Who are our ambassadors? They might be a marathon fanatic. Maybe they’re a casual runner. They could have an inspiring story to share. Most importantly, they each embody the strength and togetherness of the running community.
2017 PNC Milwaukee Marathon Ambassadors
Alejandra Hernandez Ali Schanhofer Amy Bailey Anne Coffman Brooke Graham Chuck Burghaus Dan Walsh Jamie Adcock Kai Rush LaFredrick Burns Montel Melcher Natalie Salkowski Natasha Steenbergen Patrick Bieser Rachel Metz Sara Kohlbeck Sun Torke Kayla Heimerman Allison Gallipeau Shirley ZelinskiAaron Kohlbeck
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? I've completed 1 marathon and 2 half-marathons
Other big races on your schedule: Brewer’s Mini-Marathon
Craziest pre-race ritual: Blasting music and dancing to my favorite Shakira songs
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: Once, I accidentally grabbed a beer cup, thinking it was Gatorade during one of my first Milwaukee races. It was a surprise to my body, and a good initiation to the Milwaukee running scene.
Favorite distance: My favorite distance is a half-marathon
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Anything lathered in chocolate
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? Do what makes you feel fully alive
What is your day job? I work at a community health center in Milwaukee’s south side.
What motivates you to run? Running is a great way to challenge myself, step by step, tackling short and long distances. I love running wild: exploring the city cobble stone by cobble stone; street by street, into tucked away neighborhoods, across bridges, by rivers and streams, and under the rain.
Tell us something we should know about you: I enjoy listening to new stories and have a fascination for poetry
"My hope is to see more people of color and more women running to make Milwaukee races more diverse."
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 22 full marathons, 9 ultra marathons, & too many half marathons to count
Other big races on your schedule: Titletown 8 hour Ultra, Dances with Dirt 50 Miler, & Marquette Trail 50...it is going to be a busy AWESOME summer!
Craziest pre-race ritual: I turn my socks inside out, I’ve done so since high school track & field.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: At the Ice Age Trail 50k last year I fell up a set of stairs. I was uber embarrassed. I’m pretty clumsy so falling comes with the territory in trail running.
Favorite distance: A year ago I would have said the ½ marathon, but I have become fascinated with pushing myself and finding my breaking point in ultra events. I adore the marathon and have become more comfortable with 50ks, but 50 milers still crush me. Give me a few more races & that will hopefully change! Running takes a ton of patience and the more experience I get in each distance the better I become as a runner.
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): I LOVE a nice cold Coke a Cola! I try to refrain during training season, but after a race it is a huge craving!
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? "Never Quit" There will come a time during the race that the miles will add up and pain will set in. That struggle is where the work begins. Each set is a victory and moves me towards my goal. I repeat the mantra “never quit” over and over to remind me that those that inspire me to run would never give up and neither should I.
What is your day job? I am a high school Social Studies teacher (AP Psychology, AP Human Geography, Intro to Psychology, & Developmental Psychology). I have the best job on the planet! My students are some of the most amazing people you will ever meet. It is a pleasure and honor that I get to engage with them.
What motivates you to run? I run because I can! I know this sounds cliché, but I truly mean it. My Uncle Guy, a Vietnam Veteran, is unable to move around freely due to his injuries...every step I take is in his honor. I push hard and savor life to the fullest everyday knowing that he sacrificed for me and others to be able to do so.
Tell us something we should know about you: I ran my 1st marathon in 2007 and then did not run another marathon again for almost 8 years. I was going to be a "one and done" person, but I was missing something in my life. Returning to running has opened my world to so many amazing people and given me a chance to set a great example for my family. In 2 years time I have completely changed how I live and found endless joy in the journey back to running.
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? Total guess here, but I’d say 15 half marathons. I’ve done anywhere from two to three to even six half marathons each year since I started “seriously” running at the end of 2008.
