Saturday, December 16, 2017

2017 Inspiring People of the Year Bridgit Crider


My journey to where I am today started with that dreaded doctors office visit for an annual check up….I knew that I was overweight, had been for years. My weight and size would yo-yo up and down. At this particular visit, I was told that I was on my way to being diabetic. My choice was either drop 15 pounds or be put on meds by my next visit…NOPE! I was like, sure it can’t be that hard to lose 15 pounds in 40 days. 

I had no clue, especially at 49 years old!!! I was a fad diet queen and didn’t know any better. Anyway, I posted about my doctors visit on FB and got invited to come out and run with a group of women in my area. 

First off, I don’t run, I said to myself. Not even from a dog lol, second she mentioned 3.5 miles, another no lol, and third a 4:30 am meet up…all no’s. Then I thought about my doctors visit and said “Bridgit, something has to change!” And I got my butt up and met them. The next time I went back to that doctors office I had lost 8 pounds and my levels went down, I was in the safe zone. 

That was the start of me running, walking and getting my physical right. Over the past 3 years, I have lost 62 pounds, participated in over 33 races ranging from 5k's to half marathons. I now get up almost every morning for a 5am workout of some kind. 

This past February, I had a tummy tuck to rid of excess skin (best thing I could have ever done) and now I have a trainer to properly help me tone up and build muscle. I have no plans of stopping. I feel great, and hope that I can help and inspire others.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

2017 Inspiring People of the Year Susan Schenberg

Enjoying the Journey
Jackpot Ultra – Las Vegas

I credit my son for the “Ultra Bug”… when he was nine years old, he asked me to take him to the High School Track so he could practice running a timed mile as part of the Presidential Physical Fitness Award. As I watched him run around and around, I wondered if I could finish a mile nonstop… so I gave it a try and low and behold, not only did I finish, I felt like I could run forever. And so the story goes, an Ultrarunner (in the making) was born that day. Long story short, I raced every distance from 5k’s to Marathons, but something was missing… I longed to run farther… and a new journey into Ultrarunning began.

 “Team Susan” at Badwater
I craved knowledge, so when I wasn’t running, I was reading.  I literally read every book about Ultrarunning on the shelf at Barnes and Noble; I watched and re-watched Ultra Documentaries… my favorite being  “Running On The Sun”,  the journey following competitors through the Badwater 135 Mile Race across Death Valley; I joined Facebook to connect with other Ultrarunners who I could follow, share and learn from. 

Amongst running royalty - Ready to race!
Locally, I joined the “St. Louis Ultrarunners Group” (SLUGS) and became an Officer/ Board Member of the BEST Ultra Group on EARTH!! Okay, I may be just a bit biased. 

My running “bestie”
Race wise, I have been fortunate to Podium and earn several Age Group wins; including the “Eastern Missouri Ultra Series Award” First Place - Senior Female of the Year with consecutive wins for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. As I gained success in the sport, I became an Athlete Ambassador for “Headsweats”, the maker of cutting edge Performance Headwear which ROCKS!!  All in all, the best part of Ultrarunning is truly the friendships I have made.

 The “Walking Diva” smashing records!
Case in point, I had the pleasure of being with the “Smiles for Miles - Walking Diva”, Yolanda Holder, on Day One of the Sri Chinmoy 3100 mile race. What an honor to share in Yolanda’s journey… It’s crazy good to have friends all over the world who are bound together by the love of all things Ultra.
Honored to receive the EMUS (Eastern Missouri Ultra Series) Award-First Place Senior Female for 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2017 Inspiring People of the Year Manoshri Sykorova

Running Brings Joy Into My Life

When I was around twelve years old, everyone from my school class had to run 1500 meters and I remember thinking 'what a long distance!' Then when I was sixteen I started to meditate and my life opened up to new ideas and goals. I decided to run my first marathon when I was seventeen. It was Rome marathon in 1995 in Italy. The inspiration came from my spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy, who loved running. 

I did not have much time to train, so the longest distance I ran as a training was around 10km. I did not have proper running shoes, I did not have extra money for real running shoes. I was born and brought up in Slovakia and there was not much choice of running shoes at that time anyway! So my first marathon was painful, challenging and finally full of joy when I finished! I wanted to stop twice during the race, but every time I stopped and looked around, everyone was running ahead. Thousands and thousands of people. That kept me going. After I finished I remember sitting on a bus going back home and having intense knee pain! But also sense of satisfaction of finishing my first marathon. Few years before that I never even dreamed of running a marathon! I have realized that anyone can run a marathon if one has inspiration and a bit of determination. 

When I was twenty I moved to Ottawa in Canada. I had run some more marathons in Canada and US and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately later on I ended up with adrenal burn out from working too much and doing too many things and not taking enough rest. It took me some years to recover and I learned from this experience that our body does have limits. It is nice to be dynamic and active, but we also need to take rest to recover. 

