2020 Luray Ambassador Team

Introducing the 2020 Luray Ambassador Team! Look for them at our Luray events!

Sharon Adams

Sharon Adams is a Reston, VA based personal trainer, USAT certified triathlon and run coach, yoga and bootcamp instructor and runs her business, Rising Sun Fitness.

She is a mom to Phoebe and Forrest (and two labs!) and lives her passion of fitness and wellness daily!

Her mission is to change lives through the love of movement, the excitement of achieving goals and the beauty of making the most of each day!

She has a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology, is an Ironman, multiple USATriathlon Nationals competitor, and USA Triathlon All – American since 2014.

She can be reached at sharon@risingsunfitness.com

Daniel Barnes

Hi my name is Daniel and I began competing in Triathlon’s in 2017 after coming from a running background. I remember finishing my first sprint triathlon and thinking “that was so much fun, let’s go again”. Ever since then I have been in love with the sport. I joined Team FeXY soon after and since then have completedmultiple Olympic distance triathlons and 1 half Ironman.
I have 2 kids and strive to show them and others the importance of physical activity for having a healthy long life as well as the beauty the outdoors brings.
As an ambassador and athlete I enjoy seeing people get involved in the sport and find a passion for having an active lifestyle and just having fun in the sport.
I completed my first half Ironman last year at Chattanooga and look forward to completely my first full distance Ironman at Chattanooga this September and can’t wait to see where triathlon takes me in the future.

Amy Byard

I am originally from Frederick, MD and now live in Hagerstown, MD. I am married with 2 children & work as a speech-language pathologist in a hospital.
I proudly represent middle age, working mothers, wives and middle-of-the-pack athletes. I was not an athletic kid growing up but my parents always instilled that I could do anything I put my mind to. I remember running a mile to the gym from my college dorm and thinking it was so far. I did my first few 5K’s with my husband simply to see if I could do it. Every step seemed like work and honestly I didn’t enjoy it. But I did it. So I did more. Then I set my sights for longer distances and I did them. From my very first half marathon, I was hooked. The thrill of race day adrenaline, the excitement of the pre-race crowd, the  camaraderie with strangers, the socialization with my friends, the sense of accomplishment and that feeling of crossing the finish line was something I knew I wanted more of. The first year I did triathlons, I was terrified of the swim portion but over time and practice, tri’s are now my favorite type of race. I have a tight group of friends that I run with regularly and a very supportive family.   Our family organizes and hosts the Global 6K for Water in Hagerstown, MD. This event has provided clean drinking water in underdeveloped countries to 594 children over the last 3 years. I truly believe this is why God led me to running. Over the past 10 years, I have completed 10 milers, half marathons, marathons, duathlons, triathlons and distance relays but I’ve fallen in love with multisports. I am dabbling in trail races and I’m currently training for my first Ultramarathon and first Half Ironman this summer. I am excited to hear what your race goals are for this year and to meet you at the next Racine race!

Kathy Davis

Hello! My name is Kathy Davis and I hail from Roanoke, VA. I am a Navy Veteran and registered nurse with a Master’s in Health Care Quality. I currently work as the Senior Coordinator of Clinical Research for the Roanoke Heart Institute. I have never really been athletic growing up. In fact, I was quite obese through my child hood and my young adult life. I started working out for weight loss and found a passion for strength training. I did CrossFit for several years, and then a friend asked me to do a sprint triathlon with her in September 2016…the rest is history. I was hooked! Since then, I have completed multiple sprints, international distances, four 70.3’s and a 140.6 at Iron Man Mont Tremblant 2018. The bike is my favorite. Swimming is a close second. Running is very low on the favorites list…but I am trying hard to fall in love with it. I am super excited this season for the VBR 70.3 which is going to be in my home town/ back yard. As recent empty nester, I am spending much of my time trying to grow and rebuild the Roanoke Triathlon Club as their new President. I am looking forward to being a part of the Luray Ambassador Team, promoting and racing these amazing races, and building relationships with my fellow athletes!

