We launched our Suffer Better Ambassador program earlier this year, wanting to spread the word by tapping into the enthusiasm of our community. We were pretty blown away by both the number and quality of men and women who are so passionate about what Suffer Better is all about. Ultimately, we picked 16 men and women from around the country (shoot, we even had interested folks from Lithuania and Australia!). They each bring something different to the community and that's part of what makes them so special. We'll be profiling all 16 of them over the ensuing months, and here are two of them.
Heather Thomas, San Luis Obispo
The first thing you should know about Heather is something we should all take to heart; as she puts it: “I am enough and I have enough.” But don’t take that wrong; it does not mean she’s complacent and going nowhere. Far from it. As a devoted single mom, dedicated psychotherapist and passionate runner, Heather is committed to helping her son, her clients and her many running friends be their best selves. For Heather, Suffer Better was like seeing herself in the mirror – giving her all through school, building a biz, raising her son and, through it all, discovering ways of giving back. She’s all about endurance and seeing it through – “avoiding shortcuts and embracing the pain” it takes to reach her goals. Given her resilience and perseverance, her friends call her “Titanium.” As a Suffer Better ambassador, Heather is supporting No Kid Hungry, a program of Share Our Strength, which ensures kids get a decent breakfast so they can really learn. Last week Heather started a 50K run in CA, only to be forced out of the race and into the hospital with kidney failure. Her indomitable spirit stayed strong and she is on the road to recovery and, of course, her next event. Help us wish her well and thank her for what she does and gives.
Sal Hernandez, Irvine
Sal Hernandez is from Irvine, CA, where he's the GM of a Cal-inspired Italian eatery and wine shop, and, best of all, father to a 'masterpiece' of a little girl. Giving your all and giving back makes a ton of sense to Sal - he appreciates the importance of 'suffering' to challenge and improve himself, and is a steadfast believer in giving back to help others too. That's why he's a pacer with BlacklistLA, a nonprofit group that connects people in the LA community through art and running. Every Monday night some 300 runners gather and run through the streets of LA to check out the city's street art. BlacklistLA's newest program – 42/42 – links pacers, like Sal, with other runners to help them complete the LA Marathon. Sal also plans to join the celebration at BlacklistLA's HBD LA 5K, which celebrates the birth of LA in September. It's Sal's birthday celebration too - what a way to celebrate. BlacklistLA is super cool. Check 'em out, and if you are in LA - go run with them.
One really cool thing about these two is that, through Suffer Better, they have connected with one another. Heather is now planning to join Sal at the BlacklistLA HBD LA 5K and Sal has invited Heather and another of our CA-based ambassadors, Josh Cagwin in Temecula, to join his Spartan Race team. How cool is that? It's all about the community and connections. We love that.