When I was around thirty- three , I really got interested in weightlifting. I would lift weights every morning for about an hour throughout a week and then on Saturday I remember spending sometimes 3 hours on doing weights! It gave me feeling of confidence, strength and it just felt so good! I continued with weightlifting for about a year and then I slowly also started to get back to more running. I ran few half marathons and then marathons. It was nice to be back on track again. 
Around that time I remember hearing about multi day races and thinking and saying “I will never run those long races! It is not for me, must be so painful!” Then I went to see the finish of a ten day race in New York and I could see that the runners were in pain but they were so happy and radiant! And that's when I decided I wanted to run this race one day and experience what they have experienced!

And so I started to run a bit more distance and I got interested in nutrition. I did a bit of research about running shoes and running gear and tent and socks and I asked lots of questions from people who had ran this race. And I decided to run my first multi day ten day race in April, 2015. Training for the race was not easy. I was living in Ottawa at that time and the winters there are so cold! I would run for many hours sometimes in minus ten celsius. On the first of January I decided to run a marathon to celebrate a New Year and do some good training. After running around 28km it was all dark outside and it was hard to find a good place that felt safe to run alone. And so as I ended up running some distance by the road on a grass in dark and cold and unfortunate thing happened! I twisted my ankle! Less then four months before the race! I could walk ok the next day but my ankle swollen up and it was painful a bit when I tried to run a week later. But I could run and so I decided to continue with my training. Month later my ankle would still swell up and I had pain. It was getting so close to the race, I got worried. And so I took 5 weeks brake from running. A bit scary. I was certainly upset. 

Three weeks before the start of the race I started to run again and still had some pain and swelling, but it did seemed to be improved. And so I decided to run the race anyway and stop if I had to. Surprisingly during the race the ankle did not give me much trouble. But I had my first experience with sheen-spleens and ended up walking and trying to run through the pain for few days of the race. On day six I finally felt I could run normally and I ended up finishing 3 rd with 530 miles. During the race I experienced all sorts of emotions from despair and disappointment to happiness and feeling of upliftment. On day three I said I will never do that race again and then when the race was finished, I was already looking forward to the next one! 

My recovery after the race was quite fast and I was happy to be running again! I wanted to train more and improve for the next year. I ran 6 hour race 5 weeks later and did 60.30 km. Then a month later I went to see the 3100 mile race in New York and I ended up running 3 marathons in 3 days just for fun, next to the course of the race. And then five days later I did a 50km hilly off road race in Gautineau park close to Ottawa. Quite a lot of running in such a short time. During the race I started to get a sharp pain in my foot and somehow I did finish the race, but with tears in my eyes. I had no idea what the pain was from. It took me couple of months to figure out that I had a stress fracture and I need to take complete rest from running. That was so hard! I could not run for about 5 months total. How hard that was not to run at all for that many months! Eventually I started to train again sometimes in January for my second ten-day race. The pain was still there, but it eventually got better and better. (Surprisingly even now, three years later, I still get a bit of pain in that area when I am increasing my running distance. There is some kind of scar that develops and I am not sure if it ever goes away. But luckily it does not stand in a way of my running).

My second ten day race was a completely new set of experiences. The first six days I really pushed myself and ran 405 miles with a minimum of sleep. But then my body could not keep up with all of it and my muscles actually started to malfunction and I could not lift normally one of my legs! I had no idea what to do! I took a break for many hours and had some extra sleep at night and talked to few people trying to find a solution. It seemed that having more regular and longer rest was the only solution. Otherwise my muscles started to malfunction again. I could not wait for the end of the race. I finished 3rd again, this time with 609 miles. I improved 79 miles from the year before. I was very happy!

In 2016 I got married to my husband Galya who is a three time finisher of the 3100 mile race and has the third fastest finish in the history of the race after Ashprihana and Madhupran. In 2015 he ran 3100 miles in 42 days and 17 hours which is such an amazing finish! He also won many 24-hour races and 6-day races. In November 2016, we participated in Icarus 6-day race in Florida. Galya ran the 48-hour race and also helped me during the 6-day race. I believe that because of his help and encouragement I ended up winning the race overall, with 432 miles and setting a course record, averaging 72 miles a day.

I love the multi day races for the sense of satisfaction and happiness that they bring. I also find that when I am running that kind of distance, my mind gets quieter and I get into a kind of zone where things just flow and happen for you and with you. I do love that feeling and I always wish it would last longer. I also feel that each race and all days of training for it make you stronger and more experienced for the next year race. I am very grateful to all the people who inspired me over the years and also to my spiritual teacher who got me inspired in the first place to start running marathons and then ultra races. 

Last year me and Galya we moved to beautiful Vancouver Island in British Columbia. We continue running, hiking, cross country skying and plan to do some kayaking next year. And we are looking forward to some other future races. 

