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Meet the Ambassadors – 2019

Carrie Bartlett

Carrie BartlettCarrie Bartlett, originally from Bedford County, moved to Richmond 18 years ago for college, fell in love with RVA and never left. She celebrates 10 years of marriage this year and is the Mother of Delaney (6) and Preston (3). When not running and shuffling kids to practice, Carrie enjoys reading, drinking coffee and chatting about personality assessments. “I love better understanding myself to so I can play to my strengths”. Carrie has always loved sports, especially soccer where she met her husband on the field, but was never been a big fan of running until she joined a group of girlfriends in 2009. They helped her train for her first half-marathon that year but then she found her activities slowing a bit after having her children. She had a bit of a wakeup call with a gallbladder scare in 2017 (“who needs that anyway?!)” and decided to get back on the path of getting active. “I started walking, a lot, and found it was helping me with stress and I was just happier. I decided to train for  the HCA 8K that fall and I haven’t stopped since”!  With the encouragement of others, she has now completed two more half marathons since last spring and is training her for 4th.  Way to go Carrie! Carrie’s favorite Sports Backers event is the training teams. “I love the community that is created with everyone over the weeks of training. And it’s amazing to have a team of coaches cheering you on race day. Race days are definitely fun, but I truly love the training and hard work that goes into race day the most”.

Floyd Crawford

Floyd Crawford represents Sports Backers as an Ambassador in the Northern Virginia area.  Living in Alexandria, Virginia. Floyd served in the United States Navy from 1985-2010.  Thank you for your service Floyd!  He is a Program Director for the Metro DC Marathon and Half Marathon training group and has run over 50 marathons, in 29 states plus DC.  He started running in middle school and has continued through to adulthood.  Floyd’s favorite Sports Backers event is the Richmond Marathon in which is educates his members throughout their training season.  We love your support from DC Floyd!

Christopher Cruz

Christoper CruzChristopher Cruz, a Richmond native, works in technology and found himself spending an inordinate amount of time sitting in front of a computers at work and at home.  “To combat this lifestyle, I have increasingly made adopting an active lifestyle more of a priority in my life.” Christopher became an avid cyclist but decided to put his bike on the rack to give running a try.  “I started running with the Sports Backers 8k and 10k Training Teams to improve my 5k time, and eventually moved into running half marathons before my first full in 2018.”  Now Christopher enjoys working on speed and revisits a lot of popular Richmond races to see how much he can improve upon his previous personal record.  Way to go Christopher!  Christopher is a coach of Sports Backers 8k and 10k Training Teams and volunteers as a Wellness Ambassador for his employer.  Although we know he enjoys all of Sports Backers running events, Christopher says his favorite event is the Virginia Credit Union Moonlight Ride.  We see his passion for cycling still spins in those legs of his!

Sandy Donaldson

Sandy DonaldsonSandy Donaldson, from Moseley, Virginia, is an extremely proud Mother of three children and Grandmother to three granddaughters.  She is a member of the James River Hikers and gets out three days a week, if not more to enjoy a hike.  She is also an avid kayak paddler and has been a member of the Sports Backers Dragon Boat Club for two years.  She is an active volunteer with numerous non-profits around the region and loves to encourage and motivate others whenever possible.  Sandy’s favorite Sports Backers event is Riverrock.  We are happy to have you aboard Sandy!

Jo French

Jo FrenchJo French, originally from Churchville, Virginia, is a full time working Mother of two boys who are her pride and joy.  She has resided in Richmond since 2007 and enjoys hiking, cycling, kayaking and exploring Virginia’s vineyards and breweries.  Growing up in an active family, she spent a lot of time outside.  She played sports in high school but never liked running.  However, in 2008, she decided to give it a try and she’s now currently training for her 13th half marathon, which is her favorite distance.  “I enjoy road running but trail running is my where my heart is. I have no desire to run a road marathon but I’ve been flirting with the idea of a 50k Trail Run for a while but just haven’t decided on the location yet.”  Jo ran her first Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k in 2009 and has participated every year since.  “The Ukrops 10k might be my favorite event to participate in because my best friend and I have completed it every year together since we both started running. Dominion Riverrock is my favorite event to attend.”

