FINDING MY PASSION
I want to tell you a short story about how I found my life’s passion and how it’s changing my life, to hopefully inspire you to find yours. To do that I’ll give you a little history about myself. I grew up in a family whose vacations were always camping related, and therefore my childhood centered on being outside. In Jr. High and my freshman year of high school I was on the track team until an injury sidelined me enough to make me quit running. Fast forward a few years and after moving to Georgia, I started getting out on day hikes. Eventually, I decided to attempt a section hike on the Appalachian trail, that first outing was quite an experience, having no guidance I carried a 50lb backpack about 7 miles before falling on the trail and giving up. But I was determined and I got back out there, again and again, I purchased better gear, which made it easier and before long I was able to complete longer trips with ease. Eventually completing the Smoky’s section of the Appalachian Trail, a challenging trip with 72 miles and 17,000+ feet of elevation gain.
In 2014 I met some new friends who introduced me to running again and they convinced me to run a 5k, after placing 4th in my age group at that race my competitive side was intrigued. The following year I ran three half marathons when I had previously said I didn’t think I’d ever want to run for that long. I realized I enjoyed feeling strong and getting faster. Then in 2019, I was introduced to trail races and I remembered what I missed about being on trails, the beauty of the earth God has given us, the peace the outdoors provide us and I fell in love with trail racing. To date, I’ve completed multiple 5 & 10ks, five half-marathons, one marathon, three 50ks, and one 50 mile race, my next race is another 50 miler is a little over a week away and shortly after that I’m going to attempt a FKT (a Fastest Known Time) on the Georgia section of the Appalachian trail, there is currently no women’s record for this!
After losing my job this past June, I started playing around with the idea of starting my own business, after some prompting by friends, and several weeks of working out the details I launched All About That Vert, a business focused on leading women on exciting adventures on trail. I’m super excited about this new adventure and I hope that my story inspires you to seek out your passion!
Jessica Mannthey – Marathon Runner