ABOUT US

Champions running association

Champions Running Association (CRA) is a local area running group made up of runners in the Spring-Klein-Champions-Tomball-Cypress area here to get in better shape, make new friends, and maybe, just maybe, run a 5k, 10k, half marathon or full marathon.


CRA is an organization that will provide helpful seminars, great training schedules and the opportunity to run with others. Above all, the most important goal is to have fun out there while we're racking up the miles for the next race. The first step is getting out there and being as CRAy-CRAy as the rest of us who love running! 

 

If you're a first time runner or an experienced one, CRA provides a great running environment to help you achieve your goals. No matter your pace, no matter your race, the Champions Running Association is a family not made up of winners or losers, just CHAMPIONS!"

ORGANIZERS & COACHES

Daniel Dannug

President, Co-Organizer, Assistant Marathon Coach (RRCA Certified Coach)

Coach Daniel helped co-found CRA back in 2017 after being involved in the running community for three years prior to CRA.

He’s been running for 11+ years and after hitting legacy status for the Aramco Half-Marathon, he’s turned his attention to the conquering the marathon.
By day, he is a sports chiropractor & acupuncturist and owner of HealthPro Chiropractic and Acupuncture @myhealthpro.chiro.htx
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He seeks to grow the running community in this area and hopes to bring together  runners of all levels to push & motivate each other and achieve goals they once thought were unattainable.
When he’s not running, he enjoys family time with his wife, Leanne, and their kids

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Akshat Sharma

Half-Marathon Coach (RRCA Certified Coach)

How long you've been running: Since 2006

 

Why you Run? I starting running as a way to get some exercise.  As I started going further and further distances to get that “runner’s high” I decided to sign up for a race.  That hooked me and made me to want to do it again and before I knew it I was lining up at the start line for a half-marathon!

 

How you got involved in a running group and why it’s great: I started running in a group to get a formal training program and confidence for running my first race.  After a few weeks I started to really enjoy the social aspect of running with other people and making new friends.  During the “off-season” I found it much more difficult to find the motivation to run, so kept coming back to a running group. 

 

Something about yourself: I enjoy playing other sports such as golf and tennis when I’m not out running.  During off-hours I work as an engineering manager at an industrial manufacturing company.

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James Wyatt

Marathon Coach (RRCA Certified Coach)

How long have you been running? Since 1995

 

Why you run? I started running purely for competitive reasons, but have come to enjoy just going for a run. Running is good for your heart,  your weight, and your sanity.

Something about yourself: Husband to Leah, dad to Olivia. Certified as an ACE, ASFA, YOGA, and RRCA trainer/coach. I race competitively as an elite OCR (obstacle course race) athlete, a OCR World and US champion competitor, a three time American Ninja Warrior, and owner Of BC Fitness.

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Sarah Nguyen

Half-Marathon Coach (RRCA Certified Coach)

How long you've been running: Since 2003

 

Why you Run?  The reasoning behind “why I run” has changed through the years. My first half marathon in college was to “check it off the list”. I quickly got addicted and signed up for every race that I could. I loved the training and the runners high crossing that finish line. At one point in my life I had lost my dad to a car accident and my sister to breast cancer. Running was and continues to be my outlet to clear my mind. These days, running is my quick “get it done” workout to stay in shape for the next race or triathlon. The best way to start the day is with "me time" aka running time. 

 

How you got involved in a running group and why it’s great: I remember training for my first half with Hal Higdon’s training guide by myself. It got me to the finish line, but training was pretty lonely. For me, any distance over 3 miles can get pretty boring and my motivation tanks thinking about all the things I need to do or turning around to head home and eat! Joining a running group has challenged me to work harder and become more accountable in training the right way instead of winging it. I am thrilled to be part of a running group on the North side of Houston and love all the new friendships I've gained with people who love to run too!

 

Something about yourself: My day job is in marketing communications and customer experience for a retail electricity provider. My full-time job includes managing a family of five that loves it when I bring home donuts after a long run. My husband knows that I need to run to stay sane. My kids are 9, 8 and 4 years old.

