Marathon runners and walkers. The main leadership is provided by 4 RRCA Certified Coaches, Audrey and Marcela, our FIT Weston Coach Luis, our Coral Springs Coach Christina, Kids In Training Coach Angela, and a great group of 40 assistant coaches, who provide amazing support to our members in all our different locations. (Some of them are RRCA certified as well)
Marcela was born in Bogotá, Colombia, South America and currently resides in Davie, Florida. She is married, 43 years old and works at The Motorola Wellness Center in Plantation as the Program Manager. She has been working in the Fitness field for over 20 years. She is a certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer / Fitness Counselor (among other certifications).
"I totally LOVE MY JOB! I think I am in the best field ever! I love getting people started in a fitness program and seeing the wonderful changes in people's lives because of it."
She is also an RRCA Certified Running Coach.
Marcela has been running for a little over 15 years and has proudly completed all the 54 marathons she has participated in!
These include original Athens (Greece) Marathon, Geneva (Switzerland), New York, Chicago (2), Disney (2), Miami (13), A1A (10), Marathon of the Palm Beaches (10), Lake Tahoe, San Antonio, Marine Corps, Sarasota, Portland (among others) and the most challenging one, the Pikes Peak Marathon (also known as America's Ultimate Challenge 4 times). Pikes Peak by far being the most challenging but her favorite marathon thus far. She has also completed over 100 Half Marathons. Her first marathon was the 2002 Alcatel Ottawa Marathon in Ontario, Canada. Marcela says, I loved it! I had a very fun time with my Friends In Training. We went site seeing the day after the marathon and it was a wonderful experience. Ottawa is a beautiful city!
Now, Marathon running gives me a wonderful opportunity to travel with great people to beautiful places. Each marathon turns into a little vacation with my best friends! I love it!!
Marcela says her motivations to run are "My friends from Friends in Training and the good feeling of accomplishment after a marathon". About her running goals Marcela says, "My short time goal is to get my weekly runs in, regardless of my crazy schedule. My long term goal is to run at least one marathon a year."
About her favorite running event, Marcela said, "I have enjoyed every single event as much as I enjoy running. Each one has been unique in its own way. But if I had to pick one, again the Pikes Peak Marathon was the most exciting, beautiful, yet challenging marathon I have ever participated in. I would do it again in a heart beat!"
Marcela is also an Ultra marathon runner! Her ultra marathons include a 50K, a 50 miler, and a 100 Miler from Key Largo to Key West. That by far has been the most challenging race she has participated in.
When asked about her favorite forms of exercise and other hobbies that she has, Marcela said, I love it all! From running to spinning to zumba classes! Marcela also enjoys horse back riding and cycling. She has participated in the MS150 Bike tour (2 day cycling event riding 150 miles total, from Miami to Key Largo and back) to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. She has also participated in 2 challenging, but BEAUTIFUL bike tours across Switzerland. www.bikeswitzerland.com) She rode her bike for 10 consecutive days going from city to city, all across the country! Right after finishing her second tour, she ran the Geneva marathon. It was quite an experience and adventure, and I'm ready to do it all over again! she said.
Marcela loves motivating and encouraging people to get to the finish line, and loves being a pacer! www.marathonpacing.com/marcellat.php
She has been a part of the official Pacing Team at different Marathons. She has paced the Miami Marathon, A1A, Sarasota, Pittsburgh Marathon, and Marathon of the Palm Beaches among others, where she had the opportunity to pace a 78 year old running his very first marathon! They crossed the finish line together successfully and it was a very rewarding experience for her. She says "It was very emotional and it was quite the honor for me to support this new runner at a later age. This goes to show it's never too late to start running!
Marcela is currently the Friends In Training's Head Coach and totally loves the group! "FIT has helped me to keep motivated to achieve my running goals. It has given me the opportunity to travel lots, but what I love the most is the friends I have made and the wonderful people I have met in the program. My Friends in Training have not only been with me during the happiest running times in my life, but also during the most difficult times. I can truly say not only we train together, but we develop wonderful friendships here! I love my Friends in Training and very much enjoy being a coach. :)"×
Audrey was born in Jamaica, lived in New York for 10 years and has made South Florida her home since 1986.