I believe that anyone can do marathons or ten day races if one is inspired and has determination. It is only the mind that is limiting us and if we go beyond our doubts and fears, amazing things can happen in our lives. We just have to believe that we can!

I am so grateful that I got to know Yolanda. I am truly amazed she finished her first 3100 mile race power walking! She has such determination and will power! Plus she finished so many marathons and other races over the years. Truly amazing accomplishment! Thank you for choosing me as one of the Inspiration people of the year. I am truly honored.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 Inspiring People of the Year Tony Mangan

Tony is Walking Around the World

When Tony Mangan was in school he was bullied. He was told by some teachers that he was talentless, and even worthless and was considered a sports wimp for he even obtained a doctor's note to excuse him from gymnasium classes. Aged, about ten he was bitten by a dog and as a result he was terrified of even the smallest of puppies. 

However, Tony fought back and one by one he beat up the bullies. After reading a book about an Irish woman who cycled from Ireland to India and with  extraordinary self-belief he went on to cycle around the world between 1978 and 1979. In doing so, he chased away German Shepherd dogs in the Turkish mountains and also slept in bear country in North America. During his world cycle  he was also trapped in Tehran for six weeks during the Iranian Islamic revolution when the border to Afghanistan was closed. He survived by twice selling blood plasma.

Fast forward many years later and Tony drifted out of cycling and into running. Five weeks after lacing up his first pair of running shoes he ran his first marathon. It soon became apparent that the further the distance Tony ran the more competitive he became. So, it came as no surprise when he started to run ultra marathons, or extreme races as he prefer to call them. 

During his competitive career he represented Ireland on six occasions. He also broke four world records and became known as a 48 hour specialist. Two of those records he still holds today. Imagine running for two straight days on a treadmill?  Well that's what Tony Mangan did when he broke the world record for running 48 hours at the Longford Marathon expo in Longford, Ireland in August 2008. His distance of 405 kilometres (251 miles) is still a world record today

The previous year in a 48 hour international race in the Czech Republic he set the world 48 hour indoor track record when he beat a star-studded field to run 426 kilometres (266 miles) In doing so he also became the first runner in history to run over 200 (124 miles) kilometres in two consecutive days when he ran 223 (139miles) on day one and 203 (126 miles) kilometres on day two. That world record still stands today. 

During all this time he dreamt of an audacious challenge to run around the world and effectively achieved that when he crossed the finish line of the 2014 Dublin marathon after running 50,000 kilometres (31,000 miles) in five continents in four years.

That ticked off and retired from running he is now living his Plan B dream, to walk around the world. This world walk began in February 2016 and he has walked almost 19,000 kilometres (12,000 miles )  across Europe, Russia, Mongolia, China, Vietnam,Australia, and he is now In New Zealand

Tony is walking around the world with a cancer awareness message: that life is precious and early cancer screening saves lives. The reason he is walking for cancer awareness as his mother was diagnosed too late when he was almost half way through his world run. She lived to cross the finish line with him and sadly died five months later.


Please check out his website at

 And also on Facebook

Friday, December 8, 2017

2017 Inspiring People of the Year Edward Lyell

Edward Fights Fires and Runs Ultras
I was initially inspired to Run Marathons because I was trying to avoid Diabetes.  My Father was in End Stage Diabetes in 2013 when I ran my First Marathon.

I continued running Marathons all over the US and the world till I finally competed my First 100 miler in 2012 at the Rocky Road Race with my Dear Sweet Wife Rieko. By 2012 I was diagnosed with Pre Diabetes and Father had died of End Stage Diabetes along with my two Brothers becoming Insulin Dependent Diabetics. 

Jump forward to 2017 and after completing multiple 100 milers and Triathlons I saw my health once again falling by the wayside. Also at this time my oldest Brother had already endured years of Dialysis, a kidney transplant and amputation of a leg due to Diabetes and  Renal Failure.

I decided to do something absolutely drastic and that was to compete in the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge dubbed as the Toughest Two Minutes in the Fire Service. This was truly the hardest thing I have ever done. 

Starting with my First competition in April I knew I had found something that has completely transformed my life. Please see the above  attached commentary.

I dedicated my 2017 Firefighter Combat Challenge Season to my Brother Ronald Lyell who just recently took his first few steps in a few Years with his Prosthetic Leg. Equipped with his new Kidney he is starting to get his life back together while still fighting the effects of Diabetes

With the motivation to Honor my Brother I worked so hard a multiple events all over the country I brought my individual times down significantly and most importantly I was honored to be chosen out of hundreds of Firefighters to be the 2017 Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge Rookie of the Year!

One of the most awesome experiences was to be able to compete a Tandem Firefighter Combat Challenge event with Rieko which was one amazing experience! 

