Ambassador Team

2019 Colfax Ambassador Team

You have seen them all year around the state and country … a group of people excited to talk about running, getting active, and all things Colfax Marathon! They host fun training runs at stores and breweries, where they give away prizes and talking all over social media about the 7 Colfax Marathon races.

Denver’s Colfax Marathon had 20,000 runners for the 2018 race weekend and over 35,000 people came through the Expo. Colfax is a non-profit and gave almost $100,000 to other non-profits just in 2018!

The 2019 Colfax Marathon Ambassador Team promotes the event through social media, participating in local run groups, helping one or more of our 200+ charity partners, creating short videos to share, providing photos of being active, and part of the Health and Fitness Expo, to keep the Colfax Marathon brand active in the running community.

These are positive and enthusiastic runners that represent the running community at it’s finest!

 

Questions? Contact us at ambassador@runcolfax.org.

Alex Ross - Team Manager

After a marriage, 4 kids, and 3 degrees, and a rising career, Alex needed found running again. Starting off with a half marathon and  then marathon 2 years later, and then went for his first ultramarathon … at the Silver Rush 50 in Leadville. Eating, laughing, falling, eating, panting, and eating his way through 50 miles at 12,000 feet in elevation got him hooked. He continued on his quest to find the line of possibility (without training of course), Alex completed his first 100 mile race and got that buckle!

Alex has run a Colfax Marathon race each year since 2008 and continues to do so with a smile. He’s excited to return this year as Manager of the Colfax Marathon Ambassador Team and get more people involved in being active.

Alex grew up in Maine and performed around the world as a musician with the company Up with People, and now calls Erie, Colorado home. By day, he creates the strategy for new products for a software company and runs his own consulting firm.

Alex Stauber

Alex has been an athlete her whole life, but when she tore her ACL twice, she had to find a new way to exercise and stay healthy. She had hated running during gym class in middle school but decided to give it another try because of how easy and accessible it was. She started by running a mile every day. Even though it was difficult at first, and Alex ran very slowly, she never gave up and soon she fell in love with the sport.

Although running had become a hobby of Alex’s, she never imagined she could run more than a mile or two, but after talking to a few friends who ran cross country, she decided she would run her first 5k. After that first race, Alex became hooked on running and signed up for more races including 5ks and few 10ks. It was until a few years later, in 2016, that Alex finally ran her first half marathon. She chose the Colfax Half Marathon, so the race holds a very special place in her heart. Alex’s newest goal is to run her first full marathon at the 2019 Colfax Marathon and is looking forward to the challenge.

Alex attends CU Boulder and is majoring in Integrative Physiology. She hopes to pursue a degree in physical therapy after graduating from CU.

Andra Alvarez

In 2015, Andra ran her first marathon. It was the Colfax Marathon of course! It was a gift to herself for her 40th Birthday. Andra has been running since 2011. In that time, she has run in countless 5K and 10K races, and she ran in her first ½ marathon in 2014. Andra completed her third Colfax marathon in May of 2017, and this will be her fifth year running one of the Colfax races. Andra feels that if you live in Colorado, running in the Colfax, at any length, is inspiring and truly defines a connection between the run community and the city of Denver. It is a beautiful course, and it is Denver’s only marathon course!

Andra is married, and she is the mom of two incredible girls! She is very active in the local community. She is a co-founder of the run/walk benefitting the Rocky Mountain Huntington’s Disease Chapter. Since its inception, she has been instrumental in raising over $500,000 to support the local HDSA community through family services and research for a cure. Andra is a General Manager of a hotel, and she is the Wellness Chair for her hotel management company. She loves to work out at Orange Theory Fitness and Whole Health Club, and you can frequently find her running or riding her bicycle on the Platte River Trail. This has been a season of firsts for Andra; she recently paced her first ½ marathon and completed her first Ragnar Relay. In 2019, she will run in the Colfax Marathon relay for the third time with her Hyatt friends in support of Huntington ’s disease and run the Urban 10-miler. You may friend her on Facebook (Andra Cooper Alvarez), follow her on Instagram (AndraAlvarez2), or follow her on Twitter (@andrachikova).

Anthony Aragon

Anthony’s running career began in 2006, the first year of the Colfax Marathon. He worked for Mayor John Hickenlooper and Denver was one of the three cities the race would run through. That first year, his office signed up as a Relay Team and the Mayor even ran on our team! Since he had not run before, he thought training would be wise. Too bad Mayor Hickenlooper didn’t think to train. The 5K section the Mayor he ran did him in! It could have also been the fact that it was the last leg which was uphill! Anthony has run every year since. He took a stab at the half marathon twice and can say he really has no interest in a third 🙂 He ran the 10 miler which was a great race and may tackle it in 2018. Last year, he ran the 5K and placed 9th out of 188 runners. At age 49, he’ll take it! Anthony tends to run over the lunch hour and run on the Speer Boulevard bike trail to the REI which is a great 5K course. He currently works for Mayor Michael B. Hancock as one his appointees and day job consists of providing community outreach in the LGBTQ & Latino(a) communities.

Benjamin Sunshine

Benjamin is a 4th generation Denverite and this will be his 3rd time running the Colfax Half Marathon. He is an aspiring nurse and currently works as an EMT and phlebotomist at BPL plasma donation. When  not working in healthcare he is drinking beers with friends… and their dogs, staying active on trail runs, and hunting down the best climbing and bouldering sites the front range and foothills have to offer. Every year the Colfax Marathon is a great opportunity for the Denver running community to show their stripes, and he considers himself lucky to be a part of this team, and ready to stomp some pavement Colfax!