Other big races on your schedule: I try to do one ‘runcation’ each year that involves travel. I’m calling 2017 the year of “The Push,” and I’m planning to do the Rock ‘N Roll Seattle half marathon in June. I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest before and I’m excited to check out the region with my family.
Craziest pre-race ritual: It may be crazy boring, but I always eat a cheeseburger and half a sweet potato, along with a glass of red wine the night before a race. Honestly, I’ve had some of my best performances/felt the best during a race after that combination. The morning of a race, I’ll eat half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at home (with a glass of skim milk) before the race and then have the other half one the way home.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: So many options and so little time to note all of them. My first half marathon, the Cellcom Green Bay, my iPod died just 3 miles into the race. I was relatively new to running and had never run without music before and just about cried when this happened. So … Rule 1: Always make sure your device is charged. I’ve also violated the ‘don’t wear anything new during a race’ rule relatively recently. At the 2016 Bellin Women’s Half Marathon, I was wearing new tights that just would NOT stay up. I tugged and tugged on those things to stay up for what felt like the entire race. All that tugging ended up ripping my bib off my tights, which I had fastened to my leg. So there’s me, holding my bib for almost all 13.1 miles.
Favorite distance: No question: The half marathon. I find this distance incredibly challenging, requiring serious training. But it doesn’t, I think, require training that means turning your life upside down. I bow those women with families who also manage to train for a marathon or an ultra. Those long weekday runs are just beyond me.
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Burgers, again. Give me a good burger after a race; I’m especially fond of the Festival Foods’ Festy Burger. That, French fries and bold red wine? I’m a happy girl.
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? A few, actually. The mother running community has provided me many options for mantras, including a few that I regularly repeat during a race. One of my performal favorites: "Show Up." I also really dig the state motto of Wisconsin: Forward.
What is your day job? I work on social media strategy as well as digital communications for a grocer in northeast Wisconsin.
What motivates you to run? I love the challenge. I love showing up. Even in a year like 2016, which was a tough one for me, I still showed up most days to run.
Tell us something we should know about you: I am member of running apparel company Oiselle’s Volée group. I also am a feminist and an advocate for gender equality. I think running, with the incredibly explosive population of female race participants, is a great place to talk about this issue, which I did here. You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter for all the fun leading up to the Milwaukee Marathon!
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 29 marathons at least 50+ half marathons
Other big races on your schedule: Boston Marathon 2017, Door County Half Ironman July 2017, Fox Valley Marathon 2017
Craziest pre-race ritual: I don’t have anything crazy other than nervously using the porta potties multiple times before a big race.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: Took a break during the Disney Marathon to ride the Rock N Roll roller coaster with my kids- it was mile 23 and I timed their fast passes so I could get through the line quickly with them. Better yet it was right after Disney’s candy stop so I brought them each a few candy bars as a treat!
Favorite distance: half marathon – enough to be a challenge but not so hard that I can’t fit it into any vacation
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): it varies- usually I crave veggies because I cut back on them pre-race (fiber= bathroom issues but a glass of wine or margarita is always on the post-race menu.
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? Do it for yourself- when I first started running, I felt like I had to compete with others so for my first marathon I wrote “do it for yourself” on my pace band and use that to focus on what I can do on any given day.
What is your day job? I am a physical therapist, working in home care treating older adults. It is the best job I could ask for- all one on one care, making a difference for my patients and helping them become more mobile.
What motivates you to run? I actually used to hate running- I only did it on vacation when I couldn’t get to a gym. Then some PT friends were doing a half marathon in New Orleans after a conference and I thought “if they can do it, I can”. After I trained for that, I was hooked. Now I have found a whole new circle of friends and running is a big part of my social connections. I rarely skip a run- I have learned even if I don’t feel like doing it, I will feel so much better after I’m done and that post run high is always worth it!
Tell us something we should know about you: Other than running, I love wine and Lululemon- you’ll see that if we run together!
