Over the last several years, our ambassadors have brought race coverage to you nearly every weekend to help you find races that you might enjoy. This year, we decided to expand that team to nearly double! We have 21 area athletes that will be out at the races this season, so get to know a little bit about them, and look for them when you’re racing!
Andi is a high school Advanced Placement teacher, volleyball and soccer coach, and has her Masters Degree in American History and Government. She runs races of all distances and has run numerous marathons and half marathons, with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in her sights this fall. She also participated in team relays such as the Ragnar Race twice. Andi travels as much as possible, has three beagles, loves adventure, and tries to live life to the fullest!
Mandi began running in middle school and never stopped. As a high school and college cheerleader, running was the exact athletic counterpart to keep her fitness levels high. While attending The John Marshall Law School in 2007, Mandi ran her first Chicago Marathon, the final year it was partnered with title sponsor, LaSalle Bank. Mandi has continued to run several half marathon and shorter distance races and looks forward to running in the Boston and Chicago in 2019. An Illinois licensed attorney, Mandi is currently the Executive Director of the Lake County Municipal League, a council of government representing 42 municipalities in Lake County. An avid weekend race warrior, Mandi tries to run two to three races each month from Milwaukee to Chicago and loves to write about running in Chicago Athlete.
Find Mandi online:
Chicago Athlete Column: http://www.mychicagoathlete.com/author/mandiflorip/
Facebook: Mandi Florip
Nick’s mom made him do one year of swim team as a kid and he hasn’t stopped since. He now races a variety of triathlon, swimming, and running races and is learning to be a better competitor. Nick enjoys training with friends and representing LGBT athletes on the course. He pays for race fees as a high school arts administrator and lives in Chicago with his partner and daughter.
Find Nick online:
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. Jacqui enjoys competing in road races in the Chicagoland area, loves traveling to triathlons throughout North America, and documents her journeys on her blog.
Find Jacqui online:
Instagram: @Jacqui Giuliano
Facebook: Jacqui Giuliano
James found a passion for endurance sports later in life as a way to shed a few pounds and quickly fell in love with the community and lifestyle that is triathlon. Now, when he isn’t fulfilling his responsibilities as a husband, father and technology coordinator for a local high school district, he can be found swimming, running and biking throughout the Chicagoland area making up for lost time. His philosophy is rooted in the journey and trying to inspire others along the way. His goals for 2019 are to complete his first full marathon and get redemption at the 70.3 triathlon distance.
Find James online:
Suzuka found her joy in running later in life, too. It all started when her friend asked her to run a 5K with her. Back then, 5K seemed impossible, but since then, she has run nine marathons and many half marathons, 10ks and 5ks. In 2018, Suzuka qualified for the Boston Marathon, and will be celebrating her 10thmarathon this April. She is a group fitness instructor/personal trainer, and a mother of three children who love sports. She firmly believes anything is possible when your dream is bigger than your excuses.
Megan has been running for as long as she can remember; she set a goal to run a marathon before graduating college, and she did just that with two weeks to spare before walking across the stage. Fast forward four years, and Megan crossed the finish line of her first 140.6. Today, after seven Ironman finishes, a 2017 70.3 World Championship finish, 12 open marathons, and one BQ, Meghan has her sights set on getting faster and faster, and can’t wait to see where 2019 takes her.
Find Megan online:
Fredricka is a competitive age group athlete that has been racing triathlons and distance races for over 10 years. Her love for the sport has allowed her to inspire and encourage many to get active, as well as get involved and participate in triathlons. In addition to racing, for the last two years, Fredricka has been the race director for the “Taking It To The Streets” Half Marathon/5K race in Calumet City, IL. She enjoys advocating for her sport through participation in various clubs and groups, as well as volunteering, participating in fitness & health expos and events, and blogging on F7LN.com about her experiences.
Find Fredricka online:
Instagram: @nyashia and @fredinyashia
Facebook: Fredricka Holloway
9 Allison Koch
In 2008, Allison ran a marathon to check it off her bucket list. Upon crossing the finish line, she knew she was hooked and has completed 16 marathons since – including one just under three hours – as well as countless other race distances. When she isn’t training or racing, she can usually be found pacing various Chicago races or coaching runners participating in the Chicago Endurance Sports training programs. In addition to running, Allison is a board certified sports dietitian who works with all kinds of endurance athletes and fitness enthusiasts in and around the Chicago-land area.
Find Allison online:
10Brandy Freeland Kuhl
Brandy is a ‘late bloomer’ when it comes to running. She didn’t start until her early 30’s and hasn’t stopped since! Her first race was in 2009, and since then she has completed seven marathons as well as over 100 other races. She credits the amazing running family she has found in Chicago for motivating her to continuously keep pushing herself and reaching new goals. Last year, she was able to incorporate her passion for running into a career and became the Marathon Charity Team Manager for the Chicago Parks Foundation.