Caroline Veltri

Caroline graduated from college at Cornell University and shortly after graduating law school, she won the 2016 Raleigh Marathon. Most recently, she won the 2018 Pueblo Marathon, 2017 Rock N Roll San Antonio Marathon, and 2nd place at the 2017 Austin Marathon. She has also raced several ultra-marathons of distances ranging from 30, 50, and 100 miles. She considers her greatest life accomplishments thus far to be finishing the Leadville 100 Mile Trail Run and the Hawaii Ultra Running Team 100 Mile Race. She currently trains in Boulder and considers Colorado to have the best running community in the country.

Christina Hatfield

Christina began running early 2016 in preparation for the Disney Princess half marathon and found that running became a newfound passion. When she was notified that she was moving to Denver from Kentucky, she ran across information for the Colfax marathon and knew she wanted this to be her first full and was not disappointed. Colfax is an extremely well supported race and the sense of community really brings the runners together toward a common goal! She is excited to be back for a second year as a Colfax Ambassador and looks forward to running her third Colfax Marathon in 2019!

Christopher Gomez

After too many drinks and desserts during his 20s, Christopher realized he needed to start living healthier. In January 2013, he began training for a 5K with a friend, and the rest is running history. Colfax has become one of Christopher’s favorite races, and 2019 will be his 6th consecutive year of participation. He’s proud to have made his marathon debut at Colfax in 2017.

A member of Revolution Running since 2014, you can find Christopher running across the Denver-Boulder-Littleton front range with the group each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Although race results are printed with one name attached, Christopher believes running is a team sport. Each coach, training partner, club member, physio, and friend are part of the team, and make each race and success all the sweeter.

Christopher coaches a beginner 5K run group each winter through Revolution Running. To all beginner runners, he offers a CCR model for success: Commitment + Consistency = Results.

Coral Eby

Coral grew up in Colorado and began running as a sprinter for her middle and high school track teams. Until college, she had never run more than 1-2 miles but fell in love with distance running after her first 5K at USC. Since moving back to Denver 10 years ago, Coral has participated regularly in local 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, and the Colfax Marathon, which was her first marathon in 2015.

While running has been a passion of hers for most of her life, Coral finds the sport to be particularly important to her since becoming a mom. Running enables her to relax and find balance, to enjoy our great Colorado weather, and to meet awesome, positive new people in the running community.  This year, she’ll be running off the baby weight training for Colfax and is looking forward to group training runs to get some time off amidst life with a toddler and a brand new baby!

Coral manages a family-owned consulting firm in the DTC and is mom to two kids and a 95 lb chocolate lab – all of whom love to join in on long runs through Cherry Creek State Park.  When she’s not out running, you can find her spending time with her family at the Denver Zoo, scoping out new places to eat, hiking, traveling, and cheering on the Denver Broncos and USC Trojans. She’s looking forward to another great Colfax marathon in 2019!

Corey Dillon

Corey Dillon is a coach, father, and all-around endurance sports enthusiast. After biking across the country in college, he spent the next 20 years traveling more than 100 days per year selling investment products, and found running a few miles here and there to be a great way to stay active while on the road. As his kids got older, and weekends began to free up, Corey got a little more serious about running, setting a goal of completing his first marathon before his 40th birthday. Since then, he’s finished numerous marathons (including Colfax three times), half marathons (pushing an enabled athlete at the 2017 Colfax), and triathlons (including 8 Ironman distance finishes).

In 2015, Corey turned his passion into his business as the co-founder of Benefitness Partners, a Denver-based corporate fitness company focused on helping companies develop healthy, active, highly engaged employees. He also helps triathletes and runners achieve their goals and reach their potential as part of Braveheart Coaching.

Corey lives in Thornton with his wife Kim (who finished her first Colfax marathon in 2016). Most weekends, odds are good you’ll find him either running somewhere along the Big Dry Creek trail or on his bike on the roads in Boulder County.

Douglas Larson

Doug is a second year Colfax Ambassador, eager to run the full marathon for the fourth year in a row (he ran the half marathon in 2015). The Colfax races are a great way to experience Denver, Aurora, and Lakewood connected by a street rich in history and character (also characters).

Doug lives near Downtown Littleton and enjoys easy access to multiple South Suburban Recreation trails for training. He works for an aerospace company, with frequent US and international travel. Healthy eating and running are an important part of his travel routine. Exploratory running is a great way to experience new cities, but sometimes (smog, heat, or jet lag) the miles are stationary, on a hotel treadmill.

In 2014, Doug ran his first full marathon in Athens, Greece at the age of 40. To date, he’s run 10 half and 12 full marathons. In 2018 he ran in the City2Surf 14K in Sydney, Australia with about 80,000 other runners.

Doug encourages friends, family, and professional colleagues to be healthy and active, especially through running. He’s found that the discipline required to train is not only rewarded by race results, but also in greater productivity at work and in reaching personal goals in different activities.

