The Leadership Team

Rod Dixon OLY NYCM – President

A passion for running and healthy lifestyle led Dixon to create the Rod Dixon’s KiDSMARATHON Foundation, an 8-10 week in-school running and nutrition education program that enables students to complete a full (26.2 mile) marathon by running approximately 3 miles per week. Students learn the value of good exercise and nutrition habits for healthy living and, best of all, they have fun. The program has grown to include 25,000 children annually in greater Los Angeles, 5,000 in Connecticut and 10,000 in New Zealand. Dixon served as a special event consultant and coordinator for a variety of events around the world, including: LA Marathon, NY City Marathon, Boston Freedom Trail Road Race, Auckland Around the Bays race, Manufacturers Hanover Corporate Challenge and SF Bay to Breakers.

William Burgess – Chairman

Bill is a seasoned executive, experience-proven as a marketer, business manager and management consultant. Included among the 50 most influential people (2011) “non-profit organizer” of Litchfield County by Morris Media Group & Litchfield Magazine. LHFS awarded for Civic Improvement (The Garden Club of America 2008) and Conservation (The White Memorial Foundation 2010). Bill has over 40 years of business management and management consulting experience. His areas of expertise include business strategy, consumer marketing and new business development. He has facilitated organization-change programs for executive teams of Fortune 100 corporations. Bill is a qualified expert witness in the U.S. Federal Court System for his expertise in consumer goods marketing and new business development.

Lorraine Moller OLY MBE

Lorraine is a 4-time Olympian, Olympic bronze medalist, world track and field finalist, multiple Commonwealth Games track medalist, and winner of 16 major international marathons, including the Boston Marathon. She holds the distinction of being the only woman to have run all of the 20th century Olympic marathons for women. Her career started out as an exceptional 14-year-old middle distance runner, coached by 1964 Olympic 1500m bronze medalist, John Davies.  Lorraine wound up a 28-year stellar career as an undefeated masters runner at her 4th Olympic Games at the age of 41, having performed with international distinction in events from 400 meters to cross-country to the 50K. Her wide range of accomplishments earned her the accolade from Sir Peter Snell as “New Zealand’s greatest women’s distance runner”.

Benita Powar-Barhpaga

Benita was born and raised in New Zealand. She holds a law degree from Waikato University and worked as a Senior Immigration Consultant in Auckland before relocating to the United States. Admitted to the New York Bar in 2004, after  spending time with a full service boutique law firm in Fairfield, Connecticut, Benita most recently worked in the area of lawyer marketing, authoring legal articles for firms with a concentration in Personal Injury cases. Dedicated to raising her family with American, New Zealand and global awareness in mind, Benita is honored to have been brought into the KiDSMARATHON organization and hopes to continue its mission of promoting health, mindfulness and fitness knowledge, especially to young children who might not otherwise have had the opportunity. 

Jim Duncan

Jim is the senior vice president for strategy, sales and marketing for the Meggitt PLC’s Equipment Group division. Meggitt is traded on the London exchange (MGGT) and member of the FTSE100. It is a global, $2Billion, 10,000 employees, corporation that serves the aerospace, defense, energy and industrial markets. The Equipment Group division is a portfolio of international business that provides products and services. In this role Duncan is also responsible for commercial matters and program management. Prior to this assignment he has served as the president and general manager of Meggitt businesses; Safety Systems and the Thermal Systems group. Jim has also served in other senior positions at Meggitt where he has been responsible for providing growth through acquisitions, technology and strategic business development.

