Donna Half/Full Marathon 2020: An Oral History

Coach Casey · February 17, 2020

Taking the virtual training and racing app to the streets! On Sunday, February 9th, Charge Running took the personalized, supportive, team elements of their top running app and brought it to life at the Donna Half/Full Marathon in Neptune Beach, Florida. Coaches from around the country teamed up with users from around the world to come together and celebrate running, health, community, and each other! For three days they trained together, prepared together, ate together, socialized, and ultimately raced together along with over 100 virtual racers joining on the app in real time. 

In the United States, the dedicated coaches and runners who tackled the Donna Half/Full Marathon are members of an elite squad known as the Charge Runners. These are their stories.

Coach Lara:

“As the newest charge trainer, I was excited and nervous for the Donna Half/Full Marathon 2020 run-cation. I had signed up for the marathon before I knew I was going to become a Coach with Charge. I was thrilled to meet everyone, Chargers and Coaches alike!”

Coach Betsy:

 “I was blown away that we have been working together for a while, many of his had never met in person. It was just like seeing old friends.”

Coach Lara:

“From the team dinner (Friday) and all throughout the weekend, the Charge energy and community was amazing. It was such an incredible moment to see all these people that knew each other as teammates and friends meeting for the first time.”

Coach Betsy:

“It was fun to host the virtual 5k on Saturday from the nearby hotel with Coach Amy. 74 people participated in the virtual 5k either running or listening in. Chaz Davis, who strives to make the US Paralympic team for the 2020 games in Tokyo, on his treadmill in MA won the virtual 5k in 15:35! Winner of the live event finished in 16:13.”

Coach Lara:

“It occurred to me that this was possibly the first time anything like this had happened, as Charge itself is so cutting edge and unequaled on the fitness front.” 

Coach Betsy:

“A remarkable moment was Susan O Beam’s finish in the 5k. She is a breast cancer survivor and completed her first 5k in January, 2019 using a walker. The DONNA was her 8th 5k and she finished in 1:09:38, crossing the finish line hand in hand with several Charge Runners.

Just after the 5k we headed to meet the half marathoners for a shakeout run that included lots of photos and ended with some shenanigans on the beach.”

Coach Lara:

“I greatly enjoyed our relaxed shake out run. To see all the Charge family at such a glorious beach was super memorable. Apart from this it was so satisfying to see real friendships develop and solidify. Knowing we were creating community that will sustain all of us through the years to come.”

Coach Betsy:

“The thing that strikes me about all of this is how the common denominator of running can bring such a diverse group of people together. Young, old, all the different accents. I counted at least 5!” 

Coach Lara:

The race itself (Sunday) was awesome, as everyone enjoyed the fruits of months of hard work and training. Moreover, the context of the effort to End Breast Cancer and the presence of Survivors and their supporters brought tears to so many eyes. 

Coach Betsy:

“Prior to the start we all took a nervous photo, shared some great hugs and we were off to the races!!!

The first half of the course had a lot of turns and a lot of shade, which is quite nice for a race in Florida, no matter what time of year it is. The second half of the race was a bit thinner and was mostly an out and back near the ocean. It was sunny and surprisingly windy. I had to hold my hat to keep it from blowing off a few times. The relay runners did the second half of the course. Had they not been there it would have been very, very lonely. 

I finished as the 2nd female and 8th overall in the full marathon despite a pit stop to manage a nasty blister at mile 9. NOTE: it’s still oozing 4 days later.

Not my best time, but not my best training cycle. Funny how those two things are related. Coach Larry ran very well also, finishing third overall in the half-marathon.”

Coach Lara:

My personal favorite moment, which I will cherish forever, was running behind Coach Amy on the long stretch out from where the half-marathoners finished, and both of us HIGH-FIVING Coach Betsy on her way back home to claim Second Female Overall! 

Coach Betsy:

“A remarkable thing – as our runners do in our virtual races, they stuck around to cheer on the other finishers until the very end. They cheered four first-time marathoners through the finish line and received them all with open arms. Heartwarming.”  

Coach Lara:

“My heart could have burst with joy with my love for our sport, my mentors, friends and Coaches, and this thing called Charge that has brought us together from all parts of the globe and enriched our lives.”

Coach Betsy:

“This community is inspiring. It was incredibly satisfying to sit back and watch this little community come together. Even as an adult, it feels incredible to be part of a team!”

Charge On! 

Want to join the team and take part in our next live running event? Sign up for Charge Running now and get all of the personalized, live, professional coaching you could ever need!

Comments 2

Anonymous · February 17, 2020
Considering we only knew each other by a profile pic and then coming all together for this weekend was so awesome. 4,000 mile trip for me was so worth it. Running, eating, relaxing and making are friendships stronger for me was a awesome thing. Can’t wait for next year ❤️
Anonymous · February 17, 2020
Wish my darn flights weren’t canceled, but SO GLAD I made it for Sunday! Missed comments from Coach Amy ♥️

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