Debbie Voiles

DebGravxHello, and welcome to Run Tampa! I hope to meet you soon!

In 2008, I created because there was no website with a comprehensive, interactive running calendar. Not long after, I started organizing group runs. Already an RRCA certified coach, I eventually started coaching and formed the Run Tampa Club.

In 2009, I wrote After Your First 5k and started the Mojo for Running podcast, available on iTunes. Soon, I had a second website, this one geared toward a worldwide audience, The Mojo Running community now includes members from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, and Canada. In fact, the podcast has been downloaded in 100 countries. 

I have a serious passion for running and runners. Some of my most treasured experiences occurred while running alone through the woods, others, while sharing conversation with a clutch of my Run Tampa friends, and still others while racing on city streets with thousands of other runners.

Over the years, I have run well over 200 races, 5k’s thru 50k’s, urban adventure races, triathlons, mud/obstacle races, road and trail. My favorite distance will always be the half. I still think we need a better name for that. Half just sounds less than whole, hardly an appropriate name. Half just doesn’t sound appropriate for the effort expended to run 13.1 miles.

Register for Newsletter and Group Run InviteI often hear runners say, “I’m only doing 5 miles today,” or “I’m only doing the half.” That drives me crazy. My rule is that the word “only” should never be used in the same sentence with any number of miles. The rule applies to the word ‘just,’ too, as in “I’m just doing five miles this morning.” I always tell the speaker, “Think about it; while you were doing only five miles, most people didn’t even get off the couch.”

Mojo for Running Logo

I started running in the late ’70s, and served on the original board of Team Tampa Triathletes in the early ’80s, the first triathlon club in Tampa. After competing in a couple dozen triathons, I took a 25-year hiatus from triathlons while I raised my family, taught English and journalism, and coached swimming, at local public schools. I continued to run and race the whole time, but I only did a few races each year. Ben inherited my love of swimming, and Wendy inherited my passion for running. In fact, she did her first ultra before I did my first ultra. I should add that my husband actually became a runner even before I did, running in the first Gasparilla Distance Classic, but he now devotes his time to cycling.

As much as I love to run, I enjoy helping others achieve their running goals even more. My coaching, now, is all online via a Mojo for Running membership programs. The dynamic duo of Maria Williams and Trixie Taylor have taken over Run Tampa coaching duties. 

My coaching philosophy is to educate my runners about why we do what we do. Every runner should have at least a basic understanding of the running principles that should be the core of any program. When they do, they are more likely to make wise training and racing decisions. As a result, they run better and experience fewer injuries.

In August of 2013, I launched a second podcast, the Beginner Runner Village podcast, also on iTunes, and aimed specifically at the beginner runner. If you know anyone who’s thinking about getting started running, please direct them to that podcast in iTunes.