Meet The Staff
I Run 4 Michael is staffed solely by volunteers working hard to match runners and buddies, ensure positive buddy relations, and keep our growing organization moving forward! You may click any staff member’s photo to be taken to their Facebook pages.
Curious who’s behind the curtain?
TIM BOYLE | contact
President & Founder, Board Member
In 2013, I gave up a two-pack-a-day smoking habit. In the month that followed, I replaced the nicotine with food and started gaining weight rapidly. So I decided to change. I took the money I would have spent on cigarettes over the course of a month and spent it on running gear. I started logging 15-20 miles a week but it didn’t take long before my motivation ran dry. I searched for motivational sayings and found one that said “I run because I can and when I get tired I remember those who can’t run and I run harder for them.”
I posted this on Facebook and my friend Michael, a 52-year-old man with Down syndrome confined to a wheelchair commented on it saying, “you can run for me anytime!” With that simple comment, I Run 4 (IR4) was born!
AMY COURTS-KOOPMAN | contact
Vice President, Director of Fundraising & Vendors, Marketing & PR, Board Member
Hey! I’m Amy. I’m a 30-something wife, mom, singer-songwriter, and friend of Jesus and people, who runs 5ks, 10ks, half-, full-, and ultra-marathons for a sweet little boy named Kannon. I’ve been running for a good long while, but it took on a whole new meaning and purpose when it became about Kannon and his amazing family, instead of just me. I joined up with IR4 at the very beginning (I was the third person matched) when Tim invited me to run for a boy with Down Syndrome. Of course I said, “YES!” having no idea what I was getting myself into. It wasn’t too long before we realized our little running club was growing, FAST. He asked me to be the Vice President, and the ride we’ve been on since January 2013 has been wild and crazy and incredible. I’m so honored to run for Kannon, and to represent this amazing, one-of-a-kind organization. As the organization’s “catch all,” I’m the one to ask if you have any questions not already answered or addressed by our FAQs or other staff!
MELANIE DITTRICK | contact
Executive Director, IR4 Siblings: The Unsung Heroes
I’m Melanie Dittrick, and the lone Canadian on the team! I started running in 2007 after getting a new lease on life. Brain surgery for epilepsy motivated me to quit smoking, which led me to running as a way to lose the weight that came with that! I got hooked on cycling and swimming, too, realizing that they all represented the freedom and independence I’d once lost. Being fortunate enough to run for someone else going through a challenge of their own, IR4 is like 2 worlds collided for me!
I joined last October and was matched with my buddy Jordan, in January. He’s a sweet 9 year old boy with autism, and a smile that lights up a room! I responded to a call-out for volunteers shortly after being matched and was happy to help behind the scenes with the matcher pages. Most recently, I was excited to help launch, and become the Executive Director of IR4 Siblings where we honor, encourage and shine the spotlight on the Unsung Heroes. I’m blessed beyond words to have this powerfully positive force in my life!
YVONNE JONES | contact
Executive Director, Kerri On: I Run 4 Remembrance
My name is Yvonne and I live in Grand Forks, ND. I am the Executive Director of I Run For Remembrance. I match up athletes with families who have had a child or other family member leave this earth too soon.
I got involved with IR4 when my son Nick passed away in 2013 from a terminal brain disorder, just 2 months shy of his 5th birthday. After my son passed away, I was worried that people would forget about Nick after a few months. Tim approached me one day about the idea of starting the remembrance group to help keep not only Nick’s memory alive, but all the other families like us out there. Of course I said “yes.” To date, the remembrance group has just over 900 members!
CAROL DUBLIN | contact
Connection Coordinator, Board Member
I am Carol Dublin and I Run 4 Bennett! We were match #23, and not long afterward I was privileged to become the IR4 Connection Coordinator (more commonly known as the “Matchmaker”). Originally from Alabama, I currently live in Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville and work at a local nonprofit called GraceWorks Ministries.
LESLEY LARSON | contact
Runner-Buddy Relations Coordinator, Board Member
Hi, I’m Lesley! Here at IR4, I handle any sort of issue or complaint regarding the relationship between runners and their buddies or their buddy’s parent. I mediate and work to resolve problems between them, improve communication, and help people get rematched if things are not working out.
I got involved in IR4 by Amy Courts introducing it to me. I saw Amy posting about how she ran for someone on Facebook and was curious but intimidated. But when I was contacted by Tim and matched up one evening, I quickly saw that it wasn’t anything to be intimidated about and I jumped in with both feet. I LOVED the idea of running for someone and dedicating my miles to them. Running can sometimes be a selfish sport and IR4 provides a way for it to involve and encourage someone besides ourselves.
I have the best buddy in the world and his mom is amazing too. Our family is kind of a team for their family. We really hope to meet them someday.
I also feel incredibly privileged to not only be involved with IR4 as a runner but as an admin. I love seeing the ins and outs of how the group works and to have an opportunity to help things run more smoothly. We have a great team of people on the board of directors and on the admin team. We all share the same passion to see people be encouraged and lifted up through this group and we work hard to help everyone have a good experience. I’m so thankful to be a part of something so inspiring!
KATE HALLORAN COX | contact
Virtual Race Coordinator
Hey, I’m Kate! I’m from Illinois and am a mommy to 3 littles who keep life quite entertaining! About 3 years ago, I found a sanctuary for myself in running. I found that me, my shoes, and the road could discover a lot in a hour.
In my professional life, I’m a Speech Language Pathologist, where a large part of my heart and passion is working with the special needs population. I have been SLP at Northeast Elementary for 8 years. During that time Northeast has become a nationally recognized Health and Wellness School. In 2014,I took on the role of Chair of the schools Health and Wellness Team. Through that role, we have worked hard to spread our mission of healthy living into our community by annually hosting the Colorburst5k fun run and last fall building a Fitness Park at the school.
I’ve been a proud runner in Irun4 for two years, running lots of my miles for my coaches and buddies, MY FOWLER 4! Being their runner has changed me and my running. They’ve become my family, my cheerleaders, my motivation, and are my heart when I need some extra. When Tim approached me about becoming part of the IRun4 Team, I didn’t hesitate to say YES! I’m thrilled to be helping to coordinate the Irun4 Virtual Races! This group, my buddies, and the whole organization inspires me beyond belief daily, I’m very thankful to be a part of this AMAZING team!
JENNA LAUBER | contact
Volunteer Administrator, I Run 4: Wounded Veterans Director
I’m Jenna! I moved from Indiana to relocate to Rhode Island 2 years ago, becoming a New Englander, even adding “wicked” to my vocabulary. I’m the mother of a 4 year old son and works as an IT Analyst full time. I can often be found with yarn and needles, knitting up quick hats for the homeless. I enjoy walking the dogs, kickboxing and running for Noah. I joined the I Run 4 volunteer team in August of 2014 after being introduced to the organization by friends. If you have questions regarding virtual races, the wait list, or any other general questions on the I Run for Michael page, feel free to send me an email or message!
ADDITIONAL IR4 BOARD MEMBERS: