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Introducing Your 2020 #houmarathon Ambassadors!

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#HouMarathon Ambassadors

Fren-Mark Banes – @fmbanes21

Fren-Mark (FM) is a runner, engineer, motivator, entertainer, and taco/sushi lover. His love for running marathons started right here in Houston, with his first Chevron Houston Marathon in 2015. He now has 11 marathons under his belt, including Boston, NYC, and 4 other marathons outside of Houston. Houston remains as one of his favorites. FM is returning for his second year as a #HouMarathon ambassador and is excited to continue promoting general health/fitness through running or anything active. He is also the organizer of Electric Flight Crew Houston gatherings, a group of athletic young professionals, committed to inspiring health, happiness, innovation, and fellowship through fitness. Follow him on social media and join his efforts in helping make our local running event as big and exciting as possible!

Taushah Crawford – @roadrunnerchic1

I fell in love with running after completing the EP5k during the Chevron Houston Marathon weekend a decade ago. In 2012, I completed my first 13.1 at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, and then in 2013, I ran my first 26.2 at the Chevron Houston Marathon. I’ve only missed one Marathon weekend since as I had moved out of state for a short period. This past January, I completed my 21st Marathon crossing the Chevron Houston Marathon finish line, and completed my 30th half marathon in Austin a few weeks later.

May 4th of this year I ran my first 50 miler and have completed other ultra distances and trail races as well. I will also be getting married on November 23rd, 2019 to my amazing fiance Lynn and have never been happier. I couldn’t ask for a better cheerleader as she’s there supporting me at every race!

Being an ambassador for the Chevron Houston Marathon is a dream come true. The entire race weekend is nothing short of magical, and simply thinking about it gives me all the feels. I can’t wait to toe the start line and run the full marathon in January 2020, making it lucky number 22. I will relish every mile in the most amazing city, while being surrounded by the greatest spectators, inspiring athletes and the kindest volunteers a runner could ever ask for. Houston, I’m coming for you! It’s going to be a great race weekend!

Nathan Imhoff – @N8i

I feel like I have been running my whole life, and that without it, my journey would have been a completely different one. Growing up in Escondido, CA, I found myself exploring distance running at Orange Glen High School, and literally found my happy place. While I loved running, I really had not challenged myself beyond the random half marathon or 5K here and there. In 2017, I decided to throw a marathon on my schedule and the fire for distance running was reignited, and it’s just compounded from there. Since 2017, I’ve run the Santa Clarita, and Los Angeles Marathon plus began my trek to complete the Triple Crown Half Marathon series with InMotion events in San Diego and am currently training for 2019 San Francisco Marathon. With the support of my fiance and business partner, Deanna, and our son affectionately known as the Monkey, we travel to runs up around the country, all while running a successful marketing firm that helps local businesses, nonprofits and start-ups in our community with marketing and social/digital needs. My ultimate goal is to qualify and complete the Boston Marathon before I turn 40 in 2020, and keep adding races to the bucket list! I am so honored to be an ambassador for the 2020 Chevron Houston Marathon!

Paul, Matthew & Stephen Izzo – The Izzo Brothers – @izzoultrarunning

Back for a second year, after the infamous Houston Hundred Challenge, the Izzo Brothers will continue their distance running into 2020 with the Chevron Houston Marathon. They will also be raising funds in 2019 and recreating their Hundred Mile Challenge at the New York City Marathon for Team Kids.

We grew up in a military family, and with a new school each year, it was always important for us to stay close as brothers. Now, as adults living in different cities we have shifted our focus to our physical and mental health and have started meeting up for various marathons across the country. We’ve run everything from 5Ks to Ultra- marathons together and are excited for Houston to be a challenge on our again.

Running has brought us closer together as a family and is what keeps our bond strong. But it has also connected us with such a strong community of athletes who we draw inspiration from every day. We’re so thankful to be a part of the running world. We strive to keep our mindsets light, passionate and as positive as possible, and are so excited to be a part of the Houston Marathon ambassador team.

