Ambassador Team

2020 Colfax Ambassador Team

This year’s Ambassador Team is sponsored by New Balance!

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 attend fun training runs at stores and breweries, where they give away prizes and talk about the 7 Colfax Marathon races.

Denver’s Colfax Marathon has 20,000 runners  and over 35,000 people come through the Expo. Colfax is a non-profit and gave almost $100,000 to other non-profits just in 2019!

The 2020 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.

Melissa Wood - Team Manager

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 is also an avid runner), 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 in 2019 ran the Half Marathon as her 100th half marathon!

Melissa is ecstatic to be back on the Ambassador team for the 15th Anniversary of Colfax Marathon in 2020 and is especially excited to manage this phenomenal team of inspiring and outstanding runners!

Erika Trujillo - Charity Partner Liaison

Erika was born and raised in Colorado. Her original love for competition began with softball where her career continued from youth into college where she played outfield at Coastal Carolina University.

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, Erika ran her second Colfax marathon and continued to participate in the race weekend every year since then, assisting first time runners to the finish line for their first half in 2016 and 2017, running the 5k with her dog Godzilla and the half in 2018, and running her fastest Colfax marathon in 2019. Erika also served on the Colfax ambassador team for 3 years and is also on the Runners Roost Race Team.

Erika resides in Denver, CO and works in SaaS. The top 3 places to find Erika is at local road races, on the trails pack burro racing, or at the softball fields

TJ Kizuka - Events Manager

Tj is so glad to be returning as a Colfax Marathon Ambassador! This year he is excited to celebrate the big 4-0 (gasssp) as well as the 15th anniversary of the Colfax Marathon Series!

Tj started his running journey way back in 2008 as part of a dare to run a 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 Altitude Sports Radio, 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.
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

Amanda Heimlich

Amanda is a new mom to a 6th month old son and has been married for 6 years. She is originally from California and moved to Colorado 4 years ago after her husband got relocated. Amanda always enjoyed participating in 5ks and fun runs but never took it seriously until spring 2012. That is when her and her friend decided to sign up on a whim with Team Challenge for a half marathon through wine country to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis. This was an important race for Amanda because she was supporting a disease her brand new husband had along with completing her first half marathon… a week after her wedding!

Fast forward to 2019, Amanda has now completed 4 half marathons, the Colfax Urban 10 miler and numerous 10k and 5k’s. She has even gone so far as to run at least one 5k (or longer race) every month in a calendar year. That wasn’t enough for her, so she challenged herself to do 18 races in 2018 and surpassed that goal even while she was pregnant. Running is not only a way to stay in shape, but is her “me” time and she loves to show her son a good example of being able to still be a good mom while also taking care of herself and living a healthy lifestyle.

When Amanda isn’t running you can usually find her at a mommy and me workout group (Stroller Strides), at a HIIT based training gym or enjoying a Colorado Avalanche game with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Amanda Price

Amanda is a wife and mother of 2 amazing daughters.  Running has been an integral part of not only her life but her family.  She has been running for over 20 years. Originally it was to get and stay fit.  Over the years it has evolved to be her way of life. Whether it’s racing, trail running, or laps at Crossfit, it is her way to clear her head, organize her busy days, socialize with her friends, and a way to lead her adventurous lifestyle.

As a middle school teacher, she has also brought her love of running to her school. She has coached Girls on the Run, Marathon Kids, cross country, and track.  One of her most favorite coaching experiences is training her students to run the Colfax Marathon Relay. Training the kids to run 3-6 miles is a challenge many have not yet conquered.  Watching them succeed and bond through this experience is always a highlight of her coaching year.

This will be her 10th year running the Colfax Marathon events.  She has enjoyed the half marathon’s eastbound view, the marathon’s connection between Denver and Lakewood, the 5k’s City Park ease and views, and the camaraderie and planning of the marathon relay.  This race has definitely been a great event to make memories and accomplish her running goals.

 

Andrea Lamelle

 Andrea recently moved to Colorado from Orlando, Florida in December 2018. She is a true Floridian and hadn’t seen snow fall prior to visiting Colorado in 2018. Since moving, she has fully embraced the Colorado life style and enjoys running, hiking, biking, and going to breweries.

