Meet Our Coaches

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Head Coaches



Brendan Jackson - Triathlon

bjackson@fleetfeetsyracuse.com

Brendan has been with Fleet Feet Sports since 2005. He coaches all of our triathlon programs. He has over 30 years of total coaching experience. Certifications: USAT Level 1, Good Form Running

I love coaching the triathlon program because it allows me the opportunity to work with athletes who are seeking new challenges. Invariably they are invested in learning new skills, developing those skills and reaching the goals they have set for themselves. Every athlete deserves to be treated like an elite athlete especially when they are balancing the demands of everyday life in order to participate. Training should be a sanctuary in their lives, not a stressor.

Mallory Mitchell - No Boundaries

mmitchell@fleetfeetsyracuse.com 

Mallory has been with Fleet Feet Sports since 2011. She has led our popular No Boundaries program since 2012. Certifications: Good Form Running

I love how running can bring people together, but also affords us the opportunity to go out on our own and clear the mind. I love knowing that whether I’m out on the roads alone or with a group of my Fleet Feet friends, the Syracuse running community is friendly and welcoming! I am so proud to be part of the Fleet Feet Training team, especially No Boundaries; it is the program that helps to transition individuals into confident, educated and healthy runners!

Mandy Howard - Half Marathon, Marathon
mhoward@fleetfeetsyracuse.com 

Mandy has been with Fleet Feet Sports since 2012. She leads all of our longer distance running programs. Certifications: USATF Level 1, Good Form Running, Fleet Feet Sports Certified Coach, RRCA Level 1. 

As a coach for Fleet Feet Sports, I value above all, the chance to meet so many different people from all walks of life, and get to know each and every one of their stories. Their struggles, goals, and dedication inspire my own training as an athlete. My ultimate goal as a coach is to teach my runners to be comfortable with uncomfortable, to confront challenges in both life and running, with courage and respect. 

My own personal running goal is to complete a marathon in each of the 50 beautiful states of our country, and to continue to take "Seen on my Run" photos during my training to serve as a reminder as to how lucky I am to explore our planet on foot. 
 

Hank Church - Personal Best (5K, 10K), Cross Training (FFXT)

Hank has been with Fleet Feet Sports since 2015. He leads our FFXT and 5k/10k programs and assists in coaching our longer distance running programs. Certifications: USATF Level 1, Good Form Running. 

As a coach my goal is to help inspire a healthy lifestyle, leading by example and through informative classes for anyone who is willing to try to push themselves. It is my hope that I can help to create a community of empowered individuals who feel happy and healthy. 

Assistant Coaches, Running Programs

Alan Pack - Named 2015 No Boundaries Mentor of the Year by New Balance and Fleet Feet Sports - I started running 2010 to get into shape and did three half marathons and one marathon within the first year. I have completed five marathons, over a dozen half marathons and countless other races. I started coaching in 2011 to give back to others what I had received. I've taken and coached No Boundaries, 5K/10K, 1/2 marathon and marathon and I'm still thrilled to watch someone complete a new distance or PR.

Terri Beard - I have been running for about 6 or 7 years. I started at 55 years old with No Boundaries. I kept doing NoBo groups for two years; then became a coach. I have also done 5K/10K and FFXT. My goals are to keep running, coaching and completing as many 5K’s as I can. My goals for coaching are to encourage, mentor and help everyone who joins to do the best they can and finish.  

Bob Manfredi - I started running with the Spring 2011 NoBo program, progressed with 5K/10K, half, then marathon programs. I have run four marathons, seven half marathons, the Mountain Goat a couple times, the Boilermaker and a few 10K's  and numerous 5K's. My running goal is to qualify for Boston, but mainly I run because I actually enjoy going out for a run, even at 4:30 in the morning! A lot of people have helped me become a better runner and I strive to do the same for others.

Brian "Slider" Azzoto - My running journey began in 2009, when I signed up for my first No Boundaries program. That year I completed two NoBo sessions and one 5K/10K program and I was hooked! Since 2010 I have coached 11 NoBo sessions, several 5K/10K and a full marathon program. When I first started running, my goal was to get healthy; I never thought it would take me to where I am today. My greatest accomplishments came in 2011 when I completed my first half marathon and 2012 when I did my first marathon. The Fleet Feet running community is like family to me. We are supportive, motivational and encourage each other to be the best we all can be. I coach because I want to give back to Fleet Feet and to everyone who has helped me reach my goals and because I want to inspire people and be what Fleet Feet has been for me through my journey. No matter what your goal, I’m here to let you know you can do it! 

