Spotlight on: Natalie Morales

Staying sedentary isn’t in Natalie Morales’ DNA. As a reporter and anchor on NBC’s “TODAY” show, she’s gone after some of the world’s most important news stories: the rescue of Chilean miners, the Southern California wildfires, Hurricane Katrina, and the war in Iraq.

To stay healthy, the mother of two from New Jersey is also an avid runner. Incredibly, Morales finds time to volunteer with Back on My Feet, a nonprofit organization that helps the homeless rebuild their lives by teaching them to run. Their goal is to boost confidence, strength and self-esteem with the idea that building stamina makes facing uphill battles easier.

“As a member of the board, Natalie’s support has helped tell the story of how our program moves people from dependency to self-sufficiency,” says Anne Mahlum, the nonprofit’s founder and CEO. “In addition to media assistance, Natalie has given her time and support as a runner in our signature national race, the Stroehmann Back on My Feet 20in24 Challenge, and motivated fundraisers from across the country to support our mission.”

The Daytime Emmy award–winning journalist was born in Taiwan in 1972 to a Brazilian mom and a Puerto Rican dad. Morales was a U.S. Air Force brat, living in countries such as Panama, Brazil and Spain for the first 18 years of her life. Her natural beauty and runner’s physique lead People magazine to name her one of its 100 Most Beautiful People in 2009.

To date, she’s competed in five marathons, including three New York City Marathons, and has taken up triathlons as well. Morales continues to inspire women to keep going until the race is won.

Photo: Getty Images

by Adriana López