Orca Running Ambassadors

2021 Orca Running Ambassadors

Theresa

Hey I’m Theresa! You can often find me pushing my two boys around town, outdoor adventuring, or furiously baking. I’ve lived all over the country, but moved to the pacific northwest in 2019 and fell in love. The mild climate, the mountains, the sound, the shift of seasons, all of it is amazing.

Since becoming a stay at home mom, running has become my passion. The calm and confidence gained from running has kept me sane, especially in 2020. Racing is almost magical; you get to test your limits, with a group of like minded people cheering you along the way. Virtual racing (especially with Orca Running) has been great, but I am so excited to get back to in-person racing in 2021.

Instagram: @redhairedrunningmom

Rachel

My name is Rachel and I LOVE running (obviously, duh). I love the unity and sense of accomplishment that running brings. I also have a great love for my two boys (Colton 1 and Kaleb 4) and the PNW.

My boys and I spend a great deal of time hiking, exploring, and swimming in the summertime. Wakeboarding is my favorite cross training activity. I also recently discovered the joys of trail running. I am SO excited to be joining the Orca Pod and I seriously can’t wait to get to know you all!

Instagram: @rachelgetsoutside

Patrick

Hello! My name is Patrick. I was born, raised, and live in south Sound area, currently University Place. I’m just over 40, married, and have 2 kids. I am a forester and part time archaeologist for the State, spending as much time as I can getting paid to wander the forests of Washington (although not as much as I used to).

I have always been active in some fashion from soccer and basketball to, obviously, hiking through the forest. I didn’t start running, however, until the fall of 2015 after my wife, Rhonda, and I decided to both focus on our health more. For me, I needed a new challenge in life and wanted to improve my health and conditioning after being a light smoker for much of my early 30s and moving to an office-centric work role.

I still consider myself somewhat new to running and the running community. What I lack in traditional running knowledge and training, I make up for with determination. I know I’m not the best runner out there, but that won’t stop me from trying to be the best (at least in my group).

Instagram: @run.forester.run

Nicole

I’m a finish-line chasing, donut enthusiast. I signed up for a half marathon almost a decade ago as something to do, and I haven’t looked back. While I’ve mainly been a road runner, I’m slowly getting into trail running. When I’m not running, I like to travel to my Animal Crossing island, attempt to knit and cuddle up with my two fluff monsters a.k.a. cats.

Instagram: @seanicolerun

Marilou

I am thrilled to be selected as an Orca Running ambassador for a second year and looking forward to all that is in store for 2021!

I’m 50-years-old (turning 51 in February) and I’ve lived in the greater Seattle area nearly all of my life. Although I have always been active playing sports such as softball, volleyball, and was a cheerleader, I never liked running. I was introduced to my first 5k race in 2014–my brother signed me up to run a turkey trot on a very cold and windy day–but did not really fall in love with running until 2016. In 2016 I ran my first half marathon and in 2017, completed my first full marathon.

I’ve also enjoyed running obstacle course races and earned my first Spartan Trifecta in 2018. Since then I’ve completed over 80 races, including nine half marathons, a few relay races, and also earned my first Orca Pod medal in 2019.

Instagram: @marilouubungen

Katie

My name is Katie and I am so excited to be an Orca Ambassador! I am originally from Southern California and didn’t start running until I moved to Washington. I am a mom to a 13 year old daughter, wife of almost 19 years to my high school sweetheart and a part time lunch lady.

I love running because it’s something I honestly never thought I could do until I joined a moms group and was shown the way. I’ve run 16 half marathons, 4 Ragnar Relays, and so many other races. I am easily persuaded to do a race by its awesome swag. I do a lot of my running solo (even pre Covid) but have amazing running buddies all over the country.

Instagram: @running_for_jellybeans

Michelle

Hi, my name is Michelle and I have been running for about 18 years now. I first got into running when I started doing triathlons – since one of the legs was running, I figured I needed to start . Ever since I had my daughter 5+ years ago my view on running has changed. I have discovered trail running and I run more to get outside, get fresh air, and see some awesome sights. I ran my first 50k in 2020 and plan to run more and maybe even a 50-mile race someday.

My first Orca race was the first Orca half marathon. The race was very well run, the route was beautiful and we were blessed with a gorgeous day. The only thing that could have made it better would have been able to see an Orca jump out of the Sound.