Brian McMonagle - I ran track in High School, but just started running again last year after keeping away from it for many years because of ACL issues. I did the 5K/10K program last summer and then again this spring. This spring I coached both sessions of No Boundaries and I assisted the high school track coach when my kids ran varsity track. My running goals are to improve my 5K time, learn how to run longer distances and ultimately complete a half marathon. My goal as a coach is simple: help inspire other runners to see and reach their running potential. It's hard to put into words the feeling I get when coaching; I simply cant stop smiling as I do the workouts with the group I am coaching.

Cathy Verginio - I have been coaching NoBo now for over eight years and love every minute of it. I love to encourage and motivate our participants to a level that they don't believe they can achieve. I love giving them great information and motivation in all aspects of training going above and beyond what they expected. My own training has included completing NoBo, 5K/10K and FFXT twice each. My goal as a runner is to complete a half marathon and a marathon one day. My goal as a coach is to help our runners through education and motivation to achieve their personal goals. Coaching with Fleet Feet programs has helped me develop a longstanding love for running and being healthy and I can't say enough about the great programs Fleet Feet has to offer.

Steve Challis - As a runner, I have completed 26 5K’s, five 10K’s, the Mountain Goat 10-miler twice, three half marathons, the 18.12 race and two marathons. My goals are to get faster, qualify for Boston and improve my pacing. I have coached the marathon, half marathon, 5K/10K, NoBo and NoBo2 programs. My goals as a coach are to pass on the Fleet Feet experience to help others reach their goals. I want everyone to feel like they belong, they are not alone and they are part of our team! I want to continue to learn so I can be a better coach in the future.

Harold Smith - I live on a small farm in Hastings with my two children, where we raise dairy goats and chickens. I started running about a year and a half ago with Fleet Feet, starting with NoBo and then moving up to half marathon. To me, its all about positive thinking. When I started half marathon training I didn’t think I could do it, but my coach convinced me that with positive thinking, it was possible. Coaching allows me to give back because I’ve been there, just starting out, thinking you can’t do it. 

Karyl Sargent - I started running about six years ago when my son was joining the cross country team in high school and needed someone to run with him over the summer. Shortly after that we both signed up for the 5K/10K program. I started coaching the next session and have been doing it ever since. I have run eight marathons so far (including Boston twice) as well as several halfs and 5Ks. I hope to run a 50K in the future. I enjoy coaching and encouraging other runners. The other participants inspire me and it is heartwarming to see everyone encourage each other and watch as every runner gets faster and attains goals they didn't think were possible when they started. 

Kelly Neish - I started as a No Boundaries participant in 2007. I then did the 5K/10K program twice and last fall I completed my first half marathon. My running goal is to complete two half marathons this year (both are scheduled in October). I have now been coaching for over five years. As a coach, I enjoy meeting new people, watching people succeed and motivating others to reach their goals.

Bill Karl - I began my Fleet Feet experience by participating in the 5K/10K program in 2008, began coaching the same year and have been coaching every year since. My running goals are to complete a half marathon in less than two hours, run all of Disney's half marathons and complete 100 races within two years (I am up to 81). As a coach, I believe ALL participants can be successful in completing the program. It is the start of a life long journey in believing in yourself and being able to conquer anything you put your mind to. Coaching NoBo is an amazingly rewarding experience for me. I am so proud of each runner that puts forth the effort to succeed.

Kate Elstad - I started running four years ago as a participant in the No Boundaries program. My goal at the time was to be able to run the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World with my two best friends. Not only did I complete NoBo and eventually run that half marathon, I’ve gone on to run several more halfs and I am currently training for my first marathon. In the past year I’ve discovered that I really love trail running and I’m always on the lookout for the next great running adventure. I love coaching NoBo because it allows me to pay it forward and help new runners meet their goals. There is nothing more fun than running our goal races with my team and seeing all of them cross the finish line and see how far they’ve come. Running is an adventure, you never know where the trail will take you, and running with Fleet Feet and NoBo has been and continues to be a blast!

Mara Hanley Pallatto - I have been a runner my whole life, but I have become very serious about it within the last five years. To get myself back into running, after a few years away from it, I became a participant in NoBo. From there I participated in the 5K/10K program and followed it with the half marathon program. Soon after I started coaching for Fleet Feet. Being a coach for Fleet Feet means so much to me. I love meeting new people and helping them to achieve their running goals. Everyone that I meet also helps me to achieve my goals as a runner. I completed my first marathon in October 2014, and I could of not done it without the support of Fleet Feet! I followed that up with my second marathon this spring and I will be doing my third marathon this fall.  