"I’m excited for the new Milwaukee Marathon and to help with training runs and meet some new running friends on the roads!"
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 2 full marathons, 7 half marathons
Other big races on your schedule: I have several races on my schedule this year. I'm also doing the DoLittle marathon in September, tossing around the idea of fundraising for the Chicago marathon again as well. I have a few halves, and aside from the Milwaukee Marathon I'm most excited about the Fall 50 in door county.
Craziest pre-race ritual: I don't really have any crazy pre-race rituals. I just listen to my music if I'm alone to get into a zone.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: I've face-timed my kids during a race, other than that nothing too crazy or dumb.
Favorite distance: Half marathon is probably my favorite. It's a great accomplishment but you're still fully functional after!
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Post race guilty pleasure is definitely a beer! If I'm home (in Milwaukee) I always stop at Kopps on my way back to Chicago for a burger fries and chocolate shake post race! It's the best!
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? I actually have 2 mantras tattooed on my body. One is "mind over matter" and the other is "keep moving forward." I'd also say "live in the moment" is another fav to live by.
What is your day job? I was a finance nerd at a bank until recently. Right now I'm enjoying my severance package and using my personal training and health coaching certifications to start my own business!
What motivates you to run? Running keeps me sane! It helped me through my divorce and keeps my body active. I love the community of runners and meeting new people. If I'm solo it's a great time to listen to music and just lose myself. I'm a proud mom and love how excited my kids get when I tell them about upcoming events and new challenges.
Tell us something we should know about you: I was born & raised in the northern Milwaukee suburbs which is why being an ambassador is so fun for me. I get to talk about my home town and share my love for it with others. I miss being In Milwaukee and love being able to run and participate in events in my home town.
"So excited to be part of this amazing event, it will be my 4th marathon (unless I decide to run Chicago again) and I don't have a time goal. I just like to go out and run what feels right for the day. I don't do this to win age group or place I run for the enjoyment of it and never want to make it a chore. I hear too many people saying "I HAVE to run today", I never want to be that person. I want to be the "I GET to run today or I CHOOSE to run today, running should be enjoyable not an obligation."
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 1 full, 7 half
Other big races on your schedule: DoLittle – Planning 20 miles as a warm up for the Milwaukee Marathon. If you see me there, say “Hi”.
Craziest pre-race ritual: Consuming C-4 before the run. I read the warning label to my wife once. Bad move.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: Drank a beer during the Green Bay Marathon but it was a small one.
Favorite distance: Probably a 10K but have really been getting into the Chilly Willy 5K series.
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Usually just the post-race beer.
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? When coming to an obstacle, the best people figure a way to overcome it.
What is your day job? Software Application Development Manager
What motivates you to run? I enjoy both the solo and social aspects of running. When running alone, I can get lost in my thoughts and work things out in my head. With a group, it is fun to motivate each other and hear about other runner’s experiences.
Tell us something we should know about you: I am extremely competitive and will try to beat you in a race. But if you win, I will walk over with a genuine smile on my face, shake your hand and tell you “Congratulations! Good job”.
"My first 5K was the Santa Hustle in December of 2012. With a shirt, hat, and beard, I resembled Santa more than I resembled a runner. It was the idea of my daughter who was attending an out-of-state college and had started running for exercise. We completed the run but I felt more like I had been trampled by Dasher than I had soared like Dancer. "
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 8 half marathons, all within the past 5 years.
Other big races on your schedule: As of right now, the Milwaukee Marathon is the only race I have signed up for in 2017.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: One time my car key came out of the little inside pocket of my running shorts, fell out and was just sitting on the lining underneath my ‘boys’ for a good chunk of the race, apparently. Had to Clorox wipe the key once I found it after the race.
Favorite distance: The Half Marathon length is perfect. A 6 mile/10K isn’t quite enough and 26.2 is just stupid long.
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Beer and a cheese burger.
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? Running is stupid.
