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Meet The Coaches

Mary Johnson | Founder, Running & Strength Coach

Rochelle Basil | Running Coach

Katie Edwards | Running Coach

Kirstin Ritchie | Running Coach

Montana DiPietrantonio | Running Coach

Carly Gill | Running Coach

Kaci Brandt, DPT | Physical Therapist & Running Coach

Nick Klastava | Running Coach

Mary Schneider Denholm | Running Coach

Heather Caplan, RD | Dietitian 


Lift | Run | Perform was founded in 2017 upon the concept that performance running and lifting go hand in hand - and, with the addition of a positive, supportive coaching team: the potential for success is limitless. 


Rochelle Basil joined the LRP team in August, 2017
Katie Edwards joined the LRP team in October, 2017
Heather Caplan joined the LRP team in November, 2017, as the team dietitian
Kaci Brandt joined the LRP team in January, 2018, as the team physical therapist, and began coaching runners in July, 2018
Montana DiPietrantonio joined the LRP team in August, 2018
Lauren Floris joined the LRP team in October, 2018
Carly Gill joined the LRP team in May, 2019
Nick Klastava joined the LRP team in August, 2019
Mary Schneider Denholm joined the LRP team in March, 2020


Mary Johnson

After working in the fashion industry for 6 years (and realizing there was so much more to life than shopping), Mary made a career transition in 2015 and joined the team at Ranfone Training Systems, in Hamden, CT, as a strength coach. She began coaching runners with Mckirdy Trained in 2016; and launched LRP in 2017.

She has had the pleasure of coaching runners of all levels and abilities - from sub-3 marathons to beginner 5ks. She believes in a slow progression and constant communication between coach and athlete. She specializes in injury comeback.

Mary started running in 2010 as a hobby and has since whittled her marathon PR from a 3:44 to a 3:06, and her half marathon from a 1:48 to a 1:25. 

She decided to create Lift | Run | Perform after speaking with several runners and realizing there was a need for personalized lifting instruction and guidance in the weight room, and is excited for more runners to incorporate lifting into their training routine.

She also writes the blog itsamarython.


Rochelle Basil 

When LRP was just a brainchild nearly three years ago Mary and I had no idea of the adventure that we were in for! Leaving graduate school to pursue coaching full time was undoubtedly one of the best decisions of my life!  

As native of New Zealand, I grew up competing in a wide array of sports - judo, equestrian, volleyball, netball and settled on distance running in my senior year of high school. I was fortunate enough to enjoy some immediate success which secured me a D1 scholarship to the United States. Cross country was my favorite season and I received multiple Academic All-American and All-Region honors and hold our indoor record over 5000m. 

In 2015, after a hiatus post collegiately I realized how much I really missed running as an outlet and as a critical piece of my overall health and well being. Since dusting off my sneakers I have gone on to represent New Zealand on the world stage a couple of times and hold a marathon PR of 2:39. With a Masters in Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience I rely heavily on the latest research and my coaching philosophies are empirically and physiologically driven. 

During my tenure at Lift. Run. Perform. I have helped athletes from every walk of life towards their goals - be it a healthy return from pregnancy, completing a first marathon, hitting that elusive BQ, breaking three hours, and finding balance in an ever unbalanced world. Too, with Coach Mary we run group training programs in both the Spring and Fall and are always on the lookout for new and exciting initiatives for our athletes! 


Kirstin Ritchie

Kirstin grew up as a gymnast and walked on to the Bucknell Track and Field program as a pole vaulter. After spending one summer running with some of the distance girls, she was offered a spot on the cross country team. She went on to compete for two years as a D1 distance runner specializing in cross country and steeplechase. After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Neuroscience, she moved to Boston to do research at Harvard Medical School. While in Boston, she took her passion for distance running to the marathon as a member of the Boston Athletic Association. She has since run five marathons including two Boston Marathon finishes and two sub three hour finishes with a personal best of 2:57 at the 2016 Hartford Marathon


Kirstin graduated from Yale School of Nursing in the spring of 2018 as a Nurse Practitioner with a master's degree and a focus in Mental Health and Psychiatry. 