Nancy Walker - A few years ago, I couldn’t run across my living room! At almost 60 years old, I took my first No Boundaries class and have been running ever since. At 65, I have completed many 5Ks and 10Ks and even a half marathon! The encouragement I have received from the Fleet Feet coaches keeps me motivated. Today, although I may not be the fastest, I know how great it feels to cross the finish line and love seeing the faces on the newcomers when they complete their first race! As a retired teacher, I have always enjoyed sharing what I have learned and mentoring new runners, especially those of my “vintage.” It's the best way I have found to give back to those who helped me when I started out. 

Marge Ventrone - I recently celebrated my four year running anniversary! I am also a two-time graduate of the 5K/10K program and currently training with Fleet Feet Tri Program to do the IronGirl for the second time. I have had the honor and pleasure of being a volunteer coach in the NoBo program for three seasons. It’s the perfect opportunity to share my passion for the sport and to give back to the program, which has given me so much. I’ve completed numerous 5Ks, the Mountain Goat three times (my most favorite race) and three half marathons. I am proof that “running changes everything.”

Maryclair Grace - Running has changed my life. I participated in No Boundaries about five years ago and it was a great experience. I actually repeated the program, the second time with a friend who saw me running and wanted to try it also. I’ve since done 5K/10K and the Half Marathon programs. I have met great people through all the programs who are very supportive of each other. I have completed three half marathons, the Mountain Goat twice and many 5K’s. I love being a coach because I can really relate to all those who come to the NoBo program with some anxiety. I always tell them, if I can do it, so can you!

Ellen Griffin - I have completed events from 5K to marathon. I am not competitive, just run for fun! My goal as a runner is to keep moving and not gain weight as I age. As a coach, my goal is to get inside people's heads and convince them that running is the most money- and time-economical way to be fit! In addition to co-owning Fleet Feet Sports in Syracuse with my husband, Ed, we also co-own two English Bull Terriers that we show in Conformation, Agility, Obedience and Tracking.

Lisa CrandallI had never raced before when I signed up to do Iron Girl. My friend Kelly offered to run with me. To be honest I walked/ran that portion of the tri but seeing how I improved inspired me to keep running and within a year I was also coaching. I enjoy coaching because I love watching people discover what they can do when they never thought they could. I also now use my running to raise awareness and funds for Rett Syndrome. I am currently in training for my next half marathon in NC, "I Run for Her." Running has helped me while helping others. It has changed my life.

Tish Ferri - My goal as a runner is to complete a full marathon and to increase my pace. The main reason I love coaching: meeting awesome people. I feel I learn more from my participants than I teach them. The camaraderie is amazing and seeing the smiles on the runners' faces when they cross the finish line touches my heart. My favorite quote: "If it wasn't hard, everyone will be doing it. It's the hard that makes it great." 

Jennie Dougherty - I started my running as part of my life style change to lose weight and get healthy about five years ago. I started with No Boundaries and then with the encouragement of my coaches took a big step to the half marathon. As a runner, my personal goal is to continue to be "comfortable with being uncomfortable." I want to have fun challenging myself with new long distance runs, while exploring new places and meeting other great runners! I have coached NoBo, Half Marathon and the Boilermaker Distance program. As a coach, I encourage the participants to remember how strong they are. It takes a lot of motivation, confidence and work to reach our goals, but everyone can achieve it! My goal is to help participants remember this, especially when the little voice inside their head says that they can't! What I love about coaching is the people! 

Assistant Coaches, Triathlon Programs

Sarah Bettinger - I started my own exercise adventures in 2011 after going through a dramatic weight loss of 125 lbs following having my second son. Wanting to find a way to keep motivated and healthy I signed up for Fleet Feet’s Beginner Tri Program. I have gone from crossing the finish line on my first 5k and then Irongirl to completing Syracuse 70.3, the Philly Marathon, the Patriotman Aquabike and competing in the Olympic distance at Nationals last year in Milwaukee. I went from being an athlete to coaching after that first year and have loved every minute of it. I have coached the 5K/10K program, the kids NoBo group and the beginner, intermediate and 70.3 Triathlon programs. While swimming and biking are my favorites, I have recently begun training for trail running races and am looking to do my first 30k trail race later this year. My goals as a coach are to help people see that the impossible is very possible and that the journey is so worth it! Seeing the athletes crossing those finish lines and doing what they had not dreamed of doing or had feared doing, that joy on their faces from realizing they accomplished a dream is the greatest joy! 

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