The following runners were the first from their state to register for the Kalamazoo Marathon, and are the winners or our 50-State Challenge. We’ve invited them to share a little about themselves . . . we’ll be adding info as we receive it, so check back and meet this year’s 50-staters.
ALABAMA | Mark Zaremba
ARIZONA | Matt Heacock
CALIFORNIA | Jared Matsunaga
DELAWARE | Howard Keener
FLORIDA | Joseph Graham
ILLINOIS | Cindy Barta
Cindy is an active wife, mother, grandmother, and sister. She started running for her health. One doctor’s visit noted she was in the boarder-line diabetic range. But thru running, she is 30 lbs. lighter and her blood sugar is back to normal.
Cindy had a goal to run her first marathon before she turned 60 years old. Her first marathon was in 2012, at 59 years old. She now averages 2 marathons per year. The Kalamazoo Marathon will be #16. She joined a running group which is very organized and friendly. This gave her a sense of belonging with their support and encouragement.
Cindy chose this race because she loves the beauty of Michigan and it’s proximity to her home. Upon reading reviews, this marathon had the fun, scenic, community involvement, live music, and supportive sponsors & partners she was looking to join.
INDIANA | Jen Savage
Jen (Marathon Maniac #704) has run over 150 marathons and has finished the Kalamazoo marathon each year from 2011-2018. She will be bringing up the rear of the field (6:23 and 6:25 the past 2 years), but is always cheery and endlessly supportive of all who have the will to be out there.. In the real world, Jen is a social worker and a cat rescuer (https://www.facebook.com/SavagesBeasts). For fun, she plays flute and piccolo on the music team at her church and in the Circus City Festival Band in Peru, IN, and is a semi-retired professional high wire walker and unicyclist, among other things. Jen can’t wait until May to meet everyone!
IOWA | Ann Hegstrom
KANSAS | Matthew Allin
MASSACHUSETTS | Sandee Landon
MICHIGAN | Stephanie Allen
NEBRASKA | Michelle Leach
Running, writing and travel are three of Michelle’s biggest passions. The Kalamazoo Marathon checks two of those boxes. She has been running her whole life and marathons continue to keep Michelle motivated. She researched marathons in Michigan and Kalamazoo came across as one of the most fun. “I like fun marathons, so here I am.”
Michelle’s ultimate goal is to run a marathon in all 50 states. She’s not quite there yet. The Kalamazoo marathon will be her 28th spanning 15 different states. While she currently lives in Omaha, she is returning to the state of Michigan after a 12-year absence. In her previous life, Michelle worked as a former news reporter for the NBC affiliate in the Flint/Saginaw market.
NEW HAMPSHIRE |
NEW JERSEY |
NEW MEXICO |
NEW YORK |
NORTH CAROLINA | Ariel Kanaby
NORTH DAKOTA |
OHIO | Chuck Engle
Chuck has run over 400 marathons (424 as of today’s date) with over 300 of them under 3 hours. He’s even won a marathon in all 50 states.
He looked into Kalamazoo as he heard it is in the spring and can be a cooler weather race with some rolling hills. His favorite type of course. He’s done several Michigan marathons but this will be his first Kalamazoo and he’s looking forward to adding it to his growing list of fun marathons completed.
OKLAHOMA | Marlon Onco
RHODE ISLAND |
SOUTH CAROLINA | Christine Maybourne
SOUTH DAKOTA |
TENNESSEE | Megan Munsell
TEXAS | Ed Childress
Ed is a marathon maniac and the Regional Ambassador for both Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics / Austin TX.
He’s doing the Kalamazoo Marathon as part of the Mittens Challenge. He’s working on his second round of 50 states and needs Wisconsin.
He’s been running since middle school and has completed a marathon in all 50 states! He’s currently “chasing” the marathon Majors now (Boston – Done, Chicago – Done, Berlin & New York this year, London 2019)
When he’s not traveling for a run, he spends time at home with my 2 labs and 2 kittens.
VIRGINIA | Carole Royal
Carole has been trying to get the Kalamazoo marathon on her schedule for a while and 2019 worked. She is planning on doing the Earn your Mittens. Her husband is doing the halves.
Since she has all the close states completed, she has been looking for ones that she could get several done in one weekend and Kalamazoo fit.
Carole has completed 20 marathons, several halves. She did the Bear Lake trifecta out in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming in 2017 and she is looking forward to another back to back.
Most recent marathon was Boston this past April. Hoping for a little better weather in May.
WASHINGTON DC |
WEST VIRGINIA | Donald Peal
WISCONSIN | Noah Kaufman