Woodlands FIT – Chapter Coaches

Woodlands FIT Coaches

Woodlands 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!

Mike Smith

Full Marathon Head Coach

Welcome to the Woodlands Fit Full Marathon Group.  The full group has the most fun … since we do spend the most time together… sharing the miles, our lives and our story with each other.

My running story started in 2009, running 5K races for some weekend recreation. After getting hurt (because I did not run during the week), my wife signed me up for “a couch to five-mile” training program. The “training program” became my new daily routine and the “group” my new friends. As my friends decided to run longer distances, I joined Woodlands Fit with them in 2011 and I have been the head coach since 2013. Through the support of the Woodlands Fit running community, I have been able to make and achieve new personal goals and to complete 50 marathons in all 50 US states.  In March 2020, I had the honor of completing my 67th full marathon with my daughter who completed her first full marathon (pictured near mile 26 – both smiling!).

The Woodlands Fit program is designed to get you across the finish line whether it is your first or fiftieth marathon.  We are looking forward to a new season, to all the fun times on the way to the finish line, on hearing your running stories and in helping you achieve your goals! Run Happy!

Vicky Gillmor

Half Marathon Head Coach & RRCA Certified Coach

Welcome to Woodlands Fit! I’m thrilled to be starting my 8th year with Woodlands Fit, 7th year as Half Marathon Head Coach.  I love Woodlands Fit for so many reasons but mainly because of the people and the accountability it provides!

I began my running in career 2008 when I found a local running program that would train me to run 5 miles!! At that time I remember thinking “Wow, to be able to run 5 miles would be amazing!” Well…I ran my first 5 mile race on Thanksgiving Day 2008 and it was awesome…and I was hooked!

To date I have completed many more races including 18 Half Marathons and 5 Full Marathons. I became an RRCA certified running coach in 2011.   I now coach all levels of runners from beginners to intermediates with an emphasis on cross training!  I love coaching and hope to pass along my love of running while helping you get to the finish line!

Mona Draper

Walking Coach

I started long distance walking when my neighbor invited me on the off-season to join some walkers for a short ‘jaunt’ on Saturday mornings.  When it came time to start training for the marathon, I joined Woodlands Fit because I enjoyed the camaraderie.  I never intended to actually do a marathon.  However, before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line at the 2004 Houston Marathon amazed and proud at what I had accomplished! I was hooked after that first marathon experience. Since 2004, I have walked half marathons every year as well as The Woodlands Ten for Texas.

I am a certified USA Fit coach and recently earned RRCA certification. I have been the Purple Walking Coach for Woodlands Fit for 7 years. I hope to share with you my own passion for long-distance walking during those long distances while we train together.

Laura Faria

Co-Organizer & RRCA Certified Coach

Welcome runners! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to assist Melissa as a co-organizer of Woodlands Fit and still run with the amazing runners in Blue/Green full marathon pace group. I have been with Woodlands Fit for nine years. In 2011, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and train for a half marathon. I had never been a fan of running. By the time race day arrived, I was hooked and ready to sign up for a marathon. Since then I have run more than 20 marathons, multiple half marathons, and a number of other races, including the GE Run Thru the Woods, the 10 for Texas, and the Texas Independence Relay. I love running the Goofy Challenge at Disney World because it allows me to run a half marathon with my husband and then challenge myself to run a full marathon the next day. Right now I am working on completing the six Abbott World Marathon Majors. Currently I have run four Boston Marathons, Chicago, New York, and Berlin. Hopefully I will run the 2020 London Marathon in October, and it will be exciting to finish my Six Star journey in Tokyo! Not only does running help keep me fit, but it allows me to challenge myself and is a great way to relax. I can’t wait to help you reach your running goals in a fun and supportive atmosphere. My husband, Ian, and I live in The Woodlands. We have two daughters in college and a thirteen-year old son, who keeps me busy with his lacrosse practices and games.

Melissa Holloway

Organizer

Woodlands Fit is an amazing group of people who come together each Saturday morning during the season to share time and training as we prepare for marathons, half marathons, and races of other distances. I'm excited to lead the 2020-21 season along with Laura to help create a solid season of training. This is my sixth season with Woodlands Fit and third season as organizer. No matter your training goal this season, you’ll find Woodlands Fit coaches and members who will help you succeed. Through the miles, you’ll learn new things about yourself, develop friendships that can last a lifetime, and enjoy the support of the Woodlands Fit family. It’s going to be another great season with miles of smiles!

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