What is your day job? Digital Marketing
What motivates you to run? My family and my health. I run so I can stay healthy and to be an important role model to my kids to live an active and healthy lifestyle. And I like to eat at Kopp’s. All this running allows to me to eat there often without feeling too guilty.
Tell us something we should know about you: I just completed my second job runstreak. I ran every single day until I found a job. I did my first job runstreak in 2011-12 that lasted 304 consecutive days. Thankfully, this time around it was only 57days. It was a great jumpstart to my training for the half marathon - I knocked 20+ seconds off my average per mile pace. The hard part will be trying to keep this up until October only running 3-4x a week.
"I am not a runner, I just play one on TV. I ran cross country in high school and I was terrible at it. So after graduating high school in ‘94 I took a 17 year break from it. But after a cancer scare, a wonderful wife and 2 daughters, I have incredible motivation to run. I’m still not a good runner, but I don’t care - I have reasons to run and that’s all the motivation I’ll ever need. "
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? Twelve full marathons and approximately fifty half marathons
Other big races on your schedule: I don’t have too many other long-distance events on my schedule this year, because I’m focusing on coaching and my husband is training for Ironman Wisconsin in September.
Craziest pre-race ritual: Using the port-a-potty and getting right back in line
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: I once packed two right shoes for a class that I was coaching and had to lead class that way.
Favorite distance: Half Marathon
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Diet Mountain Dew and Fritos
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? Run your race … Run your pace.
What is your day job? I work part-time as an Office Manager at the University of Wisconsin. I also own my own business, Running Diva Mom, where I am a running coach for women and a blogger.
What motivates you to run? Me time (my children are 13, 9 and 1)
Tell us something we should know about you: My husband didn’t run when we met. He was intrigued by my obsession and knew that we’d hang out more if he took up the sport. He trained for his first 5K a couple months after we met. We flew out to California to run his first half marathon later that year; and now he’s completed several more halfs and eight full marathons.
"I started running in 2005 when I had my first child and decided that I needed to do something for myself. I have always struggled with my weight and I was shy and intimidated as a young girl. I didn't like participating in extracurricular activities. I hated running the mile in gym class. After training for my first 5K, I went on to run half marathons and then marathons. I was hooked and became passionate about running and how it made me feel. I now love sharing my passion with other women and mothers. I started leading running groups through Running Diva Mom and also opened an indoor running studio for women in Sun Prairie. I love proving to other women that they can make time for themselves and that they are worth it. I participated in the MRF marathon in 2016 and it has been my favorite event to date. I loved the variation of route and scenery. I really enjoyed exploring the city of Milwaukee on foot."
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 2
Other big races on your schedule: Elgin Foxtrot 10K, ColorVibe 5K- Aurora Illinois, Walt Disney World Half Marathon- Orlando, Florida
Craziest pre-race ritual: I don’t have one yet, as I am a new runner to the half marathon.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: I stopped at the finish line during my first race and forgot that there are people coming in behind me. So of course, the volunteers keep yelling at you to keep moving. Now I know to keep going until someone throws a medal around my neck.
Favorite distance: I love running half marathons, because when you finish the race, you feel a sense of accomplishment and know you can accomplish anything in life.
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Fazoli’s breadsticks
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? Like life, finish the race. It doesn’t matter how slow you are or if you have to walk part of the way, finish the race.
What is your day job? Professor at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
What motivates you to run? Almost five years ago, I was over 450 pounds, was diagnosed with diabetes and could barely stand for five minutes in a classroom. I had weight loss surgery, but my doctor told me, it would only start me in the right direction. Once I was able to get down to a manageable weight, I started to run like Forest Gump. I LOVE running for fitness and feeling good, but also to look at how beautiful the world is around me. This world is beautiful and it is great to be able to run it!
Tell us something we should know about you: I just obtained my Ph.D this week in Educational Technology and I love my family, Disney and teaching! As for running, I am on my 12th race and plan to keep on running!
