#HouMarathon Ambassadors

Jaime Aparicio – @jaimesportspt

Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Jaime Aparicio is a physical therapist at Memorial Hermann’s Ironman Human Performance Lab. His clinical practice and his love for the outdoors drew him to the sport of running, where he quickly fell in love with the Houston running community. Jaime also enjoys teaching at Rice University and traveling the state as the Medical Director for Trail Racing Over Texas. The 2016 Chevron Houston Marathon was his first marathon and in 2018 it became his first Boston qualifier – third times a charm!  When he is not serving the running community, Jaime can be found eating Texas BBQ, enjoying the Texas Hill Country, or fishing the beautiful clear waters of South Padre Island.


Leah K. Egwuatu @fitfoodiele

Leah is a native Houstonian, fitness trainer, runner, instructor, social media influencer, and busy mom of 3.  Marathon weekend is near and dear to Leah’s heart! She looks forward to participating with her family every year; she runs because she wants to inspire her children to never back down from tough challenges and to face them head on. As an online inspiration she is always eager to share her healthy recipes, fit tips, and workout routines, all while shedding a realistic yet funny and positive light on balancing fitness and motherhood. Leah is currently living out her passion by captivating and inspiring over 70K women and men to become healthier versions of themselves.


Fren-Mark Banes@fmbanes21

My name is Fren-Mark and I am runner, engineer, motivator, entertainer and amateur karaoke singer.  Houston is an exciting place to live in and one of my favorite perks of being the 4th largest city in the US is that there is always a local race, charity run, social run, etc. somewhere around town.  I think the best part about marathon week in Houston is that it literally brings our widespread running community together in one smaller area, centralized at the GRB!  I love the energy spike in this city from all the runners, supporters and coordinators coming together at the events that weekend, which is the main reason I wanted to be an ambassador. I want to help make this annual Houston event as big and exciting as possible!


Heather Foley@haf811

I have run in 5k’s to 100+ milers in many countries around the world and the only one that I keep coming back for year after year is the Chevron Houston Marathon. This year will be my 10th Houston Marathon despite having relocated to Pittsburgh, PA in April. I love every minute of it; from when people start posting screen shots of their registration on social media, when the flagging goes up downtown, race day volunteers always make me tear up at least once during the race, and my favorite part is celebrating with my fellow finishers over an ice cream sandwich, biscuit, and chocolate milk in the GRB after the race. This year will be a different journey as I try to connect with and build a new running tribe in a city that is new to me and train for the marathon in a season that is new to me… a snowy, icy winter! 2019 Legacy Finisher, here I come!



Paul, Matthew and Stephen Izzo@izzoultrarunning

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 the next challenge on our list.

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

Two years ago, Stephanie found herself staring at her cereal bowl, feeling defeated and wondering what to do with her life. A friend encouraged her to go for a run, so she laced up and hasn’t stopped since. She joined Will’s Hills and Bayou City Road Runners in 2016 and immediately found her Houston support crew.  She’s run four* marathons, guided a visually impaired athlete in the New York City Marathon through Achilles Houston and volunteers with Achilles. She loves lining up in the starting corral with the Pace Team leaders and seeing so many gathered to run the streets of Houston. Running has taught her that despite what life throws you, a run will always move you forward–both by the mile and by clearing the mind.




Ryan Terry@ryan_runs_hou

When I ran my first Houston Marathon in 2015, I knew it wouldn’t be my last. Attending the kickoff party is what sparked my interest about becoming an ambassador. At the party I had the opportunity to mingle with runners from diverse age groups and a variety of cultural backgrounds. Diversity is what l think makes Houston such a great place to live and another reason why I love Houston so much.



Lauren Stroud @laurun123

Hello, I’m Lauren Stroud! I’m very familiar with the Houston area races and participate in many throughout the year. I’m excited to represent the Houston Marathon this year as an ambassador to share my journey. I will be having my first baby in August and will start training for the Houston Marathon 4-6 weeks after. I’ve participated in the Aramco half marathon in 2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2017 & 2018. This will be my first year participating in the Houston Full Marathon. The 2019 Chevron Houston Full will be my second marathon and it means a lot to me that it’s close to home. The support the Houston Marathon gives is like no other!




