Leadership Bios

 
 
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Jimmy Kowalski
Club President

Hello I’m Jimmy K. I am so honored to serve as your President of Busse Woods Running Club. At the insistence of my amazing wife Amanda, I started running on New Years Day 2012 in an attempt to replace a 2 pack per day cigarette habit. Initially I hated running but firing up another smoke was not an option.

I overcame that hatred in less than 30 days. Since then I have completed 8 marathons but could not have done so without the amazing group of people I met along the way. It’s the power of the group that inspires me to make sure others benefit from that same experience. The selfless acts of those involved in the Busse Woods Running Club make it an organization like no other.

Thank you for allowing me the privilege to share in your journey. My hope is that BWRC has a positive impact on you.


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CHRISTINE MOSS
Officer- Club Treasurer

My name is Christine Moss and I am honored to be the Treasurer of BWRC. My running journey started roughly 5 years ago, although my running has become more serious within the past 2 years. I have run dozens of 5K’s, a few 8K’s, a couple half marathons (with more on the way), and will be training for my first full marathon (Chicago) starting June 2018. Running changed my life – it not only makes me feel good, it has led to some of the most meaningful and long-lasting friendships I have ever had. BWRC means so much to me for many reasons, but mostly it has meant support, motivation, friendliness and warmth, acceptance and fun. It is more than just a run club. I am so thankful I found this group. Every single member contributes to making BWRC a whole. Everyone has come to BWRC on their own path, with individual stories and journeys. Each person has inspired me in their own way, and they may not even know it. I hope more people come to check us out, you will be glad you did!


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JudiT Miko
Officer- Club Secretary

Hi my name is Judit Miko and my running nickname is Jedi. I have been running almost 20 years. I started running later life and after a slow start I became hooked. When I started training for my first marathon, my friend insisted that join a running club to help me with my training. I discovered how much easier it was to get through a long run when you have someone to share the pain and talk with to pass the time. I learned how wonderful it was to be part of a running community. There was always someone who convinced me that running 15 miles in the pouring rain, horrid heat or freezing cold and snow was something that we could and should do and even enjoy. There was always someone to talk me into signing up for and going to a race or event. After 16 Marathons, a 50K and various types of relays and crazy trail runs I have learned never to say I will never do anything that crazy again. There is something about listening to talk about a race or event that serves as motivation to step out a little and try something new or run just a bit faster.

I am excited to be part of BWRC because of the excitement and love for running that every member brings to the group. This group embraces all from beginning runners to the seasoned speed demons. Through the years I have been involved with several running groups in the area and hope to use my experience with those groups to make BWRC the best and most fun club.


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JOHN WALL
Board Member - Director of Training & Development

In March, 2018, I became a certified running coach through the RRCA.  I’m always glad to help others and offer tips from all I’ve learned along the way.

I still think of myself as a ‘newbie’ to running.  As a kid, I was active and played sports in the streets of my neighborhood but not as part of formal teams.  Fast forward to my mid-40’s and the realization that my level of fitness was, shall I say, very low.  I signed up for some bootcamp fitness classes and began to feel better – physically and mentally.  A good friend and colleague of mine is an avid runner and triathlete and encouraged me to try running.  I remember one day when he said, “Let’s just run a mile”.  I said, “A mile?  Do you mean all at once?”  He coached me through a 5k training program and my love for the sport had begun.  Besides being something I enjoyed, running became a time to spend with my children.  I ran my very first 5k with my daughter, Jessica, in November, 2009.  I repeated that race the next year with her and my son Chris joining in.  After many hours of training and a few more races, I was truly hooked.  With this humble start, there has been a slew of 5k, 10k, 8-mile, 10-mile, Half Marathon and Marathon races, in addition to long distance team  relays.  I’ve even Hustled up the Hancock a few times.  In April, 2017, I qualified for the Boston Marathon – what a day!  Unfortunately, although I met the qualifying time, the 2018 cut-off time was the deepest ever, so I missed out by a mere 1:26.  I’m still committed to earn an entry into the Boston Marathon though!

Running has not only become a passion that keeps me motivated and healthy, but forms the avenue to social groups with fabulous people who share some of the same passions.  Running can be as competitive as you choose to make it for yourself.  This is one sport where nobody taunts you. Nobody bad-mouths others.  There’s no ‘booing’….ever.  In a race, nobody wants to see you fail; spectators and fellow runners want to see every single runner succeed.  I can’t think of many other sports (or other activities, for that matter) that work this way.

The BWRC was born from the passion, dedication and selfless giving to others in support of the mental, physical and social aspects of fellow runners.  It’s a privilege to help shape and contribute towards the club’s objectives of giving back to our running family and serving our local communities.


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TIM McDonald
Board Member - Fundraising Director

For me BWRC is like a big family with a running problem, and I’m so glad to be part of it. I’ve been running since 2010 and have completed 8 marathons. But the fun part of BWRC for me is training with friends, helping new runners accomplish their goals and thinking up new ways to keep our fundraising events fun and fresh. It's all about the journey.


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KATHERINE WUESTENFELD
Board Member - Director of Marketing and Social Media

My name is Katherine Wuestenfeld and it is my privilege to be serving as BWRC’s Director of Marketing & Social Media. I have been a runner for over 10 years, running 6 full marathons and 11 half marathons to date and am currently training to run my first Boston Marathon in 2019!

