2018 Race Ambassadors

Erica Smith

Erica Smith began running in 2010. She had always wanted to be a runner and admired those who ran. Just a few months later she decided to run a half marathon. What did she know about preparation and needing more cushion in my shoes than the Saucony Kinvara was going to provide for that distance? She loved it though! She remembers Erica Smith 2018 Race Ambassadorthe tears welling in her eyes at the finish line and being in so much pain but wanting to do it again. The next year she decided she wanted to try to do a triathlon. She loves swimming, cycling and running so why not do something with all three sports? She completed the Shawnee Mission sprint course and had so much fun doing it, she signed up again the next year. Since those years Erica has continued running and pushing herself. Erica enjoys the community of runners and triathletes and most importantly the encouragement everyone has for one another. That is why Erica races.

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Jamie Martens

2018 marks over ten years of competing in duathlons for Jamie.  She has competed in the Open Options Shawnee Mission Duathlon since its inaugural year in 2015 and has been the overall female winner all three years.  Jamie grew up in Concordia, Missouri and focused on basketball and softball in high school and played Division II basketball at Missouri University of Science & Technology.Jamie Martens 2018 Race Ambassador  After college, she participated in the occasional 5K but it wasn’t until a friend suggested cycling that Jamie decided to combine the two and competed in her first duathlon through the Kansas City Corporate Challenge held at Shawnee Mission Park.  It was an epic fail as she flatted out on the bike course and had to swallow the dreaded “DNF” – Did Not Finish.  After a biking accident resulted in two shoulder surgeries, the 2007 Prairie Punisher in Gardner was her first USAT sanctioned duathlon.  Since then, Jamie has competed in numerous local duathlons and at the National Duathlon Championships three times.  She competed at the ITU Multisport Festival in Penticton, Canada in August 2017, and placed 3rd in the F40-44 Age Group in the Sprint Duathlon.  Other 2017 highlights include 1st Female Overall at the Garmin 10K, 2nd Female Overall at the Hospital Hill 10K, and 3rd Female F40-44 at the Monumental Half Marathon.

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Josh Wolf

Josh Wolf d16836545_10155997907313079_9196597158587780829_oidn’t grow up in endurance sports, or playing any sport for that matter. In fact he didn’t do anything until college when he decided on a whim that he wanted to run a marathon in 2003. Immediately hooked on endurance sports, he bought a road bike and raced road in USAC until 2005 when a friend of him suggested, “Hey Josh, you should do a triathlon.” That sentence literally changed his life.18358576_10156258080458079_4141310057969338230_o
Since then, Josh has turned his passion into a career. He has worked at several gyms, taught Anatomy and Physiology and associated classes at a Vo-Tech school, and even owned his own triathlon coaching business.  Now he is the Regional Endurance Training Coordinator at Lifetime.
His true desire is to help people change their lives, achieve their dreams and redefine what they think is possible through endurance sports. He has worked with over 500 athletes ranging from super sprint newbies to those vying for a Kona slot. Josh likes to bring a science-based, reasonable and personalized approach to training.

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Key Achievements:
5-time IRONMAN World Championship qualifier
2011 IM World Championship Finisher
USAT All-American 2012-2016
Key Credentials:
B.S. Kinesiology
IRONMAN University Certified Coach
USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach 2009-2011
Cycle Instructor

Paula Whited

Paula and her huPaula Whited 2018 Race Ambassadorsband own a small plumbing company called Dun' Right Plumbing out of Linwood Kansas.  She has two kids: a seven year old daughter and a four year old son, seven Black Angus cows, a cat that was rescued from a drain pipe and a German Shepherd dog that frequently joins her on her runs.Paula was a thrower in high school and college and hated running. In 2011, she picked up running during a biggest loser competition at work, and lost 65lbs. Since then, running has been her passion. She loves all things running related and endurance sports. From 50 mile ultra-marathons, to Tough Mudders to triathlons.Paula Whited 2018 Race Ambassador
She completed her first triathlon in the summer of 2017, then making podium in her second and third race.  From the training to the racing, she’s been hooked to the sport since. Paula is on the SmartPace team and has run more than 10 full marathons and several half marathons.  Her furthest run to date has been a 50 mile ultra: “The Hawk 50".
She’s eager to compete, but also loves to push herself and others to do their best and have fun.
There is no better feeling than crossing the finish line and crushing your goals.
Let s do this, together we can. One step at a time! 

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Reece Robinson

Many years ago… Reece was a below average swimmer in high school for two years and had a solid short season of cross country running his senior year.  After a 3 year stint in the army the couch potato years began.  Twenty plus years later, at the ripe young age of 42, he was told at a workplace sponsored medical screening he should really see a doctor.  He never did visit that doctor; instead he got a gym membership, started swimming and saw a personal trainer.  A year later, insporig-USAC4311ired by the activities within the Kansas City Corporate Challenge, he completed his first sprint triathlon (at Shawnee Mission Park of course!) and has embraced the multisport lifestyle ever since.
Since then he has completed over 40 triathlons ranging from sprint distance to his first (but not last!) full ironman distance race in 2016.  In between triathlons he has completed two marathons, a dozen half marathons, and multiple bike races ranging from criteriums to individual time trials.  Describing himself as a “scrappy age grouper”, Reece has enjoyed competing at the national level, racing at the 2013 Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championships as well as USAT National Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016.  Reece is in his 7th year serving as an ambassador for the Kansas City Corporate Challenge (KCCC) and he is also KCCC company coordinator for Grundfos, where he encourages his coworkers to participate in all things related to teamwork, health and wellness.What has helped racing triathlons become even more fun is being part of a team, or multiple teams.  Reece is a member of Triple Threat Triathlon (National Team), made up of amateur triathletes who simply enjoy competing, comradery and having fun.  And when not swimming and running, Reece is also a member of Grip N Rip Cycle, a local Cycling team made up of racers and recreational riders who also enjoy competing, comradery and having fun.

