Meet Chicago Athlete Ambassador Justin Samaniego

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As a runner, I have 7 marathons and 15 half marathons under my belt since 2011, despite really hating the sport when I was growing up in NJ. Running was more of a necessary evil for other sports I played when I was young but now, running brings a sense of purpose, necessity, and meditation. My favorite race was the Berlin Marathon (2019). Despite the weather being dreadful (downpour for 75% of the race), running in front of an electrifying, international crowd, through Berlin and beating my PR (at the time) by 6+ minutes, made for an amazing 1st and only time running an international race.

As far as other fitness goes, I am a big fan of HIIT, Barre and Yoga classes. Although I am not the best at these disciplines, they help me build my runner muscles and help offset all the cardio that I do. Also, my wife is a fitness instructor (side hustle to her FT job) so between the two of us, we are non-stop fitness junkies.

As my full-time, day job goes, I work for a large, wholesale B2B chemical distribution company that is based in Downers Grove, IL. I lead a global team, responsible for building marketing automation capabilities across 19 countries. In total, I have 15+ years of business experience across sales, sales operations, product management, eCommerce, and digital marketing. I am a self-awareness junkie so I’m constantly looking for ways to develop and grow (myself and others). And while I worked for 3 years, I pursued my MBA (graduated 2018) from the University of Chicago Booth Business School, which was the one of the hardest yet one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Fun fact: For our graduation ceremony, I was the student speaker and spoke in front of 750 at the Art Institute.

As for charities, I ran on behalf of ‘Open Heart Magic’ (a NPO that does bedside magic for children in hospitals) for 7+ years before I started running for American Cancer Society last year. I am all about using my feet and my miles to raise awareness and money for NPO’s, big and small.

My wife and I reside in Chicago, IL, so you will usually see me logging my miles up and down the Chicago Riverwalk and Lakeshore path and posting photos and stories about my journey on social media.

 

 

 

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Jacqui was born to runner parents, so she fell in love with running at a young age. After frequent injuries while running at the University of Illinois, she began cross training with swimming and biking and eventually got pulled into the triathlon scene as well. As a junior high teacher, cross country and track coach, Jacqui enjoys passing on her passion for athletics to her students.

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