Audrey joined FIT in 2002. Prior to joining FIT Audrey had never done any form of walking or running, no 5K, no half marathon. Her first and still favorite marathon is New York. Since 2002 she has completed 11 full marathons, 16 half marathons, Palm Beach 26.2 mile relay and the Keys 100 Ultra Marathon Team Relay.
When not involved with physical activities, her second love is service to her community. Audrey has been a Girl Scout volunteer since 1989. She is also a mentor for Take Stock in Children through the School Board of Broward County since 1998. She became a Foster parent and mentor at a local shelter for abused and neglected children.
Audrey is an RRCA Certifiend Coach, and has been a GREAT addition to our FIT leadership team. We totally love her! and her contributions to our program have been very valuable.
Audrey loves to coach, and she is happy to be an inspiration to everyone in her life as a result of all that she is involved with. She enjoys cheering runners on the course and at the finish line. A few of her long term goals are to complete the Kona Ironman, qualify & run Boston and of course be a lifetime runner.×
Cristina Cuadra is a Miami native of Colombian parents. She is married with three beautiful children and a dog.
Christina is a running enthusiast that has been active playing sports since she was young, but running always had a special place in her heart. Running became part of her life when she started working at a running store in South Miami in 2009, where she not only learned about running but fell in love with everything about running. She worked with athletes and medical professionals to better serve her customer's needs.
In 2012, Christina took on a new adventure working for the shoe brand Newton Running as tech rep in South Florida. Her travels took her to the running mecca of Boulder, Colorado and home of Newton Running, where she learned a new level on running. Through Newton, she became certified as a Running Form Coach to improve better running form and help prevent running injuries. This new skill took on a new level of interest in running, where the science of running was so much more detailed to specific to each individual. She taught classes throughout South Florida on running form, worked to get people out of injury, and test shoes.
In 2015, Christina stepped down from Newton Running to work at another running store in Coral Springs. She was able to work with runners and walkers with more consistently. In her time there, she partnered with Friends In Training in January of 2016 to an amazing season. In 2017, she became certified as an RRCA coach to further pursue her dreams to help people with their running goals. If you have not seen her in action, you will soon. Her energy carries the runners from the beginning to achieving their goals.
She completed her first (and only) marathon at the 2015 New York City marathon with a huge smile on her face. Half marathons are her favorite distance, but will do a couple of 10k or 5k to test the level of fitness. Christina has also competed in sprint, olympic and half ironman distance Triathlons; a sport she loves because it of the cross training. You can catch her running in the dirt for fun during the weekends plus a huge smile on her face.
My future goals are to complete an ultra marathon, finish certifications in nutrition, stretching, and Level II RRCA coaching.
Miles and Smiles×
Group A Walkers: Shari, Sharon, Kathy
Group B: One ones & 3 ones 12:30 to 14:30 Pace- Denise, Mindy, Lisa, Millie, Maria
Group C: 5 ones 11to 12:30 Pace- Bruce, Kata, Anna
Group D: 10 Ones 9:30 to 11 Pace: Hali, Inelka, Jose
Group E: No walk breaks 8:45 to 9:30 Pace: Veronica
Group F: No walk breaks 8:15-8:45 Pace: Jeff, Mike
FIT Group: GROUP E
Veronica was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and currently resides in Plantation, FL. She works as an Accountant and volunteered for seven years with the IRS through their VITA program providing tax assistance to low/moderate income people.
Veronica joined Friends in Training in July 2003 and has run 50 half marathons, 33 marathons and several 5Ks since then. She has successfully completed trainings and ran races at various paces. Veronica started training with Group B (12-14 minutes per mile), advanced to group C (10:30 -12 minute pace), later coached group D (9:00 -10:30 minute pace) and currently co-leads group E (under 9:00 minute pace) as an Assistant Coach.
Veronica is a Certified Running Coach with the Road Running Club of America (RRCA)and a Certified Level 1 Track & Field Level Coach by the USA Track & Field. She was a Saint Jude Hero at the 2004 La Salle Bank Chicago Marathon and helped raise money for the St Jude Children's Research Hospital, a pioneer pediatric treatment and research facility that specializes in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Veronica has also been an official pacer for the local marathons and half marathons in South and North Florida: Miami Marathon, Palm Beaches Marathon, Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon among others.