Scott Davis

Scott Davis is the executive director of Davis Sports Enterprises (DES). DES is a business group who’s focus is endurance sports. Businesses of the group include triathlon race management, sports training center, coaching and triathlon/cycling club. As an athlete Davis is a top age group triathlete. In 2015 he has again qualified to race at the Kona, Hawaii 2016 Ironman World Championship. He is also a Mizuno run coach and brand ambassador. His passions are in directing programs that have a strong community base and the development of children’s exercise and nutrition programs. Davis, along with his wife Kari, have managed Tri-Kid123 since 2000; a triathlon program for children ages 5 to 12 in Southern California and Park City / Salt Lake City, Utah. Previously, Davis was a technical and business consultant to Racesox, a division of Twin City Knitting. He business acumen was developed from key executive positions at Stassi Cosmetics, Fleet Bank Boston and Morgan Stanley. At Stassi he was the CEO, the vice president banking and credit markets at Fleet Bank Boston, and vice president at Morgan Stanley. While working on Wall Street Davis’ was responsible for private client services, bond trading, and investment banking.

Lee Neckameyer – Chief Financial Officer

Lee is responsible for the preparation of all financial terms and compliance with tax filings of all 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation requirements.

Special Advisory

Tom LaBonge

Tom LaBonge is a member of the Los Angeles City Council representing the 4th district, serving from 2001 to 2015. He won a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of long-time council member John Ferraro. The district represents a wide diversity of incomes and neighborhoods. At the time he was in office, he was the Chairman of the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging committee, Vice Chairman of the Transportation Committee and the Ad Hoc River Committee, and member of the Trade, Commerce & Tourism Committee, and the Ad Hoc on Recovering Energy, Natural Resources & Economic Benefit from Waste for L.A. (RENEW LA) in the city of Los Angeles. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Prior to serving as councilman, LaBonge was Director of Community Relations at the Department of Water and Power, Special Assistant to Mayor Richard Riordan, and Chief Deputy to Council President John Ferraro. LaBonge is a lifelong advocate for Griffith Park, one of the largest urban parks in the nation, which falls in his district.

Read Tom’s Wikipedia Bio >

Peter Abraham

Peter is a marketing specialist with years of experience creating compelling content for brands. He’s spent time both on the agency side and as a CMO, which gives him a unique point of view. Currently, his Abraham content marketing studio works with brands and agencies to create and distribute multi-channel stories that drive revenue.

Coaches – Teachers Advisory

Kerry Hill

Kerry Hill and Rod Dixon went to Waimea College, Nelson – New Zealand, during the 1960’s and were involved together at the Nelson Athletics Club. Kerry has been the key Coordinator/Coach for the KiDSMARATHON development @ the Counties Manukau and inspiration and Coach for schools around New Zealand. Kerry is Sport Bay of Plenty “Coach Force Athletics Manager” – coaching coaches throughout the Bay, from Foundation level to High Performance, Athletics New Zealand Technical lead, Relays, Speed & Agility Trainer to NZ Sevens men’s’ & women’s squads, Speed & Power Conditioner at Waikato University Adams Centre for High Performance.

Read more about Kerry, here.

Leanne McMurtie

Leanne lives in rural Glenbrook, south of Auckland New Zealand, with her husband and two teenage boys.  They play various sports and enjoy keeping active together.  Although not a runner, (more of a jogger and walker), she has completed a marathon and several half marathons, thoroughly enjoying each experience!  As a Breast Cancer survivor she understands the importance of keeping active daily for general health and mental wellbeing, for both herself and her family. Leanne is a Teacher Aide at Mauku School in South Auckland and has been in this role and co-chair of the PTA for 7 years, during which time she has been the organiser for their KiDSMARATHON.   At the school, they have used the KiDSMARATHON over the last 6 years and students complete their “final mile” at our annual Mauku Fun Run, a community focussed fundraising event for the school.  Seeing them cross the finish line with such pride and receiving their medals is very special. The students enjoy the sense of achievement in ticking off their kilometres on our daily track runs.  Working on individual goals, and also as a class they encourage each other to keep going and try their best – “finishing is winning, winning is finishing!” as Rod says.  Students often top up their run training with optional laps or the teacher led road runs during their lunchtime breaks.  Encouraging health and wellbeing in our children is invaluable and using the KiDSMARATHON programme is a way to get everyone involved at an achievable level.

