Seven Inspiring Runners who will Speak at MCMTalks

Free mcm speaker sessions

MCMTalks delivers short, powerful messages from runners to runners during the MCM Runners Conference, taking place in conjunction with the Health & Fitness Expo during MCM Weekend. This free conference is a unique and exciting opportunity for runners to hear inspirational stories of goal-setting, mind-over-matter, lifestyle changes and overcoming tremendous obstacles to complete a 26.2 mile journey. Registration is required to attend either of these free sessions.

Appearing on both Friday and Saturday

Chris Koch (West Kelowna, British Columbia) – If I Can…

Despite the fact that he was born without arms and legs, Koch regularly completes distance events including this year’s MCM. He challenges others to get outside of themselves and try something they may have believed impossible. He is constantly setting new goals and inspires others to challenge themselves as well.

Friday, October 20 from Noon- 1 p.m.

Jeff Stachowiak (Kennesaw, Georgia) – Set Your Goal then Mark Your Calendar

Stachowiak knows the importance of setting goals and planning a calendar when training and running a marathon. He has completed 10ks and obstacle course races for many years, stressing that having a goal with a deadline (in this case the MCM) and a plan to achieve that goals helps keep runners focused on the steps necessary to successfully cross the finish line.

Paul Lekan (Strongsville, Ohio) – Why I Run – A Fat Guy Resolves to a Lifestyle

Lekan ran his first event- the Marine Corps Marathon in 2012. Lekan battled through training, anxiety and fears to push through 26.2 miles and emerge a very different person. He began to love the sport of runner calling himself a ‘runner.’ This year he returns to the MCM start line, delivering his message of transformation and healing along the way.

Marina Jones (Palm Desert, California) – Age Doesn’t Matter to this Wonder Woman

Jones proves power comes in small packages, no matter the age. The 65-year-old former flight attendant will complete her 99th marathon at this year’s MCM, having survived lung cancer caused by second-hand smoke. She is the oldest woman to have competed in the Olympic marathon trials, recording a finish time of 2:49:54 in 1996. She returned four years later, faster, completing the distance in just 2:40:00. Jones will offer the keys to success she has learned over her 35- year running career.

Saturday, October 21 from 1:15-2:15 p.m.

Amy Fisher (Brunswick, Maryland) – Why Yes, I Am a Marathoner

Fisher represents a first time marathoner, a new runner and a couch to activity middle-aged women. She suffered a cardiac episode and went on to lose 100 pounds. She became inspired to complete a marathon, beginner her training at 50 years old. Fisher claims, “if I can do it, anyone can do it. A mile is a mile. It doesn't matter if you run it quickly, at a moderate pace, or a slower pace. Challenge yourself to do things that lift you up, scare you, and make you feel unstoppable.”

Bret Parker (New York, New York) – Running with Parkinson’s – Looking for the Finish Line

Parker was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at just 38 years old. The MCM is part of his training to run seven marathons on seven continents next year on the tenth anniversary of his diagnosis. Parker has raised $400,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and will speak on turning passion and interest into athletic feats and unique fundraising events.

Will Hicks (Efland, North Carolina) – Your Mind: Get That Thing Working for Your Run!

The mind is a powerful tool, as Hicks will explain during his MCM Talk. The veteran runner and coach has been competing in events over four decades and brings his experience to the Runners Conference. Hicks urges the mind can be a great asset through challenges and a desire to give up, as long as you train it to serve you.

Registration is free and open to all runners and guests. Visit the MCM Runners Conference page to preview the entire weekend schedule including MCM Director Rick Nealis, experts from Runners World Magazine and others.