Prairie Fire Marathon’s Local Joes Start Running with and Holly Perkins

Have you ever watched a marathon run past your house or followed the training of a pavement-pounding friend and thought these individuals are cut from a cloth very different than your own? We’re here to tell you they weren’t. At some point, they were just average joes hoping to get to the end of their first mile without croaking. Their gazelle-like pace as they chase one more finish line only came as the result of a lot of hard work and ignoring people who called them crazy.

We’re excited to turn four more average joes in to runners, to prove that with the right training, the right commitment, and the right support, just about anyone can go after a finish line. Today, we introduce the Prairie Fire Marathon Local Joes class of 2023.

Each year, the Prairie Fire Marathon, held in Wichita, Kansas in October, hosts a team of Local Joes, four non-runners who become so over a course of training that leads them to the starting line and well past the finish. This year, we’re proudly sponsoring this group of new runners, and excited to see their growth physically as much as mentally.

Our team is made of two men and two women who are already pretty active on Twitter and about to become pretty active IRL (in real life), too! Meet our Local Joes:

John Thompson, 36. “I started running in August last year and now run 3.5 to 6.5 miles Mon, Tues, Wed and have run 13.2 miles once,” John told us. What he leaves out of that story is his incredible weight loss transformation. In the past two years and two months he’s lost more than 180 pounds by doing nothing more than changing how he eats and getting more exercise. We profiled him in January in this true weight loss story.

Jennifer White, 34. This busy mom of two has done 5Ks and 10Ks in the past and even the OKC half marathon with Team in Training in 2023. She’s anxious to get her running legs back under her while running her new non-profit ICTSOS, which is working to stop the trafficking of young girls. In between training she’ll be planning her own 5K event this September, the Race for Freedom.

Nathan Carr, 26. He was a high school athlete, playing basketball and football in to college. However, since then, his focus has been on his moving the ball in his marketing career. He does play in what he calls an “old man football league,” and says he could run a mile if he had to. Pretty soon, we’ll have him running several as we work to help him mark half-marathon off his bucket list.

Cassandra Schwartz, 26. This working mom says the most running she’s done recently is after her toddler, which is probably more than she gives herself credit for. In a few months that little guy will be at the finish line cheering on his mom! Cassandra works in advertising and is ready to push her limits a little.

These runners won’t be doing this alone. Their training plans were developed by Holly Perkins, a nationally recognized fitness expert who specializes in running. As well, she is an ambassador for New Balance. She has a degree in exercise physiology from Penn State and has trained countless marathoners and triathletes (currently training for a half herself). She’s also become a go-to expert for our team and we’re excited to have her on board lending her expertise and guidance to our Local Joes. The runners met with Holly over lunch for a 45-minute Skype call to introduce themselves and learn more about her training style and explanation of the manual she’s provided.

As important as the training plans are the shoes covering these runners’ feet. Thanks to New Balance, we’re outfitting each Local Joe with a new pair of running shoes. They’ve each gone to our local New Balance store for a proper fitting. John was rocking his at our kick-off meeting today and everyone else says theirs are on the way.

The race the Local Joes will run is October 14, 2023 through the heart of Wichita, KS. Their 13.1 mile half-marathon will start downtown and take them through some of the city’s most popular urban and residential neighborhoods. This Boston Qualifier is a nice, flat course (thanks to the Kansas prairie!) with live bands, plenty of aid stations, and a sideline filled with motivating spectators.

Each month we’ll provide an update on their progress here on DietsInReview, but you can follow each runner throughout their training as they’ll post frequent updates. We’ll be using a dedicated hashtag of #PFMJoes if you want to follow their training-specific updates. The Local Joes team Twitter follows are:

John: @Thompsonville
Nathan: @NathanCarr
Jennifer: @JenWPortraits
Cassandra: @MWestMillenial
Holly: @Holly_Perkins
Marathon: @RunPFM
DIR: @DietsInReview

We look forward to properly training our Local Joes, celebrating their success, and showing everyone how any average joe can set their sights on a finish line!

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