By Melissa Seuster
C.J. Langley started his fitness journey in 2014 with the goal of getting into the best shape of his life by his 35th birthday. As a member of F3 Nation, he woke up at 5 am to attend outdoor bootcamps in the University area six days a week. Two years later and twenty-five pounds lighter, he and his F3 team ran the 2016 Blue Ridge Relay. In training for that event, he realized that cleaning up his diet would make him leaner and faster. He completed Blue Ridge, then ran three half marathons in three months before entering his first full marathon, Wrightsville Beach 2017, the day before he turned 35.
He originally intended to be a “one and done” marathoner, but C.J. missed his marathon goal by a few seconds. Anyone who has been there before knows that feeling of “unfinished business.” Even though he reached 26.2 in 3:59:53 (on his watch), he ran 26.3 miles resulting in an official finishing time of 4:00:39. That same day, he enrolled in the Charlotte Marathon and set the record straight by running a bona fide sub-4:00 eight months later.
There are lots of reasons to take up running, but C.J.’s main driver is to remain healthy as he ages. “I know there are factors out there that I can’t control, so I focus on moving every day to control what I can.” He is inspired by the vibrant community of runners in Charlotte, in particular F3 and Black Men Run, and all the people who get out there consistently with no excuses. C.J. uses Strava, Instagram and Facebook to connect with other runners virtually and continue to be inspired.
Now in the beginning of his training cycle for Grandma’s Marathon in June, C.J. has been logging miles in the Mallard Creek / Highland Creek area. He knows that his hard work and consistency will eventually pay off. “I am a big believer in the importance of continually finding obstacles to overcome. Dealing with adversity makes us better,” he says. “Figuring out how to persevere through running setbacks has helped me also do so in other areas of life.”
Ultimately, like many marathoners, C.J. hopes to qualify for Boston. His discipline and consistency are great indicators that he will do just that, if not at Grandma’s, perhaps a few months later. Say hi to C.J. at the next CRC Black Friday Run.