Team Member Spotlight

April 2024

Joanne Avanti

JoJo Avanti, Brock, Texas

JoJo Avanti, who now lives in Brock, Texas (about 45 miles west of Ft. Worth), initially took up running in junior high school gym class in her hometown of Seattle. 

“The school coach made all students go out and see if they could run two miles in 15 minutes during P.E.,” JoJo elaborates.  “I was successful, put on the track team, and have been running ever since. Through high school, through the military, and still running today more than 45 years later – the love of running just never left me!”

“You know you’re a runner when you Google your name, and all that comes up are pages of race results,” JoJo laughs. 

Over the years, she has run countless races, from half marathons to 5ks to mud runs and more and likes to keep the data and “memories” in Garmin, Strava and RunKeeper – saying if one system fails, she has backup! Plus, there’s always Google!

Unfortunately, in 2016, JoJo learned she had degenerative disease in her back requiring a surgery to replace two discs. But, she was determined to recover and get back to running. 

“The day after surgery, I was able to start walking again, leading up to three miles per day. But still no running,” JoJo explains.  “So, I took up cycling, which was approved by my doctors. “

“Finally, after two years, I was healed enough to begin running again, although not at the speeds or distances I once could. I often remind myself of the quote, ‘A mile is still a mile whether it’s a 6-minute mile or a 20-minute mile.’ So, as long as I’m still getting out there and moving, I’m proud of myself.”

Today, JoJo’s motivation to stay active is to remain strong and healthy as she ages. She has returned to the gym lifting weights, enjoys golf a few times a year, plays volleyball with her grandkids (she has five!), and ensures 8400 steps are logged per day. 

The social aspects of an active lifestyle also motivate JoJo. She is involved in an impressive number of running and cycling clubs (you can see the list below).

“Although running is typically considered an individual, ‘personal best’ sport, I am a very outgoing, extroverted person who loves being connected with others.  For me, it can be a team sport in a way.  We all motivate each other, and are there for one another no matter what.”

When it comes to making beef part of her active lifestyle, JoJo tends to gravitate to Chuck and Loin cuts. During her tenure on the Beef Team, she has become more confident in purchasing various beef selections at the market or when dining out, expanded her knowledge of the different cooking methods, and learned how to best slice and/serve meat once prepared, based on the cut.

“I have been trying to eat better since the beginning of the year by incorporating more protein into my diet, ” says JoJo. “At least three times per week, I am enjoying beef and the benefits it adds to my busy lifestyle.

Here is some other good stuff about JoJo, in her words:

Profession: I am retired from 30 years of service with the Air Force Reserves (Chief Master Sergeant) and also from 26 years at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (Drug Treatment Specialist).

Family: I’m married to Mario Avanti and have a son, Sidney, and daughter, Gabrielle. I also am a “Gigi” (Gorgeous Grandmother) of five grandchildren – Isabella, Ezekiel, Elayna, Elias, and Brayden.

You Might Not Know: 1) I’m a firearms instructor and 2) I have an upcoming trip with my father to go alligator hunting (it’s on his bucket list). 

Running & Cycling Clubs:

  • Fort Worth Running Club
  • Social Running Group 
  • Fleet Feet 
  • Cowtown Trailblazers 
  • On Your Left
  • Lone Star Runners of Cowtown 
  • RunUnited Group Running 
  • FWRUNCO Social Herd 
  • Monkey Housers 
  • Cox Running Club 
  • Funkytown Grinders
  • Cooks Children’s Cycling Crew
  • Clear Fork Bicycle Club
  • Bike Love is Real.

Joining Beef Team: Before I officially joined, my friends Brenda and Jim Case invited me to a pre-race lunch at the Woodshed to inspire me to become a member.  Everyone was so friendly and talked about all of the great times they were having on the Beef Team, so I decided to join in 2020.

Favorite Beef Team Memories: At Shiner Beer Run, I got to meet so many team members from all over Texas.  They were friendly and took me in as a lone person from my area, it felt like family. It’s one of my favorite races because it’s the largest gathering of Beef Team I’ve personally seen outside the retreat. Everyone was so accepting and friendly and the post-party was great!

Another Favorite Event: The Possum Pedal Bicycle Rally is a personal favorite because it is a very nice ride and held in conjunction with the Texas Food Truck finals. Great bands are playing and everyone has a lot of fun riding, eating, drinking, and dancing. It’s a big party for active people!

Reaching a Run Goal: I  celebrate with friends, treat myself to a beer or two, or sometimes spoil myself with something sweet.

 Currently Training For:  I have been training for the Easter Hills Bike Tour as it is very hilly. The next major run I have planned as of now is the BMW Relay Marathon.  And, I’m also signed up again for the Cowtown Half Marathon in February 2025.  Other than that, I run 3-4 times a week, mostly 5Ks but some 10Ks as well.

 Best Running Advice:  Keep moving forward no matter how slow or fast you go. 

Running Music: Right now, a favorite song is “Air Force Ones” by Nelly. I love all kinds of music, but for some reason, I enjoy running to the cadence of rap music.   

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