Race Ambassadors

The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon/miniMarathon Race Ambassador Committee is built of  runners and walkers who are part of an amazing team that is proactive in pushing a healthy lifestyle message to all local and regional groups and organizations. These Ambassadors will help KDF keep our runners and walkers informed, inspired and motivated during the months leading up to the race.

ALLISON MYERS

What does it mean to you to be a Race Ambassador?

It’s an honor to be a Race Ambassador. It means I get to share my love for running, Louisville, setting goals, living healthy and the KDF Marathon/MiniMarathon all rolled into one. As a Race Ambassador, I will encourage others to join this journey with me, provide race information and training tips so we can all celebrate at the finish line together.

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon, what advice would you give?

Everyone needs to walk/run the in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon at least once. Being a part of of the largest race in Louisville is so motivating, electrifying and inspiring. And never underestimate the importance of running shoes and a foam roller! I learned about these the hard way. But I’m here to help share my experiences and tips to help get you started. We can do this together.

What motivates you to walk/run a mini or marathon?

The sense of accomplishment is what motivated me to run my first mini. For me it’s all about setting a goal, working towards that goal and then crushing it! Now I’m motivated by my friends to try and run my first marathon.

What are you top three (3) songs on your workout playlist?

I’m a cyclist as well as a runner and when I cycle I don’t listen to music for safety reasons.  Lately, I’ve been running without music as well. It’s re-freshening to take in the sounds around me. And being a social runner, I enjoying chatting with others while we run. It helps pass the time and controls my pace and breathing.

 

Contact Allison

Email: allisonmyers77@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allisonmyers

Twitter: @allisonrmyers

Instagram:@allisonrmyers

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+AllisonMyers/posts?hl=en

Website: www.allisonmyers.com

 

BELLA PORTARO

What does it mean to you to be a Race Ambassador?

It is truly an honor and privilege to be a Race Ambassador for the KDF Marathon/miniMarathon. When I think of the Kentucky Derby I always think about the events leading up to it and this one is one of my favorites. I’ve never run a marathon before but I have watched this one for years. I love seeing the community come out to cheer everyone on. But the best part of this race is when you see a runner crossing the finish line and they’re running for a cause. This year I will be one of those people. I am running because it has been a long-time life goal of mine but my true inspiration is to run for my mom who is battling cancer for the fourth time.

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon, what advice would you give?

What motivates you to walk/run a mini or marathon?

What are your top three (3) songs on your workout playlist?

 

Contact Bella

Twitter: @BellaPortaro

Instagram: @BellaOfLouisville

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BellaOfLouisville

Blog: www.BellaOfLouisville.com

BRENT SALOMON

What does it mean to you to be a Race Ambassador?

It is amazing to be a part of an event so deeply rooted in Louisville history.  I’m just honored to be working with so many great people and getting this city excited for next April!

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon, what advice would you give?

Find group of people to help you stay on track. Training with an awesome support system makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable.

What motivates you to walk/run a mini or marathon?

A healthy lifestyle.  I want to motivate my family and friends to join me and strive to continue to live healthy lives.

What are your top three (3) songs on your workout playlist?

Eminem – Til I Collapse / Skrillex – Kyoto / Avicii – Levels (Skrillex Remix)

 

Contact Brent

Email: brentjsalomon@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brent.salomon

Twitter: @bsalo11

Instagram: @bsalo11

DANA GUYER

What does it mean to be a Race Ambassador?

It means to share my excitement about the Ky Derby MiniMarathon with others.  I always enjoy running the race.  The course is awesome and it is just a great annual goal to set.  The timing for the mini is perfect for getting in better shape for the upcoming swimming season.  If you have been lazy over the winter months the mini is a great goal to set to get back on track in the Spring.

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon/mini what advice would you give? 

Two things, follow a training schedule that fits your skill level and train with a friend.  At least once a week try to run with someone just to help keep you motivated.

What motivates you to walk/run the mini?

I’m always motivated by my time.  As I have been running the mini for years, it isn’t feasible to believe that my times are going to improve year after year.  I know that as I age my times are going to get slower but I keep trying.  I still have high hopes of beating my best time of 1:54:56.  I know I can do it!

