Run It Fast – The Club Profile Donna Pittman #181

RIF #181 Donna as an honorary Hatfield at the Hatfield McCoy Marathon

Time for another Run It Fast – The Club profile! This week, we are spotlighting RIF #181 Donna Pittman. I met Donna at the Flying Monkey Marathon earlier this month and we got to run for a little while together which I really enjoyed. The Flying Monkey Marathon is hard enough but Donna had a little mishap during it that made it even more challenging but she survived…I mean, finished and got her first Monkey kill. Read her “don’t” below to read all about it!

Meet Donna:

Name: Donna Pittman
RIF #: 181
Facebook: Donna Johnson Pittman

Years Running: 5.5 years
Favorite Race Distance: 13.1
Favorite PR: Kentucky Derby Marathon
Favorite Race: Oak Barrel Half Marathon
Favorite Bling: Hatfield-McCoy Marathon finisher’s plaque in a mason jar.
Next Race: My first trail marathon at Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky on March 9.
What Makes You FEEL Fast?: Finishing strong and when I do tiny races and come out with an age group placement.

Who inspires your running and why?
The members of this RIF Club inspire me daily. I love how so many are “outside the box” runners completing extreme challenges in terms of distances, back-to-back races, running on trails and up mountains. You all search out adventure, not just another 5K PR, and I need more people like that in my life.

What is the strangest/funniest thing you’ve ever seen while running?
The strangest thing I’ve ever DONE on a run was at the Run Under the Stars in June of this year. I guess because it is a night race or because I overloaded on sodium, my feet swelled to the point that my shoes no longer fit by mile 13. I had huge blisters and all my toenails hurt. I thought I was going to have to finish in flip flops. Then I figured if MY shoes didn’t fit, why not try someone else’s? My friend James had already run about 20 miles in his shoes and was switching to fresh ones. So, I put on his hot, sweaty men’s shoes three sizes too big and completed my first 50K in them. My friends said I looked like I was running in clown shoes, but hey, whatever works.

Which of your running routes makes you the happiest and why?
My happy place is the Bicentennial Trail in Ashland City, TN. It is 17 minutes from my house. On one side, it is a four-mile paved path along the river. There is an old wooden bridge to cross and even a little waterfall in one spot. The other side is a dirt road/trail along the river for a few miles, then I follow the road through a campground, beside a little beach, and past Cheatham Dam. It’s where I discovered long-distance running. The first time I ever ran 13.1 miles was there. 6. Have you ever worn a costume during a race? What was it and for what race? If not, would you?

Why do you race?
Well, certainly not to win! I love being a part of the community of runners. That camaraderie is my favorite part. I talk to people in port-o-john lines. I initiate conversations on the course. I stay afterwards just hanging out. I enjoy spending time with my old friends and make new ones. In two of my five marathons, I’ve made a friend around mile 13 and stayed with him/her until the end. We shared our life stories (at my pace, we are talking for 2+ hours….), but most importantly, we shared the suffering. Suffering shared is so much better than suffering alone. I do races for fun, mostly, but a few times a year, I go all out to see what my body can do. I’ve only “left it all out there” a couple of times though. I need to do that more often.

What was your biggest “don’t” of a race?
Falling down at the 10.7 mark of the Flying Monkey Marathon is my biggest “don’t.” I had never fallen on pavement or a trail before. One minute I was talking to Lisa Gonzales, the next minute I was looking at sky. I stepped in a pothole in the asphalt, rolled my left ankle, and went down hard on the right side. I sprained my ankle and my wrist. Then I had to run 15.5 more miles. But, I figure the Monkey was going to hurt anyway…..

What running moment are you most proud of?
The race I’m most proud of is the April 2012 Kentucky Derby Marathon. I trained hard, studied the course, and wrote a detailed race plan of what pace when. I even wrote my goal splits in Sharpie on my arm for miles 13, 16, 20, 23, and 25. I executed my plan exactly, ran negative splits, and finished 3 minutes ahead of my “best-case scenario” goal. It was a nine-minute PR, and I definitely left it all out there. Those last couple of miles hurt, but were my fastest of the day.

Finally, we asked Donna if there was anything else she would like the rest of the club to know and that is what she had to share:
When I started running in 2006, I absolutely fell in love. Running changed my life. I knew I had to share this amazing experience with others, so I became a RRCA certified running coach. Over the last three years, I’ve coached aspiring runners ages 5-12, led two Couch to 5K training groups, and have helped 122 runners and run/walkers cross their first half-marathon finish line. As a coach, I’ve discovered that most people just need someone to believe in them. I love sharing my passion with others!


Donna said she admires RIF – The Club members for being ” “outside the box” runners ” but I think she shows a lot of that herself…like wearing “clown shoes” so she can keep running at the Run Under The Stars race (a timed, loop race). She also obviously has a LOT of determination to not quit after spraining her ankle while running the Flying Monkey. She passed me later on in the race and I had no idea that she was hurting like that! I admire Donna for her guts, her outside the box thinking, and her willingness to help other runners and give back! Thanks for sharing Donna! Good luck with your next race and…Run It Fast!

I am seeing an awesome trend while doing these profiles of Run It Fast – The Club members. So many of them are helping others and giving back to the running community and I think that’s what makes it such a great club. It is so cool to have so many supportive and encouraging runners help each other and push each other to be the best we can be!

If you’d like to join Run It Fast – The Club or would like more information about it, please click this link:

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[All photos submitted by Donna Pittman]



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This post was written by:

- who has written 717 posts on Run It Fast®.

Lisa (RIF Club Member #5) has completed 27 half marathons, 13 marathons, 5 50Ks, 2 12 Hour races, and 1 100K. Her favorite races to date are the Disneyland Half Marathon, the Leading Ladies Marathon, the Bataan Memorial Death March, and the Jackson Jackass 50K. You can follow her on Twitter @runlikeacoyote

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