Cayla Jablonski

Cayla JablonskiCayla Jablonski, originally from Morganton, North Carolina, is a registered dietitian and a recent Richmond implant coming from Denver, Colorado just six months ago.  Cayla was a soccer and field hockey player growing up and continued with intramural sports during and after college.  “Once those tapered off, running became my sport. I love that I can do it anywhere, at any time, and it doesn’t take any special equipment. There’s also no rules around running and I set my own goals for how far/fast I want to go. It sort of makes it my own personal sport.”  Cayla says her female golden retriever Carter is her favorite hiking and running partner with her husband following a close second. When asked what her favorite Sports Backers event is, Cayla responded “Since I just recently moved here, I haven’t participated in any of the events but I am walking the Ukrops 10k with my mom who has never done a race but has been training for this one. Because of the memories it will create, I’m sure it will be my top event!”  We are sure of it too Cayla.  Welcome to Richmond!

Barb Jewell

Barb JewellBarb Jewell is a western New York native but now resides in Mechanicsville, Virginia. When asked what we should know about Barb she says “I’m one lucky person. I’m a Mom of two fabulous kids (and my daughter-in-law and soon to be son-in-law), wife of a very supporting husband and very lucky to have some fabulous friends in my life.”  We bet they all feel the same way too Barb!  Barb started her running career back in 2006 when she joined the Patrick Henry YMCA’s 10k Training Team.  Since her start, she has now completed many 5k’s, 10k’s and half marathons, finished more than 20 marathons, and completed two ultra-marathons.  This May she hopes to compete in her first Half Ironman.  Her favorite thing about running is coaching and being part of helping others achieve their goals.  Barbs favorite Sports Backers event is the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k.  “This event brings everyone in Richmond outside and makes people believe in themselves.”

Tony Kingry

Tony KingryTony Kingry, an avid music fan with a decent vinyl collection, grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia where he fell in love with the ocean and surfing at the age of 3.  He was a competitive swimmer in his youth and started running after watching folks in the Richmond marathon. Living along the marathon course since 2000, Tony enjoys being a participant in the event.  His race day highlight is “seeing my wife and 6 year old daughter at the finish line” – Now that tops any medal we could ever give Tony!  His favorite Sports Backers event is “the entire marathon weekend. I love the training teams leading up to it, the participation of the community and the after party.”  Outside of running, Tony enjoys many other activities including Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and riding his road and mountain bike.  Tony and his wife are excited to see improvements in Richmond’s bike friendly community and enjoy participating in the Moonlight Ride “because we can do it with our daughter.”

Trisha Kolesar

Trisha KolesarTrisha Kolesar, a librarian, is a proud Longwood University alumni who lives in the north side area.  She and her fiancé have named themselves the “crazy cat couple in training” and have two kitties but have their eyes constantly looking for more at local shelters and helping care for strays in her area.  She has five tattoos and says she keeps an ever-growing list of themes and artists she wants work from on her radar.  We think a 10k tattoo would be fun Trisha! Her running career started in 2015 when she noticed some weight gain and felt that she was ready for a life change.  “I don’t always keep the weight off but have consistently kept running in my life since then, largely because of the amazing people in our Richmond active community but also because I can’t get those kind of endorphins from anything else! I also began rock climbing with some friends a couple years ago, and you can now find me several days a week at Peak Experiences! It’s a totally different challenge than running and I love it.”  Trisha did the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k Training Team with her Mom when she was 13 as a walker.  “It was my first ever race of any kind and we LOVED it. I think it is part of what led me to choosing running as my preferred activity later in life, and still holds a lot of sentimental meaning to me.”

James Lloyd

James LloydJames Lloyd, originally from Bumpass, Virginia, is a Father of three and has been active all his life.  I started running, biking, hiking, and tree climbing when I was a kid because that’s what kids did back then.” He now does his own home-grown CrossFit program and runs whenever possible.  Since picking up biking last year, James is now a member of the Richmond Area Bicycling Association (RABA) and has completed a round trip on the Virginia Capital Trail.  That’s no small feat at 100 miles in the saddle – nicely done James! James says “I do these things because they’re fun and I like trying to stay active and want to stay healthy as long as I can. Physical activity is key!”  Along with these activities, James enjoys home brewing, which is why we can understand when he says his favorite Sports Backers event is Riverrock.  Where else could you experience all these great events and down a pint while enjoying great music and amazing riverfront scenery. Welcome aboard James!

