Jo Anne King
Bet you can’t guess which of the following has happened to our female NRCer of the month while running! Was she: 1) chased by a naked man, 2) yelled at by a driver who got out of their car, or 3) threatened by a gun-toting land owner? Unbelievably, the answer is all of the above! Jo Anne King has been bravely running the streets of Nolensville solo for 17 years. To this day she isn’t sure exactly who to credit for being the final push in her coming to NRC. All she knows is that a man and two women ran past her home as her husband, Mark, was corralling their dog. Mark mentioned that Jo Anne ran, to which the man replied, “Tell her to come out to NRC!”
Like many of us, she was nervous that she would be the slowest, most out of shape runner there, but with the support of her family she started coming on Saturdays in March 2011. Since then, this warm and welcoming runner has come to be a truly beloved member of NRC.
A native Nashvillian, Jo Anne has lived here all her life. She didn’t run or play sports as a child and was a little overweight. Her 6th grade teacher wrote a note in her report card meant to be an accolade, offering, “She is a very well-rounded young girl.” The youthful Jo Anne took it literally and was devastated. Although unintentional, it made such an impact that she started getting active and has remained so ever since.
Jo Anne attended David Lipscomb University and obtained an accounting degree. Overcoming the challenges many women faced when trying to advance at the time, she found rewarding work doing independent legal research. She continued her career in this field although she has provided accounting services from time to time. She and her husband, Mark, have two sons, Taylor and Burton, and a daughter, Hallie, who also runs with NRC when she can. Jo Anne is proud of all her children and only wishes they could all be together more often.
While she says she has no secret talents (at least that she would reveal to me), Jo Anne is passionate about cooking! She’d rather cook at home than go out to eat, and when Jo Anne goes to the library she grabs as many cookbooks as she’s allowed to check out and goes home to pour through them for fun. Even if she gets just one good recipe out of a cookbook, it’s worth it. She really enjoys cooking for others and was one of the many NRCers who saved me from starvation after my son was born. I still have happy memories of that meal and vote Jo Anne head of the yet-to-be-formed NRC cookbook committee!
The Kings moved to Nolensville in 1994 to enjoy the simple life. Nestled in the woods off the main road, they have a great spot for outdoor events. Last month they generously hosted NRCers and their families for a post-Middle Half bonfire. It was perfect! The kids had plenty of room to run, which meant the adults could rest their legs while getting warm by the fire and stargazing.
Still, being fairly secluded, Jo Anne didn’t have many chances to meet people when they first moved to town. One day she saw a neighbor at the school where their children went and got the nerve up to ask if she’d like to carpool. The woman curtly replied that if she’d wanted to carpool, she would have asked her. Ouch! Bruised from the response, Jo Anne decided she would just have to get out on her own. Al a Rocky Balboa, she jumped rope first and then began walking the roads of Nolensville. Walking turned to running, and the more she was out and about, the more she found her neighbors waving and slowing their cars to say hello.
Although she makes it look easy now, it wasn’t always that way. With only a stopwatch to go by, she was the type of runner who ran as fast and as far as she could every run. Her body was not able to build up endurance because she was winded the whole time. Since running with a group she has learned so much and feels she is a better runner because of NRC.
She will be the first to tell you that while she loves to run, she does NOT love to race. In some ways races are contrary to Jo Anne’s running philosophy. For example, she is about sticking together, while races are about sprinting ahead. Still, she has completed several races and even medaled in her age group (Firecracker 5k 2013)!
One race she does every year is the Boulevard Bolt on Thanksgiving morning, which the Kings run as a family tradition. She admits the other races she’s done have been through the persistent nudging of NRCers. (That’s putting it lightly!) She ran the Middle Half in 2012, unofficially. Another NRCer had to back out and Jo Anne was going to get their bib before the start, but they couldn’t find each other so she just ran the race without it. Such a rebel! She ran the Middle Half again this year, the Team Nashville 10 Miler this month with a 3rd place finish and is signed up for the Carmel Marathon in 2014.
She will always remember the 2013 Change for a Chance 5k and the people she met through the NRC Couch to 5k Program. She was a mentor for the awesome Walkers Texas Rangers team. Learning that a big fear for many of the participants was that they would be last to cross the finish line, she decided to let it be known that she would be purposefully finishing last to remove that worry from their minds and allow them to focus on their personal goals! As far as her goals, she simply wants to be running when she is 80 years old.
When she’s not running races, she’s volunteering at them. As Jo Anne puts it, “You may be the one person that makes or breaks someone who is discouraged or in pain and wants to quit.” She compares volunteering to mission work; “You go thinking that you are giving something to the people, but you get so much more than you give!”
Jo Anne says the beauty of NRC is that everyone is welcoming and willing to make the next person better. Plus, she has met people that she would never have had the opportunity to meet without NRC. “There is some competitiveness, which is also healthy,” she says, “but beyond the line of scrimmage everyone is accepted for who they are – no matter what.”
