Five Star NTP Ambassadors are committed racers who are passionate about the Five Star race experience. Read about their inspiring running stories below!

(P.S. None of them bite, so be sure to introduce yourself if you see them at a race!)

Alex Garcia

I first started running when I was in the Marine Corps and to be honest, I despised it and wasn’t very good at it.


When I got out of the Marines, I gained some serious weight. Time went by and I had a physical scheduled. My doctor told me I was seriously obese and my blood pressure was all out of whack. I decided to make some changes and slowly got into running. I dropped 100 pounds and love running now. I enjoy road races, trail races and obstacle races. When I run now, it’s kind of an escape for me and resets me.

Michael Selman

Since last month, everything has changed, so this month’s column is going to be much different than previous ones.  These are not fun times, but it does not mean we cannot still have fun.  It just means we have to find it in different places to find it.  So much is going on around us, and each one of us has been impacted in profound and painful ways.  Some of us are now out of work, and are no longer receiving a paycheck.  Some of us are still working but are facing the daily reality that our job can put us in harm’s way.  Some of us have to manage a new act of home schooling children while juggling all their other responsibilities.  And around it all, there is the constant fear that we may be the next person infected with a virus that every day is becoming more and more out of control.  


With the sky falling all around us, motivation to run can be particularly challenging, especially for those of us who live primarily to race.  With all the races coming to a halt, it can be very easy to lose the desire to still get out there and just run.  For those of you struggling with motivation to run, please don't throw in the towel. There is more reason to run today than even before:


When I was in my 20s and 30s, I ran to race and for the T-shirts

When I was in my 40s, I ran to try to keep my "real" age lower than my actual age

When I was in my 50s, I ran to keep my weight down and my blood pressure low

When I was in my early 60s, I ran because I could and it was a gift that few people my age still have.

Today, I run to get fresh air, to pray to my G-d, and because it is one of the few things I still have a degree of control of.


My point is simply this.  If the reason you run is losing its meaning, find a new reason, and just do it. As many have said, you'll never regret a run you have done....only the ones you haven't.  Racing will resume at some point, and who knows.  By then, your entire purpose for running may be different than it was before.

Since many of us are now spending a lot more time at home than we’re used to, I want to introduce a couple of Facebook running groups that I have always found to be helpful, but this might be a good time to introduce you to them.


Running Motivation Group

This group currently has over 70,000 members and runs the gamut from brand new runners to seasoned veterans. It is a fairly chatty group, but overall is very supportive and informative.  It is a great group for support and motivation.  I don’t think it is well moderated though, so some posts can be a little off the mark and go down a wrong path.


Running After 60 Group

For greybeards like me, this is an excellent group.  It is also a combination of new runners just starting out, and world class older runners with an amazing range of stories to tell, and lessons to share.  It is very well managed and moderated, and very welcoming to new members, and has a lot of amazing older runners.


So, have a safe month, make smart decisions, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing you all on the other side of the curve.


Michael Selman

Senior Ambassador

Five Star NTP

Mitchell Novy

 Having over 20 years of racing experience, Mitch is a veteran on the roads, trails, and track. He has fast PR's, wonderful training advice, but most importantly, he is constantly willing to spread that knowledge of training and racing to the metro Atlanta running community. Jumping on board with Five Star NTP, Mitch feels that he can continue his outreach in helping other runners reach their goals. He loves to inspire runners of all ages. Mitch plans on continuing his pursuit of being competitive in the local road race scene as well as the trails in nearby city parks. 


Check out his running blog below and follow him on social media!

Norman Wenger

I’ve always been a physical guy, working construction in my early years, and keeping a hand in it when I began designing houses. 40 was fast approaching when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), which can be severely crippling. Eight years passed with the disease progressing and no clear solutions. Then my daughter asked me to begin walking with her to help with her lacrosse training & fitness. While she was away at camp, I got bored walking alone and started jogging a bit. Before I knew it, I was running 3 miles at a time! Then my daughter talked me into entering a 5k at her middle school. I was stunned when I won 2nd in age group! Soon my college-age daughter encouraged me to enter a race in her college town. 2nd in age group again, and received my award from NFL running back (& Georgia Southern alum) Adrian Peterson!! I’d found something I enjoyed that I was good at and I was hooked.

I have recently celebrated 3.5 years since my first race. I’ve just passed the 200th race, including 5k, 10k, several half-marathons and even 2 marathons. I’ve moved on to a different age group now, but still enjoy bringing home those medals – even a couple grand masters!

While exercise can’t cure MS, keeping my mind & body in top condition helps to reduce the long term effects of a relapse, and thankfully, with recent advances in medical research, I’ll be able to get out there with my running mates for many more years.

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