What are your top three songs on your workout playlist?

I change my top workout songs all the time but these three always make me want to sprint!  1.  I Can’t Stop by Flux Pavilion 2.  Stronger by Kanye West  and the one that makes me feel powerful is 3.  ‘Til I Collapse – Eminem

 

Contact Dana

Email: cmguyer@aye.net

JAMES CALTON

What does it mean to you to be a Race Ambassador?

This actually means the world to me. I am in the military so I naturally lead people and enjoy helping them attain their goals. I want to be able to take inexperienced people or people that have doubts and show them with the proper training that they can do anything that they want to do. Before I started running competitively almost 10 years ago, all I could think to myself that I would never be able to run a 5K much less a Marathon. As I look back almost ten years later where I have run several marathons, mini marathons, and other races I am inspired by what I have accomplished and can’t wait to help others through these great races.

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon, what advice would you give?

First of all I would tell them that they can do anything as long as they set their mind to it and believe in their self. Training is also very important. As long as they have a good training plan and are motivated it should be very easy for them. I know all people are not runners that do these events so walkers and walk/runners can do a similar training and complete a race as well. I would also tell them what the courses are like and how they could adjust their training to have a better outcome by training similar to the course on raceday.

What motivates you to walk/run a mini or marathon?

I always run whatever race that I am running no matter what the distance is to my mother to died back in 2001 due to complications of cancer treatment. Running with and being on the board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has also driven me to be better and motivated me to give back more not just by helping others by running and raising money for cancer research. I also want to train and mentor people to have a better race and I have been doing that for the last several years with Team in Training. Watching people that have never run a race in their life cross the finish line on race day is so inspiring.

What are your top three (3) songs on your workout playlist?

This is a tough one since I have so many songs on my playlist that motivate me. These have to be the top three hands down. Shock Me-KISS, Garden of Eden-Guns N Roses, Wish-Nine inch Nails. Guaranteed to get you moving!!!!

 

Contact James

Email: jcalton@ups.com

Email: l.calton2.mil@mail.mil

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/james.l.calton

JEFF SCHNEIDER

What does it mean to you to be a Race Ambassador?

It gives me an opportunity to not only share some of my training experience and advice but it also enables me to promote a great city and a great race.

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon, what advice would you give?

Get several training partners to keep each other motivated and I would tell them to enjoy the journey….The race itself is great but the journey of getting there is the greatest reward.

What motivates you to walk/run a mini or marathon?

I enjoy a healthy active lifestyle.  Running and staying active not only keeps me healthy but it enables me to interact with people with like interests and thoughts.

What are your top three (3) songs on your workout playlist?

Far Behind- Candlebox / Push- Matchbox Twenty / Bad Girlfriend- Theory of a Deadman

 

Contact Jeff

Email: Jeff.Schneider@lge-ku.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.schneider.104

Twitter: @JeffSchneider44

JOSH JOHNSON

What does it mean to you to be a Race Ambassador?

It means I’ll get a chance to be a part of one of the main reasons I love Louisville as much as I do. The running community here is a vibrant and thriving community, and it’s a great one to be a part of. It’ll also be an opportunity for me to be part of the KDF festivities in a different and more involved way than in the past.

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon, what advice would you give?

Train. (Do it sooner, rather than later.) Enjoy it. Run with friends.

What motivates you to walk/run a mini or marathon?

Pushing myself. I enjoy the feeling of working towards a goal and pushing through the pain and long miles/hours to cross that finish line. There’s nothing like crossing the finish line of a race that you’ve been pouring your heart and soul into.

What are your top three (3) songs on your workout playlist?

Night of Your Life (David Guetta ft. Jennifer Hudson) / Run The World (Beyonce) / Work (Ciara)

 

Contact Josh

Facebook: https://Facebook.com/TheKentuckyGent

Twitter: @TheKenGent

Instagram: @TheKentuckyGent

MELISSA CONNELL

What does it mean to be a Race Ambassador?

It’s such an honor to be picked to be part of the Race Ambassador program and I can’t wait to get started. To me, being an ambassador means that I’m here for several reasons. Of course I am here to inform and help answer as many questions as possible. But I also hope that I can help to inspire and motivate others to join in this experience with me. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me!

