Race Ambassadors

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

Over the past 5 years our Race Ambassador Team has been essential in the development and continued growth of the Marathon & miniMarathon. We encourage our Race Ambassadors to stay involved in the race, as well as other Kentucky Derby Festival events.


Congratulations to our 2020 Race Ambassador team!


Meet Your 2020 Race Ambassadors:

Kristen Boone
Matthew Bowdy
Corrine Burmeister
Gerry Cooper
Christina Durso
James Hoagland
Heather Kelly
Richara Logan
Brian McLean
Donna Watkins
Niki Workman

Returning Ambassadors:

Kelly Lorch
Tara Jo Thomas

2020 Executive Team

Lorri Roberts
Chris Powell
Stephanie Sturgeon


2020 Ambassadors


Why did you want to become a Race Ambassador?

I wanted to become a race ambassador for a few reasons.  First, I love this city, and the course is a beautiful way to see it.  Second, running has been very good for me: the health benefits, the social aspect, and the confidence gained by running has made me a better person, and I believe everyone can, and should, have something like that in their lives.

If you could receive your Finisher’s Medal from anyone (living or dead)…who would it be?

I would like to receive my finisher’s medal from Dave Grohl.  Not only does he ROCK as an musician, he is also a family man, and I respect the heck out of that.

What 3 songs are on all of your running playlists?

Lately, the three songs that I like to run to are all from the “Hamilton” cast recording.  “My Shot”, a song about seizing opportunities; “Non-Stop”, a song about persistence/drive; and “What’d I Miss”, just because it is awesome.  Honestly, the entire soundtrack is incredible, and if you run in the rain, no one will even notice if you are crying.


Contact Chris

Facebook: http://facebook.com/chris.powell.rwtl

Twitter: @panthersden2

Instagram: @runswlocals

YouTube: RunningWithTheLocals

Email: chris.powell@att.net

Why do you want to be a race ambassador?

The KDF miniMarathon was my first half marathon in 2008.  I proved to myself then, that I really was a runner.  When I returned to running after being hit by a car (while running) in 2012, the 2013 miniMarathon was my first real post recovery race and when I realized that I wasn’t done with running and that I still had a whole lot more miles to go.  In spring of 2016 I kept the tradition of “firsts” alive and completed my first marathon on the streets I’d run so often.  The miniMarathon and Marathon are a one of a kind experience and one I’m proud to represent!


History of Running and Community Involvement:

I’ve run the KDF mini 6 times, the Marathon once, and the relay once!

In the community I’m the Head Coach of the Fleet Feet Louisville Distance Project training program, a member of our local Moms Run this Town Chapter, and a frequent runner at the newly formed Louisville Parkrun!


What other activities do you and your family participate in?

There’s a world outside of running? Kidding! We’ve spent much of the last year learning how to be first-time parents to our daughter! We are also a family that believes in volunteering, spending as much time outdoors hiking, camping, trail running as we can, and in the more quiet times I’m a secret video game nerd.



Contact Lorri

Facebook: www.facebook.com/turtlegoesforarun

Twitter: @TurtleGoesFar

Instagram: @TurtleGoesForaRun

Email: Turtlegoesforarun@gmail.com

Why did you want to become a Race Ambassador?

I wanted to inspire people and be a part of the Kentucky Derby Festival so I can’t think of a better way to accomplish those goals! The KDF miniMarathon and Marathon are such a huge event in town and I wanted to be able to tell as many people about it as possible so we can all share the best day ever!

If you could receive your Finisher’s Medal from anyone (living or dead)…who would it be?

I would say it would have to be from my grandfather. He passed away almost 10 years ago and I know he would be so proud of me. He is the only family member that hasn’t seen me cross the finish line.

What 3 songs are on all of your running playlists?

