Hi Everyone! I am in charge of the Marathon Expo held at the David D Hunting YMCA on Saturday before the race. I work at the Mary Free Bed YMCA as the Senior Program Development Director. The first few years of the GR Marathon, I was a volunteer helping out on race day. This is my ninth year on the race committee organizing the expo.
Running wasn’t in my vocabulary until after I graduated from college and moved to Florida. I was a serious beach volleyball player and played on a Beach volleyball tour. I started off running my first race in the Edison Festival 5K in Ft. Myers, FL. It was an awesome experience running with 800+ people, and in front of thousands of people lining the parade route, which was also the race route. The parade started the second the last finisher crossed the line, so you can just imagine 15,000+ people who are cheering you on to finish, because they want to encourage you or because they want the parade to start quicker. Either way, it was a win-win for everyone and I was hooked. Ever since then I started running in more 5Ks, then 10Ks, and then I made the leap of faith and did my first half marathon in Naples, FL. Didn’t prepare properly and made the rookie mistakes, went out like I was running a 5K, ran into cramping issues by Mile 10, but managed to finish the race. I have been running ever since then, with a few triathlons sprinkled in while living in Florida, then I moved back to Michigan and tried the River Bank Run 25K. Loved it and have raced in it every year since moving to Grand Rapids.
Since joining the marathon committee I have enjoyed the new challenge of running a marathon, and have finished 5 marathons including an awesome experience at my first Boston Marathon in 2016. I have met some amazing people along the way who share the same passion of running and community. I am supported by my wife, Heidi, and (2) kids, Ryan and Mackenzie, who are always cheering me on.
I wish all of you the best of luck in training and enjoy the experience. The marathon is just the last day of your exciting journey to stand at the start line with thousands of your closest friends you may have not met yet.
See you at the finish line!