Meet the Geist Half Race Series Ambassadors
Introducing the Geist Half Series Ambassadors – 14 rockstar runners who are passionate about running, healthy living, and sharing their enthusiasm for the sport! Our Ambassadors will spread the word about the Geist Half Marathon, 10K & 5K, and encourage people of all abilities and interests to join the fun.
Get to know our Ambassadors by reading about their must-have running gear, music choices that fuel their runs, and their favorite parts of the Geist course below!
I am from the west side of Indianapolis. I discovered running in 2019 when I decided to train for a half after helping my husband train for his first half. I joined a running club at my local YMCA and slowly started to love to run. I ran my first marathon in 2022 in Honolulu and I am ready to get back to running after having my beautiful baby girl. At four months postpartum, I’m hoping to inspire other new moms to get back into running alongside me!
- Preferred Running Shoe: Brooks Ghost 14
- On race day you’ll see me: Smiling with my little one!
- Other races on your schedule: Lovestruck, Sam Costa & Chicago Half!
I moved to Fishers three years ago from the Chicago suburbs. I got back into running in spring 2022 after being a very active runner in my twenties. I completed four marathons, numerous half-marathons, and triathlons. When I became a mom in 2014, I let running and my health fall to the wayside. After a few years of not-so-great doctor visits, I made myself a priority and started walking on the Nickel Plate Trail. I made it a goal to run the Geist Half Marathon and started building up mileage and incorporating running into my walks.
Race day was one of my favorite days of 2023. I had a smile on my face the whole time, even though the hills on the course were a challenge! I loved the views on the bridges and feeling support from people who live along the course. I especially loved the giant skeleton with a sign cheering us on! I keep the medal on my desk as a reminder of the training and commitment I made to that goal.
Running has also helped me lose 50 pounds. Shortly after the race, I had my annual physical and was so excited to see the improvements in my health. I have kept up with running and look forward to my weekend-long runs.
You do not need to be fast to be a runner. There is no shame in walking. While getting faster is a great goal, it’s amazing you are out there doing the race. I love a quote from John Bingham, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
- Favorite Local Running Trail: Nickel Plate Trail. I love running to some of our great local businesses in town especially Rush Bowls and Memento Zero Proof Lounge. The swings are a perfect place to take a quick rest.
- Thing I’m most excited about for this year’s race: Looking forward to seeing the progress I have made since last year, not just in my time but also in how I feel during the race.
- Podcast/Music: Taylor Swift or Broadway musical soundtracks. I loved the audiobook version of 11.22.63 by Steven King.
I’m a wife and mom to three boys, so running has helped me keep up with them! I started running consistently right after having my second son and haven’t looked back. Running helped me find a community of people that I missed as a stay-at-home mom. It also gave me an outlet for stressful days. I look forward to races and enjoy working toward a goal year after year.
The Geist races have always been a family favorite. My husband runs in every Geist 5k. I have only missed two years due to having our sons in May, right before the races. Otherwise, I have done all three race distances offered. My love for running has grown so much that I am now a running coach with my coaching partner Tracie (also a Geist Ambassador) and we love to help others find their passion for running.
- Favorite section of the Geist Course: Crossing the reservoir in so many places. Seeing the water is so beautiful.
- On race day you’ll see me: Chatting with runners around me – I love to talk while I run!
- Favorite Podcasts: Nobody Asked Us with Des and Kara or Finish Lines & Milestones with Ally Brettnacher (local runner interviewing mostly local runners)
I currently live in West Fishers and came here by way of Cleveland, Ohio. I’m a member of the Fishers Running Club and an Ambassador of Athletic Annex’s Thursday night run crew. I got into running through theatre when we were encouraged to have a physical practice! I currently work in education, am a father of two, and love spending time playing games with my partner, sampling great coffees, and running the hills of Geist.
- Preferred Running Shoe: ASICS Novablast or Skechers GoRun Ride 11
- Thing I’m most excited about for this year’s race: Hopefully setting a new personal best on the course, seeing the sunrise over Geist, and joining all the terrific folks doing their best.
- Favorite Podcast: How2Wrestling, wrestling’s first podcast on how to enjoy pro wrestling.
My husband, Jeff, and I live in Pendleton, Indiana, with our three boys. I am an elementary school teacher and each year I work with my class on creating a bucket list for the year. In 2019, I added “Run the Mini Marathon” to my bucket list.
