Wine Country Challenge

California Wine Country Saint Helena, CA 94574 US
Our Ambassadors





Amanda Conkol

I love wine! In fact I love it so much my husband and I successfully owned a winery in Ohio for 16 years. However with all my wine drinking, I needed to offset it with something healthy, so I chose running. At first running was just something that I had to do. After years of running I realized this is something I crave more than wine. I’ve pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone and have completed 5 half marathons, a dozen 10ks and too many 5ks to count. I’m definitely a back of the pack runner but my personal accomplishments outweigh winning any first place prizes. Plus I’ve met some really amazing and inspiring people throughout my races and that is the best part about about these races and challenges. 


Karen Smith

Greetings from Indianapolis!  I grew up playing team sports in high school and college, but never considered myself a "runner" until I turned 50.  Then, I got the bug after running a 5K on a whim when I lived in Kansas City (I liked the t-shirt!).  I've been running ever since and have participated in lots of 5K's, 10K's, and three Indy Mini Half Marathons.  Now 10 years into running, my pace is slower, but I still enjoy running at Eagle Creek Park, Monon Trail, and especially beach runs when I can!  I also love to hike, travel, and just chill with friends.  I'm excited to be a Wine Country Challenge Ambassador, as I like wine as much as I do running!  These virtual challenges not only benefit a great cause, but are so positive and supportive - something we all need a lot of right now!  Looking forward to cheering you on, sharing a beverage along our route, and achieving our goals for the Wine Country Challenge!

Debbie Pfledderer

Hi, I am Debbie. I love running but my background is swimming. I started competitively at age 7 and currently swim for a Masters Swim Team where I’ve expanded my passion into open water. My swims include several 5K’s, 10K’s, and 15K’s but my proudest moment was Swim Around Key West (12.5 miles in 2017).  I began my running journey in 2010 where I went on to do my first half marathon in 2012 at the Illinois Half Marathon. I found that running was a love/hate relationship but also great therapy for me.  Eventually I went on to do 4 Ironman’s……Louisville (2012, 2013), Chattanooga (2014) and Wisconsin (2016). I have also participated in the Monumental Marathon in 2015. I have really learned to love running and when I am not running, I really miss it. I am looking forward to being your Wine Country Challenge Ambassador. 

Nicole Ash

Life is too short to miss the adventure! I started running in 2012, just because I was bored riding my bike (we shared a car at the time). I read a great article after my 1st 19 minute mile "stand up, run out your front door. Congratulations you are a runner" so clearly I was now a runner because I had already completed my first mile! As I set up individual goals and distance goals I was given the next best advice; "get a cute running outfit and good shoes". I am not a fashionista, but I could not wait to get my running outfit and shoes on! 
Then I joined a ladies running group. Amazing support, trail running, beachside running, wild animal trails, 😆 and brunch afterwards 🤩! I am hooked, no matter the pace, distance, weather or cleanliness of the port-a-pot (carry wet wipes)....Enjoy the adventure, stop and take the picture and cheer each other on! This is the greatest individual team sport ever!
Ps: read Born to Run, fantastic book!


Steve Rodino

Hi everyone.

I’m Steve Rodino from Fishers, Indiana.

Count me in as one of those people who just a few years ago would never have guessed that I would be a running enthusiast these days. As a matter of fact, I used to think runners rarely looked like they were having fun. But three years ago I signed up for a Warrior Dash obstacle race and decided to learn how to run.

I fell in love with it ! I’m currently a member of the Fishers Y Long Distance Running Group, a Walk2run ( 5k training program ) instructor at the Y, and an ambassador for VEM’s RUN(317) race series in Indianapolis . 

At 64 years of age, my running mantra is 

“Need Never Get Old“ 


“We all have something to teach, 

   ... and we all have something to learn”


Claudia Jones

I’ve been a cyclist for decades and absolutely love it. Never in a million years did I ever envision jogging in my life. But in 2013 I was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer and following a stem cell transplant I decided to add jogging to my exercise routine.  I’ve completed many 5ks, 10ks, a half-marathon and duathlons. I also participate in the Dolphins annual cancer challenge where I bike 55 miles for the cause. In March of 2021 I hope to bike the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I live I. Ft Lauderdale, Florida and am the proud mother of 5 amazing children, grandmother of 2 with another on the way. Biking and jogging keep me focused, sane and alive! 



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