Meet the 50-Staters

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


ALASKA | Michael Golub

ARIZONA | Yoshiyuki Nakao

Although Yoshiyuki currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, he started running seriously when he lived in Plymouth, Michigan. In fact, his first race was the Kalamazoo Klassic in 2002!  He is very excited to come back to Kalamazoo for another race. He has completed 12 marathons so far, including 3 Chicago Marathons. He is currently trying to qualify for Boston. His last attempt–Tucson Marathon in December–ended short of qualifying with 3:43:16 due to cramping that started in his legs around mile 19. Yoshiyuki has cut back running mileage and added cycling to his training this year and is hoping he can complete the Kalamazoo Marathon in shorter time. When he is not running on the road or training with a running group called the Workout Group, he enjoys trail running in and around Tucson. His favorite is Saguaro National Park East.

ARKANSAS | Mary Hampel

CALIFORNIA | Richard Plummer

COLORADO | Derrick Stevens



FLORIDA | Staci Meissner fl_meissner

Staci is so excited for this race in so many different ways! She is originally from Kalamazoo Michigan but currently lives in Orlando Florida. She has been running for 5 years and this will be her first marathon. Staci’s cousin Melissa Fevig-Hughes ran several marathons in her life and they had made plans to run Staci’s first marathon together. Unfortunately Melissa’s life was taken way too early this year in June. Melissa was one of the five cyclist who lost their lives in June this year in Kalamazoo. Once Staci saw this pop up she knew she had to come back home and run this marathon for Melissa. Staci’s family is all on board as well, most of them will be running the 5K in Melissa’s honor. “This is something amazing for us to gather together and run in her honor. I’m so beyond grateful to be he first person to register from Florida and am beyond excited to run this marathon with Melissa in my heart.”

GEORGIA | Kennedy Hillsga_hills

Meet Kennedy Hills! She has been running for over 10 years but not until 2013 did she start running marathons.  Since then she’s run over 20 marathons and/or ultras which include 12 different states.  Kennedy’s race calendar has a few more in 2016 and she is starting to fill up 2017.  She hopes to be done with her states in the next couple years.  (Also working on the continents).  Kennedy is training for her first 100-miler Dec 31.  She loves to run.  She works in a run specialty store in Atlanta, GA and loves to motivate people to get out there and run!  “Any pace, any distance, any surface…just get out there.  It’s the favorite part of my day!”

HAWAII | Cary Aurand


ILLINOIS | Brett Garrett

INDIANA | Jen Savageair-force-2014

Jen (Marathon Maniac #704) has run and finished the Kalamazoo marathon each year from 2011-2016, and her favorite part is the Bacon Station.  She is usually near the back of the field, but always has a smile on her face.  By Kalamazoo Marathon 2017, Jen will have finished between 145 and 152 marathons. Depending on how her winter and spring go, you could possibly be helping her celebrate her 150th marathon race or longer right here in Kalamazoo! Outside of running, Jen is a social worker and a cat rescuer (, she plays on the music team at church, and is a past professional circus high wire walker (no net!) and unicyclist.  Jen looks forward to sharing the road with everyone in May!

IOWA | Meesha Last

KANSAS | Chris Glatt

Chris is looking forward to running Kalamazoo for a couple of reasons – first, it’ll be state #38 in his 50-state effort, and second, his wife’s family is in Michigan, including her mother and sister’s family in nearby Matawan, so this trip will be a good opportunity to spend some time with them.  (These reasons are not in order of importance).  Chris enjoys training for marathons with a group of fellow geezers, and doing the 50-state thing is a good excuse for visiting places that otherwise wouldn’t make the must-see list.

KENTUCKY | Andrew Simpson



MARYLAND | Lori Kaleikau

MASSACHUSETTS | Henry Wardma_ward

Henry has run 15 marathons, including three ultras. He is also running Javelina Jundred, which will be his 1st 100 MILER.  He’s been running since May 2013, and it has changed his life for the better. He has a Blog that will tell you a little bit more about him, and his journey:

MICHIGAN | Dana Hudeck


This will be Dana’s 3rd time running the Borgess Full Marathon & 5th Full Marathon overall.
she is a Southwest Michigan native and currently lives in Kalamazoo. She graduated from WMU.
Outside of running she is an Engineer and loves to travel.  After the race she is looking forward to a piece of pizza from Hot Slice and a cold beer from Arcadia!

