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WHO WE ARE

COACHES

"Behind every successful team is a dedicated Coach who refused to let them be anything
but the best they can be"
- Unknown

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Melissa Paauwe

UESCA Certified Running Coach
UESCA Certified Ultrarunning Coach

Melissa  dabbled in running her whole life but it wasn't until she enlisted the help of a Coach did she really see her potential. With progress came confidence, in all aspects of her life, encouraging to her start her own coaching business to help others find their potential.  Melissa's approach to her clients is very individualized - everyone's plans are designed for them and all levels are welcome in the WRTWC community. 

Melissa has raced at elite levels in the full and half marathon, with top 10 finishes nationally in both events.  She won the Alberta Provincial Time Trial in road cycling in 2017, and has represented Canada at Multisport World Championships (Elite Duathlon, after claiming the national title in 2017). Her greatest accomplishment to date was running the Boston Marathon and finishing 2nd Canadian female.

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Laura Henderson

UESCA Certified Coach

Laura is a CPA who is happily married with 2 young children and a big fur baby. Laura loves to spend time with her family and being outdoors as much as possible. She is also passionate about travel and playing/watching sports of almost all varieties.

 

Laura's love of running started when she ran her first half marathon in 2011 and it has only grown from there. She has now run 8 marathons, 40+ half marathons, and 50+ shorter distance races. The highlight of Laura’s running career so far has been fulfilling her long-time dream of qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon, which she accomplished in 2023!  She is now halfway in her journey to complete the 6 World Major marathons.

 

Laura joined WRTWC as a coach so that she can share her joy of running and help others to see what they’re capable of. She wants people to see that anyone can be a runner, you just need the right plan, motivation, and community to support you!

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Claire Bird

UESCA Certified Coach
UESCA Certified Endurance Sports Nutrition Coach

Claire is a mom of 4 and married to Coach John Bird. She started running for fitness and mental health when the kids were young. To stay motivated she signed up for the Calgary Marathon and was hooked after that! As of writing this post (April 2023), Claire has ran 22 marathons!

Claire loves being in the mountains whether it be skiing, hiking, or backpacking with her family. Having a coach helps Claire balance her running goals and busy life for optimal success and fun. Claire is excited to join the WRTWC coaches roster so she can help others feel successful in their own running journey.

One of Claire's running resume highlights include getting her Abbott 6 Star medal in 2023 in Tokyo. She's no stranger to the marathon majors, as a result, having run Boston 3x. Her experience as an accomplished runner as well as someone who juggles a busy schedule is invaluable to anyone who has a hard time "fitting it all in" while tackling some big goals!

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Paula Johnston

UESCA Certified Coach

Paula is an RN, mother to two teenage girls, a certified running coach, and much more! She loves being out in the mountains trail running or hiking and involves her daughters as much as they'll let her.

Paula started running a decade ago with a bucket list item of running a marathon. Since then she has completed numerous marathons, along with every distance up to a 50k ultra. She believes that running can change your life in the best way possible, and has experienced how positively a coach can impact a runner and their success. She is thrilled to be able to help others experience the same thing.

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Bre Gustafson

Canfitpro Certified Personal Trainer
and Running Coach
UESCA Certified Ultrarunning Coach

Bre was born in Australia and grew up very passionate about sports and fitness including swimming and running. When she moved to Canada she decided to make a career change and turn her passion into her career. She got her personal training certification in 2014 and started her journey. Since then she hasn't looked back and has since become a certified running coach, as well.

Bre became a mother at the end of 2020 and has spent the last year learning how to share her fitness and running journey with her son. You will often see Bre outside stroller running and enjoying the amazing pathways Calgary has to offer. Bre is excited to join WRTWC and help runners become faster and stronger and return from injury smartly.

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John Bird

UESCA Certified Coach
McMillan Certified Coach
VDot Certified Coach

John ran track and cross country in highschool but really fell in love with the sport in 2014 when he ran his first marathon in Toronto. Since then, he has completed 5 of 6 majors with his wife and gearing up for his sixth star.

John is a dad to 4 very active kids. If John isn't running or flying, you will find him skiing, hiking and backpacking with his family in Calgary's big backyard. 

John is happiest supporting others reach their run goals. All of John's teammates can attest to this fact, hence why he makes a great Coach! His commitment to being a pace bunny for Calgary Marathon, not just once but twice, is just a small window of visibility into his desire to give back to the run community.  

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Reinier Paauwe

UESCA Certified Ultrarunning Coach
UESCA Certified Sports Psychology Specialization

Reinier is an experienced road runner and ultramarathoner, competing in distances from 5k to 100 miles! One of his biggest passions is spending long days running in the mountains.

 

Reinier has spent his career in technology, mentoring and coaching, and helping others set and achieve goals in engineering and artificial intelligence.

For the past 15 years, Reinier has competed at the elite level in road cycling, duathlon, road running, and trail & ultrarunning. There he continuously strived to improve his mental game, and is excited to bring this experience and passion towards coaching trail and ultrarunners.

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Blaine Penny

UESCA Certified Coach

Starting at a young age, endurance sports have always been a central theme in Blaine's life. From racing at a national level in XC skiing into his early 20s, then transitioning to rock/ice climbing, mountaineering and backcountry skiing, to developing a love for running. Running has become Blaine's go-to activity to not only stay fit, but also find his community and build lifelong friendships. He has completed over 100 marathons and ultra marathons and continues to develop his love for running into his late 40s.

Professionally, Blaine is an Engineer turned digital health leader and is passionate about all things health and fitness. Blaine loves the unique challenge of the marathon distance and is excited to work with athletes who want to reach their full potential as runners.

Some notable running accomplishments include a 2:27 marathon PB (at age 48), 3x World Major AG podiums, 3x Canadian Ultra Marathon Champion, and 5x Guinness World Record Holder.

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Dr. Rae Laberge

DTCM, RAc, CHN Holistic Nutrition Consultant

With a background in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Holistic Nutrition and a personal perspective as an accomplished ultra runner, Dr. Rae can help you dial in your diet and take your running to the next level. Dr. Rae's holistic approach takes a deeper dive into your overall health and works to support your unique nutritional needs, training goals and health status.

In addition to working with athletes of all levels, Dr. Rae's specialties include working with individuals on fertility/family planning, digestive issues, sleep, and overall health.

Whether you're seeking to shave a few minutes off your PB, looking to support digestive issues, support athlete recovery, correct hormonal imbalances, or tune up your overall nutrition, Dr. Rae is a one-stop-shop for guidance and education.

AMBASSADORS

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Christina Saviskoff

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Brianne Cooper

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Stephen Kallir

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Amber Vrataric

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Steen Hendry

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Catrinel Popescu

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Laura Witczak

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Jon Balint

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