The Running Mates program is designed to prepare middle school students to run in a local 5k/ 4 mile race. Running Mates coaches are the teachers or school staff who lead these after-school practices 3 times a week. Coaches serve as leaders and role models who help promote Chicago Run's goal to promote teamwork, commitment, perseverance, and a deeper understanding of community and diversity.

Meet the amazing leaders who make this program a reality:


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National Teachers Academy - Ms. Schneider

My name is Ashley Schneider. I have been a Running Mates coach for 6 years now.  I started my experience at CICS Bucktown and brought the program to National Teachers Academy which is now in it's second year of the program.  I got involved because I feel running is something that brings everyone together with common goals.  I have seen students continue running far after this program as well as families bonding over a 5k being a shared accomplishment.  Chicago Run is truly an amazing organization which has all of our kiddos in mind with each choice they make.

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O'Keeffe School - Ms. Ruggles

My name is Ms. Ruggles and I currently teach 6th grade science at O'Keeffe School of Excellence! I began running when I was entering high school and ran cross country and track and field. During that time, I developed my passion for running and continue to share my love of the sport with my students. I have been a running coach for the past two seasons and it has been a growing experience for the runners and myself! I look forward to the seasons ahead!

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Sawyer Elementary - Ms. Avila

My name is Marlene Avila and I've been coaching Running Mates for the past four years. I currently teach writing and reading at Sawyer Elementary School to my sixth graders and found that running has been an outlet for a lot of my students. I became involved with Running Mates after being the Chicago Runners program site coordinator for several years. I feel that running has added so much to my life and the lives of my students that now I see running as a necessity. I look forward to what Running Mates has to offer to my kids and can't wait to see my runners grow as individuals.

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Eli Whitney Elementary - Ms. Martinez (5th-6th Grade)

My name is Jennifer Martinez and this will be my 4th season after having been away for a year. I have returned to Eli Whitney Elementary School for my third year and am very excited to continue working with Chicago Run! I love working with today’s youth and seeing their sense of accomplishment as they push past their limits and break barriers while learning about themselves through a positive outlet like Chicago Run. I am looking forward to making the most out of my time with the kids and Chicago Run this school year! 

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Eli Whitney Elementary - Ms. Hedden (7th-8th Grade)

My name is Elizabeth Hedden. I am the running coach at Eli Whitney for our 7-8th grade team. This is my second year coaching with Chicago Run and my fourth year teaching at Eli Whitney. I teach 7th grade Language Arts and Social Studies. This age group is going through significant changes both physically and socially/emotionally. Running provides a healthy outlet for my students to help work through these changes and that is one of the many reasons I joined and have stayed with Chicago Run as a running coach.

Chopin Elementary - Ms. Preucil

My Name is Ms. Preucil. I am Chopin’s School Social Worker and a running enthusiast. This is my first year with Chicago Run. Running has always held a special place in my heart.  I have been Chopin’s Track coach for two years.   I love to run and have made it a fundamental part of my life.  I have run 5 marathons and plan on my sixth this year!  I am excited to be a part of this program.  I look forward to learning and growing with Chicago Run.