The Coaches

Organizer – Mary Chen

I first started running in college because it was good exercise, but I never saw myself as a serious runner. I had no idea in the next 10 years, running would change my life. I found my running family in Portland.  I love running road, trail, relays, and half marathons. I started traveling for races and building community everywhere I went.  I joined Portland Fit last year because I finally decided to run my first marathon.  The coaches had so much experience and support to share, it kept me coming back. I’m inspired and grateful for every runner who has been part of my journey. I look forward to making 2018 the best year yet!

YELLOW – Deb Brown

I joined Portland Fit in 2013 with the goal of training to run my first marathon. I had walked the Portland Marathon twice before, with the help of a friend’s mom who was a marathon walker. I never thought I could run a marathon - I was more of a hiker and walker. But after hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011, I entered Portland a 3rd time, and ended up jogging about 23 miles of the course (with backpacking as my training), because walking on the pavement was hurting my legs.That made me believe and dream I could do it! But I needed a structure to keep me on track, and some support. I was scared. I saw an email about PFit, and loved that it included all paces, walkers and runners. I followed the schedule to a T, doing my long runs alone on vacations, and track work at the local park. I got stronger throughout the season, and improved my time by 47 minutes! Plus I made friends, and had a new healthy hobby.I started assistant coaching in 2015, after two seasons of PFit. I stepped up as a head coach in 2017.  I love having a go-to fitness routine that is flexible. I can run road or trails; solo or with friends. It’s easy to bring running gear on vacation, and explore a local recreation path or join the local running club. Most of all, I’m grateful for the sense of community and friendships I’ve gained from running!My first five marathons were the Portland Marathon (walker in 2008, first real run with Portland Fit in 2013). My goal for 2018 is to work on my 10k speed and gradually add distance while recovering from a knee injury. If all goes well, I’d love to run the Marine Corps Marathon in the fall.

YELLOW – Maureen Briscoe

I joined Portland Fit because I was terribly unsuccessful at going to the gym. I needed a community, a goal and a bit of peer pressure to keep me honest with my fitness. I’ve been coaching for 3 years. I love having the ability to run and be outside.  It invigorates and inspires me to my core. I love disconnecting from the day to day and connecting with running friends. There are beautiful moments to be experienced and shared. My favorite marathon is the 2001 Portland Marathon. I hope to run the Eugene Full in Spring, then enjoy the PFit community the rest of the season!  I might even be convinced to run another race or two!

RED – Jeff Bethke

In 2006, a friend of mine told me about this running group called Portland Fit that trains ordinary folks to complete their first marathon. Running a marathon had always been a life goal of mine. So in 2007, I signed up with Portland Fit and completed my first marathon. I loved the discipline of having to do my three weekday runs before the long runs on Saturdays. As I figured it, running the marathon at the end of a training season was always icing on the cake! From 2009 to 2014, I served as an A.C. (Assistant Coach) and really loved talking and connecting with members about their training and how their workouts went each week. In 2015, I became Head Coach of the Reds and have loved every minute of it. One of my favorite things about running is the way it makes me feel throughout the week through the great exercise that running provides. I have more energy to do the things that need to be done and I have great stamina throughout the week. One of my other favorite things about running with PFit on Saturday mornings is finishing a long run (10-14 miles) and having that accomplished usually before many people have even gotten out of bed. My first marathon was the Portland Marathon in 2007 which I finished in 5:42. My favorite marathon was the Portland Marathon in 2009 when I did a run/walk combination and had amazing energy left at the end, passing so many participants with nothing but a grin on my face from ear to ear. (There is nothing like that feeling at the end of a marathon!) This year, my goal is to run a PR (Personal Record) of a 4:15 using a combination of muscle core training and hill/speed work. I can’t wait to hear about your journey and what brought you to Portland Fit. Looking forward to seeing you out there on the trail! – Coach Jeff

RED- Angela Fox

I joined Portland Fit back in 2006 because I had committed to the goal of running a Half Marathon with a friend of mine, but I was completely new to the sport of running.  At the time, the thought of running even 3 miles seemed like a daunting challenge.  Luckily, I heard about Portland Fit's program which happened to coincide with the Half Marathon timeframe that my friend & I wanted to participate in.  Portland Fit not only helped me accomplish my goal of finishing my 1st Half Marathon that year, but the program also helped me accomplish finishing the Portland Marathon as well.  Never in my life would I have thought I could complete a Half Marathon, much less a Full Marathon, but with the Portland Fit program and all of the support & encoragement of its members I was able to do it!  I enjoyed the Portland Fit community & program so much that I've returned each year for most of the years since then, and now since 2016 I've given back to the community by assisting as an Assistant Coach.  I really enjoy encouraging & inspiring new runners to reach their goals & to see their astonishment at how far they can push themselves with the right training - it's priceless to see!  Plus I really enjoy the whole atmosphere around running events & the running community.  There is such a positive energy & commradary associated with the sport.  I hope you come to love the sport as much as I have!

