Coaches

ANHS

Lori Robinson | Head Coach |anhs@werunockids.org

My history with WeROCK?

My son joined WeROCK in his 8th grade year. At the time I had been running consistently for several years. I had already run a few half marathons and wanted to train for a marathon. I decided to take the opportunity to become a parent runner and trained along with the team. My son and I both completed our first marathon in May 2012 and we never looked back. He went on to compete on the cross-country and track team in high school and I joined the WeROCK coaching team when my daughter started 6th grade. She is now a sophomore in high school. This will be her fifth year in the program, my fifth year coaching, and my third year as head coach at DJAMS. I found my passion for running 11 years ago, and now I’ve discovered a love for coaching that I never expected. I’m so excited to be a part of this amazing group and blessed to be able to lead these kids through the process of training for the marathon.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history!

My very first race was the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2007. I didn’t have any clue how to train for a race and barely finished within the time limit. I set a goal to come back the next year to run the same race again, only better. During that year I learned how to train properly and came back to complete the race much stronger (and faster) than the previous year. By then I was hooked on running. I have since run many races – countless 5K’s, 10K’s and half marathons. I have run 12 full marathons and 8 ultra marathons. My first ultra marathon was a 40-mile run I organized for my 40th birthday (that’s what people do to celebrate their 40th, right?!). I don’t run races for the medals or race shirts. I run to challenge myself physically and mentally, and to see just how far I can go (which I still have yet to find out). But the biggest reason is simply for the sheer joy of running!

Everyone has a favorite race that WeROCK will run and my favorite is by far is the OC Marathon. It’s the ultimate test of endurance for these kids. It represents the culmination of months and months of dedicated training, running in the heat and in the rain, persisting through sore muscles, stomach cramps, and blisters, enduring through long training runs on Saturday mornings while their friends are sleeping in and playing video games. The amount of personal growth they go through during their training is incredible. Seeing the looks on their faces as they cross the finish line of the marathon is worth every moment. It’s an amazing accomplishment, one they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. And just being a small part of their marathon journey is truly something special.

 

Lisa Hungerford | Assistant Coach 


Lisa H
This is my second year as a coach at ANHS. The experience that I had last year was incredible!! I was so inspired by these kids day in and day out. I admire their persistence, motivation and determination to accomplish a goal that very few people will ever take on in a lifetime. I am so grateful to all of the parents for trusting us with your children and giving us the opportunity to be a part of their success story forever!!!

As a coach my goal this season is to dedicate myself to each runner and guide them individually to achieve their specific goals. I am committed to motivate them on their best days and encourage them on the more challenging days. I hope to provide an environment that is an obvious choice for a high school student that wants to be part of a team but might not want to compete at a high school level.

My history with WeROCK

In August 2011 a goal of mine for the upcoming year was to run a 5K.  In September of 2011 my 6th grade son and I joined WeROCK and my new goal was to run a marathon. We finished the marathon in May of 2012 and my son and I have great memories and a bond that we share forever.

I was asked to coach the 14/15 season at the high school and without hesitation jumped at the opportunity. I was asked to be head coach for the upcoming 15/16 season and I can’t wait! WeROCK has become my home away from home, my family, my pleasure and at times my pain (yes a little bit is involved in running 26.2 miles).

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history!

As a parent runner in  the 11/12 WeROCK season I ran all of the races on the schedule that year with my son. I also ran the Turkey Trot 10K and the Long Beach and Hollywood Half Marathons that year. Last season I coached and ran the same races that I had as a parent. This season I plan to do the same races but I have added the New Years Half Marathon in 2016 and hope to start of the year with a personal record.

Everyone has a favorite WeROCK race and my favorite race is the Coaster Run! How can you possibly had a bad time running through an amusement park without fighting crowds?? I enjoyed that day because two other coaches and I set a goal and ran the race together. It was fun to motivate each other and share the same goal. The three of us crossed the finish line together and accomplished our goal of doing it in less than an hour!!  A good running buddies always makes the races more fun!