Emily Van Meter

Emily is a Colorado native and the Colfax Marathon was her first attempt at a marathon. She loved the spirit and excitement around Colfax and it got her hooked on running marathons. She began to train more competitively, with the hopes of qualifying for Boston. She ran a qualifying race in Arizona where she went to graduate school for Speech Pathology. There is where Emily qualified for Boston, ran Boston 2016, with minor injuries and returned to Colfax the following May 2017 with another BQ. After a terrible Boston 2018….brrrr it was cold, she was glad to run in 2018!

Emily currently lives in Colorado Springs working as a Speech Pathologist with adults and gereatrics. You can find Emily out running rain, shine, wind, or snow with some solid training partners or with her dog! Currently chasing an OTQ and glad to represent the Colfax Marathon!

In 2018, Emily won the Women’s Colfax Marathon!

Erika Sponenberg

Erika Sponenberg is a Colorado native. Through her youth she ran and competed in softball and winning a state title in softball. Her softball career continued into college where she played outfield for Coastal Carolina University. During her softball career, she was the “runner” and lead her team on running conditioning workouts.

At the completion of her college career, she signed up and trained for the 2009 Colfax Marathon, completing her first marathon that year. In 2015, she prepared for her wedding by training for her next marathon which was once again, the Colfax Marathon. In 2016, she was able to rally her cousin’s into running their first half marathon with her, with all finishing successfully. In 2017, she helped a handful of new runners to their finish of their first half marathon experience and raised money for the non-profits doing the 5k with her dog Godzilla. 2018 was no different as she helped a new group to their finish of the Colfax Half.

Erika resides in Thornton, CO and is a member of the Runners Roost Race Team. You can find her out at local road races in Denver or on the trails as a pack burro racer.

Freddy Perez

Over the years, Freddy’s weight sky rocketed to 270lbs and it was starting to affect his health. He decided to start running in 2014, to lose weight. He remembers trying to run with friends and barely making it half a mile before he would stop to catch my breath.

In summer of 2016, Freddy found a fitness group called “The November Project.” From there, his life changed. He found himself joining their workouts every Wednesday and Friday. He met a lot of people and two specific people, Dan and Julia Berteletti, talked him into doing his first ever half marathon. Freddy had never run more than 5 miles in his life but with their encouragement and support, he was training for the South Platte Half Marathon in March of 2017. He remembers feeling pure excitement and joy when he finished the South Platte Half. From there on Freddy was hooked! He ran the Colfax Half marathon in May of 2017 and fell in love with the race! The Colfax Half Marathon is an amazing race because it brings all of Denver together!

Since completing these two half marathons, Freddy has raced in numerous events across Colorado, everything from road races such as the Colfax Half marathon and Bolder Boulder to obstacle races including Rugged Maniac and Spartan. Over time, the weight started to fall off and he even did a body building show in March of 2018! Since 2015, he has lost close to 80 lbs.! He enjoys running more and more because he has have fallen in love with seeing how far he can run as well as how fast he has become over the years!

When not running, Freddy works for the City and County of Denver as a Commercial Real Estate Appraiser. He believes we are living in a great time in Denver and his job allows him to see that change and that Denver is the hot place to be because of all the wonderful activities to do here!

Gretchen Dreeszen

Gretchen started her running career when she wanted to lose weight after having 3 children. She got a personal trainer and he asked if she had every considered running. That was the beginning of a beautiful love affair.

She ran the Denver Rock n Roll while 20 weeks pregnant with her 4th child. After taking a short break to adjust to having 4, she started training for her next race. She has run many half marathons with quite a few in other states such as Idaho, California, Georgia, New Orleans, Texas, Nevada and recently Utah. She has the goal of running a half or full in all 50 states. Last year she ran her first marathon in Chicago. Another goal of hers is to earn her BQ! She has also ran many 5K, 10K, relays and dragged her 4 kids to run in some races too!

This is Gretchen’s first year being a Colfax Marathon Ambassador. She has run the race twice in the past and can’t wait to run it again in 2019! Gretchen loves sharing her running journey with her friends on Facebook and her Instagram followers!

Jason Morales

Jason Morales grew up in upstate New York, where he was consistently active in team sports; but it wasn’t until after he moved to Colorado that he began to explore individual sports. In 2013, he completed his first 5K with his now-wife, and together, they participated in the Colfax 5K and some other fun runs over the next several months. Jason also completed his first MS150 cycling event the following year, which opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities for him.

Running didn’t come naturally to Jason; though triathlon intrigued him, running was still something that intimidated him. He woke up one day, decided to set a goal to start running, and literally put one foot in front of the other almost every day for the next several months. Eventually, he signed up for his first half marathon, the Denver Rock and Roll, and he was hooked. Since 2016, Jason has completed four sponsored half marathons, and hundreds of miles of training runs. One of his favorite courses is the Colfax half, a great early-season run filled with interesting participants, beautiful views, and a healthy dose of entertainment throughout the course. All of this running gave him the confidence he needed to dip his toe into the world of triathlon.

Jason’s first triathlon was the 2017 Boulder Peak, an Olympic-distance triathlon held in Boulder, Colorado. He trained hard for this event, and decided before he even crossed the finish line that day that he wanted to work toward something more…a half Ironman the following year. Now an avid runner, Jason continued working hard to improve his performance, so he joined a local group of triathletes in his current home town of Castle Rock, Colorado. They trained together for about a year, and Jason and a few of his teammates completed the Boulder Ironman 70.3 in August of this year. Though he has been giving his body a much-needed break from many months of training, Jason has his sights set on more swimming, biking, and running events later this year, and into the next. You can often find Jason running through Castle Rock in his neon running shirts and knee-high compression socks, putting one foot in front of the other and consistently pushing himself toward that next goal.