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon, what advice would you give?

My advice to someone who hasn’t run in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon is to get out there and have fun! This is a fantastic journey that isn’t just about the completed race; it’s also about everything leading up to that. It’s a experience in which you not only get to run but also meet people along the way who have the same passion for running that you do. I would advise them to take as much away from the process as possible!

What motivates you to walk/run the mini or marathon?

One of my biggest motivating factors leading up to this race is my desire to set goals and push myself out of my comfort zone. I competed in Track and Field for years before becoming a high school coach.  What I see my girls do on a day-to-day basis is inspiring. Some of them have pushed themselves way out of their comfort zone in pursuit of these goals and have trained hard day in and day out. I’ve been inspired by them to pick something that was going to be a challenge and to go for it with all that I’ve got!

What are the top three songs on your workout playlist?

Any genres of music like reggeton, rap, hip hop, etc. that are going to start a dance party makes my workout list! I love songs like Dance Apocalyptic by Janelle Monáe or Shower (Remix) by Becky G. that’s going to keep me positive, upbeat and motivated. And you can’t have an adequate running mix without mixing some old and new tunes, so songs like Walk this Way by Run DMC and Aerosmith have been on my mix for years.

 

Contact Melissa

Email: melissa.f.connell@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissa.connell

Instagram: @Melissa.F.Connell

Twitter: @mfc_315

MELISSA CHRISTENSEN

What does it mean to you to be a Race Ambassador?

It means a lot to be a race ambassador.  I have completed this race 3 times since moving here in 2011.  As a transplant to the area, finding ways to be involved with my new community has been important.  This is a fantastic race that the whole community stands behind.  People that may not run very much will still come out and do this as their one big event.  I believe that by being an ambassador for a race that I love, it will get me involved in the running community as well as allow me to help others enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle that can be achieved through running.

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon, what advice would you give?

For someone who has been running consistently (but just not completed this event), I would say that pacing yourself for the full marathon is very important.  To start slow enough that it feels too easy in the beginning.  It will get hard later on in the race.  It is also a great way to see a lot of what Louisville has to offer.  Running through Churchill Downs a week before the Kentucky Derby is a HUGE highlight of this event.  Plus the finish area is part of the Derby waterfront festivities.

For someone new to running, I would suggest that training start now, with short runs.  You do not need to run every day.  Your body needs rest and recovery time to get stronger.  You do not need to run a half marathon in training to run a half marathon on race day.  Slowly build up your mileage, not more than 10% increase per week in total mileage, and make sure to get in at least a 10 mile run.  You can do the Triple Crown leading up to this race as a great way to stay motivated with your training.  Like I stated above, start slow, and be sure to take in the sights along the course so you can enjoy the entire race.

What motivates you to walk/run a mini or marathon?

I am a very goal oriented person.  My favorite part of running is that it allows me to set goals and reach them.  Having these goals set for myself is what motivates me to keep running and improving.  I know that every day won’t always be faster than the previous, but having short term goals leading up to bigger races, such as the KDF Marathon/miniMarathon as a long term goal keep me going.  Running has been one of the things that has remained a constant in my live as I have experienced life changes such as marriage, parenthood, changes in employment, and moves.  I love how I feel when I am running and the fitness and health benefits that I can enjoy from it.

What are your top three (3) songs on your workout playlist?

My playlist changes a lot.  This winter with all the snow days I ended up doing a lot of indoor running and bringing my children to the YMCA to play while I ran.  Each time I had a snow day, I would try to buy a few new songs as “treats” to listen to towards the end of these indoor long sessions.  However, I have a few “essential” songs that get played almost every run: Eminem “Lose Yourself” / NoNoNo “Pumpin Blood” / Avici “Wake Me Up”

 

Contact Melissa

Email: m.christensen@live.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissakc

MELISSA JOYCE

What does it mean to you to be a race Ambassador?

To me, being an ambassador means a commitment to serve the KDF Family of Staff and Racers in any way that I can.  To the best of my ability I will be available to help with the administrative things.  I will also make myself available to help teach and train the Athletes.  And, help get their questions answered.  It is my personal desire to offer a C213.1 and C226.2 program – using the training program offered by Jewish Sports Medicine.

