“As a couple we aren’t each other’s ‘halves’ as we came into this as ‘whole,’ and I love that about us. We will never be perfect nor will our lives. We are independent, but look forward to being together. We have our own personal goals and will help each other reach them. We drive each other crazy (the good kind and the bad), but in the end, I truly love and respect who he is as a person, and that’s how I know he’s my one.” – HOKA fan Heather Rose Scott
“I decided to start running without a wig because it was something that got in the way and definitely made it hotter when I was running. Running without a wig makes me feel confident in my own skin. I have experienced stares and questions about whether or not I have cancer, and it doesn’t bother me. I love to tell people that I’m lucky, and I’m healthy and that the only thing I don’t have is hair,and there’s nothing wrong with that. I got diagnosed with alopecia when I was 14 months old, and about two months later lost all my hair. I struggled with it. I was insecure, but I know that this is something that I have to live with, and that I can get through mostly anything. No matter what life throws at me, I’m always up for a challenge. I run because every time I put my sneakers on I feel this high. I love it because when I’m running, every problem goes away, and every stress of the day disappears, and it is the most amazing feeling. Sometimes you need to get away and escape reality and running does that for me.” – HOKA Fan Daria Castrogivanni
“The mental battle of an ultra will always come at some point of the race, whether it’s 50k, 50 miles, 100k or 100 miles. I don’t know when it will come, but when it does it’s time to vamos!”- HOKA Fan Jerry Garcia crushing it at the Sean O’Brien 50k.
“My daughter, Sorel, has Rett Syndrome, and my friend’s daughter, Haley, has CDKL5. These are rare developmental disorders that affect their ability to walk and talk. They struggle so hard, so I thought I should do this for them. They can’t do it themselves because they’re trapped in these bodies that don’t work the way they should.
Running 50 miles is so easy compared to one day in their life. My body was giving out almost 40 miles into this one. It was so steep and the thing is just so mountainous. There’s no flat areas — it’s either straight up or straight down. I was just going to collapse. I was super dehydrated, my skin was white, my veins were purple. You almost want to fall down, but I’m like ‘I can’t stop.’ A couple times I’d slowly walk and I’d be like ‘no, I have to hammer this.’ You throw up and think you’re dying, but you’re really not. For some reason, I start thinking of them and then I got a call on the phone. I could hear Sorel’s sounds and I just started jamming. I sprinted like a seven-minute mile for the last three miles. They gave me the strength, those girls. I had so many low points in that race, but most of the time I was just crying of happiness. I did that for like half the race because I was just thinking of them and people probably through I was totally crazy. Sorel has made me so strong mentally. When I ran my first half marathon, I thought I was dying. Now I just break through all that stuff. It’s an honor to run for them.” – HOKA fan Chris Kolendrianos on running the Avalon 50 to raise awareness for Rett Syndrome and CDKL5 research in 2016
Chris’ favorite shoe, which he wore during the Avalon 50, is the Clifton 3.
“Mercedes and I work together like peanut butter and jelly. We get each other up every morning and help each other out when we’re down or need a hand. We know each others goals and we would do anything to help each other reach them. Even if it’s a simple slap on the butt or a cup of coffee to get out of the door. Having Mercedes as a training partner is really fun because we both have many things in common, and of course some differences. We both get to be silly with each other and joke around a lot. But when training does get serious she helps me by shouting out swim and run splits and hold a donut at the finish of a long day of biking. It is also inspiring and motivating to watch your significant other grow as a better athlete and person.” – HOKA Fan Dan Gampon