Blaire Loman

Blair LomanBlaire Loman, a native of Midlothian, Virginia is a Virginia Tech graduate, Mother of two awesome kids ages 10 and 12 and loves to run and travel.  Blaire credits her Dad for her running career as she watched him growing up run the Richmond 8k and then decided to pursue it herself after finishing college.  “I decided to sign up for the Richmond 8k and after that race I was hooked. Since then I have run races of all distances from 5ks to marathons.”  She hopes to combine her love for travel and running one day by completing all six Abbott World Marathon Majors and earn the six star finisher medal.  Blaire’s favorite Sports Backers event is the Tacky Light Run “because the course goes through the neighborhood where I grew up plus it is a really fun family event. Marathon day is pretty special as well.”

Emily Martin

Emily MartinEmily Martin, born and raised in Petersburg, Virginia, now resides in RVA where running has become a social and fun activity thanks to her brother’s encouragement.  “As he ran his first Richmond Half in 2015, I jumped up and down on the sidelines, cheering for him and waving my sign “Go John! Run 13.1 for Pie!”  A year later, I was crossing that finish line too.”  Emily feels that the Richmond running community is like an extended family.  “The care and support for each other is priceless.  Family and friends got me into running, and they are the ones that keep me running.”  Outside of hitting the pavement, Emily enjoys traveling and has a goal to visit 30 countries before the age of 30.  Next, she has her sights on running races abroad.  When asked what her favorite Sports Backers event is, Emily replied “The November races and training teams. The coaches are top-notch, the friendships made are priceless, and the crowd support on race day is awesome.”  We couldn’t agree more Emily!

Jill Meads

Jill MeadsJill Meads comes to Sports Backers from Mechanicsville, Virginia.  Jill, the twin of another Ambassador on our team, has been married for 40 years, has a daughter, son and two grandchildren ages four and five. Jill is big advocate of Sports Backers mission statement “Inspiring people from all corners of our community to live actively” and encourages people regularly to keep moving! Working in the medical field for over 35 years, Jill has seen an increasing rate of patients suffering from diabetes, cardiac issues and weight issues.  She believes “more time needs to be spent outside exercising whether it be walking, running or biking instead of being sedentary” and we couldn’t agree more Jill!  She is one of Sports Backers 8k, 10k and Marathon Training Team Coaches and loves coaching the novice runners to see them achieve their goals.  “You have runners who have never run or participated in any form of running events achieve their goals on race day by crossing the finish line. It’s such a euphoric experience!”

Megan Molnar

Megan MolnarMegan Molnar, originally from New Jersey, landed in Richmond via the University of Richmond and never left.  Megan was an athlete in high school but through college found herself less active.  “I was in a rut after starting my first job after college and was talked into running my first marathon and have never looked back!”  Megan is now one of Sports Backers YMCA 10k Training Team coaches in the spring and an 8k Training Team coach in the fall.  She’s also pursuing a Boston Marathon qualifying time for a 26.2.  We know you’ll get it Megan!  When not running, Megan has been known to enjoy biking on the Virginia Capital Trail.  Her favorite Sports Backers event is the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k.  “It’s a huge party every year!”

Rainey Niklawski

Rainey NiklawskiRainey Niklawski, an avid gardener, hiker, runner, biker, swimmer and yogi, comes to us from Midlothian, Virginia.  Rainey started her running career back in 2013.  “I had been a smoker for almost 10 years when I finally quit. A couple weeks in, I was struggling.  Then, the Boston Marathon bombing happened. I had never been a runner, but I found myself heartbroken for all of those victims.  I wanted to run for them, because they wanted too and couldn’t.  So I started running.”  She has made running her mission to not only to better herself, but to also bring the people around her on the journey.  “I have always been an energetic and adamant supporter of people’s goals and have made myself available as a reliable training buddy and sounding board of advice.”  With this dedication to herself and others, we know Rainey will accomplish her dream to thru-hike the AT one day.  When not walking on her hands, you’ll find Rainey on her feet competing in her favorite Sports Backers events; the Richmond Marathon, Half Marathon and 8k.

