Meet the Elites

Bailey Beery

Favorite shoe: On Cloudrunner

High school: Bellmont High School

College: University of Louisville / BA in Biology

Occupation: Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant

How I started running: When I was in elementary I would run laps around my big country yard to keep in shape for soccer. I started running cross country in middle school, but only because my sister did. Soccer was still my number one sport and I continued to play all through high school. But my high XC school coach, Carl Risch, made sure I was running cross country in the fall. Then in the spring when I said I wanted to play tennis he fairly easily talked me out of it to run track. And I am so happy that he did! I am lucky to have found a love for running.

5,000 - 16:35
10,000 - 34:19
Marathon - 2:38:40

Anna Clayton

Favorite shoe: On Cloudmonster

High School: Concordia Lutheran High school

Occupation: Customer Service Representative at Vera Bradley

How I started running: I started running in 7th grade and right away was at the back of the pack. After already trying every single sport I could in school and not really succeeding at any of them, running was the only one I wasn’t “quite” as bad at. (Didn’t require as much coordination ) I continued running in high school and in fear of falling behind the group, I forced myself to stay up with everyone and very quickly fell in love with the sport.

5,000 - 18:03
10,000 - 37:34
Half Marathon - 1:21:43

Hidi Gaff

Favorite shoe: On Cloudmonster Hyper

High School: Holland High School (Holland, MI)

College: Hillsdale College and IPFW

Occupation: Sales Manager at Three Rivers Running Company

How I started running: I started running my sophomore year of high school after being recruited by the XC coach during my gym class. What began as an outlet for typical teenage emotions grew into my first love. After running competitively in college, I took 12 years off to raise my six children. When my oldest son started running XC in 2012, I decided to lace back up so I could share my love for running with my children.

5,000 - 17:58
10,000 - 37:17
Half Marathon - 1:21:50
Marathon - 2:51:59

Evie Miller

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudeclipse

High School: Homestead High School

College: Trine University and University of Saint Francis

Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant

How I started running: I was first inspired by a newspaper clipping that I found of my Dad running when he was in high school. On one fateful day, my last day of school in 7th grade, I went home sick and I decided to sign up on the sheet in the school office when we went to pick up my school supplies... and the rest is history! I have been very blessed to be a part of all of the programs I have been a part of leading up to now!

800 - 2:10
1500 - 4:27
Mile - 4:45
3,000 - 9:32
3,000 Steeplechase - 10:06
5,000 - 16:26
10,000 - 34:02

Heather Plastow

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudsurfer

High School: Lakeland Christian Academy

College: Grace College

Occupation: Travel RN

How I started running: I ran track on and off growing up, and when college rolled around, I knew I needed more dough. I decided I was going to get good at running and get a scholarship. My brother, dad, and I all started running together in January 2018, and I ran my first Cross Country season with GCXC that fall! Looking back, I feel like God really made my cup overflow in that now I have a sport I’m in love with and friendships that will last a lifetime!

800 - 2:14
1,000 - 3:00
1500 - 4:35
Mile - 5:00
3,000 - 10:25
5,000 - 17:53
8,000 - 29:44

Yvette Rojas

Favorite shoe: On Cloudsurfer

High school: West Noble Junior/Senior High School

College: Indiana Wesleyan University

Occupation: Kindergarten Teacher at West Noble Primary

How I started running: In elementary school, we had a mileage program students could participate in by running a mile during recess. We were rewarded prizes after 50,100, & 150 miles. We were also taken to a local cross country race every fall to compete against other elementary schools!

1500 - 5:16
3,000 - 10:50
5,000 - 17:20
10,000 - 39:12
Half Marathon - 1:26:14

Laura Zenger

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudeclipse

High School: Blackhawk Christian School

College: Purdue University

Occupation: Underwriter at Brotherhood Mutual

How you started running: My mom used to run, and I always wanted to go out running with her when I was a kid.

5,000 - 17:48
Half Marathon - 1:18
Marathon - 2:42

Jack Beakas

Favorite shoe: On Cloudflyer

High School: DeKalb High School

College: Trine University and Notre Dame

Occupation: Water Engineer

How you started running: Everyone in my family is a runner so it was a natural choice!

3,000 - 8:25
5,000 - 14:44
8,000 - 24:20
10,000 - 30:18
Half Marathon - 1:10:29
Marathon - 2:18:18

Aaron Combs

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudboom Echo

High School: Starmount High School in Elkin, NC

College: UNC Wilmington, Queens University

Occupation: Head Coach at Purdue Fort Wayne

How you started running: I started running ironically after I did a sprint test for Football tryouts. After being one of the quickest tryouts, a track coach asked me to tryout from there. Each year after that I went up in distance- started as a 100m sprinter and finished my college career as a NCAA D1 National Qualifier in the 800m.