That January, one of my students reminded me the Mini was in May and I better get moving if I wanted to check that off my list. I laced up, trained my butt off (I despised running before this), had my kids sign a pair of cotton socks the day before the race (this makes me laugh now because I can’t believe I ran in cotton socks for 13.1 miles), and ran the race – not only for them, but for me. I’ve been running races ever since and now have a medal rack in my classroom to show students what they can accomplish if they chase a dream.
- Must-have running gear: Feetures socks are my jam and I can never have too many pairs. My current favorite running shoes are my Sauconys, and my Garmin never leaves my wrist.
- Thing I’m most excited about for this year’s race: Getting my students involved and running in this race. The running community (both old and young) is something so special and I love to get others involved.
- Favorite section of the Geist Course: My favorite part is also the part I hate most –the hill on Brooks School Road! It’s humbling and makes you dig deep and use everything you’ve got to make it to the top.
I’m a physical therapist at Ascension Sports Performance in Carmel and live in Fishers. I discovered running accidentally, sitting on my porch on Thanksgiving morning in Broad Ripple…likely hungover. 🙂 The Drumstick Dash ran right by my house. What are all these people doing running this early on Thanksgiving morning? That day I signed up for the Indy Mini Marathon and, with help and motivation from a coworker, I started training and ran my first half marathon. Since then (over 25 years), I have completed 20 half marathons, three marathons, ten ultra marathons, a duathlon and numerous 5K/10K distance races. I am passionate about helping individuals meet their running and fitness goals and helping individuals with injuries return to their previous level of fitness.
- Must-have running gear: Naked fuel belt. Lots of pockets and can hold a large iPhone.
- Favorite Local Running Trail: Fort Benjamin Harrison trails are close and convenient. Eagle Creek trails and Eagle’s Crest trails on the west side of Eagle Creek are also favorites.
- Favorite section of the Geist Course: The sun rising over the bridge at the start or when you are going over the second bridge is amazing. The section through Windemere is really the only “flat” section of the course, but the crowd support is awesome through that neighborhood.
I have been married for 23 years, live in Fishers, and am a mother to two boys who are currently in college. I dabbled in running off and on but didn’t start taking it seriously until after I ran my first half marathon. That was more than 13 years ago. Since then, I have completed more than 52 half marathons, 12 full marathons, seven ultras, and numerous 10Ks and 5Ks.
When I don’t have my feet on the ground, I’m flying in the sky. I’ve been a flight attendant for 28 years. My job has allowed me to run in some cool destinations and, in fact, all my marathons have been out of state. I’m also a running coach, love to read and travel!
- Must-have running gear: Flip belt, Goodr sunglasses, and my Garmin watch
- Thing I’m most excited about for this year’s race: The later start time with Geist, but also that the 10k is back!
- Favorite section of the Geist Course: Running across the bridge! I love looking out at the water when I run.
Eight years ago, I faced a profound loss when my closest friend succumbed to a massive stroke. This heartbreaking event became a catalyst for positive change in my life. Prioritizing my health, I abandoned smoking, adopted a nutritious diet, and embraced a fitness journey that included running and gym workouts. Within a year, I triumphantly completed my first half marathon.
- Must-have running gear: Headphones for blasting music, a race belt from Ultraspire, and a hat with my logo
- On race day you’ll see me: In the middle of the pack trying to conquer the hills.
- Podcast/music: Christian Pop music.
I live on the southside of Indianapolis with my husband, three kids, four dogs, two cats, a horse, and thirty chickens! I have been very passionate about running in the past and have gotten back into it in the last year. I love to start my day with a run because it makes me feel healthy, both physically and mentally.
My husband is a 100% disabled veteran with PTSD. Because of this, I am very involved with Mission22 and have volunteered as the State Leader of Indiana for more than 5 years. Mission22 is the reason my husband is still with us. My full-time job is helping veterans suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues. I work for Wooden Glen, a recovery center in Henryville, Indiana.
Running is a resource for my own mental health and I try to promote physical health to others. I am excited to be on this journey with the Geist Team and look forward to logging many miles!
- Favorite Local Running Trail: I love the Clear Creek Trail in Bloomington. I also run around my sweet little town of Acton on the southeast side.
- On race day you’ll see me: Listening to my music (anything from Taylor Swift to Pink to AC/DC) and chatting up my fellow runners.
- Other races on your schedule: I love the race, Honor the Brave, and really want to run the Monumental again this year.
I live in Lawrence with my wife and son. I discovered running during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I spent most of my athletic career playing basketball but wanted an energetic outlet and a community among Black men. My wife mentioned a group called Black Men Run, so I decided to meet up with the group for a Saturday morning run.
When I arrived, I was greeted by Steve AKA “Bad Steve.” Steve said I looked like I could run fast and he put me in the front group! Once the run was over, I talked for hours with other men in the group and I was hooked! This was the community I was seeking.