Stephanie Kuzydym – @stephkuzy

Stephanie used to think hills were the underpasses on Allen Parkway, then she moved to extra hilly Cincinnati to be an  investigative producer at a TV station. When she’s back in Houston, Stephanie laces up with Will’s Hills and Bayou City Road Runners, but she found her running home away from home with Tri-State Running Company, a Cincinnati run store owned by a Houstonian! She also runs with Pain By Numbers. She’s run six marathons, guided a visually impaired athlete in the New York City Marathon and a mobility impaired athlete at Big Sur, both through her favorite organization, Achilles Houston. She spreads the good word of running as the social media director for HARRA and Achilles Houston. Running has taught her that despite what life throws you, a run will always move you forward.   

Wendy Larsen – @disneyhandcyclist

Wendy is a mother to two adult children, wife to an ultra marathoner, survivor of a major trauma, and lives with several rare genetic diseases that affect her mobility. She began handcycling in 2017 with Achilles International Houston, a non-profit that supports mobility and visually impaired athletes, and completed her first full marathon at the Chevron Houston Marathon in 2018 where she qualified for the Boston Marathon. Throughout 2018 and early 2019, she completed more than 25 races both locally and out of state and placed in the top 3 at every event, but Houston will always be her favorite race. In addition to racing, she is a volunteer and patient advocate in the rare disease community.

Jennipher McGraw – @jencimone

My name is Jennipher McGraw, and I am a wife, runner, mother, teacher and a Basketball/Track/Cross Country coach! After running my first Aramco Houston Half Marathon, I knew I had to be a part of this weekend either as an Ambassador or as a Coach with the Houston Marathon Foundation’s after school program. I’ve run many 5ks, 10ks, and several half marathons, and I’m excited to represent for HOUSTON as I run my second full marathon!

Anita Moraes – @anita_pelomundo

Anita has been running for almost 10 years and throughout her journey is always looking for new challenges, including performance. She is a Brazilian who lives and loves Houston as if she were born here. Her life is divided into being a mom of a 2-year-old girl, wife, engineer and runner, so her days are exciting and full. Anita has a thirst for self-knowledge. She is hopes to use her life experiences (positive and negative) and  her running to share experiences and information to help people change their lives. Running for her is blood, it’s life, it’s feeling, it’s shivers.

Michelle Morton – @Mic2lee

Michelle defines herself as an endurance athlete, a proud finisher of races ranging from fun runs to half/full/ultra-marathons, and even Ironman races.  The Chevron Houston Marathon has been the focal point of her race calendar since 2011 and now in 2020 she will become a legacy, running the full for the 10th year in a row.  What keeps her coming back every year is the awesome support the city shows on race day and the community that is built amongst the runners training for the race.

Carolina Muriel – @tropicalfruit_runner

Caro is a Runner Yogi living with intention. A System Engineer from Venezuela, she is passionate about supporting the community in any way she can. She is a beach, nature and social run lover and is addicted to being out of her comfort zone to try new things in life. She is an avid Girls on the Run Solemate, a dedicated animal shelter and Houston Food Bank supporter and volunteer. She is thankful for her parents, family, friends and her #runhou Community!! 

Patrick Pressgrove – @phtptxclsv

Patrick is a bilateral above-knee amputee as a result of birth defect and complications. He has been a runner for five years and triathlete for nearly three. He is a half ironman and 2019 Boston Marathon finisher, and has already qualified for the 2020 Boston Marathon. Chevron Houston Marathon will be just his third marathon and his first time running the full course – he has complete the Aramco Houston Half Marathon twice. In addition to his own endurance sport endeavors, he plays an integral role in CATAPULT, a Houston-based organization that aims to assist individuals with physical disabilities through coaching, funding, training, and education to help provide them full access to the endurance sports community and competitions. He was also one of the Houston Chronicle’s Most Fascinating people of 2018.

Katherine Russell – @katlrussell11

Hi! My name is Katherine Russell, and I live in Houston, TX with my Australian Shepherd.  I’ve run the Chevron Houston Marathon four times, and will continue running it as long as I’m able! This year has been exciting so far as I ran my first Boston Marathon in April. I am a Coach at Race Pace, love the mountains, hiking, all things travel, and wine – of course. Fun Fact – I also have a secret passion for growing orchids #greenthumb!

I look forward to representing the marathon this year, and hope you’ll run it with me in 2020!