Jeannene Gonzales

Diminutive in stature, soft-spoken, quiet and unassuming by nature in no way describes Jeannene as a competitor. “Although she be but little she is fierce.” She acquired her indomitable training disciplined early in life as a dancer with the Colorado Ballet  from the time she was a little girl through her teenage years. In her mid-thirties she channelled  that discipline into running and completed her first half marathon in 2006 at Platte River. She’s a two-time Ironman finisher at Coeur d’Alene. She’s also completed the Boulder 70.3. She’s a three-time Boston qualifier. Although twice denied the privilege of entry she’s packing her bags for Boston in 2017. When not training or competing nobody gives back to the community more than Jeannene. You’ll see her volunteering countless hours with Boulder Ironman,  Racing Underground and many others. Her favorite event is the Colfax half marathon because it runs through the Denver Zoo. She looks forward to welcoming her new ambassador teammates and reuniting with her favorite veteran teammates to make  the 2019 Colfax Marathon weekend experience the best ever for all of you.

Jenny Jansonius

Jenny is a native to Colorado and has been involved in running most of her life. She is lucky enough to work with several youth sports organizations and share her passion for athletics and competition. Jenny is most excited to be involved with the Colfax Marathon and it’s disabled athlete division. Running really has become a sport open to all skill levels and physical abilities, and Colfax Marathon has done an excellent job ensuring that all athletes feel welcome and celebrated.

Johna Iannitto

Johna signed up for the Portland Marathon in 2011 and has not stopped training for running events ever since. She has completed a dozen marathons, five 50k ultra marathons, two 50 mile ultra marathons, and a handful of half marathons and other distances along the way. When she moved to Colorado from the East Coast in 2012, she fell in love with running through the mountains and she is in awe of the beautiful places her feet have taken her. Running at altitude is not so bad, especially once you reach a summit and get to soar downhill!
Johna shares her energy, passion, and joy for running and being active with everyone she encounters. She is proud to say she has encouraged many of her family and friends to sign up and train for races, from 5k to 50k. As someone who is inspired and intrigued by the physical capacity of the human body, she decided to begin graduate school to become a physical therapist. She hopes to inspire many more people to get out and do something they did not think their body was capable of. She is currently studying at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, where many of her colleagues and mentors have a similar passion for promoting activity and healthy lifestyles.

Joni Watkins

Joni started running in January 2012. At the time, she was suffering from the effects of PTSD and self-medicating with food, drinking and drugs. She reached a low point and desperately wanted a change, so she started taking long walks from her apartment. She began to add short running intervals and worked her way up to running a 5K.

The following year, Joni ran her first half marathon, the Colfax Half Marathon. Another year later, she ran her first marathon, the Colfax Marathon. In the meantime, she went back to school, found a new career path, and made new friends with healthy habits (one who is now her husband). Through running, she found a more appropriate way to cope, and it gave her to confidence to move on from toxic habits and people.

Now, Joni is primarily a trail and ultrarunner. She lives in Lakewood, CO with her husband, two dogs, two cats, and works in marketing. She loves to use running to see new places and meet new people. She continues to run Colfax every year, and still gets the same warm and fuzzy feeling she did when she crossed the finish line for the first time.

Jordan Jurczak

Jordan is super excited to represent the Colfax Marathon for 2019 and share her passion for running and competition. Originally from outside of Chicago, she attended the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk) and her experiences as a Jayhawk landed her in Scottsdale, Arizona and more recently Denver, Colorado.
She grew up an athlete, always playing team sports. Jordan ran her first half marathon in Phoenix with a group of girlfriends she met shortly after moving out to the desert. Without really training, or training at all, she did really well despite not being able to walk for a few days post race. By signing up for the Arizona Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, there was no telling where that would lead. It was after that race she fell in love with the sport and competing against herself! This led to many more races in all types of events! From a 5k foot race all the way to becoming an Ironman, and everything in between, Jordan is not slowing down any time soon.
Keeping busy as a student working towards a second Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition at MSU Denver, volunteering her time, and teaching group fitness classes at a local gym, running creates peace of mind and stress relief.  In the Summer when Jordan is not running, hiking, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, studying or working she can be found poolside, eating tacos & drinking margaritas! In the cooler months, she enjoys cross training by boxing, HIIT classes and snowboarding. When you see her at the race, she will give you words of encouragement & some friendly competition to reach the finish line!

Katelyn Rooney

Steve Prefontaine once said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” That is Katelyn’s philosophy both in the classroom and on the course. Katelyn first began running in 1995 at the age of 11 for her school, the Saint Elizabeth’s Cyclones. She was originally placed in the hurdles and sprints, but coach realized that all 60 inches might better fit in the mile, two mile, and 800. Afterwards, Katelyn moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where she participated in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track after failed attempts at both softball and cheer. After high school, she was recruited to run at multiple colleges, but she chose the smaller school.