Andrea has recently found a passion for running and working out. After two failed New Years resolutions to start running in 2016 and 2017, she decided to sign up for the 2018 Walt Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. Having a race on her calendar was enough motivation to help her 2018 New Years resolution stick, and she began running/ working out in January 2018. She signed up for a boot camp and started running. Before she knew it, she had finally kept her 2018 New Years resolution and completed her first half marathon in November 2018! 

After leaving Florida and adjusting to Colorado’s cold weather, high altitude and running on inclines; she made her 2019 resolution to run a different race each month. Since then, she has completed several 5K’s, 10K’s and Half Marathons. Her first time competing in the Colfax Marathon was 2019, where she ran the Corporate Relay with her co-workers. 

She now loves exercise and couldn’t imagine going a week without attending Orange Theory or running. Her first full marathon will be the Walt Disney Marathon in January 2020 and her second will be the Colfax Marathon 2020. 

Angela Cesena

Angie runs for pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread) and doughnuts. While most people carbo-load before a race, she carbo-loads all year. Her quarter-life crisis goals are to successfully complete a food eating competition and an Iron Man (not on the same day). 

Running has become an outlet for Angie. Along with hiking and outdoor adventures, running is one of the most therapeutic activities for her. As a survivor, she finds beauty in the outdoors and enjoys discovering her personal strengths with each stride she takes.

She’s ran half and full marathons in LA with Students Run LA, the bay area with Big Dawgs, Iguazu Falls on a random first date, and in Patagonian with fellow Peace Corps volunteers. 

You can catch her running to a Dunkin’ or summiting a 14er with her dog Luna, advocating for mental health awareness and survivor rights, or running a nonprofit. 

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. Anthony also serves as the City of Denver’s representative on the Colfax Marathon Board of Directors. 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. The past two years, he has run the 5K and placed top ten in his age group – 50+ 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. Anthony serves as an Honorary Colfax Marathon Ambassador and this year his focus is to recruit non-profits to host fun runs with their employees, donors and supports to raise awareness about the Colfax Marathon Charity Partners program.

Ashley Hickey

In 2006, Ashley ran her first marathon. It was a goal she had set to accomplish before her 21st birthday and despite training getting completely derailed, she finished and knew she wanted to run more! Ashley has been running since high school cross-country and has recently found a renewed passion for distance running.  The 2020 Colfax Marathon will be her 11th marathon and she has her eyes on some big goals this time around. She is calling her shot and aiming for a sub-4 this time around!

The 2019 Colfax Marathon was Ashley’s first marathon since becoming a mom and struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. Running has helped her overcome mental illness and she runs to share her story and help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Each mile is an opportunity to be present in a given moment and each run is a chance to prove to herself that she is made for more and has control over depression and anxiety.

Ashley has been married for 9 years, is Mom to Mason (4) and Bode (2), and teaches in Jeffco. She is passionate about pursuing the best version of herself; when she is not running, she can be reading, chasing after her kiddos, or working on a multitude of passion projects! Being a Colfax Ambassador is a dream come true!

Bernadette Leyba

Bernadette has never resembled your average runner. Growing up she hated running, averaging a 21:00 mile pace in high school (yes, seriously). She lived by the motto, “will not run unless chased”. But all of that changed in 2010 when she moved to Hong Kong and was persuaded to run the Standard Charter 10K. After intense training, when she crossed that finish line she discovered that running wasn’t that bad, and she was capable of more than she thought. Since then she has completed in a handful of 5Ks, 10ks, Half Marathons, and mini triathlons. Most recently in May of 2019, she crossed the finish line of the Colfax Marathon with the support of her friends and her running community.

When this Colorado native isn’t training, Bernadette is working full time as an Educator for Denver Public Schools, trying to positively influence Denver’s urban youth. She believes in the power of representation and because she doesn’t look like your average runner (a proud, short, stocky Chicana) she feels like it is important to represent the underrepresented. She whole heartedly believes that people need to be shown that you don’t have to look like a runner to run. As a result of this she has created a fitness motivation page on social media where she posts about her training struggles and accomplishments with her own humorous twist. She hopes to continue to motivate and inspire people to achieve their own physical goals no matter their weight, body type, ethnicity nor circumstance. Follow her on Instagram @mymotivation_beyond

Carlos Hill

Chris Rushton

Chris is a transplant in Colorado from Indiana. He moved to this beautiful state early 2018 and is NEVER EVER LEAVING – he loves it too much here! Chris moved the Colorado with his wife, Janelle, and two kiddos – Crosby and Collins. He moved here for the mountains and outdoors and that’s exactly what he got! He is lucky enough to have some cousins that also live near him in Colorado with their similarly ages children, so, the kiddos get to spend lots of time with their cousins exploring nature during the numerous camping trips, hikes, lake trips and holidays throughout the year!