Veronica used to run 5Ks in her adolescence and after graduating from college she decided to look for a running group. "When I joined Friends in Training, running a marathon or half marathon was not my goal, but the training, the camaraderie and all the wonderful people that I have met in the group motivated me to pursue new goals! Running a full/half marathon takes determination, dedication and all the support from your running partners: they keep you motivated in those long training runs!"
"Friends in Training has helped me to become a better runner and provided me with the opportunity to develop great friendships. As a Coach, I am personally satisfied to see our trainees achieve their goals of participating and finishing a full/half marathon."
FIT Group: Group F
Mike joined Friends in Training in August of 2013 after meeting Marcela, Audrey and Brent at a runner’s Palooza event held at Vista View Park in April of 2013.
Mike has only been running since January 1, 2013 as a new year’s resolution to eat healthier and stay fit.
Mike has ran 6 Ultra Marathons which include two relays, two 50 milers, one 50K and The Keys 100 miler as well as15 Marathons, Mike started out in Group E in 2013 – 2014 when he became
a co-assistant coach for the newly formed Group F (8:45 & below minute pace) for FIT.
Mike is the proud father of 4 amazing sons, Skyler, Beau, MarKee & Jaxon.
Favorite Running Memories:
*Finishing the “Keys 100 Mile Ultra Marathon” with my Sons as my Crew. “AMAZING”
*2014 New York City Marathon.
*2016 Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado.
*2016 Berlin Germany Marathon
*2016 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC.×
FIT Group: GROUP A
Shari was born in Montreal, Canada and currently resides in Hollywood, FL. She works as a computer consultant.
Shari has been walking long distance events since 2000. As of November, 2009, she has completed eleven marathons, thirty-one half marathons and one 60-mile, 3-day walk. Her first marathon was the 2000 Dublin Marathon in Ireland. Shari says that she is motivated to keep walking long distances because it gives me more energy and keeps me focused.& Shari is a Certified Running Coach with the Road Running Club of America (RRCA).
Shari's favorite form of exercise is walking on overcast, breezy days. Her fitness goals are & long term - to maintain a regular exercise routine that I can sustain and short term - to help members in Group A to increase and maintain speed so that everyone can achieve a 16-minute pace (the cutoff pace for the most events). Her current favorite marathon is the Flying Pig Marathon, for the sheer fun, and the Lake Tahoe Marathon for the challenge and beauty.
One thing about Shari, she will never give up on her walkers (or friends) and is always there for them.
Outside of walking and work, Shari also enjoys her fun loving/devoted cats, 80's movies and music, word games, music, art and renaissance festivals, and supporting her friends.
Shari says that FIT has personally benefited her by giving me a structure to obtain long-term goals, while also providing a great group of people who have common interests.×
My name is Hali,
I am super excited to be Assistant Coach to Group D runners. We have a great season ahead of us.
I'm originally from New Jersey and I love running because I love DESSERT. I started running with FIT 6 years ago when FIT partnered with the American Cancer Society to support runners participating in their Determination program. I was one of these runners who was preparing for my first half marathon. I was a casual runner before that...never running more then 4 miles. I found running with a group was what I needed to take my running to a new level. I never thought I could run 13.1 miles, and actually enjoy it. Not only did I enjoy it, I found myself addicted.
When I'm not running, I like spending time with my niece and Jagger, my Boston Terrier. I'm also a volunteer with the American Cancer Society and a member of their Volunteer Leadership Council.
My goal this season is to learn to whistle like Marcela. See you at the park!×
Inelka was born in San José, Costa Rica and currently resides in Plantation, Florida. She is married to Kevin Dugan and has worked as a Marketing Manager in Latin America for 20 years with different pharmaceutical companies.
She is constantly travelling for work but also loves to travel for fun, always choosing a remote location and new cultures to explore and learn from.
Travel and dance are in her DNA. As a Belly Dance teacher and a licensed Zumba instructor, she says dancing is her passion since she was a little girl. “The day I stop dancing is the day I stop living”, she says.
She started running two years ago just to try a different sport with her husband. She never thought that she would love it as much as dancing.
At the beginning, she was sure she will never become a runner being so short and chubby, but as she kept the training going, she discovered a great feeling of accomplishment and inner strength never experienced before.
Last year she was invited to join Friends in Training by a good friend and neighbor. As she started running with the group she knew it was her place to be, not only to improve but to enjoy her running.