Jo Anne, you are a big part of what makes NRC so special! Thanks for all you give in supporting NRC and our running community! You make us better and we’re so glad you’re a member of our running family. Congrats!
This month’s male NRC Member is hands down one of the best at keeping the conversation going on a run and has even been known to talk a little smack when the miles get tough. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to find yourself in stride with Ken Moore, you know exactly what I mean.
Ken is about as Tennessee as they come. He’s as tall and lean as a Smoky Mountain Tulip Tree with a southern drawl as smooth as Muddy Pond Sorghum. He was born and raised in Brentwood, TN, but has lived in Nolensville for 30 years. He grew up admiring his sister and 3 brothers in their happy home and managed to stay out of trouble most of the time. However, one of his childhood claims to fame is that he managed to skip school in the 2nd grade! Innocently, he followed his big brothers down to the bus stop and then walked back home; of course, this was after his parents left for work, none the wiser. The crafty crew got to enjoy two weeks of eating candy and watching TV before the principal called. After that, he never missed school again, even when he could have.
It wasn’t until after high school, that Ken found true love. His sister bowled with a girl that she thought would be a perfect match. He admits he was a little skeptical, but when he went to the bowling alley and met Mary Beth, there was an instant connection. After that they were an exclusive pair and got married the next year.
Early on in their marriage they wanted to leave the country life of Nolensville for the big city! Well, that lasted about four months. Even though they weren’t too far from home (just down the road on Old Hickory Blvd.), they couldn’t stand it and moved back. Guess they knew Nolensville was a perfect place to raise their two boys, Rusty and Andy. They also share their home with their loyal Labrador/Shepard mix, Macy, who they don’t spoil one bit.
Ken was very supportive of his sons’ natural talent in sports, even volunteering to coach when they were little. He remembers how fun it was to be a part of the friendly competition between the Nolensville area teams during that time. That’s when he also first met NRC founder, Scott Alexander, whose sons played, too.
One of my favorite Ken stories is about his amazing wife. You see Mary Beth gives new meaning to the phrase, “pain threshold”. One night, she was rounding up the family to head to their son’s championship basketball game in Old Hickory, TN when she slipped and fell hard. Refusing to let it interfere with her seeing her son’s performance, she down played the pain and made it all the way to the game, before Ken realized that it was worse than they thought. She was in so much pain that she couldn’t even get out of the car. Ken rushed her to the hospital. Come to find out, she had broken her FEMUR!!! What a woman!
You can see how dedicated Ken and Mary Beth were to making sure their boys had the best experiences, which meant that pretty much all of their free time was spent cheering on their sons. But, they wouldn’t have it any other way. Now with their sons grown, they have a little more free time on their hands – more time to run with NRC or maybe more time to travel, which they love to do. A few favorite trips they’ve taken include a ski trip to Whistler, BC Canada and a Cancun adventure where they went on a moped excursion! (That I would love to see!) Ken also gets to travel with the Tennessee Titans from time to time to see them play and he makes an annual trip to Bristol Motor Speedway where I hear it can get a little rowdy.
It is safe to say Ken loves cars. He has dedicated 32 years of service to the clients of Beaman dealerships and is also an avid collector of antique cars. His favorite right now is a blue ’68 Pontiac Firebird. It was his second acquisition, only to a Model A Ford. You’ll often find him working on his cars with his father-in-law for hours. He’s helped many NRCers with their car needs when asked and even donated Beaman service certificates to numerous NRC charity events.
Luckily, for us, Ken decided that running would be a good way to stay fit. Before NRC, he and his coworkers would go out for lunch almost daily. When his schedule changed to include a few days at the Murfreesboro dealership, he started a habit of walking during his lunch hours 3 days a week. Mary Beth kept telling him about a running club in Nolensville and he was curious. He wanted to start running, but thought he couldn’t run with a club.
Then, they did the Change for a Chance 5K in 2012 to support the cause. They had so much fun that he decided he was ready to check out NRC. That first Wednesday night, he ran some and walked some. He recalls in the beginning running with Rachel Eller, because she never cared to walk if he needed to rest.
Before NRC, he would get about a quarter-mile in and have a panic attack and would have to walk. Running with NRC, he noticed he would get to talking and before he knew it, he’d have run a half-mile without even realizing it. That showed him that a big part of running is mental. With that mental toughness, he now encourages others, especially up those famous Nolensville hills.
This year, Ken decided to join his friends and run the Country Music Half Marathon. The weather was not kind for his first half, with rain and even hail, but Ken was prepared. He wore what is now the famous frog suit to keep him from getting soaked! Somehow, he got talked into running the Rutherford Relay the very next weekend. He had a great time, but he thinks it may be “good for his health” to just do one half per year, or even every other year. With that being said, he also ran the 2013 Middle Half finishing strong!
He has no other races planned currently and won’t be doing any marathons in the future. He is running to stay healthy and has noticed that many times injuries happen when people start overdoing things, but he is glad to have NRC to keep him motivated.
Congrats, Ken! We are so blessed to have you, your family and your stories as part of NRC!