His running career started sometime in the range of 2012 – 2014 in Indiana. He quickly fell in love with the activity and while he is sometimes not the most consistent of runners (for good reason – 2.5 year old son and 6 week old daughter), running has truly become a passion and preferred method of movement! He started his event running career in 2017 by running the Indy Mini and then gave the Colfax a go in 2018! Chris loves to participate in pretty much any version of a running event starting with “fun runs” and 5Ks all the way up to trail running and half marathons. While Chris is a self-proclaimed “amateur at best”, he’s excited for his future in running and has many (many) lofty goals for what will remain a passion. Some of the goals on Chris’ list are to do some trail half marathons, finish a full marathon in the coming 2 years, complete the 29029 Everesting challenge, and consistently complete 3 – 4 half marathons a year. The overall goal is to run around the world 1 half marathon at a time!

Cindy VonFeldt

In 2017, Cindy ran her first half marathon. It was the Colfax Half of course! With eight of her friends, it was a way to celebrate 4 years’ cancer free. Cindy ran her first 5k in September 2011 and in 2012 was training for the September 5k when she knew something was wrong. Diagnosed with Stage 2 cancer she underwent surgery, chemo and radiation. Knowing that every day is a gift, she turned to training for races and relayed with her sisters in the Tri for the Cure and never looked back. Living in Colorado makes it easy with year round outdoor activities and of countless races to participate in. Turning 60 this year, Cindy embraces that one day she won’t be able to do this, however today is not the day. She can’t wait to train for the Colfax Half Marathon and break personal records in 2020. It is a beautiful course, and loves the spirit and the organization that repeats year after year.

Cindy is married, mom and step mom of 5 and proud grandma. She is very active outdoors with camping, hiking, snow shoeing, kayaking and active with the local community. She loves to volunteer, inspire others, and share accomplishments. You will find her at many local 5k and 10ks volunteering at the finish line if she isn’t in the race itself. Cindy works full time as the Colorado Emergency Operations Center’s Training and Exercise Specialist. In 2020, she will run her fourth half marathon at the Colfax Marathon. You can follow her on Facebook (Cindy Evans VonFeldt), Instagram (cindyrunsforlife), and Twitter (@cjvonfeldt).

Coral Eby

Coral grew up in Colorado and began running as a sprinter for her middle and high school track teams. Until college, she’d never run more than 2 miles but fell in love with distance running at USC. Since moving back to Denver 10 years ago, Coral has participated regularly in 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, and the Colfax Marathon.  Last year, she ran the Palm Beaches 1/2 Marathon 15 weeks postpartum to raise money for Acoustic Neuroma Association on behalf of her childhood best friend and first running buddy, an AN survivor.

Even though she’s been running most of her life, it’s become an even more significant part of her routine as a mom of two toddlers. Running is a great chance to find balance and pursue personal goals, to enjoy beautiful Colorado, and to meet awesome, inspiring new people in the running community.

Coral manages a sales 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 and the Highline Canal.  When she’s not running, you can find her spending time with her family at the Denver Zoo (her favorite part of the Colfax Half!), working out at Club Greenwood, traveling, and cheering on the Denver Broncos and USC Trojans. She’s looking forward to her 5th Colfax weekend and to celebrating the race in its 15th year!

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.

Courtney Henderson

Courtney started running with her father at the age 6 and ran her first marathon at the age of 12. She casually ran throughout her adult life, but realized that she missed competitive sports around the age of 40. While training for her first Ironman in 2014, she was struck by a car and suffered serious injuries. She worked tirelessly the following year to make a comeback and to finish what she started. She completed her first Ironman in Boulder in 2015 and since then, has completed 5 additional full Ironman races and competed in the 70.3 World Championship in S. Africa in 2017. Courtney has been an active member of Team Zoot since 2014.

