Couple’s running encouragement for other people

Submitted photo
 Jonathan (left) and Staci Brown finished Saturday’s Huckleberry Jam together. The two have lost an estimated 100 pounds since they started running a year ago.

The weather was a little chilly as runners finished a run along the Huckleberry Trail Saturday morning. Among those was Jonathan and Staci Brown who hopes their story encourages others in life and running.

Family and friends cheered the couple as they completed the third annual Huckleberry Jam Point-to-Point 7.4 mile event. The event started in Blacksburg and traversed the trail, finishing at the Christiansburg Recreation Center.

The couple that has been married for almost three years was just happy that they took part in the run that has helped them with a larger step in their life.

Staci called it a relief crossing the finish line at one hour, 38 minutes and 48 seconds—the same as her husband. Third from last, but it didn’t matter.

“But it was very gratifying. Anytime that you set out to do something that you never thought you would be able to do it makes you feel confident and accomplished. Doing it together just makes it that much sweeter, because then you have the person who has been cheering you on and telling you could do it (even when you were telling yourself you couldn’t) beside you,” she said.

The couple started running together to become healthier and to spend more time together. The journey has also helped them lose 100 pounds—50 each.

“We started our health and fitness journey over a year ago so it just makes sense for us to run together too. We have been running for about a year but didn’t get serious about it until about six months ago,” Staci said.

She said that losing weight is a tough struggle, but admits it has been worth it, giving her more self-confidence and showing her her own true strength.

“It isn’t a quick fix to a big problem. When deciding to lose weight, you have to make it a lifestyle change. You still need to eat a donut every once in awhile just not the whole dozen. If you mess up don’t get discouraged and fall off the wagon. Realize that you’re human and you’re going to make mistakes. Just realize that small changes can create a huge difference,” she said.

Jonathan has now run four races, while Staci has run three. Jonathan did the Star City Half Marathon in November, and together they have done the Blacksburg Classic 5K, The Osprey 10K at Smith Mountain Lake and now the Huckleberry Jam Point to Point.

“Jonathan discovered his love for running and racing before I did. He decided to do a half marathon and had trained for it. After watching him race and do something that he had trained so hard for, it made me want to do it. I had been running but not religiously until then,” she said.

Staci hopes her story will encourage others to take a step, or should we say, a run to be healthier. Also, she hopes her story of weight will help others to do the same.

“When running, don’t get discouraged. It is a tough sport but very rewarding. I know there are days I get upset, because I don’t get the time that I want or even the distance, but I then realize that a year ago I couldn’t even run a half mile without taking breaks. It is very much about discipline. If you stick to your training, anyone can run. At the end of the day, when you get the time or distance you have been striving for, it makes all the hard work worth it,” she said.

And yes, the couple loves running together. Staci admits her husband is a lot faster than her but he helps to push her pace and stays with her through most of their runs.
It also gives them a chance to get out of the house and do something together that they never thought they would be able to do.

“It is the best feeling to watch him crush goals and he feels the same way about me. When we race with each other, it feels so good to have him right beside me. Yes, I would recommend it for others. We will talk about our days while we run and have a great time together. When you run with a partner, it makes running seem less like a chore,” Staci said.

She is a substitute teacher in the Montgomery County school system, while Jonathan is a pharmacist.