During her sophomore year at Belmont Abbey, she tore her right achilles and decided to retire from her collegiate career. Her competitive nature propelled her to run her fastest mile at 5:28 (high school with Coach Kurt Niedenzu) and win a 5K in the fall of 2015. Katelyn decided to embark on a more serious running journey when she began training for her first half marathon when she turned 30. Katelyn started out by first training high school athletes when she was in college and continues to coach at Ben Franklin Academy in Highlands Ranch. Four half marathons and one sprint triathlon later, Katelyn is still running and does not have any plans of quitting until her body does!

Katelyn was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She moved around quite a bit to such interesting places as North Carolina,
South Carolina, Texas, and now Colorado. When Katelyn isn’t running, she works as an educator (5th grade) in Highlands Ranch. She recently finished a Master of Education in July of 2017. Katelyn ran her first Colfax half marathon in 2016. She is thrilled to join the ambassador team! Fun fact: Katelyn is getting married on October 20th to a fireman/paramedic, who recently discovered his love for the Colfax Relay.

Kathryn Williams

Kathryn grew up in Colorado in a large family and received both a bachelors and masters degree in Social Work from Colorado State University. She is currently working as a licensed clinician for a mental health agency in Denver.
Kathryn got into running in 2009, when she met with a trainer to help prepare for college cheerleading tryouts (cheered competitively from ages 10-20). He asked her to build running into the exercise regime, and when first starting could barely run 1/4 of a mile without feeling like dying! However, what began as a cross training slowly grew into a passion, as she had never experienced anything like a Runners high even in her years of cheer competitions. At age 20, Kathryn “retired” from cheering and ran her first race (the Bolder Boulder) one month later in 2011. With every year, the passion grew as well as the mileage and ran her first marathon (the Colorado Marathon) in May 2016.
While Kathryn’s passion of running grew, another passion grew as well: helping other people. She had always wanted to combine these two passions and a year ago finally got the chance. In 2017, she ran the Colfax Marathon for the first time and while at the expo came across a Muscular Dystrophy Association booth. Having known that my friend with SMA (Joe) was their current ambassador, she asked about getting involved somehow and registered to run the Chicago Marathon with their team in October 2017. To date, Kathryn has raised over $5,000 for MDA as a member of their Team Momentum and am currently training to run the New York Marathon with them in November 2018. In addition, she has started a local weekly running group called We Run This Denver, which is sponsored by Runners Heal, a clothing company where for every item sold, a child in Kenya is given one month of food. The aim is to bring awareness to the organization through the power of running.

Kevin Keena

A Denver native and Northern Colorado alum, Kevin Keena is all about a great run, perfect cup of coffee, fantastic music, and motivating young people. When not enjoying Colorado’s beautiful trail systems, Kevin plays drums with That Eighties Band, teaches at Heritage High School in Littleton, and spends time with his beautiful wife, Julie, and their three kids.

These days, you can usually find this born-again distance enthusiast high-fiving other runners on the trails at Clement Park, Chatfield Reservoir, South Platte Park, Bear Creek Lake, and any number of Jefferson County open spaces. But this was not always so…

Five years ago, Kevin was a 215-pound suburbanite whose knees ached all day, every day. In November 2011, his mom suffered a mild heart attack. His grandfather died from a heart attack many years ago so it was obvious that healthful changes in his own life were needed to avoid similar health issues. Four months, one enormous goal, and 20 pounds later, Kevin completed his first half-marathon. He was hooked! And the knee pain was gone!

By October 2012, just after turning 40, Kevin had lost 50 pounds and finished the Boulder Marathon. Since, he has run everything from 5K to 50 miles, but keeps coming back to Colfax. He enjoys the Colfax courses for the gorgeous scenic variety, energetic urban setting, and the lively post-race festivities at City Park. “Anyone can do it. Just get outside and start. The miles take care of themselves!”

Kevin McCartney

As a multi-sport athlete through high school and after four years of NCAA soccer, Kevin never really realized how important fitness and running was to him until it all stopped his senior year of college. With nothing to train for he had to find a new outlet for all the energy! Through the suggestion of his wife, Melissa, Kevin started running without dribbling a ball or doing all out sprints. “I remember the first time I completed 4 miles. And then 8… I was HOOKED! And I still am!” Recalled Kevin. After graduating from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio in 2012, Kevin has run over a dozen half marathons, 2 full marathons, and countless shorter distance races.

Beyond running, Kevin is passionate about soccer, skiing, traveling, and making friends. If you’ve ever gone to the British Bulldog on a Saturday morning, you’ve probably seen him cheering on his beloved Manchester United!

To fund his adventures and love for Icelantic Skis (and apparel) Kevin brings his enthusiasm to the office as a Financial Advisor serving individual investors and entrepreneurs.

A native of northwest Ohio, Kevin is the 3rd of 7 kids and loves his big family. His absolute greatest accomplishment in life was convincing Melissa, his wife of 5 years, to say “yes”!

Matt Sandman

Growing up, Matt Sandmann was not much of a runner. It wasn’t until his sophomore year at Bowling Green State University that he discovered the wonder of running when his best friend Bobby asked Matt to run the Columbus half marathon with him that Fall. Since then, Matt runs as much as he can around a busy work schedule. Running has helped Matt immensely with his weight loss journey and hopes that he has and will continue to inspire others along the way. Matt might not be the fastest runner out there, but his determination keeps him going and he has fun along the way no matter what.