I will be running the Marathon, and for those who were part of my Training Group, there will be a “No Runner Left Behind” policy.  We will start out together and I will commit to stay with the slower runners until we ALL cross the Finish Line.

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon / Mini Marathon, what advice would you give?

Don’t stress!  KNOW that you can do anything that you set your mind to do.  Be as faithful as possible to your Training Program.  If you have to miss a day – it’s NOT the end of the world! Friends make training more enjoyable – find a buddy!!  (Shameless Plug:  RUN WITH ME! ;-) Lol!! )  Finally, on “Race Day” :  Take a few deep breaths.  Relax.  Enjoy EVERY moment!

What motivates you to run / walk a mini or marathon?

Ok… #TrueConfessions:  I’m sort of a #MetalWhore.  Ok, there. I said it.

What are your top 3 songs on your workout playlist?

I’m #OLDSchool, lol…  1) Earth Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove  2) Quad City DJ’s – Space Jam  3) Kirk Franklin’s – Awesome God ( I always, always, ALWAYS listen to this song as I’m about to CROSS THE FINISH LINE!! When I think I’m about 4 min out, I will “stop” whatever is playing to turn on this song!!  GOTTA give the glory where the Glory is Due!!)

 

Contact Melissa

Twitter: @Songbird128

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissa.joyce.5876

Cell/Home: 502-240-2163

Email: mjhassan128@gmail.com

PHILLIP CHERRY

What does it mean to you to be a race Ambassador?

I’m honored to be an Ambassador for this wonderful event because I know finishing a marathon can be a life changing accomplishment, and I want to share this race with more people from my community who may not know how fun and exciting a Marathon can be! 

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon / Mini Marathon, what advice would you give?

If this is your first marathon I would say the most inportant advice I could give you would be to always have fun and give your self plenty of training time to build up to the distance you are shooting for. With proper perpetration you will be confident in your abilities and you can just focus on having fun!

What motivates you to run / walk a mini or marathon?

My wife Akhilah, and my Sons, Phillip III, Luther, Caleb, and Cason have been my back bone the past five years since taking on the Marathon. They have witnessed my growth and improvements, as while as my soreness and drawbacks. I know actions speaks louder then my words, and 26.2 miles must be loud because it is a whole lot of action. For my kids to can see me as an example of hard work and determination paying off in real time, this is my number one motivator!

What are your top 3 songs on your workout playlist?

#1 Blue Six (Let’s Do It Together). #2 Savannh Band (SunShower). #3 Naked Music NYC (3AM).

Contact Phillip

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipcherry

Email: pcherry4real@gmail.com

ROBERT KIRTLAND

What does it mean to you to be a Race Ambassador?

As a Race Ambassador, I am expected to present a positive, highly motivated image of an athlete who leads by example and who can provide considerable knowledge about the Kentucky Derby Marathon/ mini-Marathon.

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/mini-Marathon, what advice would you give?

This race is a great race to test your abilities as a runner whether you run the marathon or the mini-marathon.  Runners of all caliber will find this race well organized, runner friendly, and a great time at the post-race party.

What motivates you to walk/run a mini or marathon?

The considerable body of evidence showing running and exercising in general leads to a long healthy life personally motivates me. I have found that running is also a fantastic way to meet new people. I keep coming back to the Kentucky Derby Marathon/mini-Marathon year after year because I like the challenge presented by this race and all the good people-watching during the race itself.

What are your top three (3) songs on your workout playlist?

Beautiful Day U2 / I am Superman REM / I Gotta Feeling The Black Eyed Peas

 

Contact Robert

Email:  rkirtland@gmail.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Robert.Kirtland

Twitter:  @jagoff98

Athlinks:  http://www.athlinks.com/RobertKirtland

Map My Run: http://www.mapmyrun.com/Robert.Kirtland

STEVE BENNETT

What does it mean to you to be a Race Ambassador?

Being a Race Ambassador means I will have the opportunity to let everyone know HOW MUCH FUN IT IS to run or walk the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon/ miniMarathon! I’ve completed 3 Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathons, so I’ve got some great experience I can share. I’d like to answer questions for anyone who is considering the 2015 Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon/ miniMarathon!

