Monday, April 1, 2013

Team Purple Spotlight: TNT Staff, Jennie Ellis, goes back to a PARTICIPANT!

The ladies here at Team In Training do not hesitate to go above and beyond for LLS. We recently caught up with TNT Campaign Coordinator, Jennie Ellis, to discuss her walk (or rather, run) on the wild side as she embraces her inner participant and trains for the Rock 'N' Roll San Diego Marathon, taking place this June. With a strong athletic background and her mind on the mission, Jennie trains and fundraises for a cure. Watch out San Diego!

Jennie Ellis and other TNT staff and support staff are all smiles at
the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon 2013 finishing tent.
(Left to right: Aileen Bleach, Roberta McCunney,
Carey Garrett, Kimberly Williams, and Jennie Ellis)
What is your athletic background? Have you ever done one of these events before?

Growing up, I was always involved in some sort of sport/activity. You name it, I did it. However, I was heavily involved in competitive swimming for many years and ran cross country in high school. I have participated in several 5K’s and 10K’s, but I have never completed a marathon or half marathon before. So San Diego will be my first marathon experience!

Have you ever fundraised before? Are you nervous? 

This is my first experience with fundraising. While I have helped others fundraise, this will be the first time I am doing it on my own. It is a little nerve wracking, but mostly I am excited by the challenge and the opportunity to further support the LLS mission.

What motivated you to sign up?

My aunt, Kimberly Williams, is a coach with TNT. She and her husband Ken have participated in many marathon/half marathon events with TEAM and have always encouraged me to sign up for one, but it never felt like the right time. When I first started working with TNT, I staffed our Atlanta Nike and Chicago marathon teams. I had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco with the Nike team and the entire event weekend was a huge inspiration to me. I was so proud of my participants, and so inspired and motivated by all they had accomplished. I knew I wanted that feeling, so I decided to sign up for San Diego.

How long have you been with LLS?

I have kind of run the gamut with our LLS campaigns! I began working for LLS part time in May of 2011 as a recruiter on the Light The Night campaign, then received another part time position as a Campaign Assistant for our Special Events Department before starting to work full time with Team In Training in May 2012. I have really enjoyed learning the aspects of our different campaigns at LLS and am loving working for TNT.

What is your favorite aspect of being a TNT participant?

The thing I enjoy most is getting to see this campaign from the other side, the participant side. It really helps to know what the campaign is all about, why it is so special to our participants, and what makes them keep coming back. You get the opportunity to meet such amazing people and to hear their stories. It is definitely what keeps me going and what motivates me to go that extra mile when it seems impossible. While I have no personal connection to the mission, the participants and patients I have worked with are my inspiration. You know what you are doing is making a huge difference in people’s lives. I feel so fortunate to be able to give back to them by fundraising for LLS.

What goals do you have for the season?

Ideally, I’d like to finish the marathon in under 5 hours. However, I will be happy just to cross that finish line (preferably with my arms in the air and not a horrible look on my face). I have this fear that something will happen the day before the race, like I’ll break my toe or something. So finishing is a definite! Also, I would love to be able to raise at least $500 over my fundraising commitment, which is $3,200. The main goal here is to support the LLS mission so our patients can have access to better treatments and services, and we can eventually find a cure for these diseases. I know every dollar that is raised is critical, so the more that I can contribute towards that overarching goal, the better!

Way to go Jennie !

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