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Tyler D. Staples

Tyler D. Staples running in DuathlonTyler has been swimming, or biking, or running since childhood. But it wasn't until after college that he began to put it all together. Like duathlon ambassador Jamie Martens, Tyler's first multisport experience was the Prairie Punisher Duathlon, and his first triathlon was the Shawnee Mission Triathlon. 2018 marks Tyler's fourth year in triathlon and is honored to be an ambassador at what he considers his "home court" race. When Tyler is not racing, he works as a therapist at a KC-area psychiatric hospital, as well as running a private therapy practice. Tyler also runs RunRideReviewKC.com, a free race preview resource for KC-area runners, bikers, and multi-sport athletes. 

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Ryan Falkenrath

Ryan is Kansas City native, raised in Olathe, Kansas, and attended the University of Kansas for college (Roc20170902-HDK_7115-X5k Chalk Jayhawk!) where he obtained two degrees in engineering.
Around 2001, Ryan started running distances from 5Ks up to half marathons. He had always worked out with weight training, running and mountain biking since high school football. Mountain biking and running lead him to running off-road duathlons and a few mountain bike races in 2002. In 2003, Ryan signed up for a duathlon, not realizing that he would need a road bike, which he did not own at the time. Ryan borrowed someone’s steel road bike and placed 2nd in his age group. Since then, Ryan has been hooked on on-road duathlons and running races. In 2004, he ran his first triathlon and became hooked on the multisport lifestyle leading to his eight half IRONMANs and three full IRONMANs (2013 Lake Tahoe, 2014 Chattanooga and 2015 Boulder).
In May of 2013, Ryan obtained the USAT Level 1 Triathlon Coaching Certification and started coaching at Life Time Fitness in Overland Park, Kansas, when not working his day job as a project manager. He currently reside in Olathe with his wife, three children and two dogs.

Key Achievements:
•10 x marathon finisher
•10 x Half IRONMAN finisher
•4 x Full IRONMAN finisher
•Multiple sprint, olympic and long course triathlon finishes
•2014, 2018 All World Athlete qualified for IRONMAN events
•2016, 2017 USAT Olympic Distance Triathlon Championship Qualifier // Competed in 2017
Key Credentials:
•USAT Level 1 Triathlon Coaching Certificate
•Masters Swim Instructor
•IRONMAN Certified Coach
•PWR Cycle Instructor

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Terry Harrison

Terry (Murphy)Terry Harrison at 2015 Win For KC Triathlon Harrison grew up in Cleveland, Missouri and still lives there with her husband, Todd. They share their 100 acre farm with their pet pig, chickens, turkeys, 4 dogs and a horse. She is an educator and has taught pre-K to adult learners. She attended college at UMKC where she received a BA and MA and continued her education at the University of Kansas with her Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Policy. She works at Johnson County Community College where she is the Director of the Railroad Operations program and also proudly serves as the company coordinator for the Kansas City Corporate Challenge for JCCC where she enjoys participating in as many KCCC events as possible.Terry began running in the 1980s, doing as many 5ks as she could. She first took on the sport of triathlon in the late 1990s when she participated in the Baptist Medical Center Triathlon held in Raintree Lake. Terry has always been active, playing basketball, softball, and golf.
She began taking running seriously again when she was in her 40s and since then, she has participated in over 100 running events including 17  Half marathons and 2 full marathons and over 75 triathlons from sprint to ½ Ironman distances.  She has qualified for USAT Age Group Nationals for 5 years and haMembers of the Reds Triathlon team at Cedar Creek Triathlons placed in triathlon, swimming and running events for the Show-Me and Sunflower games.

“In June, I will be 55 and I know how important it is to keep healthy and active and with 5 grandchildren, I have to make sure I can still catch them,” said Harrison.
She gushes with pride when she talks about her family and is supported by her wonderful Sherpa husband, Todd. Beware, because she will insist on telling you about her amazing family and 5 of the cutest grandchildren the world has ever known.
She also volunteers for Camp WIN and serves on the WIN triathlon committee.  Terry is a proud member of the Reds Triathlon team (coached by the amazing Liz Weidling) and loves traveling with her teammates to races as often as she can.

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Ryan Gardner

Ryan has been a runner all his life.  He overcame the odds of childhood asthma by being one of the few finishers in the Kenyon Wanamingo elementary school 3 mile runs.  This fueled that addictive thought of, “I bet I can do that faster.  By high school, it was varsity track and cross country.  In the Air Force it was half marathons while deployed in Saudi Arabia.  In college it was time to mix things up so Ryan turned to mud runs.  Ryan qualified in the top 5% of finishers in both the Wisconsin 2012 Tough Mudder and again in the Minnesota 2013 Tough Mudder.  Outside of Ryan’s training he enjoys spending time with his wife, new baby girl, and two dogs.  He is also an avid traveler.  Ryan’s main bucket list goal was to make it to 30 countries before turning 30. He accomplished this goal in fall of 2015 at the age of 27. 

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