 

Christina Sepe | Assistant Coach

Hello! As a coach I am there to encourage the kids and tell them it’s not about how fast you finish it about the finish line.

My history with WeROCK

I started four years ago as a coach and the ANHS advisor on campus.  Last year I coached the Aliso Niguel High School team and enjoyed every moment.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history! 

I started in 2012 doing the Disney Half Marathon and I got addicted.  To date I’ve completed 39 half marathons and several 10ks and 5ks. In 2017 I completed my first marathon and I feel so grateful I did it with WeROCK.

Everyone has a favorite race WeROCK runs and I really like the Southern California Half Marathon.  It’s the 1st half marathon WeROCK does and it’s a nice course.

AVMS

Gina Hylton | Head Coach avms@werunockids.org

Hi all, I look forward to meeting everyone this season as we take this journey together.  My goal as a coach is to bring the love of teamwork, hard work and accomplishment into the hearts of these kids.  I am inspired watching them fight for goals many feel is out of their reach. As an individual, I look forward to crossing the finish line in May too.

What is my history with WeROCK you may ask?

I began coaching kids 12 years ago when my son ran the Students Run Los Angeles (SRLA) program. I have been a WeROCK Coach on and off since the beginning of the program, my youngest son was part of WeROCK’s first year.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history

I have ran numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons and 3 full marathon.

Everyone has a favorite race that WeROCK will run and my favorite race is the Tustin Hanger 5K, it’s really fun running through those huge hangers!

 

John Birle | Assistant Coach

ipad 4-3-15 027I have been a WeROCK parent runner for three years and this is my second year as a coach for AVMS.  My goal for the year is to pass on my love of running to the kids, but most importantly help them reach goals they never thought possible.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history!

I have run the OC marathon with all three of my kids in WeROCK.  I have finished ten marathons and three ultramarathons.

Everyone has a favorite WeROCK race and my favorite race is the Southern California Half Marathon.  It is flat and it the first time the kids figure out they can really accomplish something big.  I look forward to a great year of perseverance and accomplishment for the kids this year.

 

Heidi-Anne Mooney | Assistant Coach

My history with WeROCK

My coaching career began back in 1996, when I decided as a US Marine Corps officer to become a personal trainer and help Marines from 4-7am before I had to be at work as a Combat Engineer Officer – building things and blowing things up. At the time, I could run a 5:50 mile. I beat many of the male Marines and they did not like it at all. I later helped create the Semper Fit program, that still exists today across the entire Marine Corps, and the program earned me a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for helping to increase Marines’ health and fitness. The program, included things like smoking cessation, heart health, stress management, physical fitness, stretching, mental health, and much more. In 2012, I took over the LNES Running Club and ran with elementary schoolers each week. When my daughter started 6th grade at AVMS, I joined WeRock as a parent runner to cheer her on as she sought her first marathon finish. I loved cheering on all the WeRock kids that year and seeing all their hard work, sweat, tears, laughter, and joy. During my daughter’s 7th grade year, I became an assistant coach and I am back now for her third year of WeRock and I expect to be around for awhile as my son starts 6th grade next year at AVMS. He has been running short races, like my daughter, since before Kindergarten.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history!

I started running in Kindergarten with my mom. In 1979, my mom and I placed first in a 5K race and that plaque still hangs on my wall as my first win and an amazing mother-daughter challenge.One of my four siblings ran track and cross country, but I played soccer, lacrosse and field hockey in high school and college. All along on and off the fields, I kept up my running. I have run over 100 international races – marathons, half-marathons, 5Ks, 10Ks, triathlons, duathlons, trail runs, mud runs, and lately started ultra marathon races. I have won many first, second, and third place medals over the past 40 years, and I have come in last once as well. In 1995, I was in a severe helicopter military accident in which I fell over 60 feet and landed on my feet with an 80 pound pack on my back and I was in partial paralysis from the neck down for over 48 hours. This changed my racing career. I was in a body and back brace for three months and had to learn to walk again. After many months of therapy, I learned to ride a stationary bike first and I learned to run again. It was not an easy time. A year after my accident, I ran a marathon and PR’ed with a 3:20 time. I always appreciate how lucky I am that I can walk, let alone run, and I understand the struggle to come from behind, even after an injury, and find a sense of self and speed. Each day I can run, is a great day to me!