If I am not out running, biking, swimming, or chasing after my daughter (who also did her first 5k this year) you can find me working as a Personal Trainer, Triathlon/Endurance sports coach, as well as a nutrition coach. Basically, I enjoy helping people feel good and get active. So yes, fitness is my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Instagram: @besttrimom

MaryKate

I grew up here in the PNW and have three sisters (middle child, woot woot!). I played lacrosse through college and now help coach a high school team. I enjoy hiking, camping, skiing, paddleboarding, and visiting local breweries! I have always had a love for running; I was the weird player who loved the conditioning parts of practice while everyone else hated it. I am training for my first Ultra, a 50km and hope to continue to even longer distances!

Instagram: @mkwhite56

Kristine

My name is Kristine. I have been active all my life, mainly with swimming but I also ran cross country in high school (way too long ago). I sorta ran after graduation, but not too much. I am an Army Vet, a 911 dispatch veteran & now a cancer warrior! I was diagnosed with a blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma in August 2015 when I was 37 yrs old & 28 weeks pregnant with my only son. I have fought hard & was sendentary for 4 years until February of 2020 when I started to walk a lot more than before.

I was accepted to do a hiking trek to Greenland with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. The trip was scheduled for the end of July 2020, then Covid happened & postponed the trip to July 2021 (fingers crossed it still happens). Instead of stopping my training, I signed up for virtual races to keep me going, and I don’t plan to stop, ever!! Walking & running have become a part of me & a way of life. I fee happier & healthier & love the Orca family even more for this opportunity!

Instagram: @kmbeard10

Leah

I am an avid runner in Olympia, WA. I started running as a way to lose weight and now use it as my primary source of sanity. I can be found running all over the Pacific Northwest. I love all distances but the half marathon is my favorite.

I love to run with my dog Apollo. When I’m not running, I am race directing for the Capital City Marathon in Olympia, or splitting up fights between the pets.

Instagram: @leahranamarathon

Paolo

I first ran with The Pod during the inaugural Electric Cookie Run and loved running multiple Orca events throughout 2020. I  especially appreciate Orca Running’s dedication to learning, conversations, and action around issues of racial equity, body image issues, environmental issues, and more. I hope to help promote engagement in running for those who, like myself, have often struggled to simply enjoy running due to common societal expectations of what it means to be “a runner” and a lack of inclusion efforts.

I love longer distances (both organized and solo), but, lately,  have primarily been enjoying shorter stroller runs with my son. Catch me dancing before races and eating ice cream afterward (well…and the night before races too).

Instagram: @thesleepyp

Nancy

Hello everyone! My name is Nancy and I am super excited to asked back for my 4th year to be part of the Orca Running Family as an Ambassador! I began my running journey in the summer of 2014 and have completed 240+ running events! I love being part of the running community and have made some life lasting friends over the past 6 years.

My running goals were to grow in distance the more I ran but I have had to pull back a bit due to some minor medical issues. But I refuse to let this get me down, so I have decided that running/walking shorter distances would be best for me and still keep me doing what I absolutely love doing.

And of course, there’s my dogs – my dogs are one of the biggest joys in my life. I have 2 wonderful Boxers, Dexter who is 4.5 years old and Paisley who is 5.5 years old. These two mean the world to me – so much that I also volunteer with Wigglin’ Home Boxer Rescue! I love being part of this Boxer Rescue and have been with WHBR for 4 years now.

A girlfriend and I also started up a running group on Facebook called Puget Sound Runners. Please check out our Facebook site and if you are not connected with us feel free to send us a join request and check us out.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/pugetsoundrunners/

Juliette

Outside is my best side. I spend most of my free time running or mountain biking – or traveling to places where I can run and mountain bike. I started running in 2018 after completing the Cancer to 5K program with the Ulman Foundation, and I’ve been addicted ever since. Running gives me a space to think things through, pounding out life’s challenges, one step after the other. It’s also where I celebrate life’s accomplishments, soaking in the majestic beauty of the PNW. To share the joy I find in running, I’ve lead couch to 5K programs for the college I work for and for Project Koru, an organization that sends young adult cancer survivors on surf adventures.

I love running Orca races because they think of everything a runner needs: gear check, soft shirts, tasty snackos, race pacers, and the bling is always solid.

When I’m not running, riding or working, I’m a graduate student and plan to finish my MBA this spring.

Instagram: @runner.girl.kern

Jen

At the beginning of 2019, I decided to try and run an event a month. Between work and travel, it wasn’t always possible to do it here in Vancouver-ish, BC and Seattle seemed like the logical option as one of my dearest friends lives there.