Leanne Rosser @lulurunstexas

There are so many reasons to love the great city of Houston.  Number one is the friendly people, just ask anyone who survived Hurricane Harvey, then there is the Mexican food, and of course all the beautiful parks and trails available to go for a run. And, I love everything about Marathon weekend, everyone gathers to encourage and uplift the runners.

Being a runner for the past 10 years has taught me first hand that hard work, dedication, consistency, patience and goal setting is the key to obtaining success.  Running is a very challenging sport for many, and I learned very quickly about the love/hate relationship that comes with it.  After I finished my first marathon at 4:47, I never knew I had it in me to be capable of a PR of 3:42, it surely didn’t happen overnight, but anything worth having is worth fighting for.  I’m living proof for the underdog, it CAN be done.


Bonnie Cheever@bonnieandthejets

The Houston Marathon has been a part of my race calendar since 2005! Whether I’m competing or volunteering, it’s an event that has the ability to bring my family together every January. I know each year I’m in for a fantastic weekend full of community, sport, and pushing limits- all the things I love about running. Currently I focus on marathons and Iron distance triathlon in my fitness regimen. I love the opportunity to see hard work pay off and look forward to encouraging others on their journey to HOU.


#HouHalf Ambassadors

Mark Barr@mdbarr8

Photo: Scott Flathouse

At the age of fourteen, Mark Barr lost his leg to bone cancer but that hasn’t had an impact on his love – and his ability to compete – in sport. He competed as a collegiate swimmer for Cal Poly and represented Team USA as a swimmer in the Athens and Beijing Paralympics before he ever thought about running. Then in 2009 Mark received his first running leg from the Challenged Athletes Foundation and has been competing in Elite Paratriathlon ever since. It wasn’t until more recently that he began to compete in road running events. Mark’s first ever half marathon was in Houston in 2017 and he returned in 2018 to best his personal record. When he isn’t training, he works as a registered nurse in the Trauma Surgical ICU at Ben Taub General Hospital. Mark’s favorite place to train is Memorial Park and he is looking forward to expanding the AWD program in Houston by being an ambassador and voice for challenged athletes.


Carolina Muriel – @tropicalfruit_runner

Carolina is a Venezuelan girl living with intention! An adventurous runner who loves life, family, beach, animals, food, technology and diversity. What she loves the most about Houston is its people and the very active community that is always challenging themselves together – they inspire her every single day. It’s this passion and community that makes her so proud to be an ambassador. She believes it is all of HOU representing and living their amazing experiences, challenges and histories that makes the Houston Marathon weekend of events so special. So much love!


Jeff Douse@jdrunner82

Photo: Payton Ruddock Visuals

Jeff Douse is returning for his second year as a #HouMarathon ambassador.  He is actively involved in the local Houston running community as a coach and co-founder of Houston’s first running studio, RacePace.  He is also a lululemon run ambassador at the store in Highland Village.  Jeff’s passion for running is backed by his hope of building a community centered around training and education that helps all levels of runners achieve their goals.  Jeff is also a RRCA certified run coach and coaches runners in both group and individual settings.




Anastasia Hansen@anastasiachansen & @itsnothouitsme

Anastasia Hansen is an avid runner, yogi, blogger and Houston connoisseur. She was an ambassador for the 2018 Houston Marathon & Half Marathon and this year marks her third year running the Aramco Half Marathon in Houston. After playing water polo for eight years, Anastasia made the transition to land sports and became a certified yoga teacher and started running consistently in 2014.

Anastasia regularly writes about Houston and travel at It’s Not Hou It’s Me (ItsNotHouItsMe.com). An unofficially-official ambassador for the city, she loves to bring the best of the world to Houston and the best of Houston to the world. You can read about her running travel tips, local fitness classes, crazy work-out trends, where to trail run, favorite Houston running routes and much more on her blog.

When in Houston, you can find her running along Buffalo Bayou, eating breakfast tacos at El Rey, and Instagraming pictures of local street art.