Matt just moved to Colorado from Ann Arbor, Michigan and is excited to see where life takes him out here. Although he is from the Great Lakes, Matt has ran the Colfax half in the past and could not be happier to be a first year Ambassador for the Colfax Marathon. You can find Matt this Fall running in the Detroit Marathon and other times you’ll find him running all over Broomfield with his dog, Niko. Matt hopes that we all have an amazing 2019 Colfax Marathon

Mary Abbott

Mary has been running marathon races since 2009 but has been a runner ever since her father passed away when she was 16 years old. Back then she ran to escape life and now she runs to embrace the joy that is life. She is constantly in awe of how running connects a community of strangers into a community of instant friends, friends who all have the same goal…to FINISH. She started pacing races a few years ago as her way to help give back to the running community that has given her so much. She loves encouraging others to reach their running goals. The Colfax Marathon race series is, without a doubt, her absolute favorite race; she hasn’t missed a Colfax in over 7 years having run the 10 miler, half and full marathon. She loves Colfax not only for the great courses (the half gets to run through the Denver Zoo!!) but also the opportunity to showcase charity organizations.

Mary lives in Littleton and is blessed with a wonderful husband and two amazing children who support her in all her running endeavors. You will often find her running with her dogs and/or friends on the High Line Canal. She has completed 40+ half marathons and 8 full marathons and is a member of Moms Run This Town-Denver, Denver RunJunkEes, Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics. When she is not running and spending time with her family Mary is a high school counselor at Englewood High School.

Melissa McCartney

Melissa is a lifelong runner. She started as sprinter / hurdler in grade school through high school and transitioned to running longer distances (including her first half-marathon) in college. As crazy as it sounds, she seriously just LOVES to run! Along with her favorite running partner and husband, Kevin, she has completed over a dozen half marathons. Other favorites of Melissa include traveling, hiking, trail running, photography, the Denver Art Museum, pilates, skiing and doing anything in the mountains!
Day-to-day Melissa works as a nurse in the Operating Room nurse at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. She feels so lucky to be able to work with such incredible kids all day everyday and finds so much inspiration in their strength, especially when the fatigue kicks in on a long run at 4:30 in the morning!
She also is an instructor at Club Pilates Cherry Hills and loves finding new ways to push and strengthen her body to become a better and healthier runner.

Melissa Wood

Melissa has been running her entire life – mostly as a “punishment” in other sports, but fell into running as a lifestyle in 2010 when she started training for her first half and full marathons in the spring of 2011. In the years since those milestones, Melissa has continued to add new races each year, explore new parts of the country while running, and tackled many trail races. She has ventured into, and out of, the world of ultra, and determined that her favorite distance to run/race is the half marathon, and that she makes a wonderful pacer/crew member for her ultra-crazy friends. When she’s not running, you will find Melissa at Lowry Crossfit, throwing around heavy things and completing her speed training in a non-traditional way. She can also be found in the mountains with her dog, Maggie (who ran her first half marathon in the spring of 2018), or spending time with friends and family.

Melissa fell in love with Denver’s Colfax Marathon back in 2012 when she did the Relay for the first time, and has continued the love affair by running the 2015 Corporate Cup Relay and the Marathon in 2016, 2017, and 2018, and 2019 will be her third year on the Ambassador team.

This year you’ll find Melissa rockin’ it out on the Half Marathon – she’s looking forward to making the most of every single step of the 13.1 mile course as she passes through the Denver Zoo, heads east into Aurora, and passes the beautiful Colorado Firefighter Calendar folks, before hitting up the finish line party to celebrate completion of her 100th lifetime half marathon with the entire running community!!

Mollie Schultz

Mollie grew up in Colorado–taking advantage of all the outdoor wonder that is here. She started running more consistently after high school sports were over, and she needed a way to (unsuccessfully) try to beat gaining that “Freshman 15” in college. After running several half marathons, she took her first stab at a marathon as a senior in college. This was incredibly unwise, as she lived at sea level and ran the Rock N Roll Marathon here in Denver. Nevertheless, she persisted. After moving back to Denver, running was a great way to make new friends, see the city from a different angle, and run a lot of the smaller local races. School, work, and life intervened, and running took a backseat. Luckily. she has a little brother who likes to run, and together they’ve started a goal of running a marathon a year. Running these days balances out skiing, hiking, and yoga. Her favorite part of the Colfax Half is running through the Denver Zoo (because who wouldn’t list that as their favorite part?!).

Morgan Anderson

Morgan never thought running would be a major part of her life.  She would run though her neighborhood in Centennial in hopes of making it a mile.  When she moved to Wash Park she fell in love with the route and eventually built up her endurance to run around the whole park.

She helped to start Girls on the Run at her school which has made falling in love with running that much easier.  Through the encouragement of other coaches, she was able to complete her first Half Marathon at the Colfax Half back in 2017.  Since then, she has completed several half marathons including the Platte River Half Marathon, and ran the Bolder Boulder twice.

Morgan has also raised money on her own for Girls on the Run by becoming a Solemate.  During the Colfax 1/2 in 2018 she was able to raise almost $700 for sponsorships for girls in 3rd-5th grade.  Now entering her 6th season of this program, Morgan knows the influence running and the program has on underprivileged schools.

When she’s not running, Morgan is teaching 5th grade at a bilingual school in Denver.  She also enjoys hiking in the mountains with her German Shepard Zooey, skiing the slopes, or curling up with a good book.  She is thrilled to be a Colfax Ambassador and can’t wait to encourage others to reach their goals!