She was able to complete her first full marathon in January 2014 and run 6 half marathons with FIT in 2013, always setting a new PR and lots of satisfaction.
She loved to be part of Keys 100 relay team, where her husband was the
driver of her group. “What a great experience that was! I felt inspired by hundreds of disciplined runners of all ages and shapes. 18 hours of fun!”
Inelka is motivated to run not only for the great friends she has made at Friends in Training but also for the rewarding feeling of accomplishment after every race and after every new PR.
About her running goals Inelka says, My short time goal is to get my weekly runs in, regardless of which country I am working at that week. The work out room is a must in every trip or at least a park nearby. My long term goal is to run at least one marathon a year, run New York Marathon in 2015 as part of Team for Kids, helping raise funds for their cause, and qualify for Boston in 2016.
Inelka is currently in her first year as assistant coach in Friends In Training and totally loves the experience!
FIT has given me so much motivation and inspiration that I want to give back as much as I can to help others as It has helped me”.
I trained in 2010 with FIT, you were a coach, and I completed a Fort Lauderdale 1/2 marathon. You were always so nice and helpful. I had talked to you (and I am sure you won't remember) about actually running a 5k. It is my bucket list to RUN a race! I am 58 and feeling great! My name is Pamela DeVelder, if you are on FB you can friend me and see what I am 'sorta' about. I would like to know what you think of my 'running a race' dream. I am not an athlete just a regular person.
Occupation: Legal Assistant
FIT Group: GROUP B & B+
Years Running: 15
Races Completed: Big Sur, New York, Chicago, Ottawa, Tampa, Disney and many half marathons
Upcomming Races This Season: Miami, Sarasota and Alaska
Favourite Race: Big Sur - the best peeps and the best scenery!!
I am honest, caring, independent, but sometimes needy (meaning I need a big hug). I am so proud to be a part of this group for so many years. The friends I have made are irreplaceable and so precious. To see someone accomplish the finish line is so satisfying.×
I was born in Miami, FL but grew up in Nassau, Bahamas. I joined FIT in 2000 and have been connected ever since. My husband Torrance bought me my first pair of running shoes to help me keep the 100 lbs off that I gained when I quit smoking!!!! There is no way, that I could have imagined running 5 miles; let alone 26.2!!!! Thanks to God & FIT, I have completed 6 full marathons and 8 half marathons. There are running groups that are closer to my home, but nothing compares to the beautiful sunrise I get to experience every time I run with the group on A1A; it is simply priceless and is worth all of the extra miles that I have to drive.×
Anna was born in Ukraine and raised in Russia. Anna attained her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Russian Legal Studies, and a Master of Arts degree in Russian Legal Studies from Ulyanovsk State University in Russia in 2010. After her graduation she moved to United States and lives here from now on. She is a student at Florida Atlantic University in Criminology and Criminal Justice major. Human Rights, Victimology, Criminal Behavior and problems like Human Trafficking all over the world are her main interests in this field. She speaks Russian, German and English.
Anna is quite new to running. She started running 3 years ago when she was trying to join Unites States Army. Unfortunately, she was disqualified and removed from the program by immigration services, but she has not stopped running.
So far she accomplished one full A1A 2015 Marathon and Florida Storm Series. Right now she is training for 2 great sport events Bank of America Chicago marathon (October 11, 2015) and 2015 TCS New York Marathon (November 1, 2015).×
Millie was born in Peru, lived in Florida since 1984, I am a Real Estate Agent since 2000.
I join Fit on 2014. Prior to joining Fit I never had done any type of walking or running. For me when I started the first 3 miles was like telling me “you will run for the rest of your life forever non stopping “ LOL
One Fit season later, I run my first full marathon in 2015, this special marathon I will keep it in my heart for ever not only because I finished strong, but because I was surrender with my wonderful friends for Fit.
They were with me every minute, every mile, throughout the entire route, cheering me and assuring me that I can do it. This special moment really inspired me to apply for assistant coach, because I knew that I want to help others to achieve their goals and be there for them.
I have many goals in mind that I need to do, and I have no doubt that my family Fit will be there with me. I am so happy and glad that I found this amazing group.
I am so excited to serve as one of the absolutely awesome FIT Assistant Coaches. This is my first season with the FIT Family. I bring a wealth of experiences. I began this wonderful journey of marathon running, truly, the discovery of removing layers of stuff to find me, in 2009.