Courtney is also a USMS swim coach and an assistant swim coach at a local high school in Loveland, Colorado. She enjoys coaching students of all abilities and encouraging them to set and realize their performance goals. 

Focusing on running alone allows her to rediscover the joy, freedom and peace that running provides. Courtney is a mother of 4 and a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines. She firmly believes that the best way to explore a new city is by running! She is looking forward to running her first Colfax marathon and meeting new friends that share the joy of running with her. Being a Colfax Ambassador is an absolute thrill for her and she is looking forward to sharing the experience with her community. 

Dan Mott

Dan’s running life began in 2010 with the Disney Half Marathon. He immediately fell in love with the sport and lifestyle. Going from complete non runner to running thousands of miles. He’s run dozens of marathons across the country, joining the ultra ranks running rim to rim to rim at the Grand Canyon in 2017 and completing several 50ks. Along with recently completing the Pikes Peak Marathon while still managing to smile at the finish. He loves to bring and encourage other people to this great sport and lifestyle. Whether it’s 3 hour or a 6 hour marathon. It’s that same great feeling crossing the finish line.

Moving to Colorado Springs in August 2018, in one short year he’s seen the passion for an active lifestyle in Colorado and wants to help spread that culture. Dan ran the Colfax Half Marathon this past spring and is excited to make the step up to the Marathon after seeing the support and energy that race provided.

Doug Larson

Doug is a third year Colfax Ambassador, eager to run the full marathon for the fifth 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 13 half and 25 full marathons. In 2019, he ran his first ultramarathon, the San Francisco Double Marathon.

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 excited to be returning for another year as part of the Colfax team! Colfax was the first marathon she ran and now is where she has her marathon PR…may be knocking on the door soon for another! Unfortunately this past year has been a down year with no racing yet. By being sidelined by injuries has not dampened her spirit and love for running and the epic battle the marathon can be! Recovering and working through injuries taught Emily a great deal about the incredible support the running community is. Looking forward to racing more, staying injury free, and representing Colfax this year!

Freddy Perez

Freddy has enjoyed being a Colfax Ambassador and is pumped to be returning as an Ambassador, for the 2nd straight year! He truly appreciated the experience and it helped motivate him to continue to push himself to do things he never thought he would ever do! Such as run his first Marathon!

He began running in the summer of 2016, when he found a fitness group called “The November Project.” From there, his life forever changed. He found himself joining their workouts every Wednesday and Friday. “The November Project” encouraged him to run his first half marathon in March of 2017, despite never running further than 5 miles! The November Project was instrumental in his weight loss and running journey! They have been a great source of knowledge and encouragement! Freddy ran his first Colfax race in May of 2017 and from there fell in love with the race! He has run a Colfax race every year for the last 4 years! The atmosphere of the race and the people involved are the reasons he keeps coming back.

When not running, you can find Freddy with his dog Quinn running around with her and making sure she is living her best life! He works for the City and County of Denver as a Commercial Real Estate Appraiser. It’s been an amazing journey working for the City and County of Denver and seeing all the new exciting changes that are going on in the city! Here’s to another year and looking forward to the 15th Anniversary of the Colfax Marathon!

George Cespedes

George is the founder of TriAniamls and TriAnimal Endurance. He started in the sport of triathlon in 1989 and was lucky enough to win a lottery slot to Kona in 1993. After several more races, including St. Croix in 1996, an injury in 1996 forced him to give up triathlon until 2012. In an attempt to make up for lost time, George completed three Ironman races since his return where he once again realized his true passion for the sport of triathlon. He has completed all distances of triathlon from Sprint to 140.6, and has completed four stand-alone marathons.

Originally from New York city, George is a die-hard Jets and Mets fan, so he is familiar with disappointment. As a father of two, when he’s not working or training he’s busy being dad, which is his favorite of all roles. Additionally, George is an independent Life and Health Insurance Broker in Colorado Springs.

Heath Johnson

Heath has been an on and off runner for a good majority of his life.  Heath fell in love with the Colfax race series the first year that he ran the half-Marathon in 2013.  It was so much fun to finish in city park, enjoy food and beer and hang in usually good Denver weather!  This will be Heath’s 8th consecutive Colfax event and his very first as an ambassador.
Heath lives in Buena Vista, Colorado.  He loves running because he loves the challenge of improving personally as an athlete and a person.  Heath also loves encouraging and socializing with other runners.  He is also an ambassador for 3W Races.
Heath is a para professional for the Buena Vista School District. Heath lives there with his wife, a dog and a cat.