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? This will be my first ever.
Other big races on your schedule: Summerfest Rock N’ Sole Quarter Marathon on June 10th Storm the Bastille 5k on July 13 I’m considering a Turkey Run in November and Publix Georgia Half Marathon next March
Craziest pre-race ritual: I haven’t created one. I’m usually very nervous because, I feel alone. I usually don’t have anyone running with me.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: During the 2016 Milwaukee Running Festival, I under dressed and was freezing near the lake.
Favorite distance: The lazy person in me will say the mile because it’s over and done in a few minutes. But I like the 5k because it has pushed me to try harder and perform a personal best each time.
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): A venti Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino and a coffee cake
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? Just keep moving!
What is your day job? School Safety Assistant for MPS
What motivates you to run? My motivation is the vision of a healthier me. I run towards my goal of being free of medication and seeing others motivated by the changes in my life.
Tell us something we should know about you: I’m a fighter. I will continue to fight for my life and my health.
"Being an Ambassador for the Milwaukee Marathon has been one of the biggest highlights of my running experience thus far. I hope my story encourage others to just keep moving.--Ask me about it!"
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? Hmm good question! I started marathoning in the 90's and for several years there I did about 12 a year so after the first dozen or I stopped keeping count! In fact as much as I enjoy getting a medal at the end of the race I don’t even know where they all are! I’ve given some away for benefit runs and some are in my closet or dresser drawers. My husband bought me medal display racks one year for Christmas and I had him send them back….running is something I do for me and not displaying it keeps it mine.
Other big races on your schedule: This year I have a dozen to 14 marathons a few 50k”s and my first 50 miler.
Craziest pre-race ritual: I don’t really have a crazy ritual but other people find it funny that I do not eat before a marathon.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: Went the the wrong way! But in my defense it was pouring out!! It was around Lake Geneva and several of the volunteers had left their post.
Favorite distance: Marathon distance.
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): I’m not much of a food person…pretty boring. However my travel mate and I have recently started to check out cupcakes in other states that we travel to.
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. For most people this means you can train hard and beat the person born with talent. For me this means if I don’t keep up my training and work hard everyday then my own personal talent will also diminish over time.
What is your day job? Nutritionist and Pilates/Yoga practitioner for rehab. I went to school for nursing and combined it with my love for fitness and holistic health.R
What motivates you to run? Life motivates me to run. I love how I feel while running.
Tell us something we should know about you: I am passionate about what I do and I do it for me! I am not in competition with anyone else. I’m just a girl doing what I love.
"I am so excited to be apart of the Milwaukee Marathon not only because of my passion for running but also because Milwaukee is a beautiful city and I think this Marathon really shows that. I think it will become a top destination marathon for many runners and the super cool part is that they can bring the whole family and for a very reasonable price. Thanks for allowing me to continue to be a part of this. "
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? Marathons- 6 as of this April. Half Marathons -10
What motivates you to run? My running motivation comes from the positive community of runners I have met through the years. It began, as many journeys in a fitness avenue do, as a way to get physically and mentally healthy, but morphed into so much more. Being surrounded by like-minded and motivational runners and athletes makes me train harder and reach for tougher goals.
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 4 full marathons, several half marathons
Other big races on your schedule: Ice Age Trail 50K (May), Madison Mini Marathon (August)
Craziest pre-race ritual: None
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: Went out too fast in a marathon and bonked
Favorite distance: Half marathon
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Chocolate milk guilt-free
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? “Grit. Earned with effort. Because I said I would.” – Fellow Flowers
What is your day job? Master Scheduler at the Harley-Davidson Motor Company
What motivates you to run? Because I get to. I love fueling my system to grow faster and stronger for lasting longer. It's a personal challenge.
Tell us something we should know about you: I also enjoy cycling on my Trek road bike.