I have been blessed to have run over 40+ 5ks, several 4 milers and 10ks, 20+ half marathons, and 2 full marathons (Miami and Publix Ft. Lauderdale).
My absolute favorite runs are the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 5k run and Miami Marathon in Miami every January.
I was born in Miami, so it brings unspeakable joy to my soul when my feet travel the same streets my family members traveled, but oh so very differently!
I am blessed to be the mother of 2 beautiful children. My son, Wilford, is 20 years old and entering his senior year of college. My daughter, Nia, is 12 years old and entering 7th grade.
I have served Broward County Public Schools for 23 years, and love working with children and families.
I am a member of Community Christian Church in Tamarac, FL and lead the running ministry at my church.
I know what its like to be healthy-
I know what its like to be injured and rehab to start all over again-
Most of all, I know and believe that its never about the race....it's always about the journey and I am thankful to share it with my Friends in Training Family.
Cat lives in Ft. Lauderdale and works as a teacher for Broward County. She began RaceWalking in high school and it became a way of life. Since that time, Cat has completed numerous RaceWalk and Running events.
Cat joined Friends in Training in 2006.
FIT Group: A
Years of Walking: Too many to count!
First marathon: Disney 1996
Favorite Race: Hmmn… there’s Tao and Big Sur for the scenery, the Friends In Training Events for the camaraderie, but I’ll have to go with the Fox City Marathon in Wisconsin because my mom came with me… but wait, in Kansas, they supported the runners from horseback, and the Bataan Memorial Death March was incredibly moving… I can’t pick one. I still tear up at the start of each.
Secret Splurge: Coffee Haagan-Dazs and Cheetos
Secret Power: Gratitude. I’m thankful for my family, my running and walking friends, and that my runner husband Brooks and I share a passion for fitness.
Goal: I want to empower our members to meet their goals.×
Born and raised on Long Island, Michelle moved to Florida to pursue her dream of becoming an Elementary School teacher at Nova Southeastern University. Her friend Robyn introduced her to FIT and she immediately realized that joining was the best decision that she made in a while. Michelle decided to become a FIT assistant coach because she loves helping people reach their goals!×
I was born and grew up in the South of England. In my early 30s, having spent a few years working in Grand Cayman and sailing and traveling in Central America, I landed in South Florida and started working in the yachting industry. I am currently the Controller for a large, privately owned yacht.
At the age of 39 I began running and at first I was barely able to run a mile. Six weeks later in my first race, a local St. Paddy’s Day 5k, I placed 3rd in my age group. Encouraged by this, I joined a Fort Lauderdale running club and, with the camaraderie and support that I found there, decided I wanted to run a marathon when I turned 40. Less than a year later I completed my first marathon in Miami. Apparently, this running thing is addictive because I went home and immediately registered for my next race, the Chicago marathon. Maybe, I was still under the effects of the “runner’s high”.
Since then I have run 10+ full marathons and 30+ half marathons, including the inaugural race in my home town of Bournemouth, Dorset, where I ran with my sister who was running her first half marathon. I enjoyed this experience so much and felt I had what it takes to be a good running coach. For me, providing guidance and encouragement to people and helping them accomplish their running goals is immensely rewarding. I joined FIT as an Assistant Coach in the fall of 2015 and became an RRCA Certified Coach at the beginning of 2016.
I have also completed an Ultra Marathon and an Olympic-distance Triathlon. Currently, I have challenged myself to run a marathon in all 50 States and have recently registered for the Amerithon Challenge, a virtual 3,521-mile run across America! My other long term running goals are to qualify for Boston and to run a marathon in all 7 continents.
I am motivated and inspired by everyone with whom I run. I love being part of a community of runners who are so strong, so supportive, and most of all, a lot of fun.×
Group A Walkers: Pat and Luis
Group B: One ones & 3 ones 12:30 to 14:30 Pace- Patty- Ileana, Ingrid, Don
Group C: 5 ones 11to 12:30 Pace- Lauren
Group D: 10 Ones 9:30 to 11 Pace: Brian
Group E: No walk breaks 8:45 to 9:30 Pace: Joe
Patty Garcia is originally from Puerto Rico. She currently owns an (IT) information technology Solutions Company, R&D systems Group, Inc. Her passion in growing her own business, running and volunteer at church with kids has led her to obtain leadership positions in all three areas.
