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Ambassadors

MEET OUR 2021 CLASS OF AMBASSADORS

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HAMID AL-DLAIGAN

Hamid began running in 2014 when enrolled as a student at Highlands College, located right here in the Magic City. Highlands College requires the entire student body to run a half marathon annually. When Hamid began training, he had no idea that in the process, he would develop a passion and love for running. Hamid has completed four marathons and is currently training for Chicago 2021. His marathon PR is 3:29:12 achieved in 2019 in Charlotte NC. Raised in Birmingham, Hamid loves breaking in a new pair of Nikes on a good 10 miler through downtown. Hamid’s current half marathon personal record was achieved at the 2019 Magic City Half Marathon, when he put up a time of 1:38:33. For Hamid, running is much more than simply a hobby; it is an opportunity to explore, break free, and find out what barriers he can shatter. The dream is to qualify for Boston in the next five years.

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AMBER BOONE

Amber’s parents had her and her four siblings swimming competitively by the age of 4. By the time she was 14 she was so burned out, her parents finally told all the kids they could quit swimming if they joined the cross country team. This wasn’t all that much better to her but at least she wasn’t in a pool every day anymore. All five siblings ended up running in college on scholarship, but it wasn’t until Amber was out of school that she found a passion for running. There was something about being able to run because you wanted to and not because you had to. Over time Amber has found that the most exciting part about running is the people you meet along the way. On your best or worst days, no matter how fast or slow, runners are always there to encourage each other along the way. From day 1 of training and even after crossing that finish line!

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MICHAEL BROWN

Michael ran locally at Hoover high school. After a 10 year hiatus, Michael rediscovered his love and passion for running and began training for a 5k to half marathon. Recently he completed his second duathlon and qualified for Duathlon World Championships in 2022. Michael is excited to continue his training from the duathlon training cycle to get ready for the Magic City Half. His ultimate goal is to run his first full marathon in early 2022 .

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KELSEY BURTON

In 2016, Kelsey decided that it was time to focus on improving her health. She was a pack a day smoker; went for drinks several nights a week with friends; and had a horrible relationship with food. As a former runner turned smoker, Kelsey thought her running days were long passed since she could barely jog 50 feet without wheezing, but she was determined. On July 4, 2016, Kelsey smoked her last cigarette. The next day she went on a jog around the neighborhood that included a lot of walking and a few pit stops. Kelsey ran almost every day for the rest of that summer and has not stopped! She has since completed a marathon, several half marathons and 10Ks, and countless 5Ks. As a novice runner, Kelsey’s goal as an ambassador is to encourage anyone who may doubt that they are capable of running a long distance race; part of the joy of running is its inclusivity and availability to runners at every skill level.

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ERIN CHELEWSKI

Erin was born and raised in Birmingham, and has an 8 year old son. Shortly after giving birth, she found that running gave her a healthy outlet for the stress that comes with being a first time mom. Erin joined a running group and successfully ran her first marathon before her son’s first birthday.  Ironically, shortly after that race, a list of goals she had written as a young teen was found. First on the list was a goal to run a marathon. The second goal was to establish a career working with kids in the fitness and nutrition field. The last goal was to give back through volunteering.
Erin has accomplished the first two, having completed 15 marathons and 2 ultra-marathons, as well as completing her degree in food and nutrition. Currently, she is employed as a Child Nutrition District Supervisor for a local school district. Now, Erin is making time for that last goal- giving back to the city she loves! Let’s get it Magic City!!!

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ASHLEY DAWSON

Ashley has always been a fitness fanatic and loves to share her passion for health with others! It wasn’t until after the age of 40 that she discovered the love of running and within a short time she signed up for her first half marathon and has not slowed down since! Ashley has completed numerous half marathons and many races at other distances throughout the Southeast, including a handful of ultra marathon trail races, but she most loves running in her hometown with her regular training partners. In addition to the simple joys of fellowship and competition, running has become Ashley’s favorite time for meditation and prayer!