Kirstin has always been interested in the interplay between the body and mind, having seen first-hand how negative thinking, distractions, and self-esteem impact athletic performance. Conversely, she has seen how filling the mental tool box has had a significant impact on finding joy and success in running. She is looking forward to helping athletes appreciate and train their minds as tools for improved performance.


Montana DePasquale 

Montana was a four-year Division I Varsity Cross Country Track athlete at Bucknell University, where she earned PRs of 17:25 in the 5k and 36:30 in the 10k. She has coached at the high school, collegiate, and adult levels, and has completed internships at the US Olympic Training Center and with professional running groups. She also spent a year with the Michigan State Cross Country and Track teams, the year after they won the NCAA Championships.

Coaching is her passion -- she loves getting to pay forward her years of knowledge and experience in the sport, and getting to work one-on-one with runners of all ages, backgrounds, and ability levels who are passionate about getting better.

Montana specializes in smart, customized training (because no two athletes are alike), constant communication and support, and adaptable goal setting.

She lives with her fiancee in Providence, Rhode Island, where they are planning their wedding this Spring. She maintains the blog and Instagram page APRES RUN, where she shares training talk, healthy recipes, her philosophy of eating like an athlete, strength training workouts, and more.


 Carly Gill 

Carly grew up playing soccer, and always found joy in running, but didn't get serious until her adult years. In 2015, Carly signed up for her first marathon in Philly and she lined up unsure if she'd finish 26.2 that day. She debuted with a 3:21 and a BQ. She thought this would be her only marathon -- not even close. Carly recently qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Atlanta with her current personal best of 2:42;09. 

In 2016, Carly started training more seriously, coaching herself and ran her second marathon at the NYC Marathon in 2:59 -- placing 60th female and astonishing herself and those around her (truthfully). She came back from a winter injury in 2017 to run her third marathon at the Berlin Marathon, knocking off another 10 minutes and shocking herself with a 2:49 -- good for 35th female and 5th American. Carly ran the Boston Marathon in 2018 in the epic monsoon-like conditions -- clocking a 2:55 in her third marathon major and another 35th female finish. She hired a coach after Boston in 2018 and ran a personal best, 2:47, at CIM in December 2018. After CIM, she wanted to really incorporate more strength training and take a spring season to focus on speed (and set some shorter distance PR's!). It paid off in Berlin 2019, where she set her current personal best and OTQ'ed by almost 2 minutes! 

Carly loves set big goals for herself, but if she's learned anything, it's that balance and recovery are the keys to growth. As someone who used to count herself out before the gun went off, she's passionate about mental strength and positive body image in the sport. She hopes she can inspire athletes to dream big and work hard, while elevating patience and longevity in the sport.


 

Kaci Brandt

Kaci, a native of Toronto, Ontario, was a national figure skater for Canada and the US, and competed at an elite level through her undergraduate degree. While running was always a personal interest and supplement to training, Kaci took an interest in long distance running upon retiring from her skating career and having the need to maintain a competitive edge and an unrelenting passion for physical fitness.

Kaci embarked on her doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Hartford, and since graduating, has shaped her career with a focus on sports medicine and rehabilitation for athletes. In addition to being a coach with the US Figure Skating Association, she has also trained youth hockey teams to achieve optimal on ice performance.  

Having a history of personal injuries throughout her skating and running career thus far, Kaci has an invested interest in combining her clinical skills and passion for strength training as way to prevent injuries in sports. Kaci offers running coaching, PT consultations and gait analyses for clients who are looking to identify causes of injury and prevent future setbacks with targeted strength training based on gait abnormalities and muscle imbalances.


Nick Klastava
Nick started running back in1996 and has been competitively running for 16 years now with a brief break in his 20’s.  His spark for running came back in High School, being a part of a team and finding a sport that brought out the best in himself.  He knew even back then one day he wanted to run the Boston Marathon, which he would do in 2014.

He ran competitively in college for Monmouth University in New Jersey and ran PR’s in the 5k and 10k that stood until he finally broke them earlier this year.  Post college he took 8 years off and gained valuable experience that has helped him excel when he began again at age 30, putting entirely less pressure on the results/himself and more on the process and truly enjoying running.

