Our Coaches

Brenda Runion

Organizer - Northeast Ohio Fit

How does this group stay so organized? It takes a little bit of effort and a lot of love for NEO Fit!


Mark Paul

Head Coach - 5K, Faster 5K and Faster 10K Training Programs

Hello, my name is Mark Paul and I am the NEO Fit coach for the 5 / 10K runners.

To say that I have been running for a long time is a bit of an understatement.  Running is my bliss. The other day coach Brenda told me that we had been running together for the last 13 years! I didn’t believe her but we did the math and she was spot on.  During that time my wife and I have run a lot of races, generally here in the Midwest and New England. However, my first race was all the way back in 1980. It was a 10K race in Concord Township, Ohio. By the way I ran it in 48 minutes and change.  And believe me, YOU will remember your first race.

Prior to “discovering” NEO Fit, I was just messing around making up my own schedules for training. It worked….but not very well. Soon after our daughter was born in 1992 I learned that I had to cut way back on my running.  As age 50 was approaching and my daughter was becoming somewhat self sufficient, I started back to running fairly consistently. I was using my old tried and true method of making it up as I go. Well, at near 50 that didn’t work so well (injuries) and that is when a friend suggested NEO Fit.

NEO Fit provided me with a workable schedule.  More importantly the friends that I have met and run with every Saturday hold me accountable.  You will find that to be true as well. I find that the people of NEO Fit are the best motivators for helping you reach your goals.

I am excited to get this season started and to meet and run with you all.  As I mentioned, I will be coaching the 5 / 10K runners.  I have reviewed the schedules and they look very manageable. I hope to make the Saturday morning runs as enjoyable/fun as possible.  Before the runs the NEO Fit team puts on informative seminars that address many of the questions that may and do come up during the season.

Brenda Runion

Head Coach - Half Marathon Group - All paces

I can’t tell you how happy I was to find a group like NEO FIT! I have run with the group since 2005 when I decided I wanted to find people to run with on the weekends. Running with the group has made me a better runner and coach. I am constantly inspired by others pushing themselves, creating new boundaries and achieving the ultimate goal of running a half or full marathon.

I started with the half program, not believing that I could ever run a marathon. Once I had a little more confidence and experience, I was able to complete the full marathon. Finishing my first marathon in 2006 was a very personal and powerful experience. I hope to help other people have such meaningful life experiences through running. While a little encouragement and coaching can go a long way, no one can run a race for you. That is the best thing about running – your own two feet have to get you across the finish line. But running with a supportive group of people can sure help!

Terri Schoenholz

Head Coach - Marathon Group - Green Group (under 9:00 minute/mile)

All I wanted to do was run. I really had no interest in finishing a marathon or even a half marathon, but I joined NEO FIT so that I could have some people to run with. Week after week, we would all run together, increasing distance bit by bit. And before I knew it, we were running 10, 15, and over 20 miles on our long runs.

I never imagined I’d be able to run that distance, but my group members made it fun. Everyone encouraged each other, and because of that support, I did run the a marathon that year. Since then, I’ve run many marathons. I have run the Boston Marathon a few times, as well as an ultramarathon. This great group of running friends at NEO FIT have encouraged me and helped me to accomplish goals I never even thought were possible.

Jody Tyrpak

Head Coach - Marathon Group - Yellow Group (9:00-10:30 minute/mile)

During my first years of running, I ran a couple 5Ks. And one summer, I thought I was up for a bit more of a challenge, so I signed up for NEO FIT’s half marathon program. I fell in love with the program from the beginning and quickly switched over to the full marathon group. That first year with NEO FIT, I ran my first 10K, my first 10-miler, my first half marathon, and finally, my first marathon!

It is amazing what you can accomplish with comraderie, shared goals, and wonderful support. And it was so much fun! I found that each week I was really looking forward to the long run with the group. I learned that anyone can truly run a marathon with a supportive group like NEO FIT.  I can’t wait to help others realize their potential. You’ll be amazed by what you are able to accomplish!

Lee Anne Sabol

Head Coach - Marathon Group - Red Group (10:30 minutes/mile and greater)

“I’m going to run a marathon someday.”  I told myself the same thing for several years, but it felt like a daunting endeavor to take on alone. Sure, I ran a few 5ks and even a half marathon long ago, but I hadn’t trained properly on my own, struggled with motivation and injuries, and ended up abandoning running for five years.  In 2009, I decided to reintroduce running into my life and start from scratch by properly training for a 5k. The positive experience of following a solid plan led me to search for a marathon training group that met my needs as a recreational runner. I found NEO Fit online and knew it was the perfect FIT! With multiple pace groups and so many other runners like me in the group, I knew I could succeed! I trained for my first marathon with NEO Fit in 2010 and have run the Akron Marathon every year since then! There is a reason members keep coming back each year; NEO Fit provides the structure, support, encouragement, education, and the excitement to get through the training and past the finish line. I look forward to each new season and meeting new runners to share the excitement of the journey. There is nothing else I’d rather be doing on Saturday mornings than running with friends, and meeting new ones along the way, in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park!