In my third year of coaching I met a beautiful woman who would later become my wife. We spent some time in a long distance relationship when I moved to Phoenix, AZ for work, and I moved back to Southern California shortly after we got engaged in April of 2012. When we got married in July of 2013 Ken was my best man and Andy was one of my groomsmen.
Our family grew in October of 2014 with the addition of our first daughter. She is so full of life and energy, and already has her first pair of running shoes. She is so interested in the world around her, and it is a blessing to watch her learn and grow. When she grows up a little more we are looking forward to having her cruise around in one of the Nation Run baby joggers.
My exercise routine has certainly changed since running across the country. Over the last few years I have gone through some periods of running pretty regularly, to other times when running has not been a part of my life at all. While coaching, I enjoyed sprinting and lifting workouts, and I even tried (briefly and unsuccessfully) some of the field events. Currently most of my physical activity comes from hiking or going on long walks with my wife and baby girl, or working out at the local gym.
I am currently the Program Manager of the Doctor of Nursing Practice and Health Systems Leadership programs at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA. I support students directly by presenting workshops on scholarly writing, and offering one-on-one support for students completing their dissertations. I also support our faculty directly and oversee a number of administrative processes through the college. In March of this year, I was accepted into the University of Southern California's Doctor of Education degree program.
A lot has changed over the last few years but a lot of the themes are still there. I no longer log 25 miles a day, but I still use hard work to get to where I want to go. I no longer work in athletics, but I am still working with students to help them get the most out of themselves and their college experience. One thing that has not changed is that I still have two of the best and most supportive friends a guy could ask for.
Where is Matt Now?
Since completing our 2008 crossing I have settled down on the west coast. I spent three years after Nation Run as a Cross Country and Track & Field coach at the University of Redlands in Redlands, CA. While I was coaching I was also pursuing my M.A. in Higher Education. This was an excellent opportunity for me to work with some incredible young people and learn from some brilliant mentors.
Name: Ken Stannard
Resides: Malden, Massachusetts
Married: Kristen Milano (2015)
Pets: Marcy (Cat)
Employer: Boston Public Schools
College: Lesley University (2016)
B. A. In Education
Name: Matthew Durkin
Resides: Colton, California
Married: Rachel Durkin (2013)
Children: Lillian Rose (2014), Olivia (2017)
Employer: Western University of Health Sciences
College: SUNY Oneonta (2007)
Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications
University of Redlands (2011)
Masters of Arts in Higher Education
How's Andy doin'?
The last 11 years of my life have been exciting and unforgettable! I've grown both as a person and as a friend and accomplished a few of my life goals along the way. In 2010, I married the love of my life, Kaitlyn, in her hometown of Wolfeboro, NH. We just celebrated our 8-year anniversary this June and I can honestly say they have been eight of the best years of my life.
We were blessed with our first child in January 2014. Bailey Liza is one of the most curious and smartest five year old's I know. She always has to know why something works the way it is. I call her my little genius. It has been an amazing few years watching her grow and become a little lady. I feel so blessed to have her in my life and can't wait for her to start running alongside me someday. Our second child, Padley Marie, was born in October of 2015. I am now a father of two...daughters! I couldn't be happier or more proud to be their father and I am blessed to have the family that I do.
After finishing our run across the country, I moved to Albany NY where I lived for four years with Kaitlyn. For two years I worked at USA Track & Field Adirondack before becoming the Event Coordinator at Fleet Feet Sports Albany, a specialty running store. In the summer of 2011, Kaitlyn was offered the head Field Hockey coaching job at Susquehanna University and the two of us moved to Selinsgrove PA. We lived there for 7 years before moving again to Ithaca NY where we currently live. Kaitlyn is the Head Field Hockey coach and it is so nice being back in NY and closer to family.
From 2012-2014 I worked at the East Shore YMCA in Harrisburg as the Race Director. I was in charge of 6 events throughout the year including a half-marathon, marathon, adventure race and 1-mile road race. Being around the sport of running every day was a perfect fit for me and I loved the people I was working with. Unfortunately, my daily commute was 2-hours long and with my growing family I decided it was time for something new. In early 2014, I began working with Integrity Sports Event Timing. Our company used disposable timing chips to time and score athletic races; mainly road, bike, trail and triathlon events. In late 2016, alongside two other guys, I started my own race timing company, Falcon Race Timing. This job gives me the freedom to work from home half of the week and travel to new places every weekend. I love being around the running community and helping race directors put on there own events. I would easily consider it my dream job. Although this company is still very new, I am excited for what the future has in store for us.