Helen DeGennaro

The Colfax marathon is near and dear to Helen’s heart as it was her first ever marathon (and running race!) in 2013 as well as her PR in 2019. 2020 will be her 7th Colfax marathon.

A former smoker, Helen turned to running in 2012 as a way to relieve stress. She just surpassed her 2 year running streak anniversary (Running 2+Miles everyday)and thinks of running as her much healthier habit now.

In addition to Colfax, Helen has run over 30 marathons, several Ultras, an Ironman and most recently completed the Boston Marathon in April 2019 and Leadville 100 Trail race in August 2019. Next year’s goals include NYC and Chicago marathons with the ultimate goal of collecting all 6 world medals.

Besides running, Helen’s passions include wrangling her 3 dogs (Oliver, Harley, Warren), her cat (Arthur) and husband (Matt).

Jessica Armstrong

I am so excited to be a part of the Colfax ambassador team! The Colfax half was my first ever half marathon, and my first marathon as well! As a transplant to Colorado from Neew Hampshire in 2003, I was never a runner. It wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I realized I needed to do more for my fitness than some YouTube workout videos. I started by signing up for a 5k and then downloaded a couch to 5k app and even though in the beginning I was terrible and could barely run for more than a few minutes, after a while time on the road became my time to think, decompress, and relieve stress. Soon the first 5k turned in to so many more, and then it became 10ks and eventually I set my sights on the Colfax half. I’m not sure what drew me to it the most, probably the mile through the zoo? But I loved it, and as soon as I finished I knew I would be back again. I ran it for a second year in a row, but became injured (stress fracture in my foot!) and couldn’t run it for a 3rd. That didn’t stop me, and I came back stronger than ever, with my sights set on my first full marathon! Since I had so much love for the Colfax half, of course I needed to make it my first full! I’ve got my sights set on it again this year! Most days you can find me running trails and paths in any weather and season around Morrison and Littleton, where I live with my supportive husband and son.

Joshua Ribera

Joshua is a native of Denver, Colorado, and loves the diverse range of activities and events the city has to offer. He feels running, in short, has saved his life, as it was the catalyst that led to him losing 100 pounds since college and making more health-conscious decisions. His love for running began in 2011, when he had realized his unhealthy habits had led him to his heaviest weight ever. With encouragement from his best friend, he began running at a local park near his home and loved seeing his running stamina gradually improve. Over the last 7 years, Joshua worked his way from 5K to 10K to half marathon to running his first marathon in January 2019. Other than running, he also enjoys workouts with his gym family at West Metro CrossFit, playing and watching soccer, traveling to new places (and running them if possible), and spending time with his wife and two dogs. Joshua loves to meet others and encourage them to find their own avenue of fitness, just as his best friend did for himself. He hopes to be an example to others to live a more healthy life and challenge themselves to new heights.

Kathryn Williams

Kathryn is excited to join the Colfax Ambassador Team for the second year. She grew up in Colorado in a large family, with two parents that had a passion for running and being active. Kathryn found her love of running at the age of 18 while cross training for college cheerleading. When she “retired” from cheerleading at age 20, running became more and more prominent leading her to run her first marathon in 2016. Six marathons and one ultra later (and counting!), Kathryn has also found a love of community and volunteering through running. She has run the Chicago marathon and the New York City marathon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and is also a volunteer running coach for Back on Mh Feet, a national nonprofit that uses running and community support to combat homelessness in Denver.

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 of the Highline Canal, at Clement Park, Chatfield Reservoir, South Platte River, Bear Creek Lake, and any number of Jefferson County and South Suburban open spaces. But this was not always so…

Eight 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 then 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.

