Today I will go a few easy miles with Mike Clark, the co-owner of Junction 311 Endurance Sports.
His goal is to put on the best running events in the Tri-Cities area of North Carolina as well as branching out to other states.
He turned his passion for running into his business and has no plans to slow down.
Mike took his first steps as a runner when he was in his early 30’s.
Running was his attempt to shed some weight and get in better shape.
The sport didn’t come easy for him at first, but he kept at it.
Mike got connected with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training when he moved to North Carolina.
It was through this community that he began training for and completed his first marathon.
To date he has been running for over 2 decades and completed numerous marathons.
Frustration with his career as a software developer led him to explore how to turn his passion into his job.
With his wife’s support and knowledge about event planning, they took the leap and became entrepreneurs.
Worth The Challenges
Mike and his wife began Junction 311 Endurance Sports which initially hosted events in the Tri-Cities area of North Carolina.
By 2013 they had acquired 5 events previously held by other companies.
Each year the business has grown and added more events, including in nearby states.
Turning a hobby into a business has required balance.
During peak race times (spring and fall) Mike’s training takes a back seat to his business.
With 20 races to oversee he tends to run races for fun now rather than to set a time goal.
Becoming a race director has opened Mike’s eyes to the challenges faced with organizing a successful event.
His number one pet peeve is complaints about his measured/certified course being too long according to GPS.
Big Beach Marathon
Greensboro, North Carolina is the birthplace of Junction 311 Endurance Sports.
While the location has proven to have a booming running community it was not an ideal destination race for people traveling.
Mike is originally from Mobile, Alabama and was familiar with popular vacation areas.
Gulf Shores, Alabama is a frequented beach town in the South.
Mike viewed this location as an opportunity to expand his races to include a destination spot.
The race is ideal for many reasons including:
- 23 miles of the marathon are in the Gulf State Park which provides beautiful scenery
- The time of year typically provides ideal race weather
- The course has gentle rollers making it easier on the body than a completely flat route
- The race finishes on the beach where a great after party is waiting along with a band
- Sponsored hotels located near the start and finish add to the convenience
- Fresh seafood is abundant
When not running there is a lot to do nearby including golfing and dolphin watching tours.
The proximity of Gulf Shores to airports and major roads make traveling to and from the race hassle free.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Alien Half
- Big Beach Marathon
- Hit the Brixx 10k/5k
- Junction 311 Endurance Sports
- Running of the Turkeys
Stay connected with Mike by contacting him through his Website.
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