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Alicia Castro

10k Coach

How long have you been running? I’ve been running since 2008; but it wasn’t until 2010 that I started to track my miles, pace, time and get new running shoes each year.  I personally think a 10k works the best for me; just a bit over a 5k and half the mileage of a Half Marathon.  Perfect For Me.

 

Why do you run? I used to run to stay healthy and fit.  Most of my family members have been diagnosed with diabetes and/or high blood pressure so I promised myself a long time ago that I would do whatever it took to stay physically active and eat “right”. Running provided me with a good cardio exercise, endurance and a type of “steam release”.  NOWADAYS I run to impress my husband (wink-wink), to chit chat with the other runners alongside and to reward myself with the hard-earned medals and t-shirts from all the races. J

 

How you got involved in a running group and why it’s great. My first and second run group (won’t mention their name) was just that. A “run group”. We ran each Saturday but no one ever talked nor did we get any “instruction” as to what to do during the week.  CRA is family oriented, fun and very informative.  The best part of CRA to me, is the encouragement you get from everyone ALL THE TIME. And they hold you accountable (yikes!).

 

Something about yourself: I work at an oil and gas company and am the “best wife ever” to Leo (also in run club), an awesome mommy to Frankie- 25, Michael -(stepson) 26, USMC Mathew -20 and Valerie 13.  We are a competitive run family and are always sending each other our mileage, times and paces.  I USED to be the fastest in the family, but the kids got older and developed longer legs so NOW they can run faster.  Then my husband went and joined this run group called CRA and now he leaves me behind as well… blah!  Now I just “FINISH STRONG”.

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Heather Blue

Half-Marathon Assistant Coach

How long have you been running: Since 2015

 

Why you run: My ‘why’ has evolved over time. Most of my life my attitude towards running was that it was only something I would do ‘if my life depended on it’ or ‘if I was being chased by a bear’.  When I started running, my ‘why’ was because I needed an activity/outlet that was versatile & affordable: something I could do that I could do alone, do anywhere, didn’t require special equipment, & would be a physical challenge. Today, I run as a way to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

 

How you got involved in a running group & why it’s great: When I mentioned to my friend, Renee Alfaro, that I was struggling to find an outlet that would check the affordable/local/can do it solo but would be a way to meet new people boxes, she suggested a run club.  I was initially hesitant (remember, I hated even the idea of running), but with Renee’s suggestion & the encouragement of another friend, I decided to give it a try.  The run club gave me a program to follow, coaching support and a social group where I was able to work my way from off the couch to completing a half marathon.

Why Champions Running Association: What I most love about CRA is the supportive familial vibe. The club meets each member where he/she is at, with coaches genuinely supporting runners and walkers of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, with different starting points and different goals.

 

Something about yourself: I’m regularly asked where I’m from and/or asked to repeat certain words as I have a drawl some folks aren’t accustomed to hearing (I’m proud to come from a long line of native Texans 😊). I enjoy meeting new people, making new friends and occasionally organizing ‘day/field trip’ runs outside of our typically CRA run routes.  When not working or running, you can typically find me enjoying time with my husband and our two dogs at a park or on a dog friendly restaurant patio.

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Doug Berry

Co-Organizer/Marathon Coach (RRCA Certified Coach)

How long you've been running: Since 2009

 

Why you Run? I got into running as a way to help me stay fit and to stay competitive in local triathlons. It has evolved into trail running, half-marathoning and Full Marathoning.

 

How you got involved in a running group and why it’s great: I spent 18 years racing a bicycle on a local/national and sometimes international basis. I have had many highlights doing so including a few state championships, 4 college conference titles and even qualifying to compete in the 2000 Olympic cycling trails. I’ve been fortunate to see a good portion of this globe while riding a bike. In 2004, I decided that I simply had enough and got out of the sport. Mostly because I tired of getting hit by cars while riding. I quickly gained 60lbs. I needed something new and also something that didn’t take up as much time as cycling. I chose running because I was terrible at it. When you do something that your body is not used to then it will shed weight fast. I joined a running club to keep my running honest and to have a goal of completing a marathon/half marathon. A running club made all the difference in the world simply because of the knowledge that you gain from experienced people. You learn what to do and what not to do really quick. It took a little time but I’ve learned to really love running. 