I listen to podcasts, mostly murder mysteries. My brain completely forgets that I am running because I’m too focused on the details of the case! Pro tip: Don’t listen to them while running alone on trails…


Contact Stephanie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephanie.s.sturgeon

Twitter: @StephSturge

Instagram: @sks117

Email: Stephanie.sturgeon@bhsi.com

I am a former runner who wants (really, needs!) to get back in the swing of running again. I’ve run a few full marathons and half-marathons, but I would love the opportunity to promote not only the city of Louisville, but a Derby Festival Event!

I work for Humana and have a large social network and as a result, I have the ability to bring the message of the Derby Festival Marathon to a whole mess of Louisvillians, and a large number of folks outside the city.

At heart, I have a love for health and wellness, but after a couple of knee surgeries and a shoulder re-build, I lost the fire for running. A challenge like this would give me the ability to hype up others about the sport I grew up loving and an event I have run more than once. It would be an incredible experience for me to bring to others!

Contact info:

email: mbowdy1@gmail.com

Facebook: Matthew Bowdy

I’m just your typical… teacher, runner, aunt, pro-tailgater, out-doorsy, faith-filled, positivity seeker, goal setter/achiever, always-gotta-have-my-nails-painted, kind of gal.

I wanted to be a Race Ambassador because I love everything it stands for.  I love what running has done for me physically, mentally, and spiritually. To think I could potentially get to help spread that passion with other runners/walkers excites me!

I’ve participated in the Norton Sports Health Training Program for the past 5 years, and have run 3 KDF minis and 2 KDF marathons.

Contact info: 

Email: kristen.boone@jefferson.kyschools.us

Instagram: @kjboon03

Twitter: @kris10jane

Facebook: @KristenBoone


I’m a happy, dedicated runner and mama to two kiddos under 4. They come almost everywhere with me and running is no exception – just call me the stroller lady! I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 10 years, 8 of which have been in Louisville. 

The mini was the very first race I ever ran (2013) and I’ve been hooked ever since! I am the secretary for Louisville’s oldest running club, Iroquois Hill Runners. It’s a perfect fit for me because I obsessively love running in Iroquois Park (I live only a mile away from that amazing beauty), and the club does amazing work for our local running community.

KDF was my first race and is still hands down my favorite. I can think of nothing better than officially representing the race and encouraging all the runners I meet to fall in love with it too.

Contact info: 

Email: cnburmeister@gmail.com

Facebook: Corrine Burmeister

Instagram: @love.run.repeat

Born & raised in Louisville. I attended duPont Manual & EKU, where I ran track and played football at both. This September will mark three years of being married. Fun fact: outside of my day jobs, I run a magazine/lifestyle brand, as well as DJ.

2019 was my first time running the KDF miniMarathon and I’m one founder of four in the Louisville Race Club. We started in 2018 and have grown pretty well over the past year. We’ve been promoting an active lifestyle inclusive to all members of Louisville’s community with our “Run As You Are” tag line.

I’m hoping I can help to pull people into being active and joining the community of runners in Louisville!

Contact info: 

Email: gcooper@whas11.com

Instagram: @cooplemoderne

Twitter: @cooplemoderne

I’m a runner, counselor, dog mom & self-care enthusiast! I train with Tri-State Running Company in northern Kentucky. The KDF miniMarathon is my favorite race I’ve ever done because it runs through my hometown. I’m currently training for my FIRST marathon… !

As a child, I grew up watching the KDF mini & Marathon as a spectator and can remember thinking, “One day, that will be me!” I began my running journey in January of 2018 and in April of 2019, I was finally able to fulfill that dream.

Contact info: 

Email: cmarti0@rocketmail.com

Instagram: @christina_durso

Twitter: @christina_durso

Facebook: Christina Durso

I’m 40, active and as of today, I have run 97 half marathons, 1 full. I’m trying to achieve as much as I can as a 40 year old! So far, I’ve run a full marathon, up a mountain, and scheduled to complete 16 half marathons. Being an ambassador for KDF is the cherry on top!

I’m from Louisville, and I love this race. I’ve been active with KDF with the Ford race team for a while, encouraging fitness and participation in fitness-related events. I lead KTP’s Fitness Team and try to continuously encourage our team and those I know to be active.