Everyone may have a favorite race that WeROCK will run, but I have a hard time picking just one! I love the first 5K and the look on the kids faces when they get their first medal and then all the free swag afterwards at the after party. I love the first half marathon when the kids realize they can actually do something so hard and there are tears of joy and maybe a few for pain and so many parents cry in amazement that their child actually completed something so difficult. I loved the first ever Tustin Hanger Run in 2017, as I had run in those hangers as a Marine and I’d been in charge of some of the engineer maintenance on the base and all these memories flooded my mind as I ran with both my children and all the amazing kids of WeRock. I love the 20 mile qualifier as it is certainly the hardest thing the kids do all year long and I love to see how they all cheer each other on and support one another and by then there is an amazing sense of community among all the kids. Then the OC Marathon is overwhelming with emotion as you run as a Coach with a tribe of kids who breeze through the race with fear and excitement, and then they realize they are part of the 1% of Americans who will ever run 26.2 miles in under 7 hours! It’s a magical and fantastic experience at every WeRock race and just thinking back over these last years of coaching and seeing some first graders I knew who could not even run a 1/4 mile, who now ran an entire marathon years later, it gives me goosebumps! I am so proud of them all and of all the Coaches who teach them that anything in life is possible. This is the most wonderful program for pre-teens and teens!

 

Daniel Alvarado | Assistant Coach

During the summer of 2016 I relocated my family from San Diego to Laguna Niguel for work. As my wife was registering my son Benicio Alvarado into his freshman year of Middle School at AVMS he was lured into the We Rock registration table and decided to give the 2 week trial a try.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history! After the 2 week trial we gave the season a go and soon after my wife and I were running alongside Benicio at mostly ever Saturday practice. Those practice runs led us to run many of the WeRock races races, Surf City 5K, Dino Dash 5K, the Santa 10K, Surf City Half Marathon, WeRock 20 Mile Qualifier, and finally the OC Marathon. The entire experience was initiated with the intent to show support to our son and along the way may wife and I got absorbed into the awesomeness of it all.

Favorite We Rock Race: I haven’t met a race I didn’t LOVE, yet! Every race presents its own unique and awesome experience.

 

Jona Williams | Assistant Coach

Hi, I’m Jona Williams and this is my second year with WeROCK at AVMS and my first year as a coach.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to cheer your children on while they reach their goal to cross the finish line at the OC Marathon.

 It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history! 

I started participating in Disney Half Marathons in 2011. To date I’ve completed 15 half marathons and several 10K’s and 5K’s. Prior to marathons, I enjoyed participating and leading boot camp classes and coaching youth cheer teams in preparation for professional competition. My personal goal is to complete the OC Marathon alongside the WeROCK team in 2018.

 Everyone has a favorite race WeROCK runs and I enjoy the So. Cal Half Marathon. It’s the first marathon of the season, the course is beautiful, adrenaline is high and the kids actually realize they can do it!

DJAMS

Lori Robinson | Head Coach | djams@werunockids.org

Lori RobinsonMy history with WeROCK?

My son joined WeROCK in his 8th grade year. At the time I had been running consistently for several years. I had already run a few half marathons and wanted to train for a marathon. I decided to take the opportunity to become a parent runner and trained along with the team. My son and I both completed our first marathon in May 2012 and we never looked back. He went on to compete on the cross-country and track team in high school and I joined the WeROCK coaching team when my daughter started 6th grade. She is now a sophomore in high school. This will be her fifth year in the program, my fifth year coaching, and my third year as head coach at DJAMS. I found my passion for running 11 years ago, and now I’ve discovered a love for coaching that I never expected. I’m so excited to be a part of this amazing group and blessed to be able to lead these kids through the process of training for the marathon.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history!

