Our Coaches

Gary Schancer

Head Coach - Albuquerque FIT

I am an exercise physiologist, a certified running coach and have been working in the fitness industry for 22 years since retiring from the Air Force. My wife, Kathy, is a dietitian, Albuquerque Fit’s nutritionist and has run many marathons and ultra marathons. We have two children and four grandchildren.

I began running in high school 100 years ago and then ran on and off for many years. In 1994, I got very serious about my health due to bad family history of heart disease, and I started running regularly. Since then, I have run 69 marathons and 31 ultra marathons, including numerous 50 and 100 milers and at least one marathon in all 50 states.

Although I don’t necessarily recommend this much running to most people, it is all about challenging ourselves to see what our bodies are capable of. Whether your goal is to run around the block, 100 miles, or anywhere in between, I would like to help you reach that goal. I totally agree with the race director for the Leadville Trail 100-mile race who says, “You are better than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can.” I think that Albuquerque FIT will help you to determine your capabilities and reach your goals. I would love to be there to watch you cross that finish line for the first time. Your life will never be the same.


Kim Gieck

Head Coach - Half Marathon

I am the Achievement Coach for the School of Business & Information Technology at CNM.  I am a licensed clinical counselor (LPCC) and board certified coach (BCC).  I am currently completing the Dietary Manager and Fitness Technician Certificates at CNM.

During my 20s, I was a competitive bodybuilder.  My 30s were spent bicycling.  I didn’t begin running competitively until my early 40s. I have completed five marathons and 12 half marathons.  I wake up at 5 a.m. and start my day by running on the treadmill or strength training or practicing yoga. I have been a member of Albuquerque FIT since 2005