Maggie Rice

Maggie RiceMaggie Rice, born and still residing on the farm she grew up on in Studley, Virginia, is the youngest of twelve children with a twin brother beating her on the order list.  She has two sons and is the grandmother of three girls and a baby boy on the way.  Maggie always played sports growing up, enjoyed weight training (still does) and participated in a powerlifting show.  Having received a pacemaker in 2015, Maggie continues to enjoy all of her athletic activities including playing co-ed softball on her spring and summer teams.  Her running career began when she was approached by friends from her gym who said they had started to run on a regular basis and asked her to join. “We trained and started with the 10k and then we did the 8k one year and watched the marathon afterwards and said let’s do this.  So we signed up and ran the fall marathon.”  Maggie has since been one of Sports Backers 8k, 10k and Marathon Training Team Coaches and adds “as we all get older it is important to have a good workout routine whether it is walking, running, cycling, yoga, etc.  We just need to be moving.”  We agree Maggie!  When asked what her favorite Sports Backers event is, she replied “from a coaches perspective the first day of a training team and then race day.  You get to watch people grow and succeed.”

Joey “Gunny” Seidell

Joey SeidellGunny Seidell, a Richmond native, is a proud Father of five and Grandfather to 14.  He is a retired Marine (thank you for your service Gunny), is a career Police Officer and has a list of community programs he is involved with a mile long including being a RVA Run Club Coach for Sports Backers Kid’s Run RVA program.  Gunny’s time in the Marine Corps was his catalyst to a triathlon career but unfortunately a combat injury sidelined his athletic career.  Now Gunny enjoys light jogging, biking (road & trail) and repelling.  In his picture to the left, Gunny jogged the CASA Super Hero Run with a blind young person and this picture was captured at the finish line. Gunny is one of Sports Backers enthusiastic volunteers, always helping to motivate anyone he sees.  “My favorite Sports Backers events would be Course Marshaling the Richmond Marathon (Motivational) and the Tacky Light (Absolute Blast)!”  Gunny you are TRUE HERO in every sense of the way!

John Sicat

John SicatJohn Sicat is an “experience” guy and is willing to try anything once.  Coming to us from Glen Allen, Virginia, John has backpacked Europe, jumped from an airplane, completed an Ironman, dyed his hair from black to blonde and has eaten 80 pieces of sushi in one sitting.  Now that’s pretty impressive John! He enjoys international traveling, volunteering and getting around the RVA dining scene with friends following their Star Trek motto “to boldly go where no man has gone before. And of course no experience would be complete without my lovely better half, Nidia.” He was an avid soccer player when an Achilles tendon rupture pushed him towards more forward moving sports such as running, biking, swimming, and triathlons.  John’s favorite Sports Backers event is the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k.  “We use that weekend as a “reunion” weekend where many of our out-of-state friends visit the RVA and participate in the event as runners and walkers.  My Friday night army tray pasta meal has also become a tradition and most people have survived my cooking to participate during the next day.”

Judy Wood

Judy WoodJudy Wood hails to us from Mechanicsville, Virginia.  She comes from a large family of girls with four sisters and one being an identical twin (who also happens to be one of our Ambassadors). She is the mother of two daughters and grandmother of two girls and two boys.  She originally starting running to lose weight and found that running was a good stress reliever.  Judy is now on her 10th year of being a Sports Backers coach for the 8k, 10k and Richmond Marathon Training Teams.  “Coaching has made me realize the aspect of being healthy.  My greatest pleasure is seeing others go from the couch to the finish line.  Just seeing the smile on their faces is what it is all about.”  Judy was also a competitive powerlifter from 1995 to 2001 with multiple organizations and still volunteers with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) promoting strength sports for Junior Olympic Games across the country.  Her favorite Sports Backers event is any RACE DAY and seeing athletes cross the finish line knowing they did it all by themselves.

Lindsey Washington

Lindsey WashingtonLindsey Washington, from Hanover County, is a proud wife and mother of twins Blythe and Brayden.  Lindsey’s running career started after the birth of her twins five year ago.  “I put on weight and didn’t feel like myself at all.  To help me get back on track, I dove heavily into running half marathons and other races.  Ever since, I have been involving myself and my family in as many physical activities as possible.”  Lindsey also loves boot camp workouts which could be the reason why she is now one of Sports Backers fabulous Fitness Warrior Coaches.  She teaches two free classes a week through the program at her childhood church.  She formed an 8k training team for members of her fitness class and community members that were brand new to the races.  She had 19 women and men in the community complete the 8k for the first time and they are now looking to complete the 10k in her 10k training group.  Lindsey’s leadership with our Fitness Warrior programs is a beautiful testament of her selfless act to encourage others to get active.  Her favorite Sports Backers event is the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k.  “Outside of the AMAZING crowd of people and the energy this race brings to the city, this race mean a lot to me because this is the one race I can get my husband to complete with me year after year!”