Archives for February 2017

Our Coaches

David (Super Dave) Raines

Organizer -

I began running in my mid 20’s, but not competitively.  Running to me at the time was more of a way to be healthy and stay fit.  It was not until the summer of 2011 that a co-worker asked if I would be interested in running the Aramco half marathon.  I became overwhelmed by the thought of running over 13 miles straight.  But, in spite of that I set my fears aside and decided to take the challenge.  I became so excited after finishing the Aramco half and learning that my time was 1:49.  Afterwards I started signing up for other races in the area.  To date I’ve run over 10 10k’s, 10 5k’s,  14 half marathons,  and over 7 marathons and including The Boston Marathon, New York and Chicago.  Check out all of my races on  It was all the hard work and training that got me there.

I joined Bay Area Fit in the summer of 2012.  With the training that I have received from the club I was able to improve my time over the years and just become a better more competitive runner.  I did this by hard work and committing to the program.  Not only did I increase my running time but I’ve also gained countless friendships.  Now I am a better more experienced runner, thanks to USA Fit Bay Area.  We have a great coaching staff who will definitely get you to the finish line with proven results.  Come run with a fellow runner/walker.  We will help you every step of the way  – no matter what your goal.  If your goal is a Marathon/Half Marathon, if you are walking or running, Bay Area Fit will get you the training necessary to get you to the finish line.  I am looking forward to a new season with BAF.

“We all have dreams.  But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”
-Jesse Owens-

Priscilla Fierro

Organizer -

Hey ya’ll, welcome to Bay Area Fit!  I joined BAF in 2006 when I trained for the Aramco Half Marathon.  I loved the way I felt and the friendships I made at BAF, so 10 years later I’m still at it.

I have 10 marathons under my belt and between 30 – 40 half marathons.  It’s addicting!!!!!!  I hope I can help you accomplish your goals while you’re with BAF.

Paula Clemens

Organizer -

When I was growing up I avoided all things athletic.  I ran a few 5K’s in my 20’s, but then fitness took a back seat to family and career.  At age 50, with my son graduating from high school and my husband graduating from law school, I was able to focus on fitness again.  After losing 50 pounds, I began running to maintain my weight loss.  On a whim I ran the Turkey Day 5K in 2009, and I was hooked on running.  I trained for and ran progressively longer distances.  Finally my trainer suggested that I run a marathon.  My initial response was a resounding “No way!”  But in 2011 I joined Bay Area Fit, and it’s changed my life.  I have completed 5 full marathons, and I recently qualified to run the 2017 Boston Marathon.  The experience, encouragement and camaraderie of other Bay Area Fit runners and coaches have helped me get through the ups and downs, challenges and successes along the way.

Welcome to Bay Area Fit!  It’s changed my life…it can change yours too if you are ready to Commit…Train…Succeed.

Grant Bue

Head Coach - Orange Group

Thirteen years ago I had knee surgery to repair a meniscus that was torn in a fall.  I had become overweight and I think that contributed to the weakness in my knees.  Once I was cleared for exercise I joined a fitness class at NASA that focused on running.  I did the second part of the class in the summer and was invited by the instructor to try a marathon.  In January of 2004 I ran my first marathon training all by my lonesome.  The next two years I did the same.  My wife had joined BAF and invited me to join.  It was so much better in BAF.  The camaraderie, experienced coaching and support have kept me on track.  This will be my 10th consecutive season as a fitter, and my first as a coach.  I have completed twelve consecutive Houston Marathons, one other Marathon, three 50K and one 50-mile trail race.  What I have learned through all these seasons is Fitters are family.  Welcome to the BAF family!

Bill Carr

Assistant Coach - Orange Group

This will be my 4th year with Bay Area Fit and my 1st year as assistant orange coach. I’ve run numerous half marathons and 8 full marathons since 2012 when I first started running.

I’ve been blessed with having a lot of success achieving my goals for such a short running career. I own most of my success to the fine coaches of Bay Area Fit, and the USA Fit training programs.

I look forward to helping all of you achieve your goals, and also to show you how to have a little fun along the way.  The improvement in your health and the friends you make along the way will change your life!

John Riekert

Head Coach - Red Group

The satisfaction and joy of voluntary running were unexpected.  As a young participant in team sports, I believed the reason coaches saved the conditioning for the end of practice is that we would all quit if practice started with all that running.  Fast forward several years and I find the best way to start a good day, or a great weekend, is with a nice planned run.  I never saw that coming.