"The Milwaukee Marathon is single-handedly the best way to experience our beautiful city in a way you never could from in a car. This race was my first marathon ever in 2015, and I ran it solely because I loved the route. I am honored to be an ambassador for this weekend that is so near and dear to my heart.
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 7 full, 40 half
Other big races on your schedule: Beer Mile IV on August 19. I’m going to win my age division this year! Four laps, four beers. Harder than it sounds.
Craziest pre-race ritual: I try to get bib number 61. It’s my lucky number.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: I often stop and take pictures of spectators I know during races and post to Facebook.
Favorite distance: The half marathon is the perfect distance. About the time I’m starting to get tired it’s over! I love the marathon distance, but it’s about 6 miles longer than God intended mortals to run.
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): A cold root beer. Thinking about that root beer gets me though the last six miles of marathons.
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.
What is your day job? I lead a digital marketing firm called Northwoods.
What motivates you to run? Staying healthy, hanging out with friends, meeting new people. And, I want to beat Ben G in a half marathon.
Tell us something we should know about you: I became a vegetarian two years ago. The only meat I miss is salmon. My friends can’t believe I don’t crave bacon.
"I am one of the leaders of the Milwaukee Running Group, a 900 members club with daily runs 365 days a year. We’re proud to endorse and support the Milwaukee Marathon. Last year over 100 of members either ran or volunteered. This summer we will again organize groups of runners of similar pace and ability to train for all the Milwaukee Marathon races. The highlight of each week will be the official MM build-up runs. Check us out at Milwaukee-Running-Group.com. "
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? I have completed 2 half marathons but am working my way to the full marathon!
Other big races on your schedule: Rock N Sole half marathon in Milwaukee in summer 2017 and the Brewers 10K Fall 2017!
Craziest pre-race ritual: Not drinking coffee pre race. To all the coffee lovers out there, you will know what I mean!
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: I have accidentally knocked my earphones out of my ears and dodged a few cars.
Favorite distance: 10K
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Love the complimentary post race beer, bagels, and banana
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? I like the phrase ‘To enjoy each moment because you aren’t promised tomorrow” I think these are great words to live by because often times people act like they have forever when we don’t.
What is your day job? I am a junior at Marquette University studying Human Resources and Marketing.
What motivates you to run? I am motivated to run to keep my body and my mind healthy. Running has showed me how strong I really am and what my body can do when I push myself.
Tell us something we should know about you: I love going to movies at the movie theater. I would go to one every day if I could!
" love encouraging people to run and try new workouts. I love answering questions about health, fitness, and nutrition to get everyone to start somewhere. I recently found a new love for yoga that has helped my leg strength for running. "
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 30
Other big races on your schedule: Fall 50 Relay
Craziest pre-race ritual: Eating a bag of Swedish Fish the day before a race
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: I got completely lost near Grant Park once, ended up on the beach, and had to scale a wall of rocks to find the trail again.
Favorite distance: Half Marathons
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Chocolate Milk and Beer
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? Just keep moving forward.
What is your day job? I am the Assistant Director of the Injury Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
What motivates you to run? Health, happiness, and sanity!
Tell us something we should know about you: I run for fun!
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? I’ve run 3 marathons and 9 half marathons.
Other big races on your schedule: Nicolet Bay 5k, Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 10k and Lake Country 5k
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: It’s a tie between running in a downpour, getting soaked by large, crashing waves from Lake Michigan, and ruining my phone due to water damage AND running in shorts during winter days with snow, ice and 30+mph winds.
Favorite distance: I love 5ks and 10ks! Although they hurt like crazy, I’m addicted to the feeling that comes with running fast.
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): A giant chocolate chip cookie is the best race reward!
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? My favorite mantra is “pay the price”. With running, you get what you put in, and it’s always better to pay the price during training so you don’t pay the price on race day.
What is your day job? I work at a local advertising agency, Zizzo Group. It’s located in the Third Ward and near the Milwaukee Marathon courses!
