Here are our RAS Ambassadors for 2023:
Julainne Mills – RAS Ambassador Coordinator
My love for running started over 20 years ago while stationed in Mississippi with the Air Force. The local running club gave me a great support network and made it so much fun. I ran my first marathon in Huntsville, AL, and was hooked after that. I reached out to my father about joining me for some races and over the next two decades met up with him for father/daughter weekends to run 5k and half marathons. In total we’ve participated in over two dozen races together and I’ve run another 70+ races from 5k to full marathons since 2000. I have recently added swimming and biking to my regimen and participated in my first Olympic distance triathlon last year where I finished third in my age group. I find that running is not only a beneficial physical activity, but also allows me to clear my head and find moments of peace in hectic times. Running is a joy for me and I love to share it with my friends and acquaintances. I am excited to be a 2023 RAS Ambassador and sharing what these great races have to offer. Run Happy!
Hi! My name is Melissa Bittick. I’m a married to my high school sweetheart and we have an 8 year old son and 10 year old daughter together. I teach spin classes and train at Lifetime Baybrook. I started running when my daughter was two. I couldn’t run for more then 2-3 minutes at a time, but gradually worked my way up to being able to run a 5K. From then, I was hooked! I worked towards being able to run a 10k, then took a couple year break while I had my son, then picked it back up in 2016. By 2017, I had found several run groups and learned how to follow training plans. I went from a casual runner to enjoying trying to run personal bests and take on new distances. I set the goal to run my first marathon and BQ, and in January 2018- I did it! Since then I’ve run 13 marathons and 35+ half marathons. I have a new goal to run either a half marathon or full marathon race in every state over the next 10-20 years. However, some of my very favorite races are the Running Alliance Sport races! I’ve done the Seabrook Lucky Trails, 5K series and Bridge Series and they are all so much fun! The race directors do an amazing job with each of these races and I am so thankful to be apart of the ambassador program this year to share more about them. Our local running community is the best! The way that everyone encourages, motivates and inspires each other truly is special and I’m so excited to continue to be apart of it.
Thank you for accepting me as RAS Ambassador. My name is Hiroshi Hamada. I’m a middle of pack runner. Not so fast but not slow either. Live in northwest side of Houston and RAS races are pretty much southwest side of town. I want to spread the word about how great RAS races are especially the Bridge Series!
I’m John Nguyen. I started running in 2009 to get in better shape. My first race was the Seabrook Lucky Trails Half in 2010. I have learned so much from running and have met so many great people along the way. I will be pacing at least 4 events this year. I currently run with the Urban Locos Runners. We are just a group of friends that love to spread positivity in our running community.
My name is Jorge Rey. I am a hybrid athlete with a core discipline for anything difficult and training the mind over everything else. Started running in late 2020 and quickly ramped up my mileage to become an Ultra runner. I’ve competed at the marathon, 50k and 50 mile distance with obtaining top 10 in all 3 of these distances and first in my age group. I love helping other and inspiring people to do whatever it takes to get the job done! I coach clients in the fitness industry to become their best version of themselves through my company called Final Flash Fitness. I also train those new or experienced in running to PR in their next race. My last race was Rocky 50 miler in where I placed 8th overall, 7th in men’s and 1st in my age group. With an overall time of 8:52:19.
In summary; my passion and joy is seeing people become free of depression and anxiety by mastering their mind by taking control of their fitness and wellness.
Hi there! My name is Kristen Rhodes, and I am thrilled to be chosen as an ambassador for Running Alliance Sport.
My running story is a bit unconventional. I’ve always enjoyed running on and off throughout my life, but I never consistently stuck with it. Three years ago, I decided to challenge myself by participating in the Texas Bridge Series that started with the Toughest 10k over the Kemah bridge. And let me tell you, it was tough! Before that race, I had never ran more than a 5k. But crossing that finish line was an incredible feeling, and I knew I wanted to continue pushing myself.
Since then, I have participated in numerous races and developed a passion for running that I never thought was possible. This year, I ran my 3rd half marathon and it was an amazing experience. I am signed up again for the Texas Bridge Series (my personal favorite of them all), which I am more than excited about!
As a wife and mother of 5, it is vital for me to stay healthy and active. The races that RAS puts on are well organized. It’s incredible to know that the proceeds they receive go to a good cause as well. I am thrilled to promote this company’s motto: “By Runners, For Runners” because that’s exactly what it is. Looking forward to getting out there to run & attend events throughout 2023 with the RAS community!
My competitive running journey began in 2019 when I ran Seabrook lucky trails half with my cousin Kevin. I really enjoyed the environment and began to enter more races. The pandemic provided a unique opportunity to maximize training volume. It was during this time I realized my main talent was endurance. I completed my first ultramarathon at Bandera in January 2020 at the age of 38. I have since completed 9 ultramarathons with 1 DNF in Oregon last year. I joined TeamNoLimits in Galveston Texas in 2022. I continue to explore my potential and train hard on a weekly basis. My goals for 2023 are consistency and inspiration of others.
Hi, my name is Alvaro Trejo, and I am 43 years old. I am a co-owner of A & Z Diesel Repair and Rental. As a child, I did not have an athletic role model, so I became unhealthy and obese. Working as a mechanic only exacerbated this problem, and soon I began having issues with my health. Finally, my doctor explained that I needed to change drastically to live past forty. The news from my doctor was the wake-up call I needed.
I began walking and started to see the difference in my weight. Initially, I couldn’t walk or run a quarter of a mile without running out of breath, but my confidence and endurance grew with persistence. Running has dramatically changed my life in so many positive ways. Seven years ago, I met my wife at a race, and I still consider it the day I became a real winner. Together she has cheered me on through six marathons, a fifty-mile ultra-marathon, and many other races. I am humbled and honored to be an ambassador for RAS. I love to promote a healthy and active lifestyle to my family, friends, and everyone I meet. Running is a big part of my life, and I encourage everyone to take the leap and start. It was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself and my family. Happy running trails, everyone!
Hello, my name is Lusi Trejo. I am a retired emergency dispatcher who now helps to run A & Z Diesel Repair and Rentals alongside my husband. I have three wonderful children. Two of them are out in the world working in their chosen professions. My youngest is with me full-time because she was diagnosed with a rare form of Parkinson’s disorder at eight. I began running in 2010 as a way to help me decompress from the stress related to my daughter’s disability.
I quickly began to realize I enjoyed the way running made me feel. It gave me a sense of freedom and made me a stronger person. Running also saw me through a difficult divorce and later introduced me to love again. I met my husband at a race seven years ago. We started as running buddies, and that blossomed into my happily ever after. When the pandemic began and the world shut down, we decided to take a break and focus on each other. Last year we started running again and have even encouraged our families to join us.
Alvaro, my husband, has started to get his speed back, and I’m trying to keep up as best I can. I tell myself that a mile is a mile, no matter how fast or slow. The important thing is to keep striving to improve if only a little bit at a time. I am thrilled and excited to be selected as an ambassador for RAS. I love all the events they plan yearly and am eager to be a part of this wonderful organization. All the events are so much fun, and the best part is I know my registration money is going toward a good cause. I hope to see everyone out on the running trails.