I especially like training with BAF.  The cooperative atmosphere and peer group support has really helped me develop as a runner. Young or old, experienced or green, BAF has something to help you reach your next logical level of fitness in the 2016-2017 running season.


Gretchen VanBeers

Assistant Coach - Red Group

I have completed 9 marathons and 30-40 half marathons. I look forward to training and completing my 10th marathon with you this season.   The sense of accomplishment from completing your first half marathon, first marathon or 40th race is amazing.  I hope you will enjoy the experience as much as I do.   Hopefully your coaches and fellow running club members at Bay Area Fit will help you meet your personal goals this year!


Chris Struck

Assistant Coach - Red Group

I have always been in to fitness, but that fitness mainly included lifting weights. I never considered running as a part of fitness until I joined Bay Area Fit. Running started with wanting to complete a marathon as a bucket list item. Now in less than a year, I have a marathon, 3 half marathons, two 10k’s, and two 10 milers, among others, under my belt. I could never have done this without Bay Area Fit and the support and camaraderie it provides.

Bay Area Fit will give you a solid training plan and the confidence to complete your 1st marathon or the confidence and training you need to improve your next marathon finish time. I look forward to helping marathoners achieve a goal that I can only describe as amazing when you achieve it. Good luck this year!

Tara Ready

Assistant Coach - Red Group

I joined Bay Area Fit in 2015 to become more physically active and stay healthy.  When the season began I joined the Purple Walkers Half Marathon group.   Soon thereafter I decided to try running and became immediately hooked.  Since then I enjoyed running so much I decided to take the challenge and  moved up to the Blue Half Marathon group.  Then after carefully thinking about it I became so excited about running that the challenge became even greater.  I decided why not run a full marathon and so I finally ended up with the Red Marathon group.  Mind you that prior to joining USA Fit Bay Area I had never ran before.  Since joining the club I have completed one ultra, one marathon, six half marathons, two ten milers and numerous 5K’s.  And I am not finished yet.

I enjoy doing intervals and running and walking.  I am working on increasing my speed in order to improve my time during my races.  One of the perks of running is I enjoy the training but best of all the medals “Bling” I get from the races at the finish!

There are a lot of things I like about running.  You become healthier, more in shape, less visits to the doctor, but the best thing is the many friendships the club has brought into my life.    I have met some of the kindest, most supportive and motivating people that have now become my long lasting friends.  Bay Are Fit has become indeed my second family.

I had the courage to start, the strength to endure and the determination to finish.  I am excited to be part of the coaching team and look forward to helping you achieving your goals.

Jessica Wilbur

Assistant Coach - Red Group

I started my running journey in 2011 using the C25K program and instantly loved it. I mainly ran 5k’s and 10k’s over the years, kept most of my runs under 5 miles and around my neighborhood. In 2016 I joined Bay Area Fit to train for a Half Marathon, have some company on long runs and commit to a program. What I gained was so much more than that. Shortly after joining, I decided to take a plunge and switch to the full marathon training program. Coaches and members soon became friends and like a second family. For me, training with BAF keeps running fun while also improving my running performance. In 2016/2017 I set a PR for every single distance I’ve ever run. 1 mile, 5k, 10k, Half and Full Marathon! I am so happy to come back this year as an assistant coach and help you reach your goals, too!



Kristin Martin

Assistant Coach - Red Group

In December 2012 my husband, Chris, bought the family a membership to the local YMCA as a surprise Christmas gift.  It was his hope that it would start a fire for all of us to get back into fitness and get ourselves healthier.  We all started to use it and saw results.  Things were going well there for several months.  Then, in the spring of 2013 he started up a conversation with me about this running club he heard about called Bay Area Fit.  He learned that if we joined Bay Area Fit they would train you to start running.  Soon thereafter we joined and committed to the marathon training.  I did it for him at the time, thinking maybe I could enjoy running with other people.    I was thinking again at the time as long as I do it with him it’ll be alright.  Soon after I did not only started to enjoy the core workouts, friendships and the results that followed, but I also developed a love for running.  Sadly due to physical injuries I did not complete my first marathon, but I didn’t give up.  Running became a way of life for me.  It really kicked in when I was invited to participate in the Texas Independence Relay (TIR) in 2014.  The things I love about running are, it got me through the rough days, kept me inspired through my pregnancy in late 2014 into 2015 and is what I look forward to when I have plans that don’t pan out in life.  I enjoy the training, the friendships, the time alone, the physical and mental changes that running has brought to my life.  Though my husband still is my biggest fan, I now run because I love it and I am on a mission to keep getting better.  I plan to show the other mothers out there how to make this happen with kids in your schedule.  It can be done.  I will be completing a marathon with you all in 2017 and I can’t wait to make that happen.