What motivates you to run? I love the challenge that comes with setting a goal and training hard every day to achieve it. Knowing that every run has a purpose keeps me going and looking forward to race day.
Tell us something we should know about you: I’m absolutely hooked on brightly colored running shoes. The brighter the shoes, the faster the runner!
"I’m so excited the Milwaukee Marathon added a 10k race to this year’s race weekend line up. Looking forward to seeing you at this year’s event!"
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? Marathons: 4; Half marathons: 4
Other big races on your schedule: The Rock ‘n’ Sole Half Marathon on June 10 (my wedding anniversary) in Milwaukee
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: At about the 8- or 9-mile mark of my first half marathon (Oshkosh Half Marathon, April 2011), in the midst of the sleet, I stopped to flow through a few downward dog poses to stretch my hamstrings.
Favorite distance: Half marathon; it’s long enough to be a challenge (and an accomplishment), but it’s “short” enough to easily train for.
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Ice cream is a necessity on the days I run long. And beer is an absolute must after I race. I do not feel guilty about either of these.
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? “She believed she could, so she did.”
What is your day job? I am an administrative assistant for a Methodist church, and I am a group fitness instructor at the local YMCA. I also am a freelance journalist.
What motivates you to run? My twin daughters, Anna and Elise, who are 3 1/2. I want them to know they are beautiful and talented. I also want them to be healthy. I want them to yearn for challenges, to set goals and to crush them. I hope, through my running and many other aspects of my life, that I model that for them. My husband, Christopher, motivates me, too. In fact, he is, in part, why I started running. I was a 20-something girl with a crush on a boy, who liked to run. He has challenged me and encouraged me from the start. He believed in me then, he believes in me today. He never lets me settle for less than my best -- or what is best for our family. And he always celebrates my accomplishments -- no matter how insignificant. I would not be the runner, the mother, the wife, the woman I am without him.
Tell us something we should know about you: Kayla Heimerman, 32, is a born and bred Milwaukee girl. She was not a born athlete or a natural runner; she was the chubby girl, who hated to run the mile in gym class, who warmed the bench throughout middle-school basketball, and who chose speech and debate and theater over sports in high school. But she always was fascinated by running and yearned to be “one of them.” Kayla managed both the cross country and track teams for Rufus King High School (class of 2003). She couldn’t run, but she could live vicariously through those athletes, and she tried to make them proud to have her sprinting from the start line to the mile markers to yell out their splits, or to be standing out in the rain while they did hill repeats in Lake Park. Kayla, then a 20-something girl, took up running because she had a crush on a boy, who liked to run. She signed up for a 5K and since has finished dozens of races, including four half marathons and four full marathons. She teaches a cardio-yoga fusion class, as well as a cardio kickboxing class at her local YMCA.Kayla and her husband, Christopher—that boy who liked to run—got engaged at the finish line of a 5K. They are the proud parents of 3 ½-year-old twin girls, Anna and Elise. Kayla is an avid cook and a halfway decent tennis player; she roots for the Milwaukee Brewers (deep in Chicago Cubs country) and loves craft beer.
"I’m excited to share my hometown with natives and visitors alike. I hope to inspire people of all ages and abilities—but most especially my daughters—that they, too, can do hard things."
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 5 marathons, 11 half marathons
Other big races on your schedule: This year I am doing a 50k in May, a 25k in August and the MM in the fall
Favorite distance: 50k
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Peanut butter. All things peanut butter. The best thing I ever ate post race was sweet potato tater tots though… I need to make that a habit, they are amazing!
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? Just run the mile you are in.