Ryan Terry – @ryan_runs_hou

I am humbled and honored to have been chosen to be an ambassador again for the 2020 Chevron Houston Marathon. The experience last year was nothing short of awesome. I can’t wait to get out in the Houston running community to continue inspiring and helping others as #WERUNHOUSTONTOGETHER 

Also follow along with me to Greece in November as part of the Houston Marathon / Greek Athens Marathon Exchange Program!

Marcelo Valdez – @marcvaldezzz

Marcelo Valdez and I’m a 33 years old father/husband. Originally from El Salvador ( the smallest country in Central America) that came to Houston 5 years ago with my wife to start a new life and immediately fell in love with the city. I started running approximately 7 years ago and haven’t stopped since then. 

For the first three years living in Houston, I had zero knowledge about this event (I know, shame on me 🙁 ) but in late 2017, I stumbled across a post that you guys needed some volunteers at mile 21 of the 2018 marathon course and I immediately signed up for it. Needless to say that from the moment I got there I was hooked. The whole atmosphere, the organization and just seeing the whole city getting into the race gave me a boost that I’ve never felt before, and from that moment in January 2018, I said to myself, “next year I’ll be on that course!!!” And I did, I’m proud to say that I’m a 2019 marathon finisher!!!!

#HouHalf Ambassadors

Latania Booker – @doctor.tania

Tania is a southeast Texas native who has been living in Houston since 2008. She is an internal medicine doctor, wife and mother of 2 who discovered a love of running as a medical student at UTMB Galveston in 2007. She is a 2018 Chevron Houston Marathon and 2019 Aramco Houston Half Marathon finisher. She believes that with a little motivation, dedication and hard work, nothing is impossible. She will be running the 2020 Aramco Houston Half Marathon and looks forward to seeing you out on the race course!

Jessica Grogan Young – @02jeg

Jessica first ran the Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 2009 while living in Houston for grad school and has run more than a dozen half marathons since then.  In addition to running, Jessica is an active CrossFitter, cyclist, and duathlete.  She currently lives in Harlingen, Texas, in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, with her husband and daughters, but she never misses the Houston marathon weekend.  She’ll be running the Aramco Houston Half Marathon again this year, as well as the We Are Houston 5K presented by Aramco and Chevron to complete the Houston Double!

Lindsay McClelland – @lovinglifeontherun

Lindsay is a digital marketing professional, podcast host, yoga teacher, former collegiate swimmer, and marathon runner. Her running adventures have taken her to 17 marathons (and more half marathons than she can count!), including two Boston Marathons. Lindsay has shared many of her races, including four start lines in Houston, with her dad who began running at 57 years young! Currently based in Sarasota, Florida, Lindsay can’t wait to return “home” to Houston to race the Aramco Houston Half Marathon this year. You can follow Lindsay’s running and yoga adventures on Instagram or catch her stories on her blog and podcast by the same name.

Leanne Rosser – @lulurunstexas

Leanne is returning for her second year as a #houambassador. Her love for running and coaching has continued to grow, and she finds a true joy from helping others achieve goals they never thought were possible. 

She is the founder of a new RRCA certified running group on the Northside, (Woodlands, Spring, Conroe area) which just so happens to be the name of the group (Northside). They welcome all types of runners. Their motto is not to intimidate but to encourage, uplift and inspire!

She is honored and excited to spread the word about our awesome hometown-feel Chevron Houston Marathon yet again!

Lillian Wanjagi – @slowkenyanrunner

Hi, my name is Lillian – I am a Runner, Mom, and Higher Education Professional. When not running, I can be be found watching my daughter playing volleyball. I discovered running late in life – but it has impacted me significantly. In September 2014, I started using the C25K app so I could run a 5K, and since then, I’ve run 7 full marathons, 19 half marathons and countless 5K/10Ks. I love road races and often take road trips with my running friends to race in other cities. My favorite distance is the half marathon and my favorite weekend in Houston is marathon weekend – I ran the Chevron Houston Marathon in 2017 and 2019, and the Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 2016 and 2018.  I’m looking forward to running the Aramco Half again in 2020.  My favorite thing about running is the running community – wonderful athletes who inspire and support each other. I love building community with my local running club – Katy Area Running Club, and I’m so excited to be a part of the 2020 ambassador team for an opportunity to enlarge our Houston running community.

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