Patricia holds a Bachelor in MIS/Ecommerce from Barry University where she studied Management Information Systems with a concentration in E-commerce. She is currently working in obtaining her Master’s degree from Nova South Eastern University in Business Administration. Recognized for her high energy and engaging personally, she also helped develop B2B connections as a membership/recruitment vehicle for the MPPRCC and is currently an ambassador for the Miramar Pembroke Pines Chamber of Commerce.
Patty is known among her loved ones to always be on the go and if she could have company on any of her ventures even better. This is why she fell in love with running with FIT. Taking runfies (running selfies) with others and running with different people is what fuels her to keep running. She started focusing on running at the beginning of 2015 when another FIT member Robyn Hamilton invited her to FIT. I remember the day that she told me that “ I can run” and I wish to witness in influencing others to start running. She looks to be in areas where she can inspire others and loves to get to know people. She has done over 15 5Ks and 1 half marathon. She looks forward to her first full marathon and three half marathons.
Favorite quotes: “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13×
I am originally from the Island of Antigua and moved to Miami in 2003. I moved around a bit first to Dover, Delaware in 2006 where I lived for 4 years and attended nursing school and then to Marietta Ga for another 2 years . I moved back to Florida in 2012 and now reside in Miramar Fl.
After decided I wanted to complete a half marathon, I joined FIT in 2013 following the recommendation of a patient. At that time I had never completed any official races, but since joining I have completed (3) 5k (1) 10k 11) half marathons and (1) full marathon being A1A 2014.
In my spare time I cycle to fill the need of cross training, and also attend school to further my education.
I love coaching, I love helping others across the finish line. I have met so many great people at FIT who have helped me on my running journey, that I can't help but pass it on.×
Hello Fellow Runners - My name is Brian Lynn.
I have been a runner for 6 years. My introduction to running started when my family and I wanted to raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer in support of my sister.
My family and I ran our first Disney half marathon (Wine and Dine) and I was hooked from there. The running community was so supportive and we got to meet great people. That is when I knew I had to become more involved in running. Not only were the health benefits more than evident,it was the great people, common running goals as well as(most important) the friendships.
I have run several 5 and 10k's in addition to 11 half marathons and 2 marathons. Marathons include the Donna Marathon in Jacksonville, NYC Marathon, and currently training for the Marine Corp Marathon. In addition, I ran for and with my nephew to raise awareness for the 5Q14.3 deletion syndrome( Rock n Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon with TEAM HOYT).
I am a RRCA certified coach and enjoy teaching the fundamentals and principles of running, stretching and nutrition.
This is my second year with TEAM FIT WESTON.
In my off "running time", I enjoy spending time with my family (to encourage them to run) just kidding-
See you at the finish line
Head Assistant Coach Brian
Luis was born in Venezuela, South America, has been living for the past 18 years in South Florida, became a US citizen in 2010 and currently resides in Davie, Florida. He has been happily married with Barbara for 26 years, they have for children (35, 24, 20 and 7) and 1 granddaughter (5), he is 56 years old and works at Mercantil Commercebank in Coral Gables as Assistant Vice-president CRM-Business Intelligence Manager in the Marketing and Products Division.
He has been an athlete most of his life, mainly doing team sports: soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball among others. After he took up residence in the US, because his job required him to travel a lot, he neglected his health and physical preparation which made him gain weight. Therefore, in 2005, after an annual medical check-up where they found he had high cholesterol, he decided to do some physical activity and improve his eating habits. He started jogging when he was 45 years old.
As a professional, he worked many years as a consultant, helping organizations to achieve operational excellence. As a sport lover he has been coaching kids in basketball and soccer, helping them to develop their skills and character. Many of them are today college athletes, including his daughter Marianne who runs for Florida State University. After he became a marathoner in 2007, he has been helping people achieve long distance run goals. He love to help people achieve their full potential as long distance runners. He is also an RRCA Certified Running Coach and has the USATF Level I Course.
