Posts

5K Ambassador Spotlight: Derek and Tyler James

Derek and Tyler celebrating a post-race finish

As we gear up for the 11th Annual Isabella Santos Foundation 5K/10K for Kids Cancer this Saturday, we tapped one of our media ambassadors for some race-day tips.

Derek James, WCCB News Rising Co-Host/Staff Meteorologist, and his son Tyler will be among our ISF 5K race participants. An avid runner growing up, Derek got back into running races when Tyler was 7 and could run with him. They have run six races together and share these words of advice:

How did you get Tyler involved in running?

He saw me coach Let Me Run when he was 6 and so wanted to be on our team. He wasn’t old enough then but now I’m coaching a new team at Matthews Elementary now that he’s old enough to join.

 

Where do you enjoy running for fun?

Squirrel Lake Park is very close to our house so that’s where we typically go. It offers access to the Four Mile Creek Greenway which is a great place to run.

 

What is your most memorable race?

Tough to choose, but probably the Steve Smith Family Foundation Lace Up Son 5K. This was Tyler’s first race and it was in our town (Matthews). Tyler finished 1st in the 7 & under division and got his award from Steve Smith Sr. I ran my first Savage Race last year and that was an incredible experience as it was my first obstacle race.

 

What advice do you have for those who haven’t run before and are doing their first race at the ISF 5K/10K?

Derek: Find your perfect 5K race pace. Often on a first race you come out too fast and end up struggling somewhere near the 2-mile mark.

Tyler: Run slower at the start and then pick it up in the middle.

 

What do you both enjoy most about running together?

Derek: I love running with Tyler because it’s simple. Put on your shoes and go. Training alongside Tyler is more fun and we get to catch up and discuss anything on our minds.

Tyler: I enjoy running with dad because it’s a really good workout and it’s good to have together time and I love the training.

 

Do you have a favorite pre-race snack or meal?

Derek: Pre-race just a sports bar or a piece of toast, a little water and coffee.

Tyler:  I love a pre-race pasta and noodles dinner.

 

What’s your favorite warmup or stretch to do before run?

We like dynamic stretches leg swings and mountain climbers.

 

Running gear you couldn’t live without?

My Garmin for keeping pace.

Derek and Tyler with WCCB News@10 Anchor, Morgan Fogarty

 

If you could pick a song to push you through a tough part of a run, what would it be?

Derek: Tom Petty’s “Running Down A Dream”

Tyler: “I Love You I Need You” by Slushie

 

What are you most looking forward to at the ISF 5K/10K for Kids Cancer?

Derek: Getting outside on a beautiful morning and running a new course. Seeing other young people run in an effort to help other kids.

Tyler: I like that by running this race we get to help kids who have cancer and have fun while doing it.

Mother-Daughter Duo Making a Difference

Charlotte and Jennifer Gaston

Charlotte Gaston was just 11 years old when she got involved in the Isabella Santos Foundation. Her mom, Jennifer, was serving on the ISF 5K/10K for Kids Cancer marketing committee and brought Charlotte to a meeting. It was there that Charlotte shared some great ideas and was asked to join the committee.

Since getting involved in 2012, Charlotte has volunteered on the marketing committee and at the race, run in the event, and used her creative skills to fundraise for ISF. She made earrings and hair ties to sell for donations for ISF, and painted a canvas at Bella’s Birthday Bash at Small Hands Big Art. The painted canvases from the event were used in various ISF events throughout the years.

“I was just along for the ride with Charlotte’s great ideas that she brought to the table,” said Jennifer. “Charlotte and I have volunteered, distributed race materials to retail stores and have done her projects together. Sharing this experience with her has been very rewarding.”

Charlotte also helped coordinate ISF’s T-Shirt contest where she brought together students from area high schools to collect the entries and select the winning design, which was featured on the kids’ race shirts. In addition, she assembled bracelets for ISF’s Coffee For A Cure.

“It is so cool seeing how much the Isabella Santos Foundation has grown and the impact we have all had over the past six years,” said Charlotte who is now a senior at Ardrey Kell High School. “I want to stay involved as much as possible this year before I head off the college.”

Jennifer also continues to stay involved as a volunteer for the race and Coffee For A Cure, and is passionate about introducing her friends to ISF. “Volunteering with the Isabella Santos Foundation has been a great experience for both of us and has helped Charlotte see what an organization like this is capable of with the support of a lot of people,” says Jennifer. “This experience has been very meaningful and will help her in college about how to get involved and make a difference.”

No Equipment Needed

Brian Levy, Isabella’s Dream Team

Brian Levy has always been athletic, but he has not always been a runner.  He grew up playing ice hockey and transitioned to mountain biking.  Over time, he realized it was easy to just go on a run.  No equipment needed.  No class required.  He trained for a couple of 5Ks, and he eventually ran his first half marathon.  He was hooked.

As he continued to grow in to his love of running, he learned about the Isabella Santos Foundation through his fiancé.  Since Brian runs by himself, she encouraged him to check in to the ISF Dream Team so he could share his passion with others and run with a group of people.  He knew immediately it was something he wanted to do.