He currently runs for rabbitELITE and has run 15:51 5k, 32:39 10k, 1:10:56 Half Marathon and 2:30:47 all within the past 9 months at age 37.  He attributes a lot of his success to hiring a coach back in late 2017 when he felt stuck and not progressing on his own.  He is currently chasing down some huge goals this fall but he ultimately believes a goal is just something to shoot for not to define himself, the key to everything is balance and enjoyment.

Nick lives just outside Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and two daughters (Chloe and Amelia).  Nick has a degree in Software Engineering and currently works as a program manager by day.  His favorite thing about coaching is to unconditionally support runners and their journeys.  To invest in a runner and their experiences.  The good, the bad, and the day to day to help them achieve things they once thought were impossible.  To ultimately help them understand no only the physical training side of running but the mental approach to running and having a mindset to support the ups and downs of running.  He loves working with athletes of all experiences no matter what they are training for. 


Mary Schneider (Denholm) 

Mary has 14 years of experience competitively running. She ran XC all 4 years for her high school and DII in college at St. Michael's College.  She ran her first marathon during her freshman year of college in 2006 - The Vermont City Marathon - and finished in 3:39:52 (A BQ at the time). She was the 2008 Vermont State XC 5K Champion (combining DI, II, & III schools). After college she took 6 years off from running while attending law school and her first few years of being an attorney. 

In 2015 she returned to competitive running and ran a 3:03:22 marathon at Lehigh Valley. From there it took her 3 attempts to break 3 hours in the marathon and she chipped away at her PR finally running an OTQ after another 3 attempts to break the 2:45:00 time barrier at CIM in 2019. She raced the Olympic Trials Marathon on February 29th, 2020 running a PR of 2:41:08 and placing 51st in the United States. 

Mary has run her all her other PRs in her early 30s as well. 16:56 for the 5K, 35:16 for the 10K, and 1:17:38 for the half marathon. She was also the 2019 San Diego USATF Women's XC Champion during an undefeated season. 

Mary loves investing in the goals of others and helping her athletes learn to love the process of training like she does. Removing the stress of performance to know that fitness gained will pay off long term even if the time on a clock does not reflect the hard work the first time or even the first few times. Helping athletes find consistency over time and enjoying every step along the way in pursuit of big goals is what it is all about!


Katie Edwards

Katie is a lifetime CT resident and a "late bloomer" to running - never having run in high school or college. In 2008, at age 26, Katie ran her first marathon (and first road race) at Hartford in a time of 3:37, securing a BQ and also the idea that she would never run a marathon again.

Three years later after having her third child, she reconsidered the marathon distance and ran Hartford again--this time finishing in 3:17. Her competitive spirit found its place that day and as they say, "the rest is history."

Katie has dropped her marathon from 3:17 in 2011 to a 2:41 in 2014, securing a 2016 Olympic Trials Qualifying time. Katie was self-coached until she hit 2:58 in 2012 and then decided hiring a coach would be helpful in reaching her goals. In turn, she realized her own passion of helping others through coaching, and became USATF certified - truly believing that you can do anything you set your mind to and a little help and support goes a long way.

Katie recently took a break from running to focus on her career and is now back to training with the goal of a second Olympic Trials qualifying time for 2020. She has set numerous PRs in the midst of heavy marathon training; including a 1:17 half marathon, 35:40 10k and a 17 minute 5k.

Katie resides in South Glastonbury with her 3 children ages 11, 10,  and 7. She has a Bachelor of Science from UCONN and works full time. In her free time....well, she doesn't have much of that...but you can find her at her daughter's gymnastics meets or lacrosse games, cheering them on from the sidelines or running laps behind her very active son!

Heather Caplan is a registered dietitian with a private practice. She focuses on intuitive and mindful eating practices for athletes, primarily runners, to help them hone fueling strategies and reduce risk of injury. She is also a co-founder of the Lane 9 Project—a nonprofit raising awareness of, and providing a community for, women who have struggled with the Female Athlete Triad. Her work has been published on a variety of national publications such as Runner's World, Motiv Sports, Women's Health, Women's Running, Outside Online and Runners Connect, and in FITNESS and EatingWell magazines. 

Personally, she prefers trail running to road races, and (often) champagne to water. More of her nutrition and lifestyle writing, and information about her nutrition coaching services, can be found at heathercaplan.com.