My very first race was the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2007. I didn’t have any clue how to train for a race and barely finished within the time limit. I set a goal to come back the next year to run the same race again, only better. During that year I learned how to train properly and came back to complete the race much stronger (and faster) than the previous year. By then I was hooked on running. I have since run many races – countless 5K’s, 10K’s and half marathons. I have run 12 full marathons and 8 ultra marathons. My first ultra marathon was a 40-mile run I organized for my 40th birthday (that’s what people do to celebrate their 40th, right?!). I don’t run races for the medals or race shirts. I run to challenge myself physically and mentally, and to see just how far I can go (which I still have yet to find out). But the biggest reason is simply for the sheer joy of running!

Everyone has a favorite race that WeROCK will run and my favorite is by far is the OC Marathon. It’s the ultimate test of endurance for these kids. It represents the culmination of months and months of dedicated training, running in the heat and in the rain, persisting through sore muscles, stomach cramps, and blisters, enduring through long training runs on Saturday mornings while their friends are sleeping in and playing video games. The amount of personal growth they go through during their training is incredible. Seeing the looks on their faces as they cross the finish line of the marathon is worth every moment. It’s an amazing accomplishment, one they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. And just being a small part of their marathon journey is truly something special.

 

Jaime Barbieri | Assistant Coach

Jaime BMy name is Jaime Barbieri but you can call me Coach Jaime. I am so excited to be a part of the WeRock team this year. My goal this year is to work with the kids to help them achieve their personal running goals. There is nothing more rewarding than watching these kids cross that final finish line.

My history with WeROCK?

My niece was a part of WeRock back in 2011 and that is how we learned about the program. My daughter Shaelynn was in WeRock last year and she is returning for her second year.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history!

I have been running various races over the past 5yrs with my husband and kids. We have run everything from 5k to Marathons. I also enjoy doing Ragnar races and the Gladiator Runs with my husband.

My favorite race that WeROCK will run during the season?

I can’t wait to run the OC Marathon again this season!

 

Brian Barbieri | Assistant Coach

11800046_10207375274605038_8569918885675939124_nGood day, I’m Coach Brian and I am proud to be here for this years team at DJAMS. I am most looking forward to seeing these amazing kids learn to lean on and rely on their team. It seems like this program erases the prejudice of age and grade level from their brains and instills nothing but admiration and determination to make sure all of their teammates get to their common goal of running the OC Marathon (full or half).

What is my history with WeROCK?

Last year I was a WeROCK waiver running parent, present on Saturday runs and a couple of the races. I got to run the OC Marathon with these amazing kids and my 12 year old daughter. A few years before I got to see my little niece dressed in her orange and black cross the finish line for a race I thought was insanely far for any child to run (2011 OCM). But it was seeing her and her awesome group of WeROCKers that inspired me to get some running shoes and start hitting the pavement myself.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history

Since then I have done a Disney 5k, many local 5 and 10k races, the Surf City Half twice, the OC Full Marathon, and the Illustrious 2015 WEROCK 20 Mile Qualifying Run.

The WeROCK race I most look forward to is this year’s Santa Run. There are many cool races but this one takes the cake. I mean do I really have to explain, ok I will, SANTA IS THERE!!!! I absolutely love him. Who doesn’t right? I’m getting so super duper excited just thinking about December 12th

 

Ana Astorga | Assistant Coach

Hello, my name is Ana Astorga. It’s an honor to be the new WeROCK coach at Don Juan Avila Middle School.  My goal as coach is to encourage and help the kids to achieve their running goals.

 My history with WeROCK

In 2015, my family moved to Aliso Viejo from San Clemente. It wasn’t easy…new city, new school, new friends! Looking into a way to make new friends and exercise, we found WeROCK. My daughter thought that would be something “pretty cool” for her to do while also being a great opportunity to make new friends! When the season began, I started coming to practice during the week and I really enjoyed running next to the kids. My daughter and I ran our first marathon together that year and it was the most wonderful experience I ever had! Since then we’ve never stopped running. WeROCK is not only a running club, WeROCK is family.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history!

