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2020 Impi Team Blog

Balega is thrilled to introduce our Impi ambassador team for 2020! 

First of all, thank you to everyone who applied! We are humbled by how many applicants we received and loved reading all the heartwarming stories that were shared. 

Each member of the 2020 Impi ambassador team embodies the ‘Impi Warrior’ mentality, honoring the South African fighters and protectors known for operating with the utmost integrity. This year, our team comes from a variety of backgrounds, running experiences and locations, including from 38 U.S. states, 2 from Canada, 25 from South Africa and 17 from the United Kingdom. 



We wanted to introduce you to just a few of our 2020 ambassadors. We’ll be sharing information about many more of our Impi team members throughout the year. We invite you to follow along on their journies using the following hashtags on Instagram: #balegaimpi2020, #impiteam2020, #balegaimpi. 

To start, we are excited to welcome Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) who is the Senior U.S. Senator from Arizona, as well as an avid Ironman triathlete and marathoner. Krysten has competed in a number of international events, including Ironman New Zealand, Ironman Arizona, and the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France. She uses running as an escape from technology and to problem solve. Welcome to the team, Krysten!  

Derek Fitzgerald (@recycledmanspeaks) is a husband, father, motivational speaker, cancer survivor, and heart transplant recipient who is an accomplished marathon runner and first-year Impi ambassador. His mission is to help those who are affected by significant health challenges to improve their quality of life through activity. Derek has competed in full distance Ironman races and is the only cancer survivor and heart transplant recipient to complete a 140.6-mile race and has done it six times! We are very proud and excited to have Derek join our team for 2020.



Brooke Clayton (@runfoco) is a mother of 4 (plus a dog!), and has been running her entire life. Brooke will be running in her 10th marathon in Boston 2020, and finds that the sport offers a great platform to make long-lasting friends. Welcome, Brooke!



South African Balega Impi, Mandy Meyer (@running4meyer), is a favorite South African blogger, marathon runner and celebrated limit pusher. Having lost an inspiring 80+ pounds through a complete lifestyle change, Mandy inspires individuals of any fitness level to take the necessary steps to uplift their lives and become healthier, lighter, happier versions of themselves. Her tone is irreverent, her advice is real, and her Insta feed is a laugh-a-minute.

A police officer, Marine Corps Veteran, father and marathon runner, Dan Pasquale (@run_bike_sink) is a true hero and runs to raise money for the families of fallen first responders. Dan has explored a number of running disciplines and has been using Balega socks for years. Thank you for your service and we’re excited to have you back on the team this year, Dan!



Alexis Reed (@flecksoflex) is the co-creator for DMV Fitness Fam, bringing fitness to a larger community and is currently training for her first triathlon. Alexis lives in the Washington D.C. area and has participated in a number of half marathons (her favorite distance). 

Jamie Brown (@jamiebrowntri) is a para-triathlete training and racing toward the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, and he is the owner of a Cryotherapy lounge in Bend, Oregon. Jamie is looking forward to the Olympics and training for his first full Ironman event. Welcome to the Impi ambassador team, Jamie!  



First-time Impi, Jay Ell Alexander (@officialblackgirlsrun) inspires others to run as the owner of Black Girls RUN!, created in an effort to tackle the obesity epidemic in the African American community. Jay Ell began running nearly 10 years ago and has completed numerous half marathons and plans to enter the Chicago Marathon in 2020. Fellow BGR team member Tiffany Thomas (@Beautifful1908) from Baton Rouge, LA also joins the Impi team this year. Tiffany is a mother to two teenagers and works full time as an Educational Technology Consultant for the Louisiana Department of Education. Since 2014, Tiffany has completed 7 marathons and about 30 half marathons. We so look forward to having you on the team, Jay Ell and Tiffany!



Se7en has joined the South African Impi team for the second year in a row, and it’s easy to see why. She is a homeschool mom of se7en+1 (yes, total 8!) wonderful kids, an eco-warrior and, more recently, a runner. Balega followed Se7en through her first half marathon journey in 2019 and celebrated the family’s 5000th Park Run km on February 1. Together, this sporty, generous and entirely fabulous family dish out #BalegaLove all over Cape Town, and we love being their go-to sock choice.



5th Years Impi Ambassadors 
 
We are also honored to welcome back 14 ambassadors who have been loyal to the Balega Impi team for the past 5 years (since the inception of the Impi team in 2016). 
Amanda LaVergne (@AmandaLeaLaVergne) is a running coach in the NYC area and a resident coach for the Alzheimer Association's NYC Marathon team. When Amanda isn’t in her running gear or a Broadway costume, she can be found sporting her favorite Balega socks and raising money for the Alzheimer's Association. 
Audrey Springer (@runningthealley) is a competitive runner who has run the Boston Marathon, as well as a number of other events. Audrey has been running competitively for 16 years and loves running so much because of the friendships it’s brought her that last a lifetime!
Casey Huggins (@healthyhuggins) is a mother of two, childcare provider and has loved running from an early age. Casey likes to get in touch with her creative side and has recently started woodworking with her father. 
CC Rowe (@sisiroe) is a sign-language interpreter and triathlon coach in the Austin area. CC has been running for over a decade and has recently made the jump into ultramarathons. CC’s challenge for this year: a 69-mile trail race. When she isn’t running all the time, CC enjoys spending time with her dog, Roscoe. 
Chasity Brannon (@chasitybrannon) started running at age 40 and has never stopped, competing in a number of races and distances. Chasity loves running with friends and has competed in a number of races at Disney World in Florida!
Courtney Tucker (@aisforbeautiful) is a middle school science teacher who loves to read, travel and run. Courtney started running to loose weight and has found that the sport has brought her friends, confidence, and strength. 
Edward Eliyah Hamner (@eliyahbomfhamner) is an advocate and substance abuse mentor who volunteers with the Back on My Feet program, combatting homelessness through activities like running. Edward Eliyah has completed six marathons, his favorite was his second Chicago marathon where he was joined by his nephew.   
Heather Hawkins (@mrshawkins03) teaches a group exercise class, is the chapter leader of a women's running group, is a girl scout troop leader, and mother of two. Heather is an experienced runner with nearly 12 years of experience. 
Jen Kane (@peacelovemotherrunner) is a single mother of two boys, a special ed teacher at a middle school and a high school track coach. Her most favorite pair of Balega socks are the Silvers
Kelli Boyer (@run_pretty) is a human resources Director for a biologic consulting firm and experienced marathoner who has completed half marathons in all fifty states and DC. 
Lauren DeMarco (@_liv_fit_) is an experienced marathoner, having completed upwards of 30 half marathons and four full marathons. Laurent is a recent graduate and currently the National Events Intern at USA Triathlon. She recently moved across the country to Colorado for her job and is loving the mountain lifestyle!
Selena Baity (@thefreckledfitgirl) is the founder of Inspiring Women Runner and leads the cause for self-love and fitness. Selena is married and has two fur babies. Selena has secured her dream job of helping others become strong and feel good in their own skin as a Pilates instructor. Her absolute favorite pair of Balega socks are the Silvers!
Tam Premsrirath (@tamarathoner) is a teacher, mentor, and counselor for students in Southern California and has been teaching for over 20 years. When Tam isn’t teaching, she loves spending time with her family and friends and running! Tam has been running for over 17 years and her favorite pair of Balegas are the Hidden Comforts, which she’s been wearing for her entire running career.
Tara Marlowe (@taranic10) is a wife, mother of two, a lover of running and all things fitness. Tara is also an aspiring chef and loves to be outdoors with her family, especially at the beach.