I am so very honored to receive the 2017 Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge Rookie of the Year Award. I am dedicating my 2018 Firefighter Combat Challenge Season to Douglas PJ Bean the namesake of the Rookie of the Year Award and in April I am going to be Running 72 hours and 100 plus miles in Full Firefighter Gear at the Beyond Limits Ultramarathon in Honor of PJ. The story of PJ touched my heart as I am sure many others.

I hope my efforts in 2018 will honor his memory and the Rookie of the Year Award.

-Edward Lyell-
Federal Fire Department San Diego 

Here is some information about PJ Bean and my brother Ronald who I am dedicating my 2018 events to:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

2017 Inspiring People of the Year Ken Ekman

Long Distance Ultra Runner Ken is Stronger at Age 66!
I began distance running at age 29 and ran for 3 years before completely torching my knees after my first marathon sending me into 20 years of running avoidance!  In 2001, I met some distance runners in Minnesota and began training for ultras.  50M Run on the Sly, 62M Edmund Fitz, 92M at FANS – I kept moving up. Then after moving to Prescott, AZ in 2004, friends like running star Heidi Schuette, gave me the Boston bug and I qualified 5 times beginning at age 58! My 2014 race with the bombing in Boston was quite emotional but too lengthy to describe.

I still ran ultras after moving to Prescott.  I got involved in the local running community, starting a running club.  Before long I was forming and administrating new races while helping with several others.  In 2009 I was awarded the Al Clark award by the YMCA for the individual that most helped advance running in our community, a huge honor for me. 

Several local runners still tell me that they got into running because of me, that I trained with them at their speed and ran alongside them in their first races.  I have done well running myself but knowing I helped a few others along the way has made the running journey one of my greatest accomplishments.  I have many friends in the running world – who could ask for more? 

I am also honored that Yolanda would pick me as an inspiration!  Indeed she inspired me without knowing it and without knowing me.  A few years ago I watched her go mile after mile in the Across the Years multi day event.  I remember commenting to my significant other Deborah – “How can she do that?”  Then I got to meet Yolanda at the 2017 FANS race only to discover that she is even nicer than she is talented.  I sure hope our paths cross again.   


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2017 Inspiring People of the Year Shannon Redline

She's Courageous and Pretty 
Hello to all. Almost 11 months has gone by since the last time you saw me. So much change has happened. That is one thing that we can always count on…change. Most of it has been amazing and positive. Whereas, there has been a couple of transitions that proved to be a bit more challenging than others.

So let’s begin. One of those cheesy cliché sayings that I am sure we have all heard is: “if you love someone, let them go. If they come back to you, then it was meant to be. If not, then they were never yours to begin with.”   I guess I never really understood exactly what that meant until I had the opportunity to experience this first hand. Back in March, I was able to reconnect with someone whom I hadn’t spoken to in about 5 years. We had previously dated, and the through a series of life events we lost touch.

Needless to say, I am in love and grateful for the second chance that we get with one another to do life together. Since that time we have been able to make many new memories with one another and cannot wait to see what the future holds. This is someone who accepts me for who I am, what I have done and loves me anyway. The feeling is mutual. When you are able to love someone wholeheartedly, and unconditionally- regardless of their past mistakes/choices make sure you hang on tight. A love like that is hard to find, and not one I am willing to let go of.

June 2017 was a busy month for me. Employment changed for me. I am currently working as a youth Peer Support Specialist for a non-profit mental health organization where I get to use my own life experience to help kiddos in dealing with theirs. All of the trials and tribulations I’ve endured in the past, I know see were always meant for good. For me to be able to share the hope and positivity that can come from situations that appear hopeless at the time. We are not alone in our struggles, and we don’t have to go through them in solitude.

Also, I finally graduated from college. Whoo hoo! After 3 years at community college, I completed my goal and gained my Associates of Arts Oregon Transfer degree. In addition, I got accepted into Southern Oregon University where I will be pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Human Services. This way I will have the ability to continue learning and gaining much knowledge in my efforts to continue working with and helping others “do life” successfully.
Though so many amazing and positive things have transpired lately; recently, I have had some external stressors in my life. There is not really a good indicator for me to be aware of before I get severely triggered, but when it happens “oh boy!” My whole world can seem to implode in a matter of seconds. What I have learned from this is that I will never be “fixed”. I have gone through some seriously traumatic experiences in life that will forever be imprinted on me.

This brings me to say that not all wounds leave visible scars or cripple us physically. Many of my wounds have come from mental and emotional abuse. Just because we can’t “see” these emotional/mental scars, does not mean they don’t exist. I was reminded last week of just how real/deep my wounds are. I have mental health diagnosis, and this does not make me broken or any less of a person than the next. It just means that I have to work extra hard in maintaining a state of “baseline”.
-Shannon Redline-

Read more of Shannon's story on Emotional Healing