Kandis Gibson

I started my triathlon journey in 2014 after a dear friend lost her battle with breast cancer at 33.  It was a wake up call to be better at life and finally take the plunge on a few things I had been too scared or busy to pursue.  Triathlon was at the top of the list.  I had been running and cycling separately and lifting, but I wanted to take things to the next level.  My first race was the Luray International distance and I was hooked.  Since then, I have completed several olympic distance races, 7 half-Ironman distance races and 5 full Ironman.
I am originally from Upstate NY, but have called the DMV my home for the past 15years.  I love bringing new people to triathlon and one of my best tri moments was doing a sprint relay last year with my 71 year old uncle!  I’m excited to be an Ambassador this year and am looking forward to my 4th Luray International (and second Hawksbill Double!)

Amanda Himmelwright

Hi!  My name is Amanda Himmelwright and I am a wife, a mother, a full-time occupational therapist, and a runner.  My story begins in August 2009, when it was suggested that I consider medication for controlling several elevated blood pressure readings.

At the time, I was 29 years old and a mother to a 3-year-old and a 5-month-old.  I asked for an eight-week trial, without medication, to see what I could do myself to lower my blood pressure.  I decided to go for a run, it sounded easy enough.  Let me be very clear, it was NOT easy.  I ran for 5 seconds before stopping to hold my chest and catch my breath. But, I didn’t stop.  At the end eight weeks, I was down 9 pounds and my blood pressure dropped, though was still slightly elevated.  I asked for more time.

I continued to “run.” Eventually I was able to run a little further without stopping, and my blood pressure decreased as my energy increased.  Then I noticed something – my daughters were watching. I signed up for a 5k.  Then I signed up for a half marathon.  And, before I ran that half marathon, I had already registered for another so that I couldn’t stop at just one. In a 16 months’ time, my blood pressure was holding steady within normal limits and I had lost a total of 80 pounds.  I signed up for a full marathon next, followed by a Racine Multisports duathlon. I refused to stop.

With any journey, amongst the celebrations, there are obstacles to overcome, and I had my share. Five years ago, with the help of my husband, a tiny close-knit group of family and friends, and a holistic nutritionist, I fought my way through an eating disorder with every ounce of my being.  After all, though they weren’t fully aware, my daughters were still watching me.  I focused on running just a few half marathons during that delicate process, as the training of and running a full marathon was too detrimental on my body during my recovery. There are still instances when the mental barriers float to the surface; but I made a promise to myself that “You are worth so much more than this.”

Fast forward to this moment and I have never been healthier or happier with myself.  I am SO HAPPY that Racine Multisports has announced its first distance running event and have my sights set on the Inaugural Luray Half Marathon in September of 2019.  Luray 13.1 will not only coincide with my 10-year health journey anniversary, BUT, upon crossing that finish line, it will mark the completion of my 50th half marathon. Running through that familiar Racine arc at the finish line will feel like “coming home,” as the Racine family couldn’t be any more supportive to our community.

Over the course of a (almost) 10-year journey, I have completed 49 half marathons, five full marathons, three Racine Duathlons, two sprint triathlon relays, six 200-mile relay races, a 26.2k, five 10 mile races, and various 10k’s, 6k’s and 5k’s.  I’m proud to have been chosen as a Luray Race Series Ambassador for Racine Multisports and I’m eager to recruit volunteers, participants and to cheer YOU on!  You ARE worth it and NOTHING is impossible!

Gwynnavier Jones

Gwynnavier Jones is a fitness instructor and triathlete currently living in beautiful Luray, VA. She feels that her mission in the fitness industry is to empower individuals to create sustainable solutions for lasting health, happiness, and confidence. Her vision is a world where daily acts of self-love and care are a regular part of life.

Gwynnavier enjoys her involvement in persistent training as an Olympic and Sprint distance triathlete. Her focus is to be an optimistic ambassador for people in the sport while inspiring them to find their potential.

She would like everyone to know that, “By sharing the experience and knowledge as a triathlete, my plan is to help motivate and provide the opportunity to learn. True joy and satisfaction are achieved when we push ourselves to the limits achieving that flow state. In that moment is when we can we live life to the fullest! Viva la Vida!!”