RED – Carla Zweigart

I joined Portland Fit because I love running and I wanted to help others achieve their goal of completing their first marathon. I believe in the program and the non-threatening way we gently encourage and lead our groups. It is not competitive with anyone but yourself.  I’ve been coaching 13 years.  Running gives me peace. I like to run in the morning. It just sets my day for me. It is my therapy and something I do for me. I started running after my mom passed away. I love how my mind can just roam and I can sort out all the issues of my day/life. I feel it makes me a better mother, wife, employee and friend. Portland Marathon 2014 was my first marathon and I loved it. I've run 11 more since then. Numerous halfs and 10k, 5K. My goal is to pick a marathon and run it well. Also to run a 10K and win in my age group :).  

RED – Jean Shepherd

I joined Portland Fit in 2012 to see what it would be like to walk a marathon.  I'd just started changing my eating habits on a long-term basis and was looking for an activity that required ongoing, long-term commitment toward a specific goal - something I didn't get from gym classes and workouts. I walked the Portland Marathon that year, 10 days before my 59th birthday, ran it the next and as of January 2018 have completed 11 marathons, including two 50K ultras. I started coaching in 2014 to be there for members the way others had been there for me in the beginning - and are still today. 2018 marks my fifth year as a "red cap". My favorite thing about distance running and walking is the sense of freedom, space and simultaneous exhilaration and peace I experience, whether I'm running by myself on a cold, rainy day, or on a gorgeous early summer morning with friends. In 2018, I'm planning to run the Eugene Marathon and from there, I'll play it by ear. We're privileged to live in running heaven, with road and trail runs of all sizes and distances available year long. It all started with Portland Fit:  A one-and-done quickly morphed into a passion and membership in a community of amazing, supportive, energetic, positive friends.

RED – Rossana Wong

I joined Pfit to conquer the marathon in 2010.  Portland Marathon was my first marathon (of three) and I have been running with Pfit ever since then.  I began to coach in 2012. I love running because it is a cheap easy way to feel accomplished, and also use it as my social time with my friends.  We always have girl therapy/chat time when we go running, and now we try to plan out destination races for girls' weekend too. My goal for 2018 is to keep moving and keep my fitness.  I am getting married in March and need to slim down for that, and Shamrock Half is my regular "pull me out of my winter blahs" target.  I would like to do more cross training and interval training this year as well.

RED – Brian Walker

I joined Portland Fit in 2014 and race-walked the Portland Marathon. Assistant coach for 2 seasons. My favorite thing about race walking is that technique matters more than raw strength. Good technique is the difference between going fast and being exhausted. When I focus on technique, it keeps me moving so that I can finish strong and celebrate my accomplishment. My goal is to race walk the Beaverton Half Marathon faster than last year and participate in two relay races including Portland to Coast. Anything else will be just for fun.

PURPLE – Robin Teitzel

I joined Portland fit to get in shape for a walking vacation. I forget exactly which year I started coaching, but sometime in 2005 the coaches at the time decided I was leading the group often enough the put a hat on me. The fun part of this program is to see the city. We cover quite a bit of distance during the year. Also it is very nice to talk to everyone. My first marathon was 2005, I chose the Portland Marathon. My goal is to do several half marathons this year.

PURPLE – Patty Baird

I joined Portland Fit when in 2012, the year of my 60th birthday.  I joined to train for the Portland Marathon, a goal I set to celebrate my 60th year. I researched other training programs but Portland Fit appeared to be the best and I've never regretted that decision. I’ve been a coach for 3 years.  Portland Fit is not just a running program.  It is also for walkers and that is what sets it apart from many other programs.  So what do I like about walking?  I like walking because it is a good low-impact way to stay fit.  As we age, our bodies sometimes change and we have to modify the activities we do to stay fit.  I have always been active - played women's soccer for 18 years, ran and cycled.  However, now I have to stay with low-impact activities and walking is one of those activities that I can do.  I like walking because I like the outdoors. My first and only marathon was the Portland Marathon in 2012. This year I would like to sign up for at least one other half marathon.