As I continued to run, news was still spreading about the murder of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and I began to realize my Black male body was not welcomed in all spaces. Running became a statement that I belong, am worthy of being in this country, on this road, and am free to run.
I was eventually invited to my first race, the Shelbyville Meltdown. A member from Black Men Run asked me to join so he wouldn’t be the only Black man participating. We had a great time and I placed second. Since then, I’ve experienced so much support from other runners and observers. That support has helped me run some of my best times, but I haven’t been able to place first just yet!
I am so glad to have found running and to have found Black Men Run. The group has provided me with many more brothers, mentors, and friends. I hope to further encourage more Black men to run for their health and for the bond of brotherhood.
I know firsthand the feeling of being the only Black face at a race. I applied to be an ambassador to not only encourage more Black runners to join and run, but to help make the space more inclusive for Black runners.
- Thing I’m most excited about for this year’s race: Getting back out and competing and making new connections. I have been in and out of the running community this past year with the birth of our son, Fonny Ocean.
- On race day you’ll see me: Wearing a Black Men Run Indianapolis Running Club t-shirt and eagerly waiting for the start. Maybe even dancing a little bit if the right song is played.
- Podcast/Music: I love listening to Lupe Fiasco, Lecrae, J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, or Julius Rodriguez while running.
Jennifer Wheat Townsend
I am a proud resident of Pike Township on the northwest side of Indianapolis. I started my running journey to lose weight and feel better. Then I found the running group BGR Indy and they have helped keep me consistent. A friend invited me to run with the group, and once I did, I was hooked. I learned running was more fun alongside others, in great conversation with friends. I have met amazing women in BGR Indy and have learned so much from them.
I am passionate about my role as an educator and a fitness enthusiast! I love to work alongside others to become better versions of ourselves. I strongly believe that we are here to build relationships with others in life. My favorite saying is to “love the gray” because life is messy and we can’t always make sense of it. However, it is through the messiness that we find beauty. We can’t control everything, but we can embrace what is in front of us and make an impact.
- Must-have running gear: A headband is a must and, of course, running shoes that work for me!
- Thing I’m most excited about for this year’s race: I love seeing everyone at the finish line! It’s always so fun to celebrate the accomplishments of others.
- Other races on your schedule: We will apply for the New York Marathon in February. We have done three of the six majors so cross your fingers for us that New York will be number four in 2024!
I live on the northwest side of Indianapolis. Running is a personal challenge; it’s a constant pursuit of self-improvement, both physically and mentally. When I started running, I did not know the strength and the resilience I had within me. I am passionate about my health and fitness. For me, that means working out four or five times a week and watching what I eat. This approach has helped me stay disciplined so I can track toward my short-term and long-term fitness goals.
- Favorite Local Running Trail: Eagle Creek Park for the scenic views and rolling hills.
- Preferred Running Shoe: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 – these have support and a smooth, comfortable ride.
- On race day you’ll see me: Encouraging others around me and feeding off their energy.
I am an RRCA Certified Running Coach, but I wasn’t always a runner. It was around age 26 when I started training at a Muay Thai gym in Oceanside, CA. I learned how poor my cardio and endurance really were. My coach at the time got me out on the road doing 2, 4, and 6-mile runs a few times a week. Honestly, I wasn’t excited about it, but I did love how I felt when I saw real improvements in the ring.
Fast forward a few years, I moved back home to Indianapolis and got talked into running my first race, the Mini Marathon. The idea of running 13.1 miles at the time seemed out of reach, but I’m always up for a challenge. The training was fun, disorganized, inconsistent, and discouraging all at the same time, but I made it. This was my first experience at any road race, and from that day forward, I was hooked!
Since this first race, I have become a running, racing, and training student. Countless 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, and a handful of marathons, and it never gets old. The running community is truly unique, and I am happy to be able to share my knowledge and training with anyone ready to hit the road! Let’s go do some crazy stuff!!
- Preferred Running Shoe: Trainer – Saucony Endorphin Speed; Race Day – Saucony Endorphin Pro
- Thing I’m most excited about for this year’s race: Connecting with the local running community and doing some racing! I’ll be running my fastest, chasing a PR.
- Favorite Podcasts: It’s Always Sunny, Smartless, How Did This Get Made
I previously served as a board member of the Geist Half Marathon for several years. I started as a volunteer in the Kids Zone, setting up and entertaining little ones before, during, and after the race. I live and work in Fishers, am an avid runner, and father of two boys named Leo and Emmett.