“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.” -Emil Zatopkek

Kirsten Eriksson

Kirsten was not always a runner – in high school, she competitively swam because it was the only sport that didn’t involve running! However, that all changed when she fell in love with distance running during her freshman year of college – she ran a 5k with friends for a student organization at the University of Michigan. While far from speedy, it was a fun and productive way to expend energy and hang out with my best friend, Helen. She was hooked and ran her first marathon a year later at the Ann Arbor Marathon, followed by the Chicago Marathon six months after that. More recently, Kirsten ran the Chicago Marathon and the New York City Marathon a month apart in 2018 – she got into Chicago through the lottery and was lucky enough to be part of Michelob Ultra’s Team Ultra at the New York City Marathon. She ran her fifth full marathon in Duluth this year at Grandma’s Marathon. You can catch her running on Cherry Creek Trail most mornings and weekends; it’s her favorite place in the city to run.

When I’m not running, I’m most likely at work as an Immigration Project Assistant, doing work for those securing work authorization in the US. I also love lifting weights, swimming, hiking, and yoga to get active while not running. At home, my boyfriend and two cats are my life!

I can’t wait to use this opportunity as an ambassador to meet new people and get excited about the Colfax Marathon! I ran the half for the first time in 2018 and loved the experience. I’m looking to run the half again this year and fulfill my longtime dream of breaking two hours in the half marathon. I can’t wait!

Kourtney Hunsader

Originally from Bradenton, Florida, Kourtney moved out to Denver in August of 2016. Although she loved the beach life, she has a deep passion for nature, hiking, and being in the mountains, so Colorado seemed like the perfect place to be and she has been loving life in the Rockies!

Kourtney has always been involved in sports since she was young, but running is a relatively new sport for her. In 2018, a friend convinced her to sign up for the Steamboat half marathon together, and she thought it seemed like a great physical challenge. After the race, she thought it was a good experience but wasn’t sure she would race again. However, in the following days and weeks she couldn’t stop thinking about the runners high she had experienced and how amazing the race environment and running community is. Finally, she made it a goal to complete the full Steamboat marathon in 2019. The Steamboat marathon was Kourtney’s first full marathon, and she plans to run the Philadelphia marathon this November, and the Colfax marathon in 2020. She has also participated in a few trail half marathons, and she hopes to strengthen her trail running and possibly venture into the ultra world. She is currently signed up to run the three day Transrockies race covering 60 miles in late 2020. 

Colfax has been Kourtney’s favorite race to date and is she currently where holds her half marathon PR. She absolutely loves the running community and can’t wait to share the stoke for running with everyone!

Lauren Dreiling

Lauren is a Colorado Native. In 2016, after a 10 year hiatus from routine running, Lauren’s friend convinced her to train for a half marathon. The first race Lauren did as a part of the training cycle for the half was the Colfax Relay! Since then, running has been a prominent part in her life and so has the Colfax races.
Out of the Colfax races, Lauren has done the relay, urban 10 miler and half marathon. The Colfax marathon is Lauren’s favorite half marathon in Colorado! In 2020, Lauren will be running her favorite half. Lauren is running her first 26.2 at the Chicago Marathon in October 2019 and fully plans to run the Colfax Marathon in 2021.
Lauren works for Children’s Hospital Colorado and loves caring for children. When not running, Lauren enjoys spending time with her family, friends and two cats. Beyond running, Lauren loves to watch professional hockey and loves cheering on the Colorado Avalanche! This is Lauren’s first year being a Colfax Ambassador and Lauren is beyond thrilled to share her love of the Colfax races with you!

Lauren Ruth

Growing up a water baby, Lauren’s first loves were swimming and water polo. In her late 20s, she decided to finally take the leap and try triathlons. While training for her races, she found herself running more consistently. Fast forward a few years and Lauren has run too many half marathons to count and she completed her first full marathon in 2018 while pregnant! Following her pregnancy (and a move from Texas to Colorado) Lauren ran her first Colfax Half Marathon in 2019. Lauren used the race as a checkpoint during her 2019 Boulder Ironman 70.3 training. When not training, Lauren loves to teach, travel and explore Colorado with her little family of 3. She is excited to meet more people in the Denver running community and share her love for all things active!