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BETH GILBERT

Beth is married and has a 12 year-old daughter. She has always been active and has been a fitness Instructor for over 25 years, however it wasn’t until her father became ill and passed away did she turn to running as a healing outlet. Beth soon became hooked on the sport, and set a goal with friends to complete a half marathon – The Magic City Half Marathon, which she finished in honor of her father. Since then, Beth has completed numerous races and continues to look forward to The Magic City Half Marathon each year. Beth is passionate about sharing her love of running, and encourages other to set goals for themselves, as it’s never too late to start!

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KATE LAMEY

Kate Lamey is a fun-loving athlete that loves to be outdoors! A self-identified “lazy jogger”, Kate enjoys running for the fun of the sport and encourages others to just get out there and enjoy the trail or road. She’s been running as long as she can remember, but really began to focus her efforts after a major cycling wreck in 2018. The first time she ran the Magic City 5K, she entered and ran by herself, which was a bigger challenge than the race itself. Her goal is to connect with those who might be discouraged to run alone and be a companion, inviting them into the incredibly accepting Birmingham running community. When she’s not training for a road race, you can find her trail running, hiking, road cycling, mountain biking, swimming, or playing frisbee around Birmingham. Birmingham is such a gem for outdoor activities, and she hopes to encourage others to enjoy it as much as she does.

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CATHERINE MCELROY

Catherine discovered running in 2008 when she needed a hobby that wasn’t drinking and smoking. She did a few 5k’s and even one half marathon but stopped running while pregnant with her twin daughters. In 2019, Catherine got back into running and started training with a coach and a group. Through the last few years she has run numerous half marathons, a couple of marathons, and one 50k. Her love is not only running but the excitement of race day jitters! As her first time being a race ambassador, Catherine is looking forward to the experience. Magic City is such an amazing race. 

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CHRISTY PETERS

Christy Peters lives in the Birmingham area with her husband and son. She has been running long distance since 2011, and has completed 7 marathons along with multiple halfs, 10ks, and 5ks. In 2015, after a disappointing marathon race due to heat precautions, Christy decided to do the Magic City Half Marathon. She enlisted the help of her friend Loren to pace her (so as not to put all those months of hard training to waste). Christy ran her way to a PR of 1:47:34. Since her PR in 2015, there has been a lot of life change from surviving bilateral PEs, getting married, becoming a mother, graduating UAB Master program, and being diagnosed with another blood clot. As an avid runner in the Birmingham community, Christy wants to encourage people to explore our great city while also staying healthy and active!

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BECKY TOMLIN

Becky started running in middle school, continued throughout high school and briefly in college at Valdosta State University. Then she simply sort of lost interest.  It was safe to say she was a little burnt out. After college she would run occasionally, but it was not until she moved to Birmingham that she really got back into the sport. Becky loves the huge running community and the numerous opportunities to race. In 2019 she committed to running 1 charity road race a month, and ended the year with 13, all for great causes. Currently, she serves as an assistant coach at The Altamont School, helping with their Cross County and Track programs. She finds it so rewarding to give back and is amazed to see so many young people enjoying the sport. Becky’s husband is an avid runner and pushes her towards her goals. She finds it amazing that her husband and she can run together. Especially now as they are expecting a little girl in a few weeks, and they are looking forward to taking her for long runs in the jogging stroller..

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AMANDA TURNER

Amanda Blake is an educator and has a beautiful 9-year-old daughter. She began running at the age of 7 and has been blazing trails ever since. She ran cross country at the collegiate level and ventured on to trail running in 2001, joining the ranks of running enthusiasts racing through the trails of Alabama. She’s run 5k’s, 10k’s, and half marathons over the years, but running the entire calendar year in 2020 fueled her most recent passion to train for her first marathon in January 2022. The running community provides encouragement, friendships, and shared love for running! Her running has given her a free and open space to exhale and enjoy the outdoors while staying healthy. Her advice as an ambassador is to give your best effort and don’t fear new challenges!

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