Amy Nakai’s Running for the smile train charity. And we’re going to show you how you can (and should) help out too. This the second of our charity runners. Yet another dose of pure inspiration as Amy is someone who has gone from a seriously non-runner to an ultra-marathoner in 4 short years. 

If you’re not moved into action by this lady, you’re either already moving. Or you need jump leads for that cold heart of yours!:-)

This is her at mile 34 (like what??!!??) of the Bear Chase Trail Race- talk about love of life and running…


Making Kids Smile with the Smile train Charity

I asked Amy about her personal journey and her work with charity. I also got her hot tip for beginner runners (read til the end for that)- pure gold. You can also find a great introduction at her Smile train page.

Why did you start running?

Some people ease into running but this runner dived in head first:


In 2013 I ran/walked my first 5k at a ridiculously slow pace of 46+minutes. I realized I had to get healthy for my kids. I knew if I had money on the line I wouldn’t slack off, so I registered for my first half marathon!

From walking a 5k to doing a halfer!- might seem like madness. But as she’ll explain later, there was clear method in Amy’s actions here.

running your first half marathon

Please tell us a little bit about the charity you support.


I’m an ambassador for Smile Train. A 501c3 organization that helps provide cleft surgeries for people around the world. Millions of children in developing countries are suffering from untreated clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly and aren’t allowed to attend school or hold a job.

It’s easy for us lucky ones living in the developed world to forget. Cleft palates can be treated with as little as $250 and 45 minutes surgery. But for the majority of children in the developing world, this is out of reach. The Smile train Charity is dedicated to helping these kids.

the smile train charity

For anyone wanting to donate or run for a charity- how can you find a good one?


I do a lot of research on my charities we donate too. Just over 84% of funds raised goes directly to help the kids. Just over 14% go to help fundraise and less than 2%  (yes, less than 2%!!) Goes towards salaries. They run such a smart savvy business they’re able to help so many kids.  Photo after photo I’ve fallen in love with helping these kids.

So you should find out how well a charity is run. Make sure they are sending every penny they can to those who really need it.

What’s your “golden tip” for any newbie runners out there?


Newbie runners:  I’d say put money on the line so you’re forced to commit ? secondly don’t worry about your pace. Just starting, time on your feet running is most important. Pace will eventually come ❤  3 years later and I went from never running to running ultras!

What great advice, if you pay good money to enter a race then you are committed to running!

Thank you Amy!

That’s about it for my introduction of one incredible runner and the charity she supports. If you wanted to find out more from the Smile train charity just head on over to their webpage.