Patrick Ritsko

A native of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Patrick moved to Denver in 2014 for work in the oil and gas industry. This is his third year as a Colfax Marathon Ambassador and particularly enjoys how running brings the local community together.

Paul Clifton

Paul loves running and running has been very good to Paul. He started running consistently in 2009 after his father had quintuple heart bypass surgery.  Determined to make lifestyle changes, Paul and his father began walking and running regularly.  They even bought running watches to help keep one another accountable for getting miles in each week.  Paul started running 5k and 10k races and enjoyed socializing with the Denver running community and the healthier lifestyle. He has ran the Colfax Marathon five times along with 11 half marathons. Colfax is Paul’s favorite race because gets a chance to the whole city of Denver and features many of his favorite neighborhoods.

He runs on the many bike paths in Aurora as well as morning runs in City Park with his running partners.  Paul works at McGlone Academy, located in Montbello, as an Elementary Teacher.  He loves running with his colleagues and friends as McGlone Academy and the Montbello Children’s Network, which has been a Colfax Marathon Charity partner for four years. Many of the network’s teachers and families participate in events on race weekend.  Paul hopes to continue building community through running in Montbello.

Regina Henderson

Regina aka Reggie’s first race was the Colfax Half Marathon in 2014.  An avid athlete all her life, but never a runner, when Regina and her family were moved here by the USAF she thought it funny when people kept asking if she’d run with them.  She finally started running around Aurora because being a mother of 4, this was really the only free exercise that could be done anywhere and anytime.  When her sickly dad fell more ill, Regina knew she would run a race in his honor.  Not only did she know what her family medical history was, she wanted to promote good healthy decisions that would allow her to be around to dance the funky chicken at each of her children’s and grandchildren’s weddings.

From that first Colfax half marathon, she was hooked and fell in love with running which has completely transformed her life since then. In the last four years, Reggie has completed eight marathons, one ultra and seven Ragnars. She loves dancing and singing while she runs, especially in the rain, and inspires thousands through her social media posts and coaching. Her favorite actor is Tom Hanks, her favorite movie is Pride and Prejudice and, she goes by the nom de plume of #AwesomeSauce.

When not running locally in races or across the country, working at a chiropractic clinic in Aurora, or, cross training (she has a mean left hook), Reggie is running around taking care of her oh so busy family of 6. Her goal is to make this a healthier world for everyone, so #GETOUTSIDEANDPLAY!!

Ryan McNeil

Ryan grew up in Colorado, but never resembled anything close to a runner most of his life.  3-4 years ago, he began going a a local run club (Pub on Pearl) to attempt to change that (and for beer, let’s be honest).  A few miles per week were great (for him), and even led to his first go at the BolderBoulder! Fast-Forward to winter of 2017.  Ryan gets involved with November Project, unbeknownst of the impact it would have on his life.  Christmas Eve came around, and a sibling wager, inspired by his new crew of incredible runners and few glasses of vino, led to him signing up for his first ever half marathon, The Colorado [Half] Marathon. Since then, he’s put 5 halves under his belt, 2 Ragnars, several Marathon Relays, and countless shorter distance races.  The idea of running a full marathon, which he would have laughed at 2 years, is now on his mind.

Ryan still balances running (and November Project, of course) with his fresh new student status, after working as a mechanical design engineer for the last 5 years.  He’s very excited to be joining the Colfax Marathon Ambassador team, having only ran the half and been involved with the community for the 2017-2018 season.  With all of the great people supporting him, could this be the the year? Could this be the race?  This could very well be Ryan’s first Marathon.

Sarah Miller

Sarah began her running journey in 2013 after her OB told her that if she “only lost 40 pounds” her chances of having a child and beating infertility would increase. She recalled her daily walks in Franktown many years ago and new she had to get moving to get the weight off.

In April 2014, she ran her first 5k on a treadmill, and since that day she was hooked! Her journey began simply by trying to run from light pole to light pole, and has since gone on to running 36 races including 5k, 8k, 10k, quarter marathons, and 3 half marathons mostly in Portland, Oregon. Sarah also lost that 40 pounds plus an additional 110 more earning her the nickname, “The Shrinking Taco”.

Sarah is currently training to complete her first full marathon (Garmin Marathon) in April on the 5 year run-niversary of that first 5k race. She inspires so many with her journey, and loves sharing it: so just ask! You can find her up in the mountains on most weekends hiking trails, climbing mountains, and taking advantage of her new Colorado lifestyle! She loves holding down the back of the pack, and loves helping others getting started on their journey to fit!

Taylor Ivy

Back in 2013, Taylor packed up and traveled across the country from Mississippi to start law school at the University of Denver. She fell in love with her new home, and was looking for every possible way to escape the library and enjoy Colorado. She bought up a used bike off Craigslist, snagged a college-discount ski pass, and set to work picking up every “Colorado hobby” she could.

Taylor still loves to dabble in cycling and try her luck on the slopes, but the hobby that really stuck was running. Running was, and still is, her favorite way to explore this amazing state and take her mind off of legal research. Most weekends you’ll find her out with her fiancé, Mattson, and her fur children, Larry and Meatloaf, running to one of Denver’s many fine breweries or through a beautiful mountain trail.

