Thankful And Blessed

Written by Jody Stoops, 2016 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador
A personal trainer and a certified RRCA running coach with a passion for helping others achieve their goals, whether it’s running their first race, qualifying for the Boston Marathon or attaining a new healthy lifestyle through faith, fitness, motivation, and nutrition. As a marathoner, I have completed 14 full marathons, including the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Boston Marathon (and returning in 2016) and six San Francisco Marathons, my personal favorite. Most importantly, I’m a wife and mother of three teenagers balancing a life that involves staying healthy and fit while raising my family.

This time of year we remember and we give thanks. As I look back over this year, I am thankful for so many things. In my running career, I have reached goals I never dreamed possible. Not only did I BQ (Boston Qualify) at the Boston Marathon in April in horrible rainy and cold running conditions, but I also got a new PR (Personal Record) of 3:39:00. Eight weeks later I reached another personal best and came home with a new Half Marathon PR of 1:43:05 at the Rock and Roll San Diego Half Marathon.

These new records were sidelined by some pretty devastating news. I was running my best but not feeling my best. I made a visit to a physical therapist, and after a few weeks of rest and then therapy, he determined that running probably wasn’t the best thing for my body due mainly to a slight curve in my back; scoliosis. The scoliosis, along with the fact that my hips are a little uneven, and one leg is slightly shorter than the other, led to some hamstring issues.

My physical therapist assumed the […]

By |November 26th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||0 Comments

The Thankful Game

Written by Stephanie Laska, 2016 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador @140lost
Stephanie Laska works as a Medical Sales Representative for a Global Pediatric Nutrition Company. She has worked in pharmaceutical sales in the Monterey-San Luis Obispo communities in addition to the Central Valley. Stephanie holds a Masters in Education from UC Santa Barbara and holds three teaching credentials. Stephanie is 100% new to running having discovered the sport two years ago; she didn’t waste any time pushing herself to the limit. Stephanie won first place (Athena Division) of her very first Marathon in March — the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon, and went on to run the Big Sur International 21mi., and the San Francisco Full Marathon just months later. You may have read Stephanie’s story that was shared in the race brochure for the Big Sur International Half Marathon 2014. Through the discovery of running, combined with changing eating habits, Stephanie has lost 140lbs., or half of her body weight. Stephanie and her best friend/love-of-her life/running partner-in-crime, husband Bill, are raising their two elementary school aged children (both becoming runners!) in Turlock, CA.

I’ll admit it. Sometimes on a long run I just want to give up. It’s hard. I’m too hot. I’m too cold. I’m just not into it and I want to stop. Am I the only one out there?

With some trial and error, I’ve learned I can consciously convince myself to back away from falling off the runner’s cliff. I call this the “Thankful Game.” While running, I steer my inner conversation from complaining to compliments, from rejections to rejoices.

What are my “greatest hits” of running moments”? W​hat moments am I most thankful for?

It wasn’t long ago my kids saw me run for the first […]

By |November 26th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||0 Comments

Thanks Endorphins

Written by Heather Stewart, 2016 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador.
Heather Stewart works, lives and, most importantly, runs in Santa Clarita, Ca. Like many others, Heather was overweight and unhappy when she made the goal to run a 5K in late 2010. She trained, ran and was hooked! Since that day in March of 2011, she has completed over 40 organized races including 3 sprint triathlons and 3 marathons. She was chosen to be a Spotlight Runner for her first marathon, the 2013 LA Marathon and has a passion for encouraging others to meet their running dreams regardless of their size. When not running she works in Learning and Development at Princess Cruises, goes to Grad School, sits on the board of the Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund ( and is an Ambassador for Girls on the Run LA. Her goal is to be an “old lady runner” and her favorite place on earth is a finish line….whether cheering at it or running through it.

Today, I had a bad day.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I was blue.

I wanted to crawl back into bed and get out tomorrow.

I’m sure there are a plethora of reasons why I could have been sad.

I’m busy. I do it to myself. I’m overwhelmed with my busy-ness. I have a hard time shaking the feeling that I’m disappointing people. I have a hard time shaking the feeling that I’m disappointing myself.

So all day I felt,well, blah.

I knew I had to get a workout in today. I debated running, going to spin, or getting back into bed and exercising my right to change my mind.

But I ran.

I never thought I’d become a runner. I started running because I was stubborn. I […]

By |November 25th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||0 Comments

Gratitude and Running

Written by Erin Garvey, 2016 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador
Erin Mink Garvey has had the pleasure of running TSFM’s 26.2 twice (in 2010 and 2013), its 5k (in 2014) and is absolutely stoked to be running the 26.2 again in 2016. Since 2007, she has ran 25 marathons, qualifying for Boston 13 times and NYC once; more than 30 half marathons; and a trail 50k. She obviously loves the running community and the sport’s transformative effects on people’s lives. When she’s not running, you’ll find Erin spending time with her husband and two daughters blogging or cooking and baking vegan deliciousness. She and her family recently relocated to San José, California, after living in Chicago for more than a decade.

