Our Coaches

Coach Stacy

Home Town: Nashville, Tennessee

Current Profession: Race Director

Years Running: 30 years

Favourite Distance Race: 26.2 miles

Favourite Running Memory: Running the Rift Valley Half Marathon in Kenya with young children running alongside me, or in front of me!

Favourite Place You’ve Ever Run: Sewanee, Tennessee

Where You Hope to Run One Day? I’d like to return to Kenya

Why Do You Run? Running makes me feel strong, healthy, confident and proud to be a runner

Why Do You Coach? I discovered running as a teenager and I loved it right away. However, I fell into running by accident and had no running role models to tell me that I was starting something I could do for the rest of my life.  Through coaching young girls I hope to show them the long term health benefit (mental and physical) of running as well as expose them to the fun of it too.

What Would You Tell Your 13-Year-Old Self? Stop caring so much about what boys (or anyone for that matter) thinks or says about you. Instead go for a run and invite your best friend to join you. Embrace a new way of thinking: “I don’t chase boys, I pass them!”

Stacy Chesnutt
Coach Melissa

Home Town: Pembroke, Ontario

Current Profession: Student

Years Running: 9 years

Favourite Distance Race: 5km

Favourite Running Memory: Getting mud splatters on my shirts & ice baths

Favourite Place You’ve Ever Run: Trails around my house in Ontario

Where You Hope to Run One Day? I hope to run in the Yukon

Why Do You Run? Running makes me feel strong and humble

Why Do You Coach? So other’s can discover what running can give them

What Would You Tell Your 13-Year-Old Self? Your body is strong but it is not invincible. Listen to your body telling you to rest, and know when it’s ok to push yourself.

Melissa Mantifel
Coach Erinn

Home Town: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Current Profession: Manager, Talent Acquisition

Years Running: 7 years

Favourite Distance Race: It’s a toss up between the 10k and a half marathon! Either distance that I can share with my besties!

Favourite Running Memory: Running Approaching the finish line of my first full marathon in Toronto and seeing my Mom, Dad and husband waiting for me at the finish line. Their faces said it all, it was a very proud moment and happy memory for me.

Favourite Place You’ve Ever Run: Around the Charles River in Boston (it’s in a lot of movies as a famous running shot – so naturally I too am famous).

Where You Hope to Run One Day? Italy

Why Do You Run? To clear my mind and socialize with other runners, some of which have become my closest friends.

Why Do You Coach? To instill health and happiness in others at a young age. I didn’t have a program like this available to me when I was young and I know I would have benefited from it.

What Would You Tell Your 13-Year-Old Self? Start running now, don’t wait until your 30! Listen to your body so you can keep running and stay injury free.

Erinn Smeltzer
Coach Brynn

Home Town: Victoria, BC

Current Profession: Student

Years Running: 10 years on and off

Favourite Distance Race: 1 mile (who doesn’t love going fast)

Favourite Running Memory: Running with my dog Jazz along the water back home watching the sun rise

Favourite Place You’ve Ever Run: Salt Spring Island – coast of BC. Lots of hills, tall trees, and alpacas. Very few cars!

Where You Hope to Run One Day? Spain or Portugal (mainly for the food).

Why Do You Run? It’s the best way to start your day (other than coffee). It’s a way to see new cities and places, make new friends all while getting stronger and faster.

Why Do You Coach? Hopefully to show kids that you can do lots of things and still have running/physical activity be a fun and rewarding part of your life. (And because they aren’t afraid to race ya (and then beat you)).

What Would You Tell Your 13-Year-Old Self? Be your weirdest most authentic self – good things will happen.

Brynn Walker
Coach Jenna

Home Town: Halifax, NS

Current Profession: Marketing Manager

Years Running: 5 years

Favourite Distance Race: 10km

Favourite Running Memory: Finishing my first half marathon and having all of my family and friends there to cheer me on

Favourite Place You’ve Ever Run: I like to run beside the ocean whenever I can

Where You Hope to Run One Day? Chicago or New York Marathon

Why Do You Run? Running is a great way to challenge yourself! I love running because every race gives me a chance to push myself further and do the best I can.

Why Do You Coach? When I was younger I wish there had been a program with coaches like this to keep me engaged in running, the same way coaches in other sports kept me engaged. Having someone teach you and motivate you can really help you stick with it, and I want to make sure that I am helping motivate and teach girls how great running can be!

What Would You Tell Your 13-Year-Old Self? Just be yourself and worry less about whatever everyone else thinks! You can really miss out on exciting things if you are always worried about what everyone else will think, don’t be scared to be different and try something new.

Jenna LeBlanc
Coach Tracy

Home Town: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Current Profession: Business Analyst

Years Running: 13 years

Favourite Distance Race: 10k

Favourite Running Memory: Running my first 10K and finishing in under an hour

Favourite Place You’ve Ever Run: Machu Picchu, Peru

Where You Hope to Run One Day? Indonesia

Why Do You Run? Running is very social for me, it’s one of the ways I’ve made some great friends and also one of the ways I can easily maintain friendships when we all get so busy.

Why Do You Coach? I coach because I get so much joy out of it. It is so amazing to help children and teenagers work towards a goal and achieve it. It’s a privilege to get to see their confidence grow and the look of joy they get when they feel accomplished.

What Would You Tell Your 13-Year-Old Self? Try lots of activities, figure out what brings a smile to your face, aim to meet lots of people and determine who your people are. It’s OK to stop an activity when you don’t enjoy it and it’s OK to stop spending time with people who aren’t really your people. These are things even adults struggle with so the earlier you learn who you are, the happier you will be.

Tracy Chesnutt
Coach Kristin

Home Town: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Current Profession: Sales Manager

Years Running: 11 years

Favourite Distance Race: 10km

Favourite Running Memory: Finishing my first Half Marathon in Toronto

Favourite Place You’ve Ever Run: Holyrood Park, Scotland

Where You Hope to Run One Day? New Zealand

Why Do You Run? Running makes me feel good.  It helps me clear my mind and makes me feel strong and fit.  I also love the people that I get to meet when I run.  I’ve met some of my best friends running!

Why Do You Coach? I want to share my love of running with girls in hopes that they’ll love running too.  Seeing the Gazelles cross the finish line at their graduation runs is the best feeling in the world!

What Would You Tell Your 13-Year-Old Self? Keep active doing something you love!  No matter your activity, keep doing it so it’s a habit you continue throughout your life to be the best version of yourself!

Kristin Ross