In 2019, she ran her first half marathon and she is currently training for her first half Ironman in September!!

Jeremiah Knight

I was born, raised and live in Stanley where I am currently a member of the Stanley Town Council, also coach little league baseball and page youth football.

I enjoy all types of fitness from lifting, running, biking, hiking and any kind of endurance event. I ran in several races in 2019 from 5K’s trail runs obstacle course races and a half marathons. I am going to add A triathlon and duathlon to that list this year.
I enjoy competing against other athletes as well as pushing my self to newer and challenging levels. I enjoy the time putting  in the training and grinding it out working to the next goal, next race, or next level. It’s not the person who pushes hardest, it’s the person who pushes hardest once the pain sets in.

Lili Leonard

After losing 100 lbs., Lili began competing in triathlons in 2010. She instantly fell in love with the sport and has been hooked ever since. Lili has participated in all but one Luray Triathlon weekend since 2012 (missing 2014 to compete in Timberman 70.3) and 2019 will mark her 6th Luray Double! Lili lives in Dickerson, Maryland with her wife and two dogs.

Michael Oliveira

I’m originally from Massachusetts and lived in several states including Rhode Island North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, and DC. I moved to Kensington, MD in 2009 where I reside with son and wife today.

I began competing in multisport events in 2004 after coming from a competitive cycling background.  The early portion of my racing career revolved around joining friends to train and race. Every race and get together was an experience. It was a social outlet that included Olympic distance triathlons or shorter distance events.

In 2008, we lost my son Grayson due to complications shortly after his birth. It took a time to come to terms with the loss and find the best path forward. I came to realize that it would help the healing process to identify some way to honor my son’s life. I decided to support a cause that provides families with experiences that last a lifetime while training for an Ironman.  In 2014, we raised money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Grayson’s name leading up to Ironman Lake Placid. My journey was supported by an amazing group of friends and family.

I have since completed 2x Ironman’s, 10x 70.3’s, and bunch of shorter distance multisport and running events.  I joined the PHPI Elite team in 2016 and presently race with Sheehy Lexus Ambassador team.  I’m thrilled to be part of the Racine Ambassador Team Luray.

As an ambassador and athlete, I enjoy supporting others in their journey. It’s been a fulfilling way to give back to the sport that has given so much to me.  It provides a purpose much bigger than a single person. At the end of the day, my thoughts come back to my son who will always be in my heart.

Danielle Painter

I’ve come a long way in my fitness journey. During my teenage years and early twenties, I was always on the heavy side, and so uncomfortable in my own skin. After giving birth to my son, I decided enough was enough, and that I needed to make a change in my life. In 2011, I started to work on losing weight. I counted calories, and made sure I did some form of physical activity every day. Slowly but steadily, I had managed to shed 15lbs in a three month span. Time passed, the weight continued to come off, my confidence grew, and I began to think of more ambitious goals for myself.

I began running in 2012, with the simple goal of finishing a 5k, just to see if I could do it, and to do it for no one but myself. I finished that race second in my age category, and was hooked. I loved the outlet that running gave me, and I definitely loved the sense of accomplishment in working hard, and finishing well. By 2018 I needed to accomplish something bigger for myself. I learned how to swim, and that year I finished first in the novice category in my first Sprint triathlon, and completed my first half marathon. 2019 brought the Hawksbill Double, which is an Olympic distance triathlon, followed by a Sprint distance triathlon the next day, along with another half marathon. I already have a handful of races lined up for 2020, and am looking forward to race season, and the grind that makes finishing possible.

Endurance racing has really given me the confidence in myself that I lacked for a long time. I’m a perfect example of what happens when you make one small change to better yourself. That one small change all those years ago has overflowed into so many other parts of my life, and I am so grateful for taking a chance on myself.

