URC Elite Athletes: Our "Pacers"

We see amazing people every day at the Ultra Running Company, and it generally has nothing to do with the speed at which they complete a race or the distance that they run. We genuinely believe that anyone who chooses an activity - from walking to running to working out at any level - is an inspiration and someone we want to associate with. We are inspired every day by the folks who choose to come in to the Ultra Running Company and open themselves up to becoming a healthier and happier person.

From time to time, we meet people who we feel raise the bar even further. Perhaps they compete in their chosen event at the very highest level. Perhaps they have dedicated their efforts to the betterment of others through charitable activities. Or perhaps they are willing to push the mechanical limits of the shoes and equipment they use to find the very best products for the rest of us. Regardless of their focus, these people set the standard for their activity, and in return we choose to support them.

Other running stores tend to have a "race team" - we have a "pace team". In running, a "pacer" is someone who sacrifices their own performance to help others get better. Someone who is willing to give up their time and energy to improve the lives of others. The folks on this page make others better while making themselves better, and we are in awe of their efforts. They are, truly, our URC Pacers!

 

Charlie Engle: Ultra-Adventurer, Author, Speaker

*Photo Courtesy of Charlie Engle

Charlie is one of the most accomplished ultramarathon runners in the world, the author of the memoir Running Man, and the star of multiple films. Engle's motivation to run and tackle adventures of extreme lengths stems from his battle with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Sober since July 23, 1992, Charlie recently completed the "Icebreaker" run, a fundraising effort to support this notable cause.

WAY more information can be found on Charlie's personal web page, www.charlieengle.com

 

Emily (Breeze) Ross-Watson: Fitness Instructor, Supermom, Inspiration

*Photo Courtesy of Emily Ross-Watson

Breeze is one of the toughest athletes in Charlotte and a role model for women throughout the country. She is a 2x Crossfit Games competitor, a former Division I athlete, hosts the largest bootcamp in the city, and prioritizes fitting her daughter into all aspects of her fitness life. Emily has appeared in some of the country's most recognized magazines, is a force on Instagram, and is currently an ambassador for the Charlotte Marathon.

Want more information? Check out her web page, www.emily-breeze.com, for all the details fit to print. Take a run in her shoes by joining her at Stax Bootcamp each week (it's free), purchasing one of her training manuals (they're a great deal) or following her on Instagram to find out about her next training run at URC!

 

Ken "All Day!" Michal: Long Distance Runner, Podcaster

*Photo by Chasqui Runner

When we first met Ken, he was sprinting - red faced - across the finish line at the Miwok 100k outside San Francisco, CA...over 6 hours after the winners had crossed the same mark. To say that Ken was "mid-pack" was a bit of a misnomer...he got his "All Day!" nickname not just because that's how long races took him, but also it reflects the passion with which he carries himself. No one ever questioned his passion or effort on the course, and today Ken runs races of every length and duration - while also volunteering at races across the country and inspiring folks to run "All Day!" as well.

Ken is the voice and mind behind the Running Stupid podcast, where he shares his goals, achievements and yes, even his struggles with a national audience of "stupid-heads" who, like him, want to do the very best they can with the opportunities available.

 

Nikia Squire: Sprinter, Jumper & Sledder

*Photo Courtesy of Nikia Squire

Yeah, she works here at URC, but if you've stopped in at our SouthEnd location you probably never knew the amazing young lady working with you was a 2x NCAA Champion, a 10x NCAA All-American, or a member of the USA Bobsled Development Team. You probably didn't know that she has run the fastest 60-meter dash in NCAA Division II history (yeah, that means EVER). And you certainly wouldn't know that she has her own video production company, has written and directed multiple feature-length films, or that she's the only person we trust to update our social media feed on a regular basis. Because she doesn't talk about her accomplishments - she just does them.

You can find out more about Nikia and help support her efforts to go to the 2018 Winter Olympics on her GoFundMe page (our advice: support Charlotte Olympic hopefuls - what's your downside?), or check out her photo/video efforts at Freshie Productions on Facebook.