Champions FIT – Chapter Coaches

Champions FIT Coaches

Champions FIT coaches are ready and here for you to being your training! For any program or season, these coaches will help prepare you for any race!

Helen O'Connell


Helen is originally from the Midwest (Illinois) but has been living and training in the Houston area since 2008.  She ran in high school – cross country and track, but took a break after graduating from running that would last for about 15 years to attend and graduate from college, get married, move to a different state, raise two kids, and hold a full-time job.  This left little to no time for training/running.  It wouldn’t be until 2012 that she would run her first Aramco Houston half marathon.  A year later she ran her first marathon, The Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, TX. Since than she has run numerous distances from 5k’s to marathons (6 to be exact) and has run the Aramco half or Chevron marathon every year since 2012.  Her goals for the upcoming year are to keep enjoying running, to stay healthy, and injury free.  She likes running because it’s fun and you get to meet other people who enjoy it like you do that you otherwise would not have gotten to meet plus it keeps you in shape.

Heather Hengesteg

Head Coach - Half Marathon Group

Heather decided to take on the personal challenge and desire to run her first half marathon in 2014.  She has run 4 half marathons since then. When not out running, she’s with her family chasing the kids around!  Heather looks forward to meeting you all and running along side you this season!

Himanshu Arora

Assistant Coach - Marathon Group

Himanshu moved to Houston from India in 2012. His elder brother is a marathon runner and his hub of motivation. He started running back in 2016 and since then there was no looking back. He has run 2 half marathons, 2 full marathons and multiple 5Ks to date. He loves running half marathons, but his favorite is a Sam Houston 5K (1st Jan) race where he continually strives to set a new PR and goals for the year. He also likes to run obstacle races. He is an IT professional, happily married and runs to stay fit. “Crossing the finishing line” – is his powerful running mantra.

Mark Danheim

Assistant Coach - Marathon Group

Mark has been a casual runner for years, usually only running one 5k per year.  As his 5k times started to decline, he decided he needed some endurance training so he joined Champions Fit in 2017.  When he started he said he would not run a half or a full marathon, his only objective was to improve 5k times.  Well, the 5k time still hasn’t improved, but he’s run the Baylor Bearathon Half (billed as the toughest half in Texas due to extreme hills) and the Houston Marathon.  His favorite race is the Jameson 5k at Southwestern University, which also has some killer hills.  As the rest of the group will vouch for, running mantras/songs are random and usually occur at 8-10 miles when he’s zonked.  His main goal for this year is to run a better Houston Marathon in 2020.

Dan Nguyen

Assistant Coach - Half Marathon Group

Dan has been running for 10 years. As a child, he was sick most of the time and never had it in his mind that he could run! His friend, who is a runner, told him “You can run, you will do it!” His first run was a 5K, and after that, he just kept going!

His favorite race is the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. Besides working and running, he likes to travel. His goal is to help other people that want to run, as his friend did for him.

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