Contact info: 

Email: Jhoagla5@ford.com

Facebook: James Hoagland

I’m 32 years old and share a love of running with my husband JP. In 2017, I tipped the scales at 341 lbs. I started a journey to live better and be more healthy. Over the course of past 2 years I have lost 175 lbs and fell in love with running!

I decided to become a race ambassador because of an experience I had at a race last year. I remember being a complete Nervous Nellie! As I was lining up to run the course, there was a girl about my age that started talking to me. Sensing how nervous I was, she reassured my I was totally capable of running a half. She started filling me in about the course, things to look at, and best practices. She totally put me at ease and shared with me that she was a Race Ambassador. I knew at that moment I wanted to pay forward what she did for me to someone else!

Contact info: 

Email: mrshdkelly@gmail.com

Instagram: @heather_vsg

I am a passionate health enthusiast for all things that bring people together to be more active! Physical activities such as running, yoga, and barre are my favorite types of exercise since there is always room to grow once you reach your goal.

I wanted to be a Race Ambassador because of my passion for getting people to become more active. While I love to run and participate in other exercises, it brings me just as much joy to inspire others to incorporate more activity into their lives!

Contact info: 

Email: richara.logan@gmail.com

Facebook: Richara Logan

I live here in Louisville with my husband, after moving here 8 years ago from Paducah, Kentucky. I did not begin running regularly ’til after I moved, becoming inspired by the people who ran past my apartment while participating in the KDF miniMarathon. I now run 3-4 half marathons per year in various states.

I have run the KDF mini 5 times & the KDF Marathon once, and am happy to answer questions about both races. My husband and I run with Old Lou Runners & Walkers group, who meet weekly at Old Louisville Brewery. I have also recently joined the Louisville Frontrunners.

Contact info:

Email: bri.e.mcl@gmail.com

Instagram: @brianem78

This year will be my 14th miniMarathon! I’m training for my 9th Marathon currently. (Fun Fact: I ran in the very first Kentucky Derby Marathon.) I am a mother of twin boys that are almost 8 and a teacher in a preschool.

I coached Girls on the Run last year in our school, because I love sharing my passion of running!

Contact info:

Email: dmaywatkins@gmail.com

I’m originally from Florida, and I moved to Kentucky 4 years ago. I’m Mom to a fun-loving 10 year old daughter and wife to an Ironman. I became a runner when my daughter joined her Cross Country team 3 years ago. Fun Fact: I was on the kids version of Win, Lose or Draw back in the 80’s.

This race has a special place in my heart. This was my first 1/2 marathon and my first full marathon a year later. I love the crowds that come out to join us, the festivities that lead up to this race and the excitement it brings to the city. This is a bucket list race for sure!

Contact info:

Email: nikiworkman@me.com

Facebook: Niki Workman

Instagram: @nikiw26

I’m married with two children. My oldest is a college freshman and youngest is in 7th grade. I’m a board member and community volunteer for Develop New Albany. I’m pretty new to running and currently training for my next marathon.

Running saved my life. I love the chance to engage other people and make them believers of running too, and how beneficial it can be to your health.

Contact info:

email: Kellylorch@gmail.com

I’m 35-years-old, a military spouse and a mother of two toddlers! I have been running for over 13 years now, including the KDF mini for many years. I do most of my running pushing a double stroller! The example I set for my kids is important to me.

I ran my first Derby Festival mini in 2006 and have been hooked ever since. I want to share my enthusiasm with others and show them than 13.1 or 26.2 miles CAN be accomplished without a doubt!

Contact info:

email: tarajothomas14@gmail.com

Facebook: @tarajo.thomas.3

Instagram: @TaraJo4UofL

Twitter: @TaraJo4UofL


Are you a former Race Ambassador that wants to stay involved in the Marathon/miniMarathon and explore other events? Please fill out the form below!

Former Race Ambassadors