800 - 1:49.4
Mile - 4:07

Sam Hardy

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudsurfer

High School: North Muskegon High School

College: Taylor University

Occupation: Worship Pastor at First Missionary Church in Fort Wayne

How you started running: I went to a cross country call-out meeting in 7th grade thinking it was for track and field because I wanted to be a jumper... I had very little interest in long-distance running but my family convinced me it'd be good for me to build endurance for other sports. Then I made a great group of friends on the cross-country team and slowly began to fall in love with running.

3k Steeplechase - 9:26
5,000 - 15:41
Half Marathon - 1:10:35
Marathon - 2:30:26

Justin Kowalski

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudboom Echo

High School: Mishawaka High School

College: Tri-State University (Trine)

Occupation: Computer Programmer

How you started running: I started running my paper route when I was 10. I joined the elementary track team at age 11 and had mild success and continued it through high school and college.

5,000 - 15:28
10,000 - 32:17
Half Marathon - 1:09:17
Marathon - 2:24:51
50 Mile - 6:44:53

Derek Miller

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudboom Echo

High School: Westview High School

College: Trine University

Occupation: Civil Engineer

How I started running: I had an uncle that ran, and I watched him race when I was growing up, so I wanted to do it too. I did my first 1 mile fun run as a first grader, and did the race every single year until I was old enough to join the cross country and track team at school. As a fifth grader I was running the mile in PE and the junior high cross country coach happened to be outside setting up for a meet that day and immediately started recruiting me to join the team. I have been running competitively ever since!

5,000m - 14:52
10,000m - 30:35
Half Marathon - 1:08:19
Marathon - 2:21:43

Brendon Moody

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudeclipse

High School: Van Wert High School

College: Heidelberg University

Occupation: Director of Cross Country and Track and Field at the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne.

How I started running: I've been running since 4th grade in some capacity or another. Much like most kids I was not naturally good at "ball sports." After getting cut from my high school baseball team as a freshman, I decided to start running year-round which is led me to where I'm at today.

Robert Murphy

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudsurfer

High School: Warsaw Community High School

College: Vincennes University (2 years), IUPUI

Occupation: Full Time Custodian at Warsaw Community High School

How I started running: I was running laps non-stop around my middle school's outdoor track during/after our 1 mile run in gym class. Someone in my class convinced me I should run track. I then started track and field my eighth-grade year doing mostly hurdles, long jump, and the 200m dash. Come high school, I gave cross country a try my freshman year and ever since then, I've been running every year and still am to this day.

Mile - 4:08
3,000m Steeplechase - 8:44
5,000 - 14:18
Half Marathon - 1:07
Marathon - 2:18:58

James Ngandu

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudboom Echo

College: Tiffin University

5,000 - 13:46
10,000 - 28:45
Half Marathon - 1:01:28
Marathon - 2:10:17

Andy Williams

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudmonster

High School: Northridge High School

College: Manchester College (now Manchester University)

Occupation: Physical Education Teacher and Coach

How you started running: We had a quarter mile track at our elementary school. If we chose to run it during recess, we could keep track of our mileage and move up to new "Mile Clubs". I ran 300 miles total during my 2nd grade year, and 525 miles during 5th grade. My teacher let me put my name and footprints in the new track cement that year. I was hooked. Those footprints are still there today!

Mile - 4:22
5,000 - 15:09
10,000 - 31:50
Half Marathon - 1:08:39
Marathon - 2:17:49

Riley Worl

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudeclipse

High School: Western High School

College: Manchester University

Occupation: Pharmacist

How you started running: I started running when I was a senior in high school when the cross country coach persuaded me to stop playing soccer and join the cross country team. I have continued to get more and more into running ever since.

10,000 - 33:08
Half Marathon -1:11
Marathon: 2:28:16

Jeff Zenger

Favorite Shoe: On Cloudeclipse

High School: Penn High School

College: Ball State University / Purdue Fort Wayne

Occupation: Commercial Real Estate Agent

How you started running: My section leader in HS marching band also ran XC, and inspired me when they said they had gone for a 70 minute run before practice one day. I couldn't believe someone I knew could run that long without stopping! I went for my first run the next day (in skater shoes), and shortly after ran my first 5k. I was hooked!

5,000 - 16:40
Half Marathon - 1:11:15
Marathon - 2:32:52
50k - 3:10:30
50 Mile - 5:37:05
100 Mile - 13:42:19

“It didn’t take me long to figure out that we have a great running community in the area, and 3RRC is the hub. Whether you are getting ready to run a 5K, your first marathon, or just start walking, 3RRC should be your first stop.”

Mike Clendenen


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