 

Something about yourself: I am a proud husband and father. Being a runner has taught me how to balance being a dad and an athlete. I am married to my wife, Brandi and a father to a boy (Ryan 10) and a Girl (Jenna 7). I am also a Vice-President, Creative Director at a commercial real state firm in Downtown Houston.

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Renee Alfaro

5k Coach (RRCA Certified Coach)

How long you've been running: Technically, since 2004.  Consistently, since 2012.

 

Why you Run? I began running after I happened to be at Walt Disney World during their marathon weekend in 2003.  After seeing “normal people” that looked like me running and FINISHING the marathon, I wanted to do it.  So, I began training in 2004 and ran my one (and only) marathon in 2005 to celebrate a milestone birthday.  After a long break from running, where I gained a ton of weight, I started running again in 2012.  Since then, I have run 5 half-marathons, 2 10K’s, a ten miler, and numerous 5K’s.  Although I previously used running as an excuse to travel and earn cool medals, I now run to improve my health.   

 

How you got involved in a running group and why it’s great: I could not have finished my marathon without joining a running group.  They taught me form, gave me a program I could follow, and best of all, encouragement.  After years of being sedentary, I rejoined the running club to hold me accountable for exercising.  I knew that if I missed a Saturday or two, the coach would be calling.  What initially began as a desire to rekindle my love of running and to perhaps run some 5K’s led me to running a 5K every month for a year (including July and August) and then getting back into endurance running.  Now I run as it is my outlet, and the excuse for me to see my friends (or, my Run Family).

 

Why Champions Running Association?  After being in another running club, which wasn’t fully meeting my needs, I was thrilled to join CRA in its inaugural season.  You will discover that we are a family.  Running is an individual sport…some are faster (or slower) than others.  But, at CRA, we celebrate every accomplishment.  From completing your first mile to setting a PR, we celebrate achievement of YOUR goals.

 

Something about yourself: I am a Contracts Advisor for the Mid-Africa region of a large energy company.  I am a Disney fanatic and love to travel.  When at home, I’m entertained by my two dogs, a Dachshund mix named Lovey and a terrier mix named Phoebe. 

 

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Chrissy Coffin

Full Marathon Assistant Coach (RRCA Certified Coach)

How long you've been running: Since January 2017

 

 

Why you Run? I started running to prove myself I could run a mile – I honestly never could in high school.  I did gymnastics as a pre-teen/teenager so my running included just sprinting to a vault.  I was going to the gym daily to work out so I figured I’d giving running a shot and very quickly became addicted.  It helps me to ease my anxiety and to refocus. 

 

How you got involved in a running group and why it’s great: Back in March of 2017, CRA had a vendor booth set up at my first 5K so I signed up to meet some other runners.  I love running with CRA mostly because of the great group of people that are in the club.  It makes it easy to get up on a Saturday morning to go for a run before getting the weekend started.

 

Something about yourself: When I'm not running, I am either working as a purchasing agent in the steel industry or homeschooling.  I have two amazing kids, Lily and Jake, who keep me busy both physically and mentally.

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Stacy Norton

Walker Coach

How long have you been running? I started running in 2008 at the suggestion of a co – worker. She had read in a running magazine about the Inaugural Disney Princess Half Marathon and asked if I wanted to go.

 

Why I run:  I had never really had a structured exercise program until over the age of 40. As a busy OB/GYN, wife, and mother of 2, I just really never made exercise a priority.   After my co -worker’s suggestion, and the allure of a girl’s weekend at Disney, I went ahead and signed up for that first Princess Half Marathon.  We trained together, and after that race I had such a since of accomplishment, not to mention the very notable improved health benefits.  

