Mike is a husband, father of two girls and grandfather of four. He is a graduate of Penn State and works as a Physical Therapist Assistant. Mike has been sober since April 28, 1992 and an active member of the recovery community. He has been an athlete his entire life. He started a sober softball team while living in Las Vegas as a way to encourage others to play sports and do healthy activities without drinking or using drugs. He has run in 70+ half marathons, seven marathons, and a 50K Ultra Marathon. In early 2019, he saw an opportunity to benefit the local Jacksonville recovery/running community by organizing the Inaugural Run 4 Recovery 5K in Jacksonville.
Ashley has been athletic all her life – playing soccer, tennis and running. She grew up in New York, is a graduate of Dowling College in Long Island, and has a background in payroll and human resources. She and her Marine husband have three beautiful daughters and are residents of Jacksonville. After years of struggling with addiction, she sought help and found sobriety. She found that running was a major part of her recovery and aided her in finding peace: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Upon the untimely death of her brother and meeting other runners who share the experience of addiction, she teamed up with them to organize Runners4Recovery. Ashley has run seven marathons, 50+ half marathons and several triathlons.
It is Vanessa's pleasure to serve on R4R Board. Vanessa is married to Michael Martinez. They have two daughters and have four grandchildren. She is an Occupational Therapist Assistant. Vanessa also served as a facilitator for the Door of Hope program which helps women find freedom from the effects of sexual abuse. Vanessa believes together we can help end a stigma that prevents true recovery for many different types of suffering individuals. She is so proud to be part of this inspiring program that is shown to be uplifting to so many. Vanessa enjoys beach activities and recently took up running to keep up with all the wonderful events happening in our community through Runners4Recovery!
Paul is a licensed Mental Health Counselor. As a graduate of UNF, Paul has used his degree for many years as a therapist. Paul has received an Achievement Award for his work with children, adolescents and families. Prior to moving to the USA in 1999, Paul worked in the New Zealand educational system as a teacher. Paul is married to Lydia and has a daughter. Paul loves running
and traveling the world to watch elite road races. He got involved with R4R as he loves what running has done for so many people he has come into contact with. Mike (founder of R4R) and Paul have known each other for a long time and Mike's passion for this great cause meant Paul needed to get on board.
Kara is a Jacksonville native, mother of two young adults and loves animals. She has worked as an IT Professional for 30 years. Her passion for athletics and a healthy lifestyle began back in high school and she participated in soccer, softball and swimming. Kara started running to spend more time with her son. Her proudest athletic achievement was completing a Half IronMan in Haines City. Kara has another passion, and that is helping others in recovery with alcohol and drug addiction. Kara herself is in recovery and she is excited to serve on the Runners4Recovery Board of Directors. She feels like she can raise awareness for the recovery community and show people how they can benefit from a healthy and active lifestyle.
Cheryl is a wife, mother and grandmother, and family is everything to her. Cheryl’s professional background is advertising and printing and she and her husband own an air conditioning company. She is a Jacksonville native and absolutely loves the heat and the water. Cheryl started running after turning 40 to lose weight. She soon found the runner endorphin high and learned that running gave her much needed stress relief. Cheryl is passionate about R4R because she believes that because addiction is so stigmatized, people tend to hide the problem and/or pretend it doesn't exist. She wants to bring awareness to the problem and drop the stigmatization, so people will seek help sooner and have a better chance of recovery.
Kim resides in St. Augustine with her husband, Keith Brantly (a 1996 Marathon Olympian), and their two Jack Russels, Scout and Coco Bean. The former University of North Florida runner won national titles in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter events at the 1996 Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Championships, inducted into UNF’s Hall of Fame in 1996, and is a 4-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier.
Kim became involved with R4R because she sees it as a much-needed resource for this community. After working for Runwell, her perspective on addiction changed. Initially, she didn’t have empathy for those afflicted, but now, she better understands it as a disease; not a choice. “We need to change the narrative on addiction. It’s a horrible, destructive disease. Nobody ever wakes up one day saying that they want to be an addict. Ever. We need community-wide support, and we need to provide more opportunities for those seeking a life of recovery."
Rex is a person in long-term recovery. He is employed as the Client Service Representative for Stepping Stone Center For Recovery. He is currently working on his bachelor’s degree in human services with a focus on addiction. He hopes to one day become a therapist in the addiction treatment field. Rex is passionate and dedicated to showing the beauties of recovery to others struggling with addiction. Outside of work he enjoys spending his free time with his wife and son.
Kelley is a mother of three beautiful children - two sons and one daughter. She started running to help with stress during a divorce and fell in the love with the sport. Moving to Jacksonville in 2010, she met some wonderful ladies who brought her out of her comfort zone and introduced
her to distant running. Kelley has now completed 30+ half marathons, three marathons and one ultra relay across Florida. She is honored to be asked to serve on the board for Runners 4 Recovery. Having been around addiction with her brother for many years and experiencing how it can tear a family apart, Kelley wanted to do something to give back. She believes that running teaches each and every one of us that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. She hopes to help promote awareness of our organization and is ready to assist in any way possible BECAUSE WE DO RECOVER!
Judie is a health and fitness advocate with a heart for the recovery community. Evidence supports that healing from trauma and addiction can be aided through incorporating running and fitness into an overall recovery program that embraces a healthy body, mind and spirit. We are all in recovery of one type or another. Addiction is a family disease and it impacts everyone in the addict's immediate and extended family, including friends. Her goal is to share a message of hope and healing to all. Judie recently relocated to Jacksonville and was thrilled to discover a vibrant and welcoming running scene. She enjoys running on roads, on trails and in the stairwells of tall buildings. Judie is a member of the USA Stair Climb Championship Team and a nationally ranked competitive tower runner. She is also a former middle school cross-country coach, a mom of two and most recently became a dog-mom too! When she's not running, Judie works full-time as a software sales executive and she is a volunteer member of the ATAP marketing committee. She also serves as the outreach to professionals for the local al-anon district. Judie loves cycling, yoga, camping, waterfall hunting, reading, music, the performing arts and she likes to spend time in the kitchen whipping up plant-based/vegan dishes. Judie is thrilled to serve on the BOD for Runners 4 Recovery and considers this an opportunity to share the joy of running and the love of the R4R tribe while increasing overall awareness for recovery related initiatives to the community.