My competitive drive is always looking for new and challenging things and over the last few years I was able to accomplish a number of them. I successfully qualified for the Boston Marathon and ran it twice, something I always wanted to do. I've completed a half dozen or more ultra-marathons including the Laurel Highlands 70-mile trail race and in 2011 I completed the Lake Placid Ironman.
While living in upstate NY, Ken and I started hiking the Adirondack High Peaks together and in 2012 I officially became a 46er, successfully hiking all 46 mountains. I love challenging my body and seeing what my limits are and I think that was a big reason the Nation was such a special adventure for me. In the future I hope to complete a 100-mile race in under 24 hours, thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (someday) and become a "Northeast 115" (successfully climb all 115 peaks over 4,000 feet in the Northeast).
Although Ken, Matt and I no longer live in the same town or get to see each other as often as we'd like, we still remain extremely close. Our friendship and special bond that we shared on the road together will never fade regardless of where life takes us. I feel honored to call them both my friends after eight years of growth and change and I know if I ever needed anything, both of them would be there for me and my family. I don't know what the future holds for me but I know whatever it is I will take it on the only way I know how. I'll keep moving forward one step at a time and one foot in front of the other. Hope to see you on the road...
Where is Ken Now?
Since completing our run across the country, I have embarked on quite a few personal (ad)ventures. Shortly after the run, I was hired as the Summer Camp Program Director at YMCA Camp Chingachgook in upstate New York. I served in this capacity year-round for almost 3 years. In 2011, I was starting to feel the burden of complacency, so I made the difficult decision to leave Chingachgook after almost 12 years of service to the camp community which I loved so dearly. But I needed something different and pointed my dial south and headed for Peru in 2011.
In Peru, I tested myself in an ELL (English Language Learner) classroom for the first time. It was something that came naturally to me and became fun. My time in South America was filled with some of the best moments of my life. I learned Spanish as I was surrounded by Peruvians for almost a year. While teaching at a small English school in Cusco, Peru, I managed to travel to Chile, Ecuador and Colombia as well. It wasn't all fun and games though. I taught 7 English classes a day from morning until night for the entire time I was down in Peru. But of course, outside of the classroom, I fell in love with Peruvian people, culture, food, beer, chicha, customs and pretty much everything else about Peru you can imagine.
After Peru, in June of 2012, I returned to the USA and moved to Boston where I currently live with my wife, Kristen. I have lived in the Boston area for more than five years and love running and biking around the city. In my true non-traditional form, I recently finished my bachelor's degree in Education at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA finally at 30 years old. I now work for a middle school in East Boston, MA as an ESL Specialist. I'm looking to continue my education either in Boston or perhaps elsewhere at this point.
I married Kristen in June of 2015 in western Massachusetts with Matt and Andy standing beside me as my groomsmen. We are also contemplating our next move (could be away from Boston). The future is wide open for us, so we are keeping every option on the table and are super exited for whatever comes our way.
Our Nation Run is an extremely special story for me, as I am sure it is for Matt and Andy. Every few weeks, the three of us engage in a group text with special jokes and memories that bring us right back to our run in 2008. The run still is a defining moment in my life as it was a culmination of hard work and perseverance. It wasn't something many people expected for me to finish, yet there I was standing in the Pacific Ocean on that special day in May, 8 years ago. There are a few more things on my life list that many people don't expect me to finish, but I am determined to knock them off with gusto in the future.
I see the Nation Run as one of the happiest times in my life. I was able to spend 4 months of pain, growth, fun, hard work, discovery, adventure, curiosity and enjoyment with my best friends on this planet. I will never forget this era of my life. I continue to draw from this experience and at the end of the day, it's also one hell of a story to tell others.
Resides: Missing In Action
Status: Still smiling but no longer squeaking!
Name: Andrew Wahila
Resides: Ithaca, New York
Married: Kaitlyn Wahila (2010)
Children: Bailey Liza (2014) , Padley Marie (2015)
Employer: Falcon Race Timing
College: SUNY Oneonta (2006)
Bachelor of Science in Business Economics
Ithaca College (2007)
Master of Science in Sport Management