For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Maybe it’s because I lived in the Midwest for the first few decades of my life, and November is a beautiful time to enjoy the area’s changing landscape. It might also be because I have an early November wedding anniversary and birthday and like to celebrate all of them all month long.

It might be all of this, or it might just be because as I’ve gotten older (and maybe just a little wiser), I gravitate toward Thanksgiving simply because as a runner, I give myself plenty of opportunities to reflect on all that I’m thankful for in my life. I totally dig that the most popular day of the year for running is Thanksgiving (think nationwide turkey trots). Gratitude and running is a fantastic marriage, as far as I’m concerned.

I get excited for Thanksgiving each year because it’s the singular day of the year when all of us – runners […]

By |November 24th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||0 Comments

Giving Thanks for Plantar Fasciitis

Written by Scott Benbow, 2016 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador
Scott Benbow is proud to be a member of the Ambassador team for the 2016 San Francisco Marathon. He loves to run the hills and the occasional flats in San Francisco. His new running buddy is his eleven year old son who, like his dad, loves to run.

I hit a healthy stride with my training earlier this year, and was well on my way to running strong at The San Francisco Marathon in July. Gradually, beginning in April, I developed a case of plantar fasciitis (PF) that propelled me through the seven stages of runner’s grief: denial, then denial, more denial, followed by even more denial, debilitating pain, resignation, and acceptance.

For the benefit of those fortunate enough never to have been afflicted with PF, at its worst the condition feels as if you’ve accidentally stepped on the business side of a rake. PF sneaks up on you. And it dovetails perfectly with runner’s denial because the condition hurts a lot when you’re resting and very little, if at all, when you are running. My ill-informed response in the spring was to run more because it hurt less when I running. By running up to 2 hours each day, I was uncomfortable only the remaining 22 hours each day.

Finally, in June, my feet started to hurt all the time, even when I was running; I hit stages 5, 6 and 7 of runner’s grief and was in so much pain I had to stop running. In July, to my disappointment, I did not start The San Francisco Marathon. Since July, I have run only sporadically.

Missing my daily runs, what do I have to be thankful for this season?

June […]

By |November 23rd, 2015|Categories: Latest News||0 Comments

A Thankful Note To Running

Written by Bonnie Wilson, 2016 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador
At 240 pounds, Pacific Northwest native Bonnie Wilson knew something needed to change — but she never expected running to become both her passion and her freedom. It did (after a few tries!) and today, she’s completed multiple marathons, is on a journey to becoming a personal trainer, leads Zumba classes as a fitness instructor and shares inspirational and insightful information on her blog, Zombie Running Princess.

In addition to her work on Zombie Running Princess, Bonnie works as a freelance researcher and writer, and enjoys anything to do with Pacific NW coffee, beer and professional wrestling.

Dear Running,

As we get ready for Thanksgiving, I found the need to tell you again how happy that I am that you have come into my life. I don’t know where I would be without you, so let me explain to you what makes me thankful that are in my life.

You give me peace: Any time I feel like my real life is spinning out of control you give me the chance to find peace. A good run always gives me the chance to work out whatever is going on in my head and helps me find solutions amidst the chaos. Bad runs remind me how strong I am and how much I can keep my head up and keep going “up the hill” even during the chaos.

Friends: Some of the best people in my life are my running friends. They inspire me, they encourage me, and they support me. They don’t care that I am always towards the back of the pack, they are always willing to be out there to cheer me on.

The Experiences: Running has opened […]

By |November 23rd, 2015|Categories: Latest News||0 Comments

Completing the SF/Berkeley Challenge

Written By Meg Gudgeirsson, TSFM Ambassador

The San Francisco Marathon is one of my favorite races. However, as soon as I complete it each year, I’m immediately looking toward the next race and challenge. (My guess is I’m not the only one.) Thankfully, the great folks at TSFM have us covered with The Berkeley Half Marathon in November. One of the best parts of completing the Berkeley Half Marathon after racing The San Francisco Marathon is that you get an awesome medal for completing the SF/Berkeley Challenge.

Many of us sign up for races to keep us motivated in our training and running. And completing a challenge while doing that just makes it a little sweeter, right? That’s definitely true for me; I’m always thinking of what will be my next race, what will be my next goal. I’m super excited this year because Berkeley Half Marathon has some new events – a 10K and a half marathon relay! I’m a huge fan of half marathon relays because it can turn what can feel like a solo sport into an awesome team activity.

