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
Howard is a Marathon Maniac and 50 Stater, currently with 28 states. MI will most Likely be #30 or #31. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware.
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
Matt is an avid runner but had never run in a marathon until the 2018
Kalamazoo Marathon. He chose it as the first because he lived in
Kalamazoo and used it as a reason to visit friends. He was able to
beat his stated goal by nearly 20 minutes in 2018. At the end of the
2018, he was sure he’d never run another marathon, but within days, he
was planning on being back in Kalamazoo in May. Hopefully the 2019
marathon will allow him to improve on that time, especially now that
he’ll be prepared for the hills.
MARYLAND | Valerie Lancaster
Valerie has been running since she was in college and ran her first marathon in 2006. She only got serious about running in all 50 states in 2013. She thought it was a great way to see the country and visit states she probably never would’ve gone to. Valerie chose Kalamazoo because of the location – the course looks like it has a lot of variety in the scenery – city, a university, and park areas. Also, the time of year is perfect for a marathon. She currently has run 41 races – including 2 ultras. By the time she runs Kalamazoo, she should have only 5 or 6 states left! She’s saving Hawaii for her 50th state. Honolulu was her mom’s first marathon and she is going to run it with Valerie as her final state.
MASSACHUSETTS | Sandee Landon
In 2007, Sandee joined the Highland City Striders running club. Soon after, a friend from HCS asked the group, “Who wants to run Chicago with me?” Of course, she lost her mind and replied, “I do!” October 2008, she ran her first marathon. “Haha! Me? A marathoner? Who would have thought!”
Since then Sandee has run 12 marathons, a 50k, and a half Ironman. She’s since joined the Marathon Manics (#7745) and she aspires to complete all 50 states.
As for why she chose Kalamazoo? Well…to complete a Michigan marathon AND to see her longtime BFF, Keri! “The things I have to do to visit her!”
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 | Kamal Jabbour
Kamal is a member of the 50 States Marathon Club for completing a marathon in all 50 States. He is also a Marathon Maniac. He has run 69 marathons so far – “God willing, Kalamazoo will be my 75th marathon.”
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
This is Marlon, he’s run 92 marathons since 2006, he loves the marathon distance. He’s twice qualified for Boston and ran it both times. His goal is to run 100 marathons, and as many states as he can, this will be his first time running in the great state of Michigan and he’s so excited, he can’t wait!
RHODE ISLAND |
SOUTH CAROLINA | Christine Maybourne
SOUTH DAKOTA |
TENNESSEE | Megan Munsell
Megan Munsell was born and raised in Millington, Michigan – but “home” is Memphis, Tennessee. After a rough divorce, Megan turned to running and fitness and hasn’t looked back. Memphis has a great running community, and during the fall there are several local races she loves to do – including the St Jude Marathon weekend.
In December, 2017 Megan ran her first marathon (St Jude) in 6:08. She didn’t hit the wall and felt remarkably well after, attributing that to her overall fueling and pacing strategy and the cross-training she did at her local Crossfit box, Crossfit SOPO. This will be Megan’s 2nd or 3rd marathon, as she hasn’t yet decided if she will run the Little Rock marathon in March or not. She will be participating in the St Jude weekend, but will be running “only” a half.
When Megan isn’t working, Crossfitting, or running – she’s spending time with her husband, Michael, and her son, Aidan.
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