Jodi Stoner exemplifies what the running community is all about and I’m looking forward to having her on the show today.
Jodi is the Tampa area ambassador for the Ainsley’s Angels organization, she participates in the IRun4 Program and she organizes an annual “run to her house” as a fundraiser as well.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Jodi Stoner today.
A Seed Was Planted
Jodi Stoner was never interested in participating in sports while growing up.
As an adult, Jodi enjoyed being active and was a fitness instructor, but she never considered running enjoyable.
Unbeknownst to Jodi her life would change in ways she never imagined and it all started with a phone call in 2004.
Jodi received a phone call from a friend that recently moved to Florida asking Jodi if she would train to do a half marathon with her.
Over the next few months, Jodi committed to training with her friend.
The Thanksgiving day race turned out to be a great experience for both of them.
Shortly after the race, Jodi’s friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.
That race was the one and only race they were able to run together before her friend passed away.
Searching For More
After the death of her friend, Jodi was left knowing that there was more she could do with running.
Jodi viewed running as a gift her friend gave her and Jodi wasn’t going to waste it.
Without a specific direction, Jodi began documenting her running journey on social media.
Social media was where she connected with other runners and eventually came across the I Run 4 Organization.
I Run 4 is a non-profit organization where a runner signs up to give their miles to someone else.
Jodi immediately signed up and was matched within 2 weeks time.
Currently, there is an abundance of runners waiting to be matched and wait times often exceed a year.
I Run 4 does have a level of commitment involved for the runner, but the benefits far outweigh any of that.
Running For River
Jodi was matched with a 2-year-old boy named River that had been diagnosed with Spina Bifida.
Though Jodi didn’t quite comprehend how much this would change her life initially, it was still love at first sight when she saw River.
River is now 7 and serves as a constant source of inspiration for Jodi.
River “runs” a marathon almost daily with all the challenges he faces in life.
Jodi acknowledged that the least she can do is be his legs and his voice.
To date, Jodi has run 1 ultra, 17 full marathons, and 132 half marathons.
Jodi loves running for causes bigger than herself so when Ainsley’s Angels came across her radar she jumped at the chance.
In November of 2014, Jodi received an email from a contact associated with Ainsely’s Angels.
Ainsley’s Angels has a mission to ensure that everyone can experience endurance events.
They also aim to build awareness about America’s special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life.
Jodi was offered the opportunity to help push a rider in a wheelchair for the race in Las Vegas.
Even with only 3 days notice, Jodi didn’t hesitate and promptly agreed.
Her experience was so great that she went on to start an Ainsely’s Angels chapter in Florida.
Ainsley’s Angels chapters are located all over the U.S. and they make volunteering as easy as possible.
The level of involvement in the organization can vary depending on what each individual prefers.
A River Inspired Accomplishment
When Jodi first began running, she never could have imagined she would one day qualify for Boston.
A good friend offered to help Jodi train to qualify for the prestigious race.
After 15 months of hard work, Jodi was able to shave 25 minutes off her marathon time achieving her goal.
2018 was Jodi’s one and only Boston and even the historically bad weather didn’t deter from the joy she felt during the race.
Another, “River inspired accomplishment,” was running back to back half marathons in Alaska and Hawaii.
Travel plans almost didn’t allow her to complete this goal but the generosity of the race director in Hawaii made it possible.
Badass Run Club (BARC)
Ten years ago Jodi and a couple of friends referred to themselves as badass runners.
Fast forward to today and there are about 250 runners in the Badass Run Club (BARC).
That first year and every year since then Jodi has held a “Run To Jodi’s House.”
Each year Jodi chooses a different charity to support and each runner donates $10 to participate.
Jodi loves hosting the runs and tries to make it fun and unique each year.
Jodi encourages all runners to consider running for a cause bigger than themselves.
Giving a race or miles to someone else is an experience unlike any other.
Mentioned In This Episode:
Jodi Stoner is the epitome of what the running community is about. Her giving spirit has positively influenced numerous organizations while also encouraging others to make a difference themselves. Click To Tweet
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