How you got involved in a running group and why it’s great: I joined CRA because my husband is also a member.  We do not run at the same pace and I needed find others that I could train with.  I also find the accountability of having a group to support you and to hold you to your training plan vital to training success.  

 

Something about yourself:  Since my first race in 2009, I have had 3 separate cancer diagnosis.  At times, I cannot still run at the pace I would like. At other times, I can. There are great physical and emotional benefits of walking as well as running.  Being the walking group coach has allowed me to offer my medical and training knowledge to another group of athletes.  This group is one of the many ways CRA is the most diverse and all inclusive running groups in Houston!

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Natalie Foster

5k Coach

How long have you been running: since 2014 

 

Why you run? I started running as a way to prove to myself I can do whatever I set my mind to. Competing as a collegiate tennis player, running, sprints, and hills were my least favorite part of practice days. One day, I had the crazy idea to run the Houston Half Marathon and step out of my 5k comfort zone. I signed up, panicked, researched programs, and ran my heart out every week. I crushed it and ran 2 more half marathons after the first and learned that I can do hard things when I put the hard work and effort in. 

 

How you got involved in a running group and why it’s great: Early Spring 2019 I reached out to CRA and inquired about 5k and 10k plans. They hosted a few social runs before the season started and I made some very fast friends that motivated me to come back out every Saturday. Once the season started, I was hooked! We are all RRCA certified coaches that care about the development of ALL runners, not just those in our specific group. I felt that not only my coach, Renee, but also the entire club wanted to see me succeed. At the end of my first season I won “Newcomer of the Year” for the 5k group and was asked to come back to help coach the 5k runners for 2020 with Coach Renee. When I first joined, I felt “slow”, “out of place”, and intimidated by all the athleticism. Now, after two seasons, I feel proud of my accomplishments, motivated, and ready to help others succeed!

 

Something about yourself:  I’m an International Sales Director at a software company that services the aviation industry, a fantasy and murder mystery book lover,  and Dog Mom to three rambunctions boys (Remi, Ruger, and Tucker) who are all learning to run with me. I love to get out and run as many 5ks as I can in the year, but my favorite part of the year is being on the cheer squad, in my blue tutu, sign in hand, cheering not only the CRA group, but every person who showed up to race that day. 

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Hector Ornelas

Half-Marathon Assistant Coach

How long you've been running: Since I could walk, but consistently since 2019.

 

Why you Run?  Growing up I was involved in just about every sport imaginable and loved running, unfortunately as I got older the love for running waned.  With the stresses of life both on my mental and physical state, I decided it was time to get back to running!  Running has been extremely therapeutic for me and with the support of I’m family I’m able to “lose myself” on the road.

 

How you got involved in a running group and why it’s great:  Back in 2010, I decided I was going to run a full marathon using google as my coach…boy was that a mistake.  I barley finished the race standing up and the experience resulted in me hanging up my shoes for a very long time!  Never one to be defeated, I decided I wanted to try my hand at another full marathon to celebrate my 40th birthday in 2020.  Having learned from my mistakes, I knew I needed help to reach my goals, but more importantly like-minded folks who would understand my struggles, who would challenge and hold me accountable, but more importantly motivate me to reach my goals.  As fate would have it, I found out about the Champions Running Association one night when I was complaining to my wife. When I signed up for CRA, I had no idea what to expect.  I assumed I’d meet a few folks, run and go home, and this could not have been further from the truth!  I’ve meet some amazing people in this group that I consider my run family and know I’ve made lifelong friendships. Joining this family (club) has been a godsend and I look forward to what the future holds. 

 

 

Something about yourself: I was born and raised in Spring, Tx and only left when I attended the University of Texas (Hook’Em) I’m the proud father of four amazing kids, Santiago (12), Gabriel (9), Sophia (7) and Lilianna (5).  When I’m not attending one of my kid’s activities, I love the outdoors (hunting, fishing and camping), I consider myself a pit master and love to watch sports. In my free time I moonlight as a General Manager for a local O&G company.

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