Meet Our Ambassadors and Founder

 

jump

IJ9A8032Meet Chief Tour Ambassador Caroline Cook. She’s a running enthusiast, cheerleader for all things Grand Rapids, & history nut. An “idea” person, downtown dweller Caroline launched Grand Rapids Running Tours in 2014 as a dream come true. She LOVES meeting new people & showing off “her” city. You may also see her coaching for run specialty store, Gazelle Sports, or in the stands at MSU sporting events. Whether she’s leading or researching a tour, Caroline feels right at home and can’t think of a more delicious way to spend time.

 

IJ9A0217Meet Tour Ambassador Rudy Malmquist. As Chief Instigator at MindUtopia, a web development shop in GR, Rudy is an incredibly talented & creative guy. He trained for his first 5K in 2003, and since then raced all distances, including over one dozen marathons & countless triathlons. A graduate of local Union High School – he knows & loves GR. He’s a funny, funny guy with a mischievous sense of humor. Rudy’s favorite duty for Grand Rapids Running Tours is photographing the GR bridge-jumping ambassadors.

 

IJ9A8002
Meet Tour Ambassador Amy Kornoelje. She’s a well-rounded athlete who added running 10+ yrs. ago while training for a triathlon. She has since run multiple triathlons, nearly 20 marathons, oodles of 5K’s and every distance in between. A Calvin College educated accountant, she currently counts miles for her running son and daughter as they compete on the XC fields and tracks. Married to a sports physician, she knows a few things about staying healthy and mobile. You can find her either exercising, with family, or reading a book…averaging one novel per week.

 

IJ9A7989
Meet Tour Ambassador Dave Minier. As a life-long resident of greater Grand Rapids and a 20+ years running veteran, this guy knows Grand Rapids like the back of his hand. His favorite race distances are the 1/2 marathon & 50 mile ultra marathon. Dave LOVES running along the Grand River & stopping to enjoy the Fish Ladder. His favorite GRRT route is the Lapping the Landmarks 5K. Dave is Mr. Hospitality and will go out of his way to insure a pleasant experience for all runners.

 

IJ9A8020Meet Tour Ambassador Laurie Sienkowski. Devoted wife & busy mom to 4 active kids, Laurie is also a professional illustrator. She ran track in high school but admits that she really didn’t hit her personal best stride until she matured into a masters runner. Now you have to chase her. But being fast is not her only goal; staying active & healthy is her focus. Laurie enjoys discovering the changing landscape of Grand Rapids’ neighborhoods, as well as visiting its works of art.

 

IJ9A7999
Meet Tour Ambassador Linnae Satterlee. West Michigan’s very own “Running Fashionista”…she has equal love for jewelry, clothing, and physical fitness. Linnae has lived in Grand Rapids all of her life & raised 4 children with her husband. She has run long distance since circa 2010 – and always has a marathon on the horizon. Her favorite GRRT tour is the Young President Ford 10K for the incredibly interesting history. She says, “Wow, I am so proud that our city was home to a President!”

 

IJ9A7984Meet Tour Ambassador Gary Kowalczyk, AKA the inventor of the original LED Light Vest. He is crazy engineer-type smart, & also wins the prize for crystal clear ancestry; his great grandparents immigrated to the west side of Grand Rapids from Poland in 1910’ish. Running since 8th grade, he lettered at XC at Ferris State University, & has run all but 3 of the Fifth Third Riverbank Run 25K’s since 1978. Gary particularly enjoys running the routes with big groups and keeping the flock together.

 

IJ9A8029
Meet Tour Ambassador Laura Howell. This running goddess figures that she has run in miles the equivalent of the circumference of the globe…training for 35+ marathons, ultra marathons & countless other events, including an Ironman Triathlon. Of late, she prefers “adventure” running so that she can experience unique places like Pike’s Peak and the Grand Canyon.  She says that’s why she loves the adventures she leads for Grand Rapids Running Tours.  Only these jaunts are in her backyard. She grew up showing Arabian horses all over the US and still is a horse girl at heart. But, above all, she loves learning and healthy living.