Running was not my favorite sport, actually I never practiced any other sport before. My husband encouraged our family to run and that’s how we completed our first 5K in 2013 at the Dino Dash. However, we didn’t run again until we joined WeROCK. After completing the marathon and the WeROCK summer program in 2015, I was introduced to ultra-marathons by my friend and coach, Lori Robinson, who trained me to run my first 50K, 50mi, 100K, and 100mi races. I guess running is my favorite sport now!!

 

What’s my favorite WeROCK race during the season?

My favorite race is Dino Dash, I really enjoyed crossing that finish line with my family and now running it with the WeROCK kids makes it more special. My second favorite race is the OC Marathon, I love to run next to the WeROCK kids and coaches. Having the opportunity to see every single kid from our team crossing the finish line is priceless. I admire them all greatly!

Hankey/Newhart

Andrea Kooiman | Head Coach | hankey@werunockids.org | newhart@werunockids.org

Thumps UpHi!  I’m Coach K and I LOVE to run!  Believe it or not, I like to do other things as well.  I used to be a mobile KJ (Karaoke DJ) and I enjoy singing.  I also have a passion for rollerskating.  My goal for the team this season is for each person to challenge their fears and their doubts.  I would like to see every runner meet or exceed their goal of distance, time or endurance.

My history with WeROCK

My coaching began with SRLA – Students Run Los Angeles back when my son was in 6th Grade at Newhart Middle School.  There I coached with the program for 3 years before co-founding WeROCK.  I learned very early the positive impact that training for a marathon has on the kids that run with us.  For that reason, I will continue to work with our amazing coaches and the surrounding community to assist in growing the program for as long as I can.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history!

I have run over 100 marathon/ultra races.  Some of my race accomplishments include the Boston Marathon, LA Marathon, Chicago Marathon, the Grand Slam of Ultra (running the 4 oldest trail 100’s within an 11 week period of time), Badwater 135 3x, HURT 100 and the Mt. Gaoligong Ultra in China. Although my favorite place to run is on trail, the fact is, anytime I have the opportunity to lace up my shoes and run outside, I feel lucky.

 

Everyone has a favorite race that WeROCK will run and mine is the OC Marathon.  As the official WeROCK sweeper, I spend my entire race at the back of the pack.  It is exciting to receive phone calls and text messages about the progress of the runners.  It also allows me a lot of time to reflect on the season and the people that have forever been changed during the year.  Since OC was my 1st and my 100th marathon, it will always hold a very special place in my heart.

 

Brittany Latson | Assistant Coach

Hi! I am Coach Brittany! I am always very excited to guide these incredibly young runners to hit their PR, run their first marathon, achieve goals they never thought they could and help them grow overall. Running will change your life in the most amazing ways and I’m so excited to take this journey with these amazing runners.

What is my history with WeROCK?

I learned of WeROCK in 2014 while running some of the So Cal races after my husband and I moved back from NYC. I was impressed with the Mission and Goals of WeROCK and reached out to see how I could get involved. I have had the pleasure of coaching the past 4 summer seasons and 3 marathons seasons.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history!

I fell in love with running while living in New York. To date, I have completed 50+ half marathons, 8 marathons, countless 10k’s 5k’s, trail races, mud races, Spartans, and 10-milers across the country and globally! Needless to say, I love to run and I love inspiring others to as well. What do you aspire to do? If you set your mind to something, you can do it, all you have to do is believe in yourself.

What’s my favorite WeROCK race during the season?

The first half of the OC marathon is hands down my favorite course of the program races. What an awesome scenic route for a first marathon or a PR. See you out there!

 

 Tiphany Kane | Assistant Coach

I am a 5th grade teacher up in Garden Grove, California. I have coached my school’s 4-6 running club for many years. In fact, I met Coach K 8 years ago at a coach training for one of these races! I love how running makes me feel. When I run, I feel like I can conquer any challenge that comes my way. Running instills grit, perseverance, growth mindset and positive self-talk. I believe the lessons learned by training for an endurance run spill over into every other aspect of life. You realize you are stronger than that hill, have the endurance to go another mile, and have people supporting your goals.