Julie Rogers

Julie Rogers is the Fitness Director for Orangetheory Fitness in Northern Virginia and DC. She loves passing along her love for endurance sports to her members, and helping them feel the accomplishment of crossing the finish line. Her love for fitness followed in the footsteps of her mom, who she does at least one triathlon with every year. She has competed in more than 15 triathlons, 6 marathons, and many other races. Her favorite sport of them all is swimming. When she isn’t training for a race, you can catch her taking class at OTF, doing hot yoga, and volunteering as a member of the Leadership Committee for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Evans Rohrbaugh

Evans is 50 years old, racing in master races 45+. He has raced almost every kind of bicycle there is since starting with BMX at 14 ….. BMX, Road, MTB, cyclocross, Track, and gravel.

He has taken up Duathlons, starting last year at the Hagerstown Duathlon #2 where he finished 6th in 45+, and had the 2nd fastest bike split. He is looking forward to racing the Luray Duathlon!

Monica Sanders

My name is Monica Sanders. I first got into sports at age 14 when I was recruited to run middle distance track and field.

I’ve always ridden bikes for fun, even commuting while in law school, but never thought of becoming a multi sport athlete. I signed up for a half century ride and got hooked on cycling. But the real transition came after doing some of Racine Multisport’ s open water swims and clinics. The open water and race atmosphere is what keeps me coming back to triathlon.

My goals for this year are to go from completing to competing again. I also want to elevate my triathlon “practice” from sprints to International distance. Along the way, I hope to inspire other beginners to get out there and try!

Courtney Smith

Hi! I am Courtney Smith and I live in Chester, MD. 2019 was my first year in triathlon. I was a collegiate athlete and remember buying a book on triathlon when I was 18 because I was attracted to the sport. Almost 20 years later, at the age of 37 I decided it was time to fulfill that dream. I am a full time single mom, and own 2 businesses (Smith and 7 SEO Agency and Chesapeake Bartenders), so I fully embrace the saying “where there is a will, there is a way!”
Prior to tri, I ran some half marathons, and shorter distance races. In 2019 I completed my first sprint and OLY tri early in the season, and was hooked. I went on to complete 8 triathlons in 2019 including Age Group Nationals in Cleveland (OLY) and Ironman Maryland. I a 2020 member of Team Triumph Race Team, which is all about “crushing it with a smile” and being a positive ambassador of the sport.
My goal in tri is to set a great example for my son, so he knows he can do anything he puts his mind to. I am also incredibly passionate about recruiting people into tri, especially single moms, because I believe it is a way for them to relieve stress, get healthy and improve their lives. My goal is to one day start a non-profit that supports single parents in triathlon.

Linda Thoma

What prompted you to start running?
In 2012, we were living with my mom in Maryland so she could help out with the boys. We needed a way to de-stress at the end of the day, so my husband suggested we download the Bridge to 5k app.

How did you start?
We ran about 3 times a week, usually when we got home from work. I suggested we do a 5k as a goal and we picked the Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5k. It was a great first race! When we moved over to Fairfax from Maryland, I was a lurker in the Fairfax/Chantilly MRTT group for a while. I finally decided to join a welcome run and met some amazing women. I joined the couch to 5k group and the rest is history. Now, I am co-chapter leader along with 2 other amazing women. Our chapter currently has 945 members.

What was the biggest hurdle to running and how did you get over it?
The biggest hurdle was the guilt I had when I was not spending time with my boys. I was not used to taking time out for myself. Once we had established a routine it got a lot easier. I don’t have any guilt nowadays and I have become super organized. It is so important for me to have time away even if it is just for a little bit. I come back happier, more energetic and able to be a better mom and wife.

What is the most rewarding part of your running life?
Getting stronger and inspiring other family members, friends and coworkers to start healthier habits. Also, meeting amazing people!

What kind of changes did you make to what and how you ate while running?
I was a vegetarian before I started running, but was eating a lot of processed convenience foods. Now, I am eating more unprocessed foods and experimenting with new foods and recipes. I love my smoothie maker and instant pot.

What advice would you give to a beginner runner?
Start out slow, foam roll, don’t compare yourself to others, and have fun!

Sandra Troutman

I’m just a dreamer making a choice to live in my purpose.

