Meet our 2020 Winter Trail Fest Race Ambassadors

As we welcome 2020 with open arms, we’re also hailing in a leap year. What do you plan to do with your extra day?

Our four Winter Trail Fest Half Marathon & 5 Mile ambassadors know what they’ll be doing February 29. It will be a day of Michigan trail racing, custom race hoodies, finishers medals, WTF bumper stickers, and hot cocoa at the finish line.

Some people might scratch their heads and ask, “Winter Trail Fest are you thinking, signing up for a trail race with a creek crossing in the middle of Michigan winter?”

We’re saying, bring on the adventure. And to all our friends down south, there’s a North Carolina version of this race as wellLet’s give a warm welcome to our 2020 Winter Trail Fest ambassadors:

Erika Kuhnle

  • Location: Grand Rapids, MI
  • WTF Race Distance: Half marathon

Race ambassador Erika Kuhnle crossing the finish line Erika Kuhnle snowshoeing in the mountains

Erika and her friend Bob Blaszak have led training runs on the Winter Trail Fest course. She’s also volunteered at this race in the past, and this will be her first year running in it!

“Volunteering at our local races is very important to me,” Erika says, “and I make it a family event to foster those values in our two children. My mom helps out too, and each different role we’ve worked reinforces how important giving back is.”

Erika has competed in everything from ultramarathons to Ironman triathlons to snowshoe races. She is a board member of the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance and Switchback Endurance. Erika and Bob also host Saturday morning runs for the West Michigan Trail runners.

“I love getting people together,” Erika says. “We have to train for the events we sign up for, so why not make it fun and get it done as a group?”

Staci Stahly

  • Location: Topeka, IN
  • Race Distance: Half marathon

Race ambassador Staci Stahly at a trail race Staci Stahly running

Staci is a varsity high school girls’ cross country coach and a race director. This mother of three has been a runner her whole life, but started shifting her runs to the trails three years ago.

“When I am not running, I enjoy drinking mass quantities of coffee and attending my kids’ extracurricular activities,” Staci says. It’s one of her top priorities to show her kids you can have tons of fun doing things locally.

Scott Struck

  • Location: Battle Creek, MI
  • Event: Half marathon

Race ambassador Scott Struck at the top of Mt. Sherman

Last year, Scott’s adventures included: running rim to rim at the Grand Canyon, completing two 100 mile races, summiting four 14,000+ ft mountains in Colorado, and setting a world record with friends for running at the most National Parks in 24 hours.

Some people would call that a lifetime bucket list. Scott calls it 2019. We love that he embraces new experiences!

Scott is also a licensed psychologist and RRCA Level 1 Certified Coach. “I firmly believe that running is a great way to improve your mental health,” Scott says, “and that almost everybody can engage in this sport at some level.”

Ashley Truan

  • Location: Kentwood, MI
  • Event: Half marathon

Race ambassador Ashley Truan in the mountains Ashley Truan finishing a race on the track

Ashley is another adventurous spirit. She’ll run anything from 5k to 100 miles, and the 100 mile distance is her favorite.

She loves running on trails most of all, so February’s trail half marathon is right up her alley!

Ashley started running 10 years ago, and never dreamed it would become such a staple in her life. “It’s my fun, my therapy, my meditation, my social life, my connection to community, and overall just makes my life better,” she says.

Want to join Erika, Staci, Scott, and Ashley at this year’s Winter Trail Fest Half Marathon & 5 Mile? Click here to learn more about this annual Michigan winter running event.

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