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Tuesday night I got to experience one of my favorite moments as a dedicated runner. Thanks to some good timing, the runner’s spirit of adventure, and Twitter, I got to not only hear a talk by Bart Yasso, the Mayor of Running and the Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World magazine–but I also got to pick his brain during a two-hour dinner.

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Me, average runner, and Bart Yasso, the Mayor of Running. NBD.

“As a breed, runners are a pretty gutsy bunch.” –Bart Yasso (My Life on the Run, xiv)

Mizuno and Big Peach Running Company brought him to town for running and speaking events at two different stores. I have read a lot of Bart Yasso’s writings, and even met him briefly last year at the Peachtree Road Race expo. But this would be the first time I’d hear him speak. I managed to get in to the sold-out event along with several other running/blogging friends. Katie, Jesica, Elizabeth, Melissa, Amy and I made plans to have dinner after the talk.

As plans started to firm up, I thought, “Hey, I wonder who Bart Yasso is having dinner with?” Since I didn’t know, and since you never know until you ask, I took to Twitter and invited him out with us.

“You so crazy,” said Katie.

“You’re cray,” said my sister.

“Sounds like fun!” said Bart Yasso.

Wait, what?!?

So that’s how we roped Bart Yasso into dinner with us.

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Southern hospitality, y’all!

“Keep Doing What You’re Doing”–Bart Yasso

Prior to dinner, we showed up at BPRC with a crowd of about 50. Everyone headed out on a hot summer evening 4-miler, except for Elizabeth and me (she is recovering from surgery, and I was being true to a pledge I took to take a full week off running). Afterward, we all listened to an awesome presentation by Bart on just several of the many places he has run over the years. He truly is an ambassador for the sport of running. It has done him so much good, really changed and re-directed his life, and he wants everyone to experience that (something I really relate to–I just want everyone to know the joy I have!). He is humble and gracious and witty–if ever you have the chance to hear him speak or to meet him, do. Read his book, too. He has lived a full life, through running. He will inspire you and make you want to run, to run everywhere and to run for a lifetime.

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I’m putting this book on my “Must-Read Books for Runners” List

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Describing one of his many adventures

Afterward we walked next door to a Thai restaurant and had dinner. It was just the seven of us–Bart and the ladies, and we had a nice time. We talked favorite races, social media and running, and what it’s like to be on the road for 150 days out of the year (his example pretty much destroys excuses for not running when traveling, guys!). He also, apparently needs very little sleep. I’m jealous.

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Bart Yasso and his #runnerfuel (vegetarian pad thai, btw).

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From left: Amy, Jesica, Me, BART YASSO, Elizabeth, Melissa, Katie

I’m just blown away by how gracious and open he was to our little group of star-struck runners. Reading his book now, I’m honestly not that surprised–he loves other runners and part of what makes him so good at his job is his openness to them. I also am taking to heart his words that he told the group at BPRC and our smaller dinner crowd, too: “Keep doing what you’re doing.” And by that, he meant, keep running, keep encouraging people from all walks of life to run, and keep the running community thriving. I am pretty confident that if you were talking to him, he’d tell you that, too!

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