Runner Destination Events
Get to know more about Kesha, her history as a runner and her passion for coordinating runs for her fellow runners and travel enthusiasts.
Tell me about Kesha Mitchell
I am originally from a small town in Eastern, North Carolina called Roper. I’m an only child. I have an adult child Jasmine and a grand-pup named Dallas. I attended NCA&TSU in Greensboro, NC (Aggie Pride!!) and completed my two masters at UMUC, in Largo, MD. I currently reside in Maryland.
I enjoy spending time and having fun with my family and friends. I love to travel -----both within the states and abroad. My simple things in life include a long drive or a ride on Amtrak to visit my friends, which brings me much joy. I also enjoy meeting people and having great conversation. I meet no strangers.
When did you start traveling and running?
When I was 10 years old, I had my first travel experience. I traveled to Boston to visit family. I was so amazed with the flight and instantly decided that traveling would be in my future. My grandmother fostered my desire to travel by ensuring I traveled every summer.
I was never a runner in my younger days. In high school I was on the basketball team and I worked out in the gym. I was inspired to run by my aunts who were running half and full marathons in several states. Their races took them to Alaska, Arizona, California, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. I was so impressed by their efforts that I started running. I joined them and walked the Chevron Half Marathon in Houston, TX in 2007. What an experience: the crowd support, the thrill of the fitness expo, and the “bling” of the medal! I experienced a mental “freedom” that I had never experienced before; which I never found in any gym workout. I was hooked!
Before leaving Savannah, GA where I lived for 7 years, I began to run and joined a team on Saturday mornings to run in Daffin Park and Forsyth Park. Later after moving to the “DMV” I joined the Montgomery Road Runners to learn proper running techniques….and the rest is history.
My first half marathon was in Savannah and I completed it in 2:18. Yep, that’s my PR! I ran this race with my aunties.
Why did you decide to open Runner Destination Events?
Runner Destination Events allows me to combine my passion for traveling and running. Initially I coordinated girlfriends’ getaways for shopping trips, Broadway shows, beach destinations, and tours of Washington, DC. In 2004, I coordinated a trip to New Orleans to the Essence Festival. The feedback from the group was very positive and lead to me coordinating more events. In addition to enjoying the events, I actually enjoyed making the arrangements and coordinating the activities.
Fast forward to the present, I started running with different groups and heard conversations about running in different states. I immediately recognized the need for this type of service to the runners. As I began to work arrangements for small groups of two or three people, the word spread and the numbers started to grow.
In 2014, I arranged my first big trip to Niagara Falls in Canada for a group of 20 runners. I had successfully coordinated my first international trip and Runner Destinations Events was birthed. Since then, I have coordinated group trips to Miami, New Orleans, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. My travel groups range in number from 10 to 100 people.
My personal international trips include Paris, France; Cancun, Mexico; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Barbados.
Who are Runner Destination Events customers?
Anyone who wants to travel is a potential customer of Runner Destination Events; whether it’s a vacation, quick getaway, or a runcation--domestic or international.
What type of experience do you want for your customers?
We offer our customers a personalized travel experience at a high quality and a reasonable price. Most importantly, we take the stress out of traveling.
- Personalized Service: No two customers are alike. We take the time to understand our customer and their travel needs. Food allergies, special accommodations, etc. we take care of it all.
- Complete Planning: tell us where you want to go, what you want to do, and we handle all of the details.
- Pay Arrangements: we allow installment payments which make it affordable for our customers to fulfill their dreams of traveling the world.
- Information: It’s our job to keep customers informed, and provide updates, options, and modifications as necessary.
We focus on the details allowing customers to focus on having fun.
Why is this a passion of yours?
Passion is the energy that keeps us going, that keeps us filled with meaning, and happiness, and excitement, and anticipation. Passion is a powerful force in accomplishing anything you set your mind to, and in experiencing work and life to the fullest extent possible. Ultimately, passion is the driving force behind success and happiness that allows us all to live better lives.
My passion for traveling was instilled by my grandmother. She wanted to ensure exposure to life through travel. My passion for running comes from the health benefits (physical and emotional) received from running. The passion to combine them both and to build a successful business comes from my cousin Omar, who is like a brother to me.
Omar, a fitness trainer, passed away in 2014 from complications of kidney failure. He never got a chance to build his business into the success we all knew he would. In his last days he told me to pursue my passion with all my heart; to continue doing what I loved and no one would be able to make my passion go away. I run not only for myself but for Omar. IRUN4OMAR is my slogan on my race bibs and the hashtag on my social media pages. I will always remember him telling me that he wanted to attend one of my runs, and to add weights to my legs to test my fitness. He said he loved how passionate I am about my races and my travel business. He also commented on how hard I worked to get everyone to their races.
I dedicate all my runs to Omar, support races sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation, and make donations to the National Kidney Foundation in his honor.