Portland Marathon Ambassadors

 Who Are The Portland Marathon Ambassadors?

Running and walking enthusiasts who are selected to represent the Portland Marathon and be a resource to the running & walking community for all things Portland Marathon, Portland Marathon Half and Portland Marathon Weekend of Events!

Please get to know each of them, subscribe to their blogs and like their Facebook pages to stay up to date on all their unique perspectives regarding running in the local community and preparing for the Portland Marathon or Portland Marathon Half. Interested in becoming an ambassador? See the bottom of this page!

HylaHyla Ridenour – Saint Helens, Ore. | 20 Years Running
Follow her journey: Blog, Instagram, Twitter, email

Hyla began running after high school when she could no longer rely on soccer to stay fit. She ran her first ever 5k in 1995. “I was in awe of what I accomplished and felt so much pride,” she said. She was immediately hooked and has been running ever since.

leighLeigh Gardner
Follow her journey: Instagram, Twitter, email, Facebook

I’ve started running Senior year in High school to gain an advantage on the tennis court. It worked. Endurance. Running was in my blood. I have also earned a Black Belt in Shito-Ryu Karate. I’ve run at least nine 1/2’s & 4 marathons.

b5587816fe1a40189f23e19dd4dba133Megan Johnston – Chino, Calif. | 4 Years Running
Follow her journey: Blog, Instagram, Twitter, email

Megan started casually running in 2010 after her 2nd knee surgery. She ran her first half in Georgia in 2012 and has since completed 26 more, 2 full marathons, and countless 5Ks and 10Ks all over the country!

RobertGierekRobert Gierek – Gresham, Ore. | 2 Years Running
Follow his journey: Facebook, email

Robert started running again in December 2013 when he signed up for a New Year’s Eve 5K race. He was quickly approaching 300lbs and used this race as a catalyst to get back to a sport he enjoyed so much: running.

RachaelRachael Penchoen-Lind – Portland, Ore. | 6 Years Running
Follow her journey: Blog, Instagram, email

Rachael ran cross country and track through middle and high school on a nationally ranked team. This is where she first fell in love with running! In college she wanted to expand a bit more so decided to no longer run XC and start doing marathons!

KarolynhKarolynh Tran – Beaverton, Ore. | 7 Years Running
Follow her journey: Blog, Instagram

With an Ultra marathon, several full and half marathons, sprinkles of 15/10/5K’s, and receiving the Most Inspirational Award, running is a huge part of Karolynh’s life! She also hits the trails often while encouraging others to come join the fun!

charlotteCharlotte LaFalce – Vero Beach, Fl. | 4 Years Running
Follow her journey: Facebook, Instagram

Charlotte began running four years ago as a way to heal and grow and become more fit after her divorce. She has slowly and steadily increased distance and improved speed over the years!

Jennifer Ballinger – Portland, Ore. | 6 Years Running
Follow her journey: Facebook

Jennifer believes that every time you lace up your running shoes, the journey of who you are grows. After breaking her foot running the 2013 Portland Marathon, she is nervous yet excited for this years event. She will be dedicating this marathon to Mrs. Nesbitt (cat pictured) who taught her so much about strength and never giving up.

Jessica Bierly – Gaston, Ore. | 3 Years Running
Follow her journey: Blog, Email

Jessica began running after graduating with her bachelors degree, she was searching for something that she could become involved in long term that would allow herself to be healthy. She wanted to work towards a larger goal that showed measurable results from her hard work. She ran her first half marathon in December 2015 and the Portland Marathon this year will be her first full marathon.


 Would you like to become a Portland Marathon ambassador?


  • Featured on our web site Ambassador page: Name, description, photo, and links to Twitter, blog, Facebook, Instagram
  • Featured in Portland Marathon newsletter
  • Discount on Portland Marathon merchandise online & event weekend
  • Get first look at the event medal, finisher shirt, and more!
  • Participate in research by providing feedback on topics, apparel, and more
  • Opportunity for pre-race interviews with the media


  • Represent the Portland Marathon at events through participation
  • Represent the Portland Marathon at select local expos by staffing a booth
  • Lead and guide new and inexperienced runners through their training process on our behalf, motivate and inspire our runners, and share your story!
  • Get Registrations for the Portland Marathon & Half. Share your special referral code with your friends and family, and participate in contests for referrals gained!

Please note: Ambassadors do not receive financial compensation of any kind. This is strictly and purely a volunteer role. The Event does not subsidize travel or training expenses or issue payment of any kind. The Ambassador role is annual from October to October.

If you’re interested in the ambassador program, please email

"Best Race in October" - Runner's World