MEET OUR 2019 AMBASSADORS

Azusa

Azusa lives in the Chiba Prefecture of Japan and ran her first Maui Marathon Event, the half marathon, in 2016.  Her running journey started in 2013 after the death of her daughter. After battling depression for months, Azusa started jogging.  A year and a half later, she ran her first marathon, a feat she never would have imagined. Running has since been her outlet to travel and she feels “happy every day”.  She wants other people who are struggling to know that you can make changes and become a healthier happier version of yourself.

Watch Azusa Be Happy Every Day: @azusata

Catalina

Catalina ran on and off for years until picking it up for good in the summer of 2013 when she raced her first 5k. For three years she raced at least once a month, varying distances from 1 mile to a full marathon which was completed just 1 year and 5 months after that first 5k. In 2015 she earned the title of ultramarathoner just 3 days before her 29th birthday. Catalina is no stranger to being a race ambassador, just before moving to Maui she represented her hometown as a 2017 Chevron Houston Marathon Ambassador. Catalina is active in the Maui running community which she considers her first Maui ohana.

“I’ve run almost 6,000 miles since summer of 2013 and I would love to run the next 1,000 more while representing Maui Marathon.”

Follow Catalina’s next 1000 miles: @theonlycatalina

Coop

Steven, or as most call him “Coop” started his running journey in 2009 when his grandmother passed away. He saw it as sign to get healthy and he started power walking. Less than 6 months later, he found himself crossing the finish line of the 2010 LA Marathon, after he was hooked. He sought after next challange. He’s since completed numerous marathons on Hawaiian Islands and California, but has also traveled as far as South Africa and completed the Comrades ultra marathon. Coop looks for new ways to challenge himself- for example, running and dribbling a basketball coast to coast over 3,500 miles in honor of his mother in 2016. Coop has a huge passion for running and encouraging others to strive for their goals!

Follow Coop’s running, traveling, and basketball dribbling adventures: @7773foundation / Coop on Facebook 

Janelle

Janelle is an avid runner but didn’t start until her mid-late 20s. Fast forward 20 years and she’s since completed 7 full marathons, with numerous half marathons and 10ks. Janelle feels that one of running’s greatest gifts is its ability to mimic life- while you run, you find yourself, you grow, you change, you adapt.

The Maui Marathon has been on her radar since 2013 and needless to say, she’s excited to finally be running with us in 2019.

Follow Janelle’s journey from Canada to Maui: @runningfish73

Jessica

As a new Maui resident, Jessica is excited to become a healthier version of herself for her and her family.

Inspired by a friend that beat cancer and recently ran an entire marathon Jessica has made it her goal to someday do the same. In the past Jessica has completed other races including the Tough Mudder which was a huge physical challenge for her as she has Poland’s Syndrome a musculoskeletal disease. She plans to complete the Maui Half Marathon in 2019 as part of her larger goal to complete a Full  Marathon. As you can see, Jessica is all about goals, her most recent one of moving to Maui has been completed, ONE year ahead of schedule. Her new goal is to help the local Maui community by creating a foundation for education for Maui Students.

Keep Up With Jessica on Facebook –Jessica Miller KW  / Fujisora1

Kacee

In her personal life, Kacee is a vegan dog mom to Jazee and Mayhem, a sister, an aunt and a daughter. In her professional life she is a US Navy Sailor planning to become a K-3 teacher after she retires. Recreationally she enjoys Crossfit but is no stranger to running. She’s paced races and feels passionate that we need to care for and inspire each other to be the best we can be.  She has a running bucket list of completing a marathon on each island, run a half marathon under 2 hours, and run a 5k in under 25 minutes.

“Never stop believing. You can do anything you put your heart into – keep testing your limits.”

Watch Kacee Check Items Off Her Bucket List: @kaceesveganlife

Kelli

Kelli’s run story dates back to her grade school participation in the Terry Fox Run.  She quickly recognized the joy and happiness running brought to her life and succumbed to the charm of glistening grassy trails. Growing up in Calgary, Canada, she participated in cross country races across the province. Fast forward to her most recent accomplishment: a second place finish in her division at the 2018 10km Calgary Marathon race.

Kelli’s passion for running is fostered by her participation in YYC Run Crew, a community of kind-hearted run enthusiasts who share sweat, laughter, post-run pastries and beverages. Her favourite part of the sport besides that “runners high” is the sense of togetherness it brings. She finds joy in supporting those around her as they achieve their goals and celebrating her own accomplishments alongside good friends.

“Despite what anyone tells you, running is a team sport. Running has brightened my soul and that’s a feeling that deserves to be shared with everyone!”

Share the joy of Kelli’s training: @_kayanne / Kelli on Facebook

Kristi

Kristi was born and raised on the island of Maui.  She started running in high school to stay healthy. A handful of years went by and she picked it back up in 2013 with the goal to complete her first half marathon before her 30th birthday in 2014.  With the confidence of a half marathon under her belt, Kristi tackled her first full marathon in 2015 and learned so much about racing, training, and most importantly, herself. Kristi sees each race as a stepping stone, learning and growing during training and racing. She completed her 7th marathon in January and still feels the same excitement for the distance she had for her first. Kristi’s enthusiasm for running and especially running on Maui is contagious and she hopes you’ll catch the Maui running-bug too!

Keep up with Kristi on Instagram: @_sachie925_

Laurie

After losing 130lb Laurie took up running to maintain a healthy weight. In 2008 she started with 1 mile and has now raced distances from 5k to 50 miles! She’s run throughout the US, Canada, and Ireland as a solo runner and relay runner, on roads and trails, and even continued running through cancer treatments and injuries. Laurie is excited to have a Hawaii Five-O adventure this year to celebrate her 50th birthday on Maui.
When she’s not physically running, she’s running races as the race race director for a 25k/50k trail event call the Hagg Mudd Trail Run (sponsored by Oregon Road Runners Club).

“I first ran a mile, then three miles, then decided, what the heck, I am going to run a marathon!”  /

Follow Laurie’s Training and Hawaii Five-O Celebration: @laurielouw@brightlinelaurie /  Laurie on Strava

Rhea

At a yearly physical, Rhea’s doctor asked her to start taking high blood pressure medication. Knowing she could lower her blood pressure by changing her lifestyle Rhea made a deal with her doctor to exercise every day, improve her diet, and submit daily blood pressure readings. By making that deal, Rhea has lowered her blood pressure and accomplished great running goals. Since 2012 she has run at least one half marathon every year, in 2016 she ran at least 1 mile every day of 2016 (which was actually 366 days due to a leap year), and in 2017 ran her 2nd Rock n’Roll half marathon for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Although she mostly runs local races, Rhea is no stranger to the Maui Half Marathon having also run the race in 2018.

Watch Rhea’s Training Journey: @rh3a12Fitness Rhea on Facebook