Luis has been running for the past 11 years and has proudly completed all the 17 marathons he has participated in, including 5 World Marathon Majors! These include Boston (2), New York (2), Chicago (4), London, Berlin, Tampa Gasparilla, Jacksonville, Miami (2), A1A, Marathon of the Palm Beaches, Poconos, and he has qualified 3 times for Boston Marathon. Berlin Marathon by far being the most challenging because he walked the whole route with 3 fractured vertebras and coming back from knee and both Achilles surgeries. He has also completed over 20 Half Marathons. His first marathon was the 2007 New York City Marathon finishing in 3:37, where he knew this was his favorite distance. He qualified for his first Boston Marathon in the 2008 Tampa Gasparilla with a time of 3:17!
Marathon running gives him a wonderful opportunity to travel with his family. He tries to accommodate family vacations around the races! But also, it gave him the opportunity to run with a purpose. He raised money, tools, supplies, etc. for the poor and the needy, especially those in the Latin American countries. He also raised more than $7,500 for Autism charities in the US. He is working to put in operation a charity named “Miles of Blessings”, to financially support projects for the poor and the needy in the name of Jesus.
Luis motivation to run is to learn with each race, to help people achieve their goal pacing them and to be closer to God every time he cross the finish line. About his running goals he want to complete the 6 World Marathon Majors, there is only one missing: Tokyo! And then ….. will see what God has in store!
About his favorite running event, Luis believe that each marathon has been unique and has its own charm. But if he has to pick one, Boston Marathon because is the “cream of the cream"!
Luis loves motivating and encouraging people to get to the finish line, and loves being a pacer, www.marathonpacing.com/luis.php
He has been a part of the official Pacing Team at different Marathons. He has paced Chicago (3), Miami (2), A1A, and Marathon of the Palm Beaches! His most rewarded experience as a pacer was the team work done in Chicago 2010, when the temperature when up to more than 80 degrees, guiding people to stay hydrated and focus to finish the race.
Luis is currently the Friends In Training's Weston Head Coach and totally loves the group!
"FIT has blessed me opening its doors for me, they became my running family and it has allowed me to fully develop as a coach! I love to help people achieve their full potential as runners/walkers and human beings"
His motto in life: “One Step at a Time and Miles of Blessings”!
Head Coach Luis
I am a certified RRCA & USATF Level 1 running coach, and lived a life focused on health, athleticism, and general fitness. I believe I have the ability to make a motivated runner extraordinary.
I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and have been active since the age of 3 when much to my parent’s horror, determined to swim, I jumped into our swimming pool. I was privileged to grow up in a place considered an athlete’s paradise (mountains, trails, beaches on my doorstep) and in a school system that makes sport part of the curriculum. I played a variety of sports and competed on the school tennis and swimming teams for many years.
I have run numerous 5k and 10k races for fun and frequently cycled before work along the exquisite coastal roads of Cape Town. I grew up with good nutrition habits and from that am knowledgeable about good eating and believe that “we are what we eat” and good nutrition is a big part of our success as an athlete.
10 years ago I took running more seriously. In 2006 after I was invited to join a group of 12 close friends to run the Hood to Coast Relay Race I decided it was time to join a running group. Hood to Coast was an unforgettable experience I will cherish forever.
To date, I have run countless races, been listed in Florida’s Fastest and placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd on many occasions. My first marathon was Toronto in October 2010, where to my surprise I qualified for Boston which I ran in 2011. The marathon then became my favorite race distance. I live to attain goals and after Boston my goal was to complete the World Majors. I reached that goal in April 2015 after running the London Marathon.
I believe in always doing my best, in pushing myself and never giving up. Training for a marathon is grueling and takes discipline – running the marathon is the fun part. “When I race, it is not about beating anyone, it is about focusing on myself and doing the best I can. Training and running 26.2 miles is not just physical but very mental and both have to be in sync to be successful. I love the mental challenge (which can be applied to other aspects of our lives) and the importance of being in tune with my body. The race begins at the 18th mile and the fun starts at the 20th that is when I feel great and love playing with the speed and excitement of getting to the finish line. The emotion and joy to cross the finish line of a marathon is the ultimate high.
I am extremely passionate about running; the benefits, as well as the rewards and studied the science of running for the past 3 years. My dream is to coach people to reach their running goals through sensible training, good running form and doing this in conjunction with the right nutrition. Currently I coach private clients along with having the honor to be Head Coach for the Douglas High Cross Country Team. I also have a diploma as an Assistant Teacher, studied Child Psychology and worked as an assistant Pre-K Teacher at a Pre-school for 2 years.