What motivates you to run? Over the years there have been many different motivators. Now I run for the enjoyment of it. Sure, I have goals and events that I like to sign up for and run but they have shifted from “how fast can I be” to “I will run this to my best ability, challenge and push myself but always remember to appreciate that I can do this”
"I started running in my late 30s and didn't like it at all for a few years. However, about three years ago, something switched (my attitude, most likely) and I started to like the training planning and started enjoying the longer runs. I trained for my first marathon with my husband and a friend and it was so tough but so worthwhile! I recall crossing that finish line and thinking -- I need to feel this again (the good stuff) and knew I wanted to run more. My husband and friend? They declared it was "one and done" for them so now they just cheer me on!"
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 4 marathons/50 half marathons
Other big races on your schedule: August 18th and 19th - Great River Ragnar in Minnesota. My first Ragnar…
Craziest pre-race ritual: Only pre-race ritual – get up extremely early so I can stretch, roll, and then exercise and run before getting ready for the race.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: Several years ago, I went down to the lakefront for a marathon build up run with my friend and her friends whom I had just recently met. Shortly after starting I struck up a conversation with a girl who I thought was one of my friend’s friends. After about 14 miles of running together, I realized that she had no idea who my friend was. She did become a new friend though; I met her dad after the build-up run.
Favorite distance: 13.1
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Frozen Custard (large chocolate concrete with heath)
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? “Just Do it!” It is something I have said to myself every morning when I wake up.
What is your day job? I am a database administrator.
What motivates you to run? Running is a fun healthy habit and hanging out with friends before, during or after runs or races is an extra bonus. I also love food and running allows me to enjoy my favorite foods while maintaining my 65 lb. weight loss. Lastly the sense of accomplishment after a long run is like no other. Ten years ago, I never thought I would be doing the things I am now doing.
Tell us something we should know about you: People don’t believe me when I tell them that I was overweight most of my adult life and 200 lbs at my heaviest. I have maintained my weight loss for over 7 years and I don’t intend on gaining it back. Since my weight loss, I have become a work-out fanatic, exercising multiple times a day. I love pushing my limits.
"Never discount your abilities. You can do whatever you put your mind too. Often I hear people say “I can’t run a mile. How could I run a (fill in the blank)?” I NEVER ran before the age of 40, as a matter of fact, I never did anything athletic before I was 40 so who would have thought that in just 6 1/2 years I had run 50 halves and 4 fulls! You can do it!"
How many lifetime marathons/half marathons have you completed? 2 marathons, 15ish half marathons
Other big races on your schedule: Right now, not much. I’m eyeing up Ragnar Trail Northwoods, but that’s about it.
Craziest pre-race ritual: Nothing too crazy, really. I am that guy doing lunges and squats in the starting corral right before race start.
Funniest / dumbest thing you’ve done during a run: I once ran a race dressed as Han Solo and hugged Chewbacca when I saw him.
Favorite distance: Half marathon. Training doesn’t chew up as much time as for a full and I never feel like I’m going to die.
Guilty pleasure post race (food/drinks/other/etc.): Beer!
Do you have a personal mantra, motto or words to live by? One time during a particularly hard run, Daft Punk’s “Harder Better Faster Stronger” came up on my playlist and totally motivated me through the hardness. Since then, that’s been my go to saying for getting stuff done.
What is your day job? I write code and other techy type stuff.
What motivates you to run? Every time I run, I feel like I can do anything. Also, I like to drink chocolate milk at the end of races.
Tell us something we should know about you: I’m a terrible singer but somehow managed to win a karaoke contest.
"I ran track for one year in high school and didn't run again for 15 years. I got back in to running after seeing a friend run a marathon for charity. I thought that was something I could do, so I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon in 2007. The race was black flagged because of the heat, so my first marathon experience was cut a bit short. It was still fun. It also helped me get in shape for my wedding, which happened 10 days after the marathon. I've been running ever since. I've only run one other marathon since. I did get to ride a roller coaster at the halfway point of that one, something I would highly recommend. I've run 15ish half marathons and a number of road and trail relays as well and countless 5ks. My family and I have now been running a New Year's Eve 5k for the past 3 years and I can't wait until my son runs it faster than me."