I run because I enjoy the challenge, the way it makes me feel (endorphins!), and for enjoyment. Running has led to many personal accomplishments for me, but more importantly it has led to the creation of lifelong friendships, which is why BWRC means so much to me. Each of these amazing people will inspire you, motivate you, and be as invested in your running goals as you are yourself.

I hope everyone has the opportunity to experience BWRC and I look forward to seeing each of you out on the run!


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Adre Smith
Board Member- Director of Membership

My name is André M. Smith and it is my great honor to serve on the Busse Woods Running Club Board of Directors. A part of me thinks I have been running my whole life with just a few stops here and there. I actually struggled quite a bit with my speed but always kept at it. In 6th grade, I was in second to last place in every single race running the 800 meter “buffalo run”. For those that are unaware, that is the run that you do if you were not top 2-3 in any other events. By the final race of the year, I told myself, I know I can do better than this! So in the last race, I passed up one runner, then another, and then another, until I crossed that line. The goal was not to beat anybody but myself and that is what I did. The realization that day is the same realization that should come to every one of us; limitlessness. It is this feeling that I wish to transcend upon others and the very reason I became a pacer and believe so much in the community of Busse Woods Running Club. As you take that first step in every run you do, remember: you inspire those in front of you to work harder, those next to you to stay with you, those behind you to catch you, and those that have yet to take that first step to join you.


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Amanda Kowalski
Board Member- Director of Merchandising

My name is Amanda Kowalski and I’m extremely proud and honored to serve as the co-Chair for BWRC.  My running journey began in 2009.  My sister, a multi-marathoner inspired me to take up running in an effort to lose some weight for my wedding.  It did just that but also grew into a passion for something that challenged me to become a better version of myself.

Before long I was running in local races before the marathon bug hit me in 2013.  I watched my sister do it and decided I would give a go at it with my husband Jimmy who had just taken up running himself. My mom was battling cancer so we ran to raise money for the American Cancer Society. As part of that we were given free training through the Chicago Area Runners Association(CARA).

It was through CARA that we were introduced to group running.  We immediately became “fast friends”(no pun intended) with some of the most amazing people. The inspiration and encouragement among the groups were contagious. After running alone for so long, the power of the group inspired us to make group running not for just marathon training but an all year round tradition.

BWRC is a group that welcomes any type of runner. Whether you’re new to running or an avid marathoner we hope to see you out on the run!


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ANN ALEGNANI
Board Member - Director of Events

I am Ann Alegnani, your Director of Fun (aka Events) I truly love running, but let’s face it, we need motivation (at least I do) to get to a run and to keep us going during the run. If it weren’t for the fun I have with the wonderful people at BWRC I would not be running…the crazy is contagious! My journey of running began in 2009 when a group from work decided to do Hustle Up the Hancock. That experience was the beginning of the end, I signed up for my first 5k, then I tried out some 10ks, the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in 2010 was going to be my “marathon”, but then I signed up for Chicago in 2011. I went from being a non runner to loving the marathon in two short years. Running and the people of BWRC have truly changed my life. If there is any activity or outing that you would like BWRC to incorporate, please let me know!


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Erika Heller
Head Coach- Couch to 5k

My name is Erika Heller and I'm so excited to serve as Coach and Coordinator for the Couch to 5K Program. I started running while I was in college as a way to relieve stress, and I had no idea back then that I'd be able to one day complete a marathon! BWRC is a strong community that will show you how to make and reach any goal, while having a ton of fun along the way. I'm looking forward to helping people start up or pick up their running journeys. We will have a blast!


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LAUREN LOPEZ
Membership Coordinator

My name is Lauren Lopez and I am proud to say I am one of BWRC’s membership coordinators. It is in my nature to make people feel happy, warm, and welcomed! The minute I began running with BWRC, I felt as though I was a part of a family. Everybody was so kind, caring, and helpful. I would like others to experience the same type of incredible memories that I continue to make each day through BWRC! I’ve never been stronger and I owe it all to my running family. My favorite time of year is summer marathon training! We have more fun than you could ever imagine. Welcome to our group! We are happy to have you.


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ALYSE SIMPSON
Merchandising Coordinator

Hello, Busse Woods Running Club! I am happy to bring my merchandising experience to BWRC as our Merchandising Coordinator. Amanda and I are working hard to bring you a BWRC online store full of exciting Club swag.


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TIM O’CONNELL
Information Technology Manager

I am honored to be a member of the Busse Woods Running Club and to have the opportunity to manage the club's digital presence. I initially joined the running world as a method of cross-training during the cycling season. I ran my first ever 10k in the spring of 2018, and despite having a relatively decent fitness baseline, the race was torture. As the year went on, I continued to support my fianceé, Caitlin, on a handful of runs while she trained for the 2018 Chicago Marathon. I felt so inspired after seeing all that she was able to accomplish during her training, at her lead-up events, and even more so, at the Chicago Marathon. Shortly after, we both registered for the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon, and we trained together with the support of BWRC. My goal wasn't to break any records. All I wanted to do was finish the race. Every Saturday long-run was the longest of my running career, and it was incredible to have the support of BWRC along the way. Each training run felt like an accomplishment, but nothing compared to crossing the finish line with Caitlin by my side. For 2019, Caitlin and I will not only get married, but we will also support the Ronald McDonald House Charities at the Chicago Marathon.