My first Orca run was Kirkland Shamrock 10k seemed ideal. I loved the atmosphere, the comradery, and the dad jokes. I ended up doing two more races last year: The Great Ferry Race and Orca Half, each with a PR.

I’ll never be fast, but I have a ton of fun. Thanks to the amazing support of my Orca and Evergreen community, I managed to walk, hike, and run over 1,200mi in 2020.

Travel and exploring new cities might be out for a while, but I’ve rediscovered my love of hiking, trail running, and running thanks in large part to the events hosted by Orca and Evergreen in 2020 and I can’t wait to see where (and how far)  2021 takes me.

Instagram: @la_canadajen

Ingunn

I was born and raised in Norway, but now live in the gorgeous Seattle area with my husband, two little daughters, and our Italian Greyhound! I first started running a decade ago, but it wasn’t until I was between births in 2016 that I started taking it more seriously and entering races.

I love the joy and endorphins and alone time running gives me, especially on trail. It has been hugely important for my mental health! Most importantly, the community I’ve found in other runners is so accepting and inclusive and positive!

My favorite hobbies are going for long runs in the mountains and then scrapbooking about it when I come home.

Instagram: @smultrigunn

Eric

My name is Eric Lynn and live in the Seattle area (Kirkland, WA). In November 2011 I became a new Dad, and began my running obsession. I had a health scare a few weeks after his birth, and realized I needed to make a few changes to ensure myself to be healthy.

With encouragement from my wife, I signed up for the Kirkland Shamrock Run in 2012, and completed my first 5K, and haven’t looked back. The ability to train, participate in events and meet people in the community have really grounded me. Orca events have been my absolute favorite to participate in.

My ultimate joy is spending time with my family, but I also have a passion for education. I am a co-founder of a running group at my kids elementary school, volunteer coach for basketball/soccer and help with Sunday School. Teaching and being involved in the community have helped me through this unusual year, and I look forward to joining this Ambassador group, and helping others find some joy like running has provided me.

Instagram: @airlynn2

Emilia

Hi, my name is Emilia and I’m a Polish transplant in the Pacific Northwest! I run everything between 5Ks and half marathons, 10K being currently my favorite distance. My running buddies are usually my toddler (in the stroller), hubby or Lester the aussie shepherd. I love all things related to the ocean, hiking, cheesy pizza and matcha latte.

Looking forward to running with you soon!

Instagram: @ems.pnwlife

Caroline

Hi! I’m Caroline and I live in Maine with my husband Glenn and daughters Grace (3 1/2) and Rose (5 months). I’m a Registered Dietitian and work as a School Nutrition Director.

I’ve been running for 21 years and have completed 4 full marathons, 24 half marathons, and over 300 5ks and 10ks. Being a runner is one of my favorite traits and I love helping others find a passion for running, too!

When I’m not with my family or running, you can find me on the beach, baking, or reading.

Instagram: @sweetcarolineruns

BellaDonna

Name’s Belladonna but you can call me Donna.

My love for running started after years of playing soccer, now I just traded the cleats for long distances. I’m a graphic designer originally from Minneapolis and you will definitely catch me saying “ope” from time to time. I love the great outdoors and hanging out with my pup Summit.

I recently fell in love with trail running as it combined my love for hiking high peaks and running into one activity. There really is no better place than the PNW to start your trail running adventures that’s for sure.

Can’t wait to meet and see all our Orca Running friends on the trails!

Instagram: @belladonna.shines

Arielle

Hi there, my friends! My name is Arielle! I was born and raised in Everett, but I currently live in Ballard with my wonderful husband.  I work in the Operating Room at UW Medical Center, and it’s honestly my dream career. I feel INCREDIBLY blessed to be able to do what I love every day. I take care of people for a living, and running has been my way of giving back to myself.

I started running my sophomore year of high school at Jackson (around 2008) because my friend convinced me to join the cross country team. I fell in love after one season and ran through senior year. I went through an on-off relationship throughout college and post-grad. I’ve learned that running is always there, waiting for you to come back when the time is right.

I have big goals for 2021: I’m in for the Chicago Marathon with the American Diabetes Association, and my goal is to break 3:48!

Instagram: @ohaiitsarielle

Andrew

I’m a husband, and #GirlDad. I work as an Aerospace Engineer and spend much of my personal time reading and running. Current goals are to establish routine exercise as the norm, eat clean, and strive to be a better human.

Instagram: @the.running.steevens