On July 25th, runners will fill the roads of the Golden Gate Bridge and soak in the majesty and charm of “The City by the Bay” at the annual San Francisco Marathon. Runners will range from the highly experienced – having gone through years of training, while others are novices and have only recently begun training. Despite the fact that each participant carries with them varied levels and years of experience, they all share one thing in common – a passion for running. Here is a look at a few of this year’s Asian American athletes:
Dr. Helen Kao: Running in the Midst of a Million Things
San Francisco resident Dr. Helen Kao manages to juggle teaching geriatrics at U.C. San Francisco, clinical work at a Berkeley community health center, and serving as a board member of the Golden Gate Triathlon Club. In the midst of her busy schedule, Kao still finds time for her ultimate pastime – running.
Kao’s passion for racing first began when she picked up jogging in college. As she improved her distance and speed, Kao became more excited about the sport. Since 2003, Kao has raced every distance – 1 mile, 5K, 10K, half and full marathons, and cross-country races – with several age group top finishes.
However, Kao’s love of running wasn’t an easily accepted by her Chinese parents, who often ask her, “Why do you spend so much time running?” Although her parents can not fully relate, they are content to see that running brings Kao much happiness to her life.
This will be Kao’s fourth time participating in The San Francisco Marathon and she will be running with a friend in the 5K event.
Rosemarie Jeanpierre: Running To Save Her Life
In 2002, Los Angeles resident Rosemarie Jeanpierre experienced the harsh reality of Diabetes Mellitus after her father passed away due to the disease and a critical heart condition. So, at 5-foot-2, 200 pounds, Jeanpierre decided to take her life in her own hands and began to gradually change her diet and exercise routine.
The simple transition turned into diet of low carbohydrates and fats, and turned walks into runs. As Jeanpierre incorporated this new approach to her lifestyle, she began to enjoy this new way of life.
In 2005, Jeanpierre at first was hesitant, but then accepted a suggestion by her nephew-in-law to participate in the L.A. Marathon. Her training consisted of running six miles per day. Today, Rosemarie’s goal is to run 12 marathons in 12 months. She encourages people to “step out of their comfort zones and to do something worthwhile in their lives to release their full potential.”
This year will be Jeanpierre’s eighth appearance in the San Francisco Marathon.
Chanthana Tsai: Running a Forum for all Runners
Chicago native Chanthana Tsai’s passion for running has led her to start her own forum for running-enthusiasts worldwide. Her hit blog, called “Running Notes by Chanthana” on Chicagonista.com is a place where people not only can share their tales on the track, but can also make new friends with a common obsession.
Raised in Los Angeles, Tsai admits that in her young years she never had much of an interest in sports and “never even owned a pair of sneakers except for Gym Class.” It wasn’t until she moved to Chicago while in her late 20’s that she developed a love for running. It was just three years ago that she decided to run in the Chicago Marathon, and ever since then, she has been hooked.
Tsai’s career as a Social Media Marketer allows her to maintain a vigorous training schedule. She used to train with a group named “The Blazin’ Asians,” and from her experiences running with other Asian females, Tsai said that “female runners are incredibly supportive.”
Tsai will travel many miles to the city to participate in the marathon and hopes to qualify for a start corral at the Chicago Marathon.
Come and watch Kao, Jeanpierre, and Tsai run in the San Francisco Marathon on July 25th. The schedule for the day will begin with the full marathon at 5:30 a.m. and will end with the closing of the Main Festival at 1 p.m. En route, spectators can join in the festivities at the first half of the marathon finish line at J.F.K. and 8th Street, where Sila will be perform live, alongside free hot beverages to all. Spectators are encouraged to come out to the Main Finish Festival and Awards Ceremony at Justin Hermana Plaza, where there will be entertainment for the entire family.
For more information, please visit www.thesfmarathon.com.