Last year, Brian joined the ISF Dream Team.  Hearing everyone’s inspirational stories kept him motivated to keep training and keep pushing himself.  He accomplished several races while training with the Dream Team:  Chicago Marathon, Rock and Roll Marathon in Savannah, two Half Ironman Triathlons, and the ISF 10k. WOW! 

With that said, we are truly honored to have Brian Levy leading the ISF Dream Team this year.  As he is striving to accomplish his goals (qualify for the Boston Marathon), he knows he is accomplishing even a bigger role (making a bigger contribution in the fight against cancer).  

“I know that my strengths are with training and coaching other athletes.  I’m looking forward to helping other runners achieve their goals of training for their big race and in the process, introducing more people to ISF.” 

Brian is making a difference, in so many ways.  Running.  Leading the ISF Dream Team runs.  Fundraising for ISF.  “I know my contribution in the fight against cancer is small in the grand scheme of things but I think that’s what it’s all about.  A lot of people making small contributions can make a big difference.  Every time I am out there running in my Dream Team shirt or talking to people about races about ISF, that’s my little contribution to the big fight.”

Thank you Brian for leading the ISF Dream Team.  Let’s help Brian meet his goals this year by supporting him through his First Giving page:  https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/teamba/2018-Isabella-s-Dream-Team

ISF Dream Team

The ISF Dream Team, created in 2014, is a running group that assists you in training to run the race of your dreams.  You can train for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, half marathon relay, full marathon relay, or a full marathon.  You are provided a training schedule, invited to group runs, and inspired by a phenomenal team of people.  Not only will you meet a dynamic group of people, but you will also be inspired through your friends and family as they support you through the training.  The ISF Dream Team has raised over $400,000 to date, with the funds contributing to our local Charlotte community.  If you want to join the ISF Dream Team, we would love to hear from you.  Please email us at info@isabellasantosfoundation.org.

 

We Run to Crush Cancer

It’s always good to keep things in perspective.  Ask yourself why?  Why do you do the things you do?  Why are certain things important to you?  

We asked our Dream Team members at the beginning of this season . . . what is your why?  Why do you run?  Why are you a part of the ISF Dream Team?  Why do you help fundraise?  Here are some answers we received. . . .  

  • To support those who know Isabella and to fight cancer . . . duh!
  • To put a purpose behind my running.
  • I run for ISF to inspire more kids to give back.
  • I run to crush cancer for my mom, Mackenzie who beat Neuroblastoma, and for Isabella.
  • I run because no parent should ever lose their child to cancer.
  • To make a difference of the lives of people fighting cancer.
  • I’m running on the Dream Team because I want to help raise money for kids with cancer and it’s a good mark to leave.

We run to CRUSH CANCER.  Come run with us this Saturday!

Run with Isabella’s Dream Team this Saturday, August 18th.  You can join us at either run listed below.

ISF Dream Team

The ISF Dream Team, created in 2014, is a running group that assists you in training to run the race of your dreams.  You can train for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, half marathon relay, full marathon relay, or a full marathon.  You are provided a training schedule, invited to group runs, and inspired by a phenomenal team of people.  Not only will you meet a dynamic group of people, but you will also be inspired through your friends and family as they support you through the training.  The ISF Dream Team has raised over $400,000 to date, with the funds contributing to our local Charlotte community.  If you want to join the ISF Dream Team, we would love to hear from you.  Please email us at info@isabellasantosfoundation.org.

Bring Your Friends & Breakfast Run

There are friends.  And there are running buddies.  Sometimes the two intertwine.  Sometimes they don’t.  But both are equally important when you are determined to train and run the race of your dreams.  So what’s the difference?

Running buddies.  They run with you.  They hold you accountable.  They celebrate your accomplishments.  They sympathize with your aches and pains.  They know just what you need for a race.  They plan trips around races, and relax with you afterwards.  They push you to succeed.  It’s an unexplainable bond that everyone should experience.

Friends are just as important to help you finish a race.  When you run, it’s incredible to see your friends on the race course, cheering you on.  Nothing keeps you more motivated to keep going.  They provide you with support, and they are your cheerleaders. They are your friends, through thick and thin.

Every runner needs a running buddy and a friend during any run.  It will help you get from the start line to the finish line.    

The ISF Dream Team is celebrating our running buddies and friends.  This Saturday – BRING A FRIEND to our Saturday run and enjoy some ISF Swag, on us.  Afterwards we plan on having a team breakfast/social at Crispy Crepe on South Blvd.

  • Who: ISF Dream Team
  • Where: Charlotte Rail Trail
  • Meet at Bland Street Station — 1511 Camden Road, Charlotte, NC
  • When: Saturday, August 4 at 7am
  • Why: To be a friend and a running buddy!

See you Saturday!

ISF Dream Team

The ISF Dream Team, created in 2014, is a running group that assists you in training to run the race of your dreams.  You can train for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, half marathon relay, full marathon relay, or a full marathon.  You are provided a training schedule, invited to group runs, and inspired by a phenomenal team of people.  Not only will you meet a dynamic group of people, but you will also be inspired through your friends and family as they support you through the training.  The ISF Dream Team has raised over $400,000 to date, with the funds contributing to our local Charlotte community.  If you want to join the ISF Dream Team, we would love to hear from you.  Please email us at info@isabellasantosfoundation.org.