In 2010 I signed up to run a half marathon, as a fitness challenge at work. I was motivated to meet the challenge because I was extremely out of shape.  After the birth of her second child, I decided to participate in an office fitness challenge to run a half marathon.  Honestly, I didn’t know the distance of a half marathon (13.1 miles- which I discovered the day of the race), nor did I have a clue about how to train.   My mindset was, “where there is a challenge, there I will be”.  I wanted to make a bold decision to improve my health, change my life, and increase my ability to be there for my family.

To date, I have completed 16 marathons, 20+ half marathons, 2 ultra-marathons and several duathlon races.  In 2018, I embarked on, yet another, challenge to become a FIGURE Bodybuilding competitor.

I believe that we, as women, have no boundaries, and that we all have a story that is worth being told.  My story is still written by me taking on new challenges as a duathlon and body builder.   I truly believe that being a multisport athlete has made me a better person.  I can excel in various sports and help inspire others, especially, women over 40, to take on new challenges and opportunities to grow.

In 2017, I launched an Athleisure clothing brand, “BE YOU 4 LIFE APPAREL”.  I have a vision to use the platform that sports provide to impart inspirational messages of self-awareness and fitness affirmations.

If you were to ask me what motives me each day, I would say it is my F-Factors: Faith, Family, and Fitness. Through my faith, family, and fitness, I have found my voice and hope to inspire others to find their voices.

Follow me and my fitness journey:

Facebook/sandradtroutman

Instagram:  Instagram.com/sandradtroutmanfit

Instagram:  Instagram.com/beyou4lifeapparel

YOUTUBE CHANNEL:  sandradtroutman

Twitter:  BEYOU4LIFEAPPA1

Dorald Turner

My name is Dorald, but everyone calls me Dee. I live in the beautiful area of Myersville, Maryland and I am a native New Yorker. I am 57 years young, married almost 30 years to my best friend Scott, and we have grown children Scott, Katherine, and our son in law Kyle. I am a middle school drama director for going on 12 years now. Working with middle schoolers is harder than training!

I started doing triathlons 3 years ago. My first attempt was a 30 minutes indoor triathlon. I have never been athletic. It was something I never attempted and was physically not able to do. You see, I was heavy all my life. Not a few extra pounds- I mean morbidly obese. As my health started declining from high blood pressure and every morning  waking in pain, I knew I had to make changes, so I did!

July 5, 2016, is my Independence Day. I had a gastric sleeve done. My highest weight topped 420 pounds. I am now about 142 pounds.

I still cannot run but I can walk, I am not a proficient swimmer, but I try, and can not handle steep inclines on the bike, but I ride (with some walking sometimes).

 In 2018, I became a team member for an all women’s triathlon team, Savage Tri Team. A wonderful group of women from all over who empower, support and encourage. I have done the Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon, Tri Wildwoods, and numerous 5ks.

I am very fortunate to have an amazing family that has supported me through this entire journey.

Not only is my health better, but my outlook on life is so different and has opened my eyes to everything I missed out on. I have gone skydiving, horseback riding, river tubing, rope courses, zip lining, and have been in a triathlon with my son.

Standing on the sidelines and watching was my way of life for so many years, but not any more!

I doubt I will ever make podium and I am fine with that, but my goal is to start a race and finish it even if I cross the finish line last, the fact is I DID IT.

I have been at many Racine Events and when this opportunity to apply to be an ambassador arised, I was unsure. I was a little hesitant to apply, but I am so glad I did, and I am truly honored to be part of this team.  I want to encourage others to set obtainable goals and make an effort each day. You can achieve whatever you set out to do.

I am living my life to the fullest and trying to make a difference, motivate others, and never stop trying.

Scott Turner

Scott S. Turner originally comes from New York, but he’s been proud to call Maryland home for over a decade now.

An actor by trade, he currently works as the Access Coordinator of Imagination Stage Children’s Theatre in Bethesda. He gets to spend his 9-5 helping students of higher need experience and make theatre of their own.

In his free time, he performs with Synetic Theatre, a physical theatre in Arlington, VA.

He’s been an avid triathlete for four seasons being lucky enough to race all over the East Coast (and win his age group a few times). If you held him down and asked him his favorite workout, he’d say “50 by 50 on 0:50!”