My history with WeROCK:
I met Coach K 8 years ago and have been amazed with her accomplishments and the incredible running community she helped to foster with WeROCK. I was so incredibly excited for my son to run with WeROCK in 6th grade. I was able to witness an incredible transformation in him as an athlete, scholar and wonderful human from the lessons learned in this program. I came to as many practices as I could and ran with my son. This was such an incredible bonding experience. I was so impressed by the organization and dedication of the coaches that I asked Coach K if I could have the honor of being a part of WeROCK! I am so excited to join the awesome coaching team!!
My race history:
I have run dozens of 1/2 marathons, participated in several sprint triathlons, and ran 2 marathons. I am also the coach for my elementary school’s running club. When I began running 8 years ago, 1 mile seemed so difficult, now running 4 miles is a “short run”.

What’s my favorite WeROCK race during the season?

This is a hard one to choose!!! The absolute most amazing race was the OC Marathon. I had the privilege to run beside my 6th grade son for the whole race. In fact, we crossed the finish line holding hands! This race was incredibly challenging…it poured freezing cold rain on us for the first 5 miles! My son hit a wall that lasted for miles and miles. Every WeROCKer that we came into contact with encouraged him and told him he could do it! I was so impressed by the kids and coaches in this WeROCK community. It was a truly beautiful experience.

Saturday Coaches

Lee Robinson

Welcome, I am Coach Lee.  As the Saturday Coach, my goal during the year is to learn all the kids’ names from all the schools since I do not practice with them during the week. I love getting to know the kids from the different schools, so by the marathon I can cheer for them by name.  It amazes me how the kids get determined on running the marathon as it gets closer.  When the kids cross the finish line with the big smile on their face is worth the time spent with them through the struggles at the practices.  When the season ends, the change that happens with the kids have encountered since the start of the year is astonishing.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history!

Before coaching with WeROCK I ran a couple of 5K’s and a Half Marathon, since I started coaching with WeROCK, I have run several marathons as well as a couple of Ultra Marathons (50K & 55K Trail). I am looking forward to running with the upcoming WeROCKers.

My favorite WeROCK race is…

I always look forward to the Surf City Half Marathon and the OC Marathon every year watching the kids grow and seeing the accomplishment on their faces.  However, my favorite race is the Tustin Hanger Race at the District in Irvine.  It is amazing race because we get to run inside the Tustin Blimp Hangers from the Old Tustin Marine Base.

Our Rockin’ Coordinators

RachaelRachael Vargas

Volunteer Coordinator

Hi to all the wonderful parent volunteers, coaches and our inspiring student runners!  As the aid station coordinator, my goal is to encourage all parents to get involved with our Saturday practice runs and cheer on our runners as they achieve a new milestone every Saturday for the next 7 months.  WeROCK is grateful to all of those who volunteer their time, energy and encouraging words.  We couldn’t do this without you.My history with WeROCKSeveral years ago, I encouraged my son to join this running program called Students Run LA (SRLA) where I met Coach K as an energetic and passionate parent volunteer with a dream!  My son was not thrilled to run a marathon but wanted to be part of something great so he teamed up with Coach K and provided Saturday bike support to all the student runners including his mom! It was my first marathon. 5 years later, my daughter joined the WeRock team.  I volunteered and finished 3 marathons with my daughter.  She will forever been known as a Legacy Runner at her middle school. What an accomplishment!  Fast forward 3 more years, my daughter moved onto Cross Country in High School but I continued to volunteer as the aid station coordinator and the (unofficial) Saturday sweeper.  This is a wonderful program and I am grateful to be part of this amazing WeROCK family.

It’s always fun to hear a coach’s race history!
Before WeRock, I was proud to be a short distance runner and formed a small running club at my workplace.  We ran during our  lunch hour and participated in local 5ks and 10ks.  With the support of WeRock and Coach K, I have completed 8 full marathons (and counting) and several 1/2 marathons.

My favorite race that WeROCK will run
My favorite race is the Surf City 1/2 marathon.  We are half way through the training program and the crowd is energetic with the Super Bowl Fever!