Cathleen Kosak

Cathleen is a resident of Trumbull, CT and the mother of three children. As a Physical Therapist she has spent the last 20 years working with patients of all levels of disability. Cathleen is an active member of the town’s Parent Teacher Association. She has served as an elementary school PTA president and is currently the Chairperson of the Health and Wellness Committee. As a lifelong runner she successfully brought Rod Dixon’s KiDSMARATHON to her children’s elementary school. One year later, approximately 600 children from five schools in the district participated in the KiDSMARATHON Final Mile Event held at the local high school. Cathleen’s favorite part of RDKM is seeing children running with smiles on their faces. Their smiles reflect the joy and pride that their accomplishment provides them.

Susannah Black

Susannah lives in Waterloo, Lower Hutt, and is currently teaching at both Wellesley College and Chilton St James School as a French specialist teacher. Susannah first heard about the KiDSMARATHON while listening to an interview with Rod Dixon on Dirt Church Radio, and she thought it sounded like a fantastic program and decided to see if she could get it going at her children’s school. With the support of the sports coordinator, principal, and staff, she got the KiDSMARATHON underway at Waterloo School in Term 1 of 2021. She finds running with a goal in mind to be incredible rewarding and empowering and loves that it’s a sport that you can continue to achieve in at any stage of life. For kids to have a tangible running goal to work towards is such fantastic motivation for them, and it’s something she hopes that running is something they’ll continue on with through life. Susannah loves running and couldn’t live without it! She has completed the Queenstown Marathon, a number of half marathons and has the Taupo Ultra 50km as a goal for this October 2021. She also regularly runs in the Xterra events with her kids, which are her absolute favorites in terms of community spirit and running on the trails near her home in Lower Hutt is where you’ll find her! 

Ken Itahara

Ken Itahara has been associated with Rod Dixon’s KiDSMARATHON Foundation for over ten years serving as facilitator for several schools in the Inland Empire and the East San Gabriel Valley. Currently, he is working with the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District in developing a pilot program for year-round after school running and nutritional education. Ken’s goal is to implement a healthy lifestyle program to school districts throughout Southern California, and he has been awarded a grant from Saucony Run For Good Foundation to combat childhood obesity. He is a founding director of the Inland Empire Running Club currently with over 500 members and is a certified USA Track & Field coach.

Program Staff

Geoff Davies – Website Maintenance

Geoff was born and raised in the UK, holding an Aeronautical Engineering degree from Imperial College, London. The first part of his professional career was working in the UK Aerospace industry and later becoming software manager for a team developing colour graphics terminals and TDS digitizers. Geoff then started as Engineering Director for a company developing UNIX based optical storage retrieval systems. In 1996, Geoff moved to New Zealand and continued to work in project management and software engineering for Christchurch based companies before moving to Nelson to retire. A chance meeting with Rod Dixon led to discussions about the KiDSMARATHON program, and the work he is doing with the KiDS in schools, the ABC philosophy (Agility, Balance, Coordination), and keeping the KiDS moving through health, wellness and Immunity.  Believing in commitment and encouragement, Geoff also agrees that “Finishing is Winning and Winning is Finishing”. Rod asked, and Geoff was pleased to accept and be able to help support and maintain this KidsMARATHON web site.

Macklin Chaffee and Clay Burnett

Macklin was originally responsible for maintaining this website. Macklin takes living a healthy and active lifestyle to the extreme, and as a stellar athlete, he competed at the USATF 1500m Championships three times and ran a 3:56 mile.

Clay was the original website designer working with Macklin. He enjoys mixing his passion for design with his passion for athletics. Clay is also a head cross country coach at Chagrin Falls High School in Chagrin Falls, Ohio as well as an accomplished miler himself, with a PR of 4:08.

Macklin and Clay own and develop FinalForms, a powerful and intuitive personal assistant suite for Athletic Departments in US. The application streamlines departments, allowing coaches and staff to focus more time on the work that matters, teaching and guiding our kids!

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