Megan Stoddard

Megan is super stoked to be joining the ambassador team for the Colfax marathon this year! Growing up here in Colorado, Megan was by no means an athlete – with dream of becoming a classical musician, she spent far too much time sitting and practicing. When college hit, she decided to give running a try. After downloading and training with a Couch 2 5k app, helping her knock out that first treacherous mile, Megan completed her first 5k in 2012… and hasn’t stopped running since. She’s run at least 1 mile every day for the last couple of years (ask her – she can tell you exactly which day number she’s on), and received her first BQ last October. She enjoys supporting other runners, whether through encouragement or helpful tips, and has even helped coach an elementary school track team.
When she’s not running (or talking about running to anyone that’ll listen), Megan spends her free time either curled up with a good book, hiking around Colorado’s beautiful mountains with her black mutt-of-a-dog Mimzy, or trying to keep up with her husband’s skiing.

Patrick Rizzo

Elite Ambassador

Patrick has been running for about 18 years and qualified for three Olympic marathon trials (2008-26th place, 2012-13th place, 2016-tbd).
He can be found most of my waking hours at Runners Roost Colorado Springs working the sales floor and online at @runPRizzo on both Twitter and Instagram. Read his blog at http://pjrizzo.runnerspace.com.Career HighlightsQualified for US Olympic Marathon Trials in 2008, 2012, and 2016

Represented USA in 2011 Pan-American Games
Colfax Half Marathon Record Holder 2 years, 1st Place in 2012 and 2013.
Member of Colfax Marathon Board of Directors
1st Place Seattle Rock N Roll half in 2012
PR of 2:13:42 in the marathon and 1:04:22 in the half marathon

Rachel Price

Rachel ran her first Colfax race this past year shortly after moving to Denver. A Chicago native, Rachel grew up with a love for running – racing her first 5k at age 8. Running gave her confidence and determination, as well as lasting friendships – gifts one should never take for granted. Rachel ran Cross Country & Track & Field at the University of Iowa. Although her heart lies with middle-distance races, she has come to love the 10-13mile races post-college. Currently, Rachel works remotely in marketing full time and is a personal trainer/group fitness instructor on the side. She cannot wait to race next year’s Colfax Half Marathon!

Richard Kalasky

Tara Hunter

Tara is a Denver transplant, having moved to the area in August 2018. When she was in her 20s she decided it was time to make a lifestyle change and get healthy. She dropped close to 70 pounds and started running. It wasn’t until more than a decade later that she actually gave this racing thing a try. After taking time off from running and relocating to a new city, she decided the best way to get back to regular running was to spend money on it so she signed up for a bunch of local 5Ks. Pretty soon she started setting her goals higher and higher and has gone on to participate in a variety of races including marathons, long distance relays, and half Ironman. In 2019 she ran the Colfax Half for the first time and has been looking forward to running it again in 2020!

When Tara isn’t training for her next adventure she likes to travel and collect hobbies. She lives in Thornton with her beagle/corgi rescue, Artemis, and tries to convince her adult daughter it’s still cool to hang out with mom every now and then.

Troy Coleman

Troy is thrilled to once more to be a Colfax Ambassador. He began running in 2008 and ran his first full marathon in Chicago, 2009. The Colfax Marathon has been a favorite since moving back to Denver and has run every year since 2012 (the full five times and the half three). The 2018 Colfax Marathon was his 21st 26.2 miler to date and he is giggly excited to run the full again in 2020. Troy has been member of the November Project Denver since early 2014 (y’all good?), runs with the Runner’s Roost Race Team and is a charitable runner for Beagle Freedom Project. His most frequent running routes often include City Park and a quaint little hill in Capitol Hill every Tuesday morning. Troy also performs often in local theatre around the Denver area. He is most fond though of morning walks with his wife, Tiff, and their two ridiculous Westies, Maggie Mayhem and Estes.

Tyler Hecox

Tyler is a Colorado native that began running Cross Country and Track at Green Mountain High School in Lakewood. After high school, he ran multiple 5k, 7k, and 10k races as well as a half-marathon, but running took a back seat to life for a while. His passion for running came back full strength this past year as he completed a run streak averaging 2.8 miles a day for 322 straight days. He also recently completed his first marathon in Snoqualmie, WA. Tyler has run in the Government Cup relay along Colfax for the past 3 years, and run during Colfax race weekend 5 times the past 7 years.

He lives in Arvada with his amazing wife, two energetic boys, and their shepherd mix Zephyr. He is currently a Firefighter/Paramedic in Lakewood and work daily up and down Colfax. He is excited to have been selected as a member of the Colfax Ambassador Team for 2020!