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon, what advice would you give?

To have the MOST fun walking or running the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon, you must plan & prepare! A little bit of planning and preparation will go a LONG way to having a fun and successful race or walk.

What motivates you to walk/run a mini or marathon?

The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon/ miniMarathon are FIRST CLASS race venues. The planning, organization, and layout of the race course are top notch. At no other Marathon/miniMarathon in the world do you get to run through CHURCHILL DOWNS, Home of the Kentucky Derby and the GREATEST 2 MINUTES in SPORTS!  Also, the entire Louisville community turns out for the event and cheers for you along the course route. One year, a race spectator was giving away White Castle hamburgers to runners at the corner of 7th and Broadway streets!

What are your top three (3) songs on your workout playlist?

On my IPod I’ve created several 2 hour race day playlists that motivate me each mile of the race! Radar Love by Golden Earring / Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters / Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough by Michael Jackson

 

Contact Steve

Email: 88Whiteknight@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Racerx78

Facebook Email: Racerx78@facebook.com

Twitter: @Boomer78sooH

TRENA ROUDEBUSH

What does it mean to you to be a Race Ambassador?

This is an opportunity for me to live my passion of helping people realize big scary goals. I love connecting with people, getting them pumped up and seeing them chase big finish lines (on and off the road). And to do it with a group like the Kentucky Derby Festival staff, volunteers and Ambassadors – whoooodoggie!

If someone has not participated in the Kentucky Derby Marathon/miniMarathon, what advice would you give?

Take it all in. There are so many sights and sounds and interesting people every step of the way. From the expo to the warm-up and the start; past the giant bat and through Churchill Downs; through neighborhoods and parks, into the finish chute and at the post-race party… it’s something to savor. As with any road race, be present. Don’t rush it. Relax and enjoy YOUR race.

What motivates you to walk/run a mini or marathon?

Is it cliché to say: the feeling of accomplishment from knowing that I trained for months, tested my limits and left everything I had on the marathon course? It’s a chance for people to say “if she did it, maybe I can, too.”

But I really could run 26.2 from my front door, couldn’t I? There’s something special about running the streets of Louisville and around historic Churchill Downs with people who have worked just as hard… then celebrating everyone’s accomplishments together.

What are your top three (3) songs on your workout playlist?

I guess I should refresh my iPod. It’s filled with podcasts and books. “The Everyday Runner” podcast motivates me with stories of people just like me who are doing their thing on the road. NPR’s “Freakanomics”, “Radio Lab” and “This American Life” help me keep my mind off the miles when I’m tackling twenties… and keep me fed with nuggets of wisdom.

 

Contact Trena

Email: MrsRoudy@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MrsRoudy

Twitter: @MrsRoudy

 

DEANA CARL

What does it mean to you to be a Race Ambassador?

It is truly an honor to be part of the Race Ambassador program!  My purpose is to provide new and existing participants with the most up to date information,valuable training tips, and serve as a guide for the biggest race in Louisville! This is my third year running the race. The event is exciting, humbling, motivating,and inspiring. Everyone needs to do it at least one to experience the thrill of seeing so many people accomplish the same goal and those on the route that are solely there for your encouragement. I am more than happy to chat with anyone that may have questions or if I can assist in any way to get new participants started, please contact me!

What type of race participant are you?

I am a runner averaging about 8:45 minutes per hour and will be running the mini marathon this year.

Who would give you your medal at the Finish Line?

My official answer is Diana Nyad. She inspires me for her dedication and accomplishment. It goes to show that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish it. However, I do have to admit, I would be just fine accepting my medal from one of our strong and handsome service men or emergency personnel (a fireman,police man, etc.). There are enough of them on the route that can accommodate this request!

What are the top 3 songs on your workout playlist?

I am definitely inspired by old school and old rock music and try to find songs that have a decent running pace because I am all about the music! At the moment, my top three songs are: -“Don’t Stop Believing”- Journey (my first song as I start my race -nice slow pace and awesome build up) -“Still the One”- Orleans -“Meeting in the Ladies Room”- Klymaxx

Contact

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/deana.carl

Email – deana.carl@gmail.com