich – so we will see how that all plays out!

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Connor McGuire – TX

connorBorn on March 2nd 1992 (24 years old), I grew up in Pasadena, TX., or as it is known by the locals, Stinkadena, due to the large number of refineries. My Mom and Dad are both avid runners and therefore I spent most evenings being pushed through the neighborhood in a baby jogger. Not long after that I began my love hate relationship with running. I walked on to the junior high cross country and didn’t do much more than that. It wasn’t until 9th grade that I decided to take on a half marathon. I ran it with my Dad and it is one of the most memorable moments of my life.

After that I was hooked I ran on the high school track and cross country team, I grew to hate running, but hated it even more if I missed a day. After high school I went off to school at Texas A&M university, yes it’s a cult, no I’ve never actually sawed the horns off of a longhorn. Here during freshman orientation I met my girlfriend, although we wouldn’t go on to date until the end of senior year. We remained close friends through college and leaned on each other for support through the roller coaster, she tried to tutor me in calculus, but I was pretty hopeless. I took a break from running in college as other recreational activities seemed to take priority. I got into lifting and gained about 40 pounds; 30 in muscle and 10 in beer.

After finding my self in college and developing a passion/direction, I declared my major, Industrial Distribution (you didn’t need calc 3). My time at Texas A&M really shaped me; it taught me how to deal with adversity and take risks. College was truly some of the best and worst years of my life to date. I graduated in 2014 and went on to work for Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. Since then I have gotten back into running in a big way. I lost the 40 pounds gained in college and run to keep my self ‘sane’ after long days at work. I love to compete in races or else I wouldn’t be doing this crazy thing with you all.

Bonus Points; I love my family, I love traveling, being outdoors is my favorite, I have been skiing since the age of five and don’t plan to stop. I’m an airplane nerd. My idea of a crazy night is binge  watching Netflix with Pei Wei.

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Brady Revels – NE

bradyI’m Brady Revels from Elkhorn, Nebraska, just outside of Omaha. I grew up on a farm in central Florida and spent the first 22 years of my life doing as little exercise as possible outside of wrangling show steers or dairy cows.

I went to the University of Florida, Go Gators, graduating in 2010 with a degree in agricultural education. I started right after with Eli Lilly and Company selling animal health products for their Elanco Animal Health Division. This brought me to Nebraska where I work with feed yards and veterinarians in northeast Nebraska.

I love to travel, having visited 48 states and 19 countries. I’m also pretty passionate about the beef industry and never turn down a good Malbec or a decent cigar. I’m also a lot younger than Todd Hingson.

 

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Jillian Hays – TX

jillianI grew up in the suburbs of Houston into a family with zero athletic abilities. I moved to Austin for college and got my bachelors in Chemical Engineering. I ran the Austin half in 2007 after being tricked by a friend into training with her. After graduating I moved to Amarillo and have now been here for 5 yrs mainly working at two different refineries.

I stay involved with things around town but enjoy the chance to travel and commit to things I’m ill equipped for. This will be my second trip to Austin this year. I have been told repeatedly that this whole Ragnar thing will be fun so I have high expectations. Also, I hate writing bios but probably like talking too much.

 

 

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Captain’s Note by Erin Freel Mann
As Team Captain, thus far I’ve been blamed for the anticipated misery of this 24 hours/200 miles of running, but deep down I know they love me, and as history will surely tell, I’ll be credited with assembling this awesome team (Lol!).  Here’s how the team came together.  I’m blessed to be running with some longtime close friends and family members (who will obviously jump off a cliff if I also do so).  Todd, Becky and Brady I’ve known for 20 plus years. It’s an FFA thing.  To say our friendship is strong is an understatement.  These three are amazing humans.  

Texas beauty Kristin is also a more recent FFA connection. I love our random conversations and mutual envy for each others attributes.  She recruited her friend Christi, who speaks her mind and is a bit of a yoga and obstacle running badass.  

My aunt Nancy is running with her son, my cousin, Heath.  They were always my “fit Texas family.”  It’s an honor to run with them.  A few years back Nancy drove all the way from Texas (as a surprise to me) to watch my first triathlon after finishing her first one a few months prior.  

My cousin Connor (from Mom’s side of the family) is also from a running family.  We are friends most of the year -we do have a bit of a rivalry going and are both jockeying hard to get my niece into the best college (Go Gators!)  

To the few I don’t know, well, we are already brothers and sisters in running – what could be better than that! The Amarillo crew that Brady recruited consists of Trey (a Gator so we know he’s awesome) Jim Blake and Jillian.  I can’t wait to meet them in person and am forever grateful for their help in offering advice since Trey and Jim Blake are already Ragnarians! Here we go!