West Stride is a dream come true for owner Genie Beaver. Genie has run since middle school and was an Oklahoma state champion in high school in the 800m, mile, two mile and two mile relay. Genie also ran at Georgetown University and was a 2 time All America in the 3000m and a member of the team that placed third in the 1992 NCAA cross country championships. Post collegiately, she has had periods as a casual runner and as a competitive road racer. She loves the sport of running, but has been known to walk as well! Both keep her energy level high, are great stress relievers, and have provided her with many great and lasting friendships.
West Stride store manager Wil Cramer has been running since he was 12 years old. A native Atlantan, Wil graduated from Grady High School in Midtown after a standout career that included four years as a varsity competitor in cross country and track and field, and three state runner-up finishes in track. At Villanova University in suburban Philadelphia, Wil continued to run competitively in local road races and open track and field competitions. Wil has vast experience in races ranging from 400 meters to half marathons, and is deeply invested in helping others find the physiological, social, and personal fulfillment he has found through running.
Sales Associate Daniel "Deeter" Dietz ran track in high school and then basically took 20 years off from running competitively or casually. He started up again back in 1997 to train for a 20K race in Des Moines, Iowa after entering a 5K race the previous fall and being humbled by having to walk. He kept going though and graduated to the marathon later that same year. He's run 36 marathons (36!) since then and is always in training for the next one and beyond. Sometimes he has time goals and other times he just runs for fun. Running keeps him 'young' and has been and continues to be a huge part of his social circle. He's always been motivated to give back to the running community and does so through West Stride, as well as through his role as a co-coordinator of the Chattahoochee Road Runners' Go the Distance! Training group.
Virginia Sharitz brings Team in Training to West Stride! Team in Training is a marathon training program that raises money to fight leukemia and other blood cancers - see more about the TNT Georgia chapter at http://www.teamintraining.org/ga/. Virginia is a certified Coach with TNT and has been active with the organization for 12 years. She recently "retired" from teaching pre-school and is thrilled to be working at West Stride. "I'm working in my dream job, surrounded by running shoes, running clothes and running people!" said Virginia. Virginia has completed 23 marathons, 1 Half Ironman, 2 sprint tris and many Half marathons and road races. She resides in Smyrna with her husband Bobby and two teenagers Charlie and Elaine.
Lauren Blankenship joined our staff in March of 2011. Lauren began her running career at the Wesleyan School where she won 3 high school championships in cross country which then led her to an All-American career at Samford University. Upon graduation she then remained at Samford to begin her career as a college coach. Lauren then made a jump to coaching in the SEC at Ole Miss, and then moved to Assistant Cross Country coach at Georgia State University. Since moving back she is loving being around family and friends, but is striving to find more people outside of work to run with!
Kenan began running the trails of the San Francisco Bay area at the age of ten with her father, an avid ultra-marathoner. After moving to Georgia, she ran for both the Dunwoody High School varsity cross country and track teams. In college, Kenan enjoyed running with friends as an escape from her studies and a way to explore the beloved home of the Bulldawg Nation, Athens, Georgia. She hasn't found another aerobic exercise quite as physically and emotionally fulfilling as running, but on days off from running she finds peace and strength in her yoga and pilates practices. In her pursuit of a career of nursing, Kenan is working to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner promoting healthy lifestyles for children and young adults in an underserved area of Georgia.