Running Berkeley Half Marathon is the perfect compliment to running in TSFM. While we are pounding the pavement in SF we cover all the best spots – the Golden Gate Bridge, Haight/Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, AT&T Park (go Giants!), and enjoy awesome views of the Bay Bridge and the East Bay. The Berkeley Half Marathon allows you to complete your Bay experience by crossing the bridge and taking in its sights and fun, unique community.

I ran the Berkeley Half (and completed the SF/Berkeley Challenge) in its augural year. I had the opportunity to help a friend race a sub-2:00 half, so my focus was all […]

By |September 22nd, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on Completing the SF/Berkeley Challenge

Training for TSFM with Runkeeper, By The Numbers

This year The San Francisco Marathon partnered with leading fitness-tracking app, Runkeeper, to offer official full marathon and half marathon training plans from The San Francisco Marathon’s RUN365 training program to users on iPhone and Android.

Thousands of runners logged on to Runkeeper to train for full and half marathon distances, choosing the 18-, 12- or 8-week training plans that fit their needs. Trainees received daily training schedules with details on pace, distance, strength and more. Plans include guidance on rest, recovery and cross training, and offer customized workout plans for intermediate verses advanced runners.

Read on below to see how their training stacked up week-over-week, and discover details on when, how often, and how long they trained. Discover differences between race distance training records, male and female trainees and trainees of different ages.

How did your training measure up to runners using Runkeeper training plans?

By |August 5th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on Training for TSFM with Runkeeper, By The Numbers

Experience The Finish Line Festival

On July 26th the new Finish Line Festival at Justin Herman Plaza, across from the Ferry Building, will be unveiled. This marks our first year of hosting participants, their loved ones, and spectators alike at this scenic venue on the Bay. With a new location comes new things to do, new people to see, and a crazy good time supporting the runners of the 38th running of the San Francisco Marathon. What, you may say, is there to do? We’re only too happy to tell you:

Selfie Time!: Fitbit’s booth at the heart of the Finish Line Festival at Justin Herman Plaza. Not only will they be offering 15% off of all Fitbit devices (that never happens!), but Dean Karnazes will be signing autographs and taking pictures at their booth as well! If you missed Dean at the shake out run Saturday morning here’s your chance to get up close and personal with him after he finishes the ultra marathon.

Stretch Out: Feeling like just you ran a marathon? Funny, we thought you’d say that! FitStar will be hosting a rolling and stretching exercise area on the grass directly behind the Fitbit tent (between their tent and the Ferry Building). And if you haven’t already tried it, their “Finish Flexible” yoga video is an awesome way to avoid cramping and loosen up after your put your body through the SFM challenge!

Meet Up: By popular demand, we’ve created a Family Meet-Up Area, which will be hosted by Bear Naked. Reach out to your loved ones and meet up at the #LiveBearNakedContest Jeep & Tent (it’s orange, you can’t miss it). Bear Naked will offer samples of two new flavors of granola and invite you to enter their […]

By |July 25th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on Experience The Finish Line Festival

All things Expo: The 2015 Health & Fitness Expo Roundup

Location and Hours:

Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion
2 Marina Boulevard
San Francisco, California 94123

Friday, July 24th 12pm-7pm
Saturday, July 25th 9am-5pm

The San Francisco Marathon Health & Fitness Expo will offer runners, spectators and health and fitness enthusiasts alike a must-see experience. Come to Fort Mason will be filled with a variety of activities and opportunities to enjoy the excitement of race weekend, get exclusive deals on the latest endurance gear, learn tips on getting the most out of TSFM race weekend app, get access to exclusive deals, activities, and much more!

Here’s a round up of some of the top ways to make the most of The San Francisco Marathon Health & Fitness Expo in 2015!

Drink This

For the first time ever, The San Francisco Marathon Health & Fitness Expo includes a beer garden, presented by Lagunitas Brewing Company. Inside, expo-goers can enjoy  beer and chip pairings from Lagunitas and Kettle Chips.

Carbo-Load This

In front of the Health & Fitness Expo, food trucks from Off the Grid,will be serving up tasty lunch and dinner options Expo-goers can enjoy outdoors on the food truck park’s picnic tables. On Friday night, as the Health & Fitness Expo closes for the night, Off the Grid food trucks take over Fort Mason – so if you don’t have Friday dinner plans yet, consider yourself covered!

Run This

Anyone is welcome to take part in the 5K Shake Out & Community Run at 8:30AM on Saturday morning, July 25th. Led by ultra marathoner and Fitbit athlete, Dean Karnazes, this run is a perfect opportunity to move a bit before race day, and to bond with your fellow runners! RSVP here:

Download This

In the Health & Fitness Expo we’ll have knowledgeable volunteers armed with answers to questions you […]

By |July 20th, 2015|Categories: Latest News||Comments Off on All things Expo: The 2015 Health & Fitness Expo Roundup