Warren Hall

Assistant Coach - Red Group

After a twenty-year hiatus from serious training, I joined Bay Area Fit in the summer of 2016 to meet other runners and experience the comradery that comes from training with friends.  The next thing I knew I was signed up for the 2017 Houston-Chevron marathon.

What I found with Bay Area Fit is a bunch of very nice people who share a passion around improving their fitness.  I enjoy the conversations and mutual support on the long runs and the ability to meet up with other runners during the week for other training distances.  In addition to their training plan and organization, Bay Area Fit provides me with the discipline to get some core exercise and stretching every week along with a forum to learn about nutrition and advice from individuals who have succeeded in running Boston.

Running and exercising is much more successful and enjoyable when done with a group.  I look forward to helping you achieve goals you may not think possible.  Earlier this year I crossed the finish line at Chevron with two new friends, I have a lot more finish lines to cross.

John Paul Garcia

Head Coach - Blue Group

I started running in 2007 to get into shape for pick up basketball games but somehow I fell in love with distance running.  I never looked back.  The extra pounds I had been carrying around came off and I joined BAF full of energy.  Training with BAF, I’ve completed around 20 full marathons (I don’t count them any longer) and have been blessed to finish every race I’ve entered.  In 2013 I humbly accepted the coach of the year award for BAF and credit all of my running friends for any coaching success I’ve had.  This picture is from the Madrone Trail by Canyon Lake, TX. 8/10/17

Dave Conklin

Assistant Coach - Blue Group

Dave Conklin

Assistant Coach – Blue Group

I’ve lived in the Clear Lake area of Houston for over 20 years, having moved from Nashville while in military service.  When in the military, we were required to run for physical fitness.  Then I dabbled with running as exercise and to assist with my tobacco cessation, but never really understood how to run distances.  My longest distance was a 10k run which at that time I couldn’t even convert to miles.  Then in 2005 I joined one of the legacy Clear Lake running clubs discovering the sport provided therapeutic benefit for life stress management, athletic goal achievement, and a fabulous way to socialize with new friends.

A key learning from my running experience – we all come in difference sizes, shapes, speeds, and levels of zaniness.  It’s the love of the sport and the people that keeps me coming back.  After signing up with my first running training club we gradually increased our training mileage distance, which led to 10k runs, then to Half Marathons, full Marathons, 200 mile Texas relay races, and out of state destination races.  I’ve hung all those race medals in my closet, never maintaining a count of how many races I’ve finished.  So far I’ve finished every race I started including at least five marathons, two 30k trail runs and over 30 half marathons.

This is my 6th year to train with Bay Area Fit and 4th year to coach with the Blue Group.  I’m very excited to share my running learnings with new runners.

Donna Reb-McNeel

Assistant Coach - Blue Group


I am a wife, mother, web-developer, licensed realtor, and dog-lover who loves to jog in order to stay fit, spend time with people, and decrease stress. My interest in jogging began in high school when my track coach encouraged me to run because he thought I had a talent for it. I have run for exercise on and off since high school around my house for 1-3 miles or at the gym on the treadmill. Many years ago I heard of the Bay Area Fit group and thought it would be fun to join, but I didn’t know anyone who was a part of the group. After I joined the UTMB multimedia lab in 2015 I met Stephen Raney who was training for a full marathon with his family and he asked me to join, so in 2016 I did that. The whole BAF group was very welcoming, goal-oriented, and positive, so I loved it. This year I plan to serve as Assistant Coach for the blue group who mainly trains for the half marathon because I ran the Aramco half marathon in Jan. 2017 and the Santa Hustle half marathon along with the Space City 10 Miler in 2016, so I want to continue that pattern. The 13.1 mile mark is one that I am comfortable with and I like to build speed to beat my time in each race. I have achieved a personal best in each race so far and I look forward to leading a part of BAF this year to share one of the things that makes me happy-running.
All the Best