Inspirational Group Running at Kualoa Ranch on November 24

Nov. 15, 2013

Six from Manning Up USA are in XTERRA Trail Run World Championship

There will be more than 2,000 runners at the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch on November 24, and just about every one of them has a reason to run.

Manning UpIt will be tough to top Alan Huneycutt's reason to run. Huneycutt is part of the Manning Up USA Trailblazers, which is an organization for people who have overcome physical and emotional challenges to accomplish athletic goals and help raise funds for charities.

Six members of the Manning Up USA team will be running in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship this year, and they are helping to raise funds for TEAM 2 END AIDS. The TEAM 2 END AIDS group is also bringing more than 40 runners to participate in the race in an effort to raise close to $200,000 for AIDS Project Los Angeles.

In March of 2012, Huneycutt was in a horrific car accident in North Carolina. It left him with a broken back, broken ribs, bruised lungs … and one deceased friend. After a major surgery to repair his back, followed by two months of recovery, Huneycutt had to learn how to walk again.

Less than a year after his accident, he started entering 5K races as part of his recovery process. "Prior to the accident, I could not stand to run or do any cardio, and did none what so ever," said Huneycutt. "The only thing I enjoyed to do was lifting weights. After my accident, I really just wanted to focus on an overall healthy lifestyle and I couldn't imagine that without some form of cardiovascular activity. I began to run on the treadmill at my gym, just short runs to begin with. Then my manager at the time (Sam Nicholson) convinced me to do my first 5K with him and ever since then I have been hooked on running."

The 21K course at Kualoa Ranch will be the longest race of Huneycutt's life, and also his first experience in a trail race. He still has lingering injuries from the car accident, so he often incorporates weight training and swimming into his workouts on the days when he can't run.

"I would love to be able to say that there is a time I wish to finish in, but since I have yet to run a half-marathon or a trail run I feel like that is just inconceivable," Huneycutt said. "I just want to be able to go out on the course and run as hard as I can and be there to support my team to do the same."

Huneycutt, 22, is a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, pursuing a degree in Sociology.

Other members of the Manning Up USA Trailblazers have similar inspirational stories, including Jeremy Manning (founder of the group who overcame drug addiction and family abuse), Mylee Cardenas (a single mother/former Army drill instructor/breast cancer survivor), Alex Minsky (a military wounded warrior who had his right leg amputated below the thigh after he was involved in an IED explosion in Afghanistan), Jessie Sink (lost part of his right arm in an electric fire accident) and Randy Miyashiro (abuse survivor).

The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship will be the first time that all six members of the team will participate in a race together.

To learn more about the Manning Up USA Trailblazers, please visit

To learn more about TEAM 2 END AIDS or make a donation, please visit and click on the Los Angeles link.

There is also still time to run alongside these groups at the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. Online registration will remain open through November 20

Trail Run