MINNESOTA | Cori Dahlemn_dahl

After running her first marathon in 2007, Cori knew that this was something that she loved to do. A few more marathons under her belt, she heard about the 50 State Challenge, where you run a marathon in every state, and of course she took up the challenge. Cori just completed her 11th Marathon, and 10th State in October 2016. The Kalamazoo Marathon will get her that much closer to her 50 State goal, which she looks forward to in May.

MISSISSIPPI | Wesley Hardacre

MISSOURI | Nicole Garrett

MONTANA | Maryann Eikens

Maryann is so excited to be the first runner to enter from Montana. She was born and raised not far from Kalamazoo, and her parents and three of her siblings still live in the area. Eikens says “It will be great to see them and have them come cheer me on.”
Maryann has been running marathons for 18 years. She’s run 27 marathons, plus an uncounted number of half marathons and couple of other longer races. Running Boston twice is her favorite running accomplishment. Her sister, who is a frequent marathon running partner; is from Nevada and has entered also, so it will be a family reunion.

NEBRASKA | Lisa Waite


NEVADA | Susan Brock

Susan was born in Michigan. She’s running the Kalamazoo Marathon so she can visit her family. Susan believes this will be her 15th marathon. She started running them in 2000 and almost always runs them with her sister who just so happens to be the winner from Montana. Says Brock, “I’m not looking to qualify for Boston or even get my personal best, I run them for the sake of the challenge and to stay fit.”

NEW JERSEY | David Ortega


NEW YORK | Angela Cheung

Angela and her boyfriend Andrew are beginning their 5th year of trying to accomplish the goal of running a marathon in all 50 states.  They are both part of the 50<4 club where they need to finish all their marathons under four hours. At the time they registered, they were at 32 states with a goal of running seven marathons this year. Angela and Andrew love running because it gives them a chance to listen to their bodies, push themselves beyond their comfort zone and spend time together while catching up on life in the busy city they live in.

NORTH CAROLINA | Bobby Aswell, Jr.


OHIO | Jennifer Moak

OKLAHOMA | Kathryn Iveyok_ivey

Kathryn has completed 75 marathons/ultras since her first marathon in March 2013.  She recently completed Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd 100 Mile trail race! She is working on running a marathon/ultra in each of the 50 States and DC.    Kalamazoo Marathon caught her eye after seeing Jen Savage’s post on Marathon Maniac’s Facebook Page announcing the 50-State Challenge. This race will be doubled with Wisconsin to “Earn Her Mittens.” Kathryn is excited to run in Michigan adding another state to her list. After taking a few days off to recover from her 100 Miler, she will be back training and enjoying the journey that began with just one step. Says Ivey, “See you all in Michigan!”

OREGON | Erin Kalinski

Erin has been bitten by the racing bug and has only just started competing in them this past year after being a casual runner for two years prior. She now has two marathons, a half marathon, and a dozen 5k’s under her belt, and can’t wait to add more.  Though she currently reside in Oregon, Erin lived in Kalamazoo for almost half her lifetime and considers it her hometown.  She loves coming back to visit whenever she can, and running such a fun race in the city that she loves is icing on the cake. Erin says she runs because it keeps her grounded, because it’s good for her soul, and because she wants to inspire people, especially her kids.  “After all,” she says, “I’m raising the next generation of runners – my son ran his first 5k with me this past summer and my daughter said she wants to grow up and be a marathoner like me.” When not running, she enjoys hiking as much as possible, growing plants, watching the original Star Wars trilogy repeatedly, eating late night nachos, and making people smile.

PENNSYLVANIA | Lauri Fauerbach Adams

RHODE ISLAND | Everette Ervin



TENNESSEE | Jennifer Bailey

TEXAS | Hennessey


VERMONT | Jamie Sheahan

VIRGINIA | Hollie Ashby

WASHINGTON | Evan Williamswa_williams

For Evan, Kalamazoo is a place of beginnings. He grew up here. He started running in 7th grade with Coach Victor Robinson at Hillside Middle School, who taught him that, “Feeling tired isn’t the same as being tired”. Evan began studying physics with Mr. Mike Sinclair at KAMSC and now he’s a product development engineer for the global health non-profit, PATH in Seattle. He’s been following his dreams around the country for the last dozen years – the dreams that have grown from Arcadia Elementary, his flute instructor Dr. Charles Osborne, and countless others in the community. Evan ran the inaugural 2011 Kalamazoo Marathon and he’s back to give it a second go, representing what he says is the finest community of runners in the Pacific Northwest – Seattle Running Club:



WISCONSIN | Noah Kaufman