Taylor ran her first ever 5K, the Colfax 5K, in 2015. She doubled her distance as part of the law school’s Colfax Marathon relay team in 2016. Now, after a brief hiatus to get her career started as an attorney, she’s beyond excited to hop back in for more distance in 2019 and more fun as a Colfax Marathon Ambassador!

TJ Kizuka

Tj is so glad to be returning as a Colfax Marathon Ambassador!

Tj started his running journey in 2008 as part of a challenge to run his first 1/2 Marathon at Disney World! In 2018 TJ made a dream come true and he ran the Colfax Full Marathon complete with glitter and a unicorn horn!
Tj can sometimes be heard around town on MIX 100, KOOL 105 and 92.5 The Wolf often providing color commentary or commercial work as “Prize Guy TJ” on air. He is an avid music buff and has a diverse running playlist including everything from Broadway Show tunes to Dolly Parton. Tj is also vice president of The Denver Gay Men’s Chorus that along with running brings him solace and peace! Tj has 3 favorite running mottos “Races are like mullets business in the front party in the back” “If I can do this you can too” “Glitter makes running more fabulous.” @Tjkizuka

Travis Mark

After taking a year off, this is Travis’s second year as a Colfax Ambassador. He is hum-bled by the opportunity to again serve with an amazing, passionate, and inspiring group of run-ners. Travis is a Colorado native, born and raised in Colorado Springs. He now lives in Lake-wood with his wife of 12 years, Sarah, and their two pups.

Travis discovered running when a friend invited him to join the cross country team in high school to keep in shape for soccer and lacrosse. He quickly found success, leading his team to State and fell in love with the sport. Despite this, Travis drifted away from running for most of his 20’s, but decided he wanted to get back into the sport and run his first marathon be-fore turning 30. Even though he knew better, he made all the rookie mistakes and thought he could rely upon his experience to get him through and did not train seriously (…really at all). He still managed to complete the Denver Rock N Roll marathon in just under the cutoff time of 6 hours. He used this as motivation to get back into running more seriously and has since found a renewed love for the sport.

Travis loves running to relax and clear his mind, as well as for the mental and personal challenge that each run presents. The pace or distance does not matter, each run is an exercise in perseverance and mental fortitude. He has participated 4 consecutive years at Colfax, setting a new marathon PR in 2018 of 3:25.

Over the last couple of years, Travis has found another thing he loves about running. Community. At any race or run club, the attitude of support and encouragement to other runners is something special about running. In addition to running, Travis serves on the Board of Rocky Mountain Road Runners to give back to the running community.

One of his favorite running memories was completing a week-long relay across Colo-rado, with his cross country team from the Wyoming border to the New Mexico border. His goal is to one day qualify for and run the Boston Marathon. Travis can be found running around the parks and reservoirs in Lakewood, but his favorite trails are in and around Golden and the High-line Canal. He likes a nice run in the evening to unwind.

“The best pace is a suicide pace, and today is a great day to die.” -Steve Prefontain

Troy Coleman

This is Troy’s second year as a Colfax Ambassador and he is beyond excited to rejoin this fantastic crew. He began running in 2008 and finished his first full marathon in Chicago, 2009. Troy ran his 50K in 2017 and notched his 20th marathon in Leadville, 2018. Colfax has been a favorite since moving back to Denver. He’s run a Colfax full marathon or half marathon every year since 2012 and is looking forward to his fifth full Colfax Marathon in May (run west young man!). Troy’s a core member of the November Project Denver (Y’all good?), runs with the Runner’s Roost Race Team and is a charitable runner for Rescue + Freedom Project. He most often can be found running through City Park and RiNo, especially in bad weather. When not running, Troy works in marketing and logistics by day and theatre in the evenings. He’s also quite fond of walks with his wife and two Westies (both decidedly not runners).

Wesley Juenger

A native Southern Illinoisan, he moved to Denver in 2015 and quickly fell in love with the active lifestyle that Coloradans live by!

Starting with a mile or two in Cheesman Park, he set a goal for himself to run the Colfax Half Marathon in 2017, the furthest he had ever run. Flash forward a year and many races in-between, he completed the Colfax Full Marathon in 2018 and never felt better! He has a goal to complete the Colfax Urban 10 Miler as well as the 5K in 2019, so he can officially say he has completed all that the Colfax has to offer!

Outside of running, Wesley is a Sales Representative for Anheuser-Busch, a job in which he loves. He is actively involved in recreational sports leagues such as the Denver Gay & Lesbian Flag Football League and City Wide Sports.

Cheers to a fun year and lots of miles logged!

Zach Nolan

Zach is excited to share his first year as a Colfax Marathon ambassador with you! As a means to counterbalance his sedentary work life as an accountant, Zach started running in 2016. Like most of us, his initial goal was to run a mile without stopping. Mile after mile, he learned to love running and began seeking out people who enjoyed talking about running as much as he did. He started running and making friends with the Belmar run club in 2017. He found a captive audience for his interest in long runs and running  tank tops with the Belmar run club. Zach is known for his collection of cat shirts and willingness to run friends to the finish line -long after his own finish. Inspired by the supportive peer pressure of his run club friends, he ran his first marathon in 2018. Rather than run for a speedy time, he ran the Colfax Marathon alongside a group of friends who shared his spirit of fun and comradery. As a Colfax Ambassador, Zach’s goal is to make running fun and accessible to people of all ages and skill levels.