Find Brandy online:
Lisa wears many hats under a multisport umbrella; under the main guise of Ironman triathlete, she also explores each sport individually and functionally. As a former competitive swimmer, she found a new passion for coaching with a USMS team. As a bike commuter always trying to set new commute PRs, she finally found herself lining up for criteriums and road races. She knows running (and cycling) to be the ultimate down and dirty form of tourism and hopes to run a marathon in each state, but equally appreciates discovering hidden treasures on overly-charted training routes and run-mutes. A lover of challenges, especially those that present fear-facing creative problem-solving opportunities, she’ll will try anything once—even cyclocross. She encourages others to do the same!
Find Lisa online:
Erika started running in college and quickly fell in love with the endurance community and the sport. This journey has taken her to many places around the world on “racecations,” which became the perfect way to combine her love for travel, training and racing in foreign countries. She is a marathon runner, ironman triathlete, cyclecross enthusiast, and ultra-runner. She has been selected for her Chicago triathlon club’s elite team (one of 15 people) for the past four years. Beyond triathlon, she is a psychotherapist, international researcher, human mom, fur mom, worldwide traveler! This year, she continues her quest to qualify for KONA and participate in 70.3 world championships.
Find Erika online:
Facebook: Erika Ostrander
13Kathy Daniels Pearman
Kathy has been a runner since she was 5, when her parents would bring her to the local track and while they walked around it, she ran. She’s always enjoyed running, excelling in track in high school and during the one semester she was on her college’s track and field team. It wasn’t until she turned 40 that her love for the sport re-energized and she started to run faster – and had exponentially more fun – than ever before. For the foreseeable future, Kathy still wants to improve her PRs to show the running community that you really can be faster as a master and have a ton of fun while training and racing.
Find Kathy online:
Edward is a very enthusiastic runner who has been running for 20 years. He is part of the Fleet Feet Racing Team in Chicago, and is also a member of the Marathon Maniacs, trying to complete the ultimate goal of running a marathon in all 50 states one day. Currently, Edward has completed marathons in 10 states, 24 total, and also has done over 100 half marathons.
Guy has been competing in multisport on and off since 1993. He turned professional in duathlon in 2009, and after his third time being hit by a car on a training ride, he discovered CrossFit as a way to rehabilitate his right broken clavicle. Guy is currently a Level 2 CrossFit trainer and NASM certified personal trainer, working at CrossFit Iron Flag. Aside from coaching classes, he also coaches individual athletes online. This year, Guy has shifted his focus primarily to triathlon, specifically the 70.3 and Ironman distance. Most importantly, he’s a dad to a 3-year-old turbo-charged boy.
Find Guy online:
Facebook: Guy Petruzzelli
Kara was that kid in grade school who, while the whole class was done with the one-mile run, she was barely puffing her way into the first bend on the track. And yet, three years ago, she was talked into running the Chicago Marathon to represent & fundraise for Girls on the Run. In April 2016, she downloaded the app “couch to 5k,” and that October, she crossed the finish line at Chicago’s world famous marathon. She swore she’d never run another marathon, yet is currently training for her fourth for Imerman Angels. She is also a St. Jude Ambassador, proudly running half marathons for the miracle-making organization.
Find Kara online:
17 Kristin Shulman
Kristin is an over-60 runner who started her athletic journey by completing the Chicago AIDS Ride in 2011. After riding 200 miles on a bicycle on a hot, humid July weekend, she decided that she preferred running. Since then, Kristin has run one 50 mile race, three marathons, 20 half marathons and numerous 5K’s and 10K’s. She can often be found out running with the Bolingbrook Fun Run Club, the Fox Valley Runjunkees or the Ulman Foundation’s Cancer to 5K team.
Find Kristin online:
Facebook: I Call it Running
18 Alex Sterczek
Alex started running a few years ago as a way to improve his general well-being. His company building had a fitness center where he started using the treadmill during lunch hours or after work. Running helps him stay healthy, relieve stress and gets him outdoors. Alex has participated in races from the mile to the half-marathon and have volunteered at many events as well.
Nathan’s life of running and triathlon started in 2010 while his wife was in her last year of nursing school, and he needed something to do other than annoy her while she was studying. One day he woke up and said “I want to run the Chicago Marathon,” and he did. A year later, he started doing triathlons. Nathan trains with his wife and has a passion for coffee and doughnuts.
Terri is a Performance Coach, massage therapist, movement specialist, triathlon and running coach, and a strength & conditioning coach with a background in kinesiology and exercise physiology. She got started in triathlon in 2012 because so many clients and other aspects of her profession were pointing her in that direction. Training and racing started as a hobby, and now has become a large part of Terri’s friend circle and life. She is also obsessed with vintage fashion and accessories, and collects and sells many pieces. Terri loves music and always makes time for fun.
Find Terri online:
Travis’ roundabout journey to endurance racing started with perhaps the most obscure sport possible – competitive fencing. Travis joined his high school fencing team and went on to compete for Indiana University Bloomington, home of the Little 500 – a popular cycling race. Fascinated by the sport, he took on spinning as a way to cross train and prepare in the off-season. Travis has since found his niche in triathlon and is currently training to complete his first Ironman.
Find Travis online:
Instagram – @traviswittenburg
Linkedin – Travis Kendal Wittenburg
Facebook – Travis Wittenburg