Midtown Coaches


Jeff Barbier
Midtown Run Far Coordinator

This year makes Jeff’s seventh year being a part of the Run Far program.  Over the past six years, Jeff has been a member, an assistant coach, and head coach.  Jeff became the Midtown Program Coordinator in January of 2018 and currently still coaches the sub 8:30 pace group as well.

Jeff is an RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) certified distance running coach.

8:30 – 9:30
Art McDonald


I have been physically active all my life, playing a lot of sports, especially basketball, until my 40s. Until then, running was a way to get in top shape for these sports. In 2011, I took up running on a more serious level, culminating in doing my first marathon in 2014. I learned a lot from that effort, especially that I needed to join a running group. That group is the Run for Your Life group, which I have been a member of since June 2015. Being in RFYL has brought me friendships, support, advice, and a chance to share the joy of running with some special people.

When asked by others my age why I run, I mention one or more of several reasons. Running lets me set an example for my sons and nephews, for when they are my age. It helps me use and maintain the gift I received that close friends who have died did not, good health and a longer life. It gives me a series of challenges, and the joy that comes from meeting these challenges. Running has also helped me follow my mother’s wise advice on dealing with aging: make friends with younger people. Most importantly, I run because I enjoy it.

I have done ten marathons, a 50-mile ultra, eight half-marathons, and numerous races of varying distances, all since I turned sixty. I credit RFYL with taking my marathon time down from 4:58 (my first) to my PR of 4:10 and with several age group wins and top three placings.

Recently I have volunteered as a pacer for races and will continue to do so. I am looking forward to coaching.

11:30 – 12:30
Jordan Dills


I spent most of my life morbidly obese, not athletic or interested in sports at all. After getting fed up with that lifestyle and losing almost half my body weight, I started running in 2017 because I had previously thought that it was “impossible” for me. I wanted to prove to myself that I could. My first 10K was in spring of 2018, and I thought I was finished with running, having accomplished a distance I previously thought impossible. In fall of 2018, I felt called to conquer another impossible distance.

I joined Run Far in winter/spring 2019 in order to prepare for my first half marathon. The first group run was my longest run ever. That Saturday, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the support and friendship I found with this group, and fell in love with running and the community. Over that season I developed the endurance and confidence not just to complete my goal half marathon, but to complete my first four in two months.

After my first season with Run Far, my mindset shifted. The miles and training could be challenging, and many days they pushed my limits, but they were no longer seen as “impossible”. I knew I was capable of more. With the help and encouragement of my Run Far friends and coaches, I completed the Charlotte Marathon in fall 2019.

As a coach, I look forward to helping other runners find their place and accomplish their goals, no matter how big or “impossible”. I believe in you.



8:30 and Under

Jeff Barbier


In the Summer of 2012, I decided to make a lifestyle change because I was overweight and out of shape. I set out on a journey to lose 40 pounds, get in shape, and never allow myself to look and feel like that again. I started by walking an hour a day, seven days a week. After a couple of months, I decide to try running a mile and it almost wiped me out. I slowly kept increasing my distance and when I was able to comfortably run 3 miles, I ran my first 5k. Over the next two years, I continued to run three to five times a week, gradually increasing my distance and speed. In the Summer of 2013, I decided to train for the Thunder Road (now Charlotte) marathon on my own and successfully completed it. In 2014, I ran a race about every two weeks on average and placed in my age division for the first time at the Greek Fest 5k. In 2015, my goal was to run the same 19 races that I ran the year before and try and place in every one of those 19 races. While I felt that I had done fairly well training on my own, I decided to join the Run Far program in the Spring on 2015 to help me reach my goal of placing in 19 out of 19 races. Because of my success in the Run Far program, my running improved and I ended up placing in 18 out 19 races in 2015. In the Fall of 2015, I decided that my next goal would be to qualify for the 2017 Boston Marathon. In March of 2016, I ran the Wrightsville Beach marathon and qualified for Boston. A month later, I ran the Kentucky Derby marathon in Louisville and qualified for Boston again. In April of 2017, I ran my first Boston Marathon. To date, I have 17 full marathons and 15 half marathons under my belt. I started coaching with Run Far in the Summer of 2016. I enjoy helping other runners reach and exceed their goals in the same way the Run Far program has allowed me to reach and exceed my goals.

9:30 – 10:30 
Kimberly Pruett


When I moved to Charlotte in 2014, I volunteered at the mile 16 water station of Thunder Road Marathon (now Charlotte Marathon). After seeing the runners and feeling the excitement of race day, I knew that I wanted to complete a marathon. I remember going for a run after volunteering and then researching training programs in the Charlotte area. I joined the Run Far program in January of 2015 and completed my first full in March of 2015.

I’ve continued to train with Run Far and could talk about running and races and trail running and ultras all day long! Running has brought so much happiness to my life that I want to share that joy with others.

8:30 and Under

Joel Thomas


I joined the Run Far training program (called USA Fit at the time) in 2008 at the age of 41 to train for my first marathon. My oldest son was 9 years old at the time, and as I walked up the 2 flights of stairs to my office one morning, I was out of breath and it struck me that I hadn’t really exercised very much since my son was born, certainly not consistently.

I decided to run a marathon that year because I wanted to do something that was challenging enough that I couldn’t fake my way through the training. I was pretty active for most of my life and was always able to pick up and go run 5 miles, even after months of no training. But my experience running a half marathon in 2001 taught me that the marathon and half marathon distance is no joke. I joined the Run Far program because I didn’t really know how to train for a marathon, and I knew that I wouldn’t stick to a training program on my own. I wanted and needed the accountability that comes from telling other people that you will meet them for a run.

The group of people I ran with that year, and the almost 10 years since have been much more than that. Not only did I have great coaches helping me through my initial struggles with getting back in shape, but I have met great friends who not only helped to hold me accountable to my goals, but also supported me on the bad run days and cheered me on when I crossed the finish lines. I ran a 3:31 in my first marathon that year and was hooked. I started as an assistant coach with the program the following year and was a head coach for a few years after that.

Since running my first marathon in Charlotte, I have completed 11 marathons in total. I ran a 3:17 PR in 2011 and achieved my goal of qualifying for the 2012 Boston Marathon. I’m excited to be coaching with the Run Far program and look forward to seeing you out on the roads of Charlotte.

10:30 – 11:30
Pamela Ploger


I have always been active, but did not start running until 2005 when my husband as a Captain of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) was selected to take a management class at the FBI National Academy at Quantico. He started running as a requirement of the course and I thought that would be something we could do together, so I started running too. MCSO subsidized races and the USA Fit program at the Run For Your Life Park Road store to encourage their employees to be more fit. In 2006 I took advantage of that partnership and signed up for USA Fit and met so many nice people with a love of running that I continued from when it was USA Fit to the current Run Far program. Through this participation, I have met life long running friends and with their support, took on more races and longer distances along with being a backup coach a few years ago. Since 2006, I have run 23 half marathons and 3 marathons as well as other distances from 5K to 15K and some two-race challenges. I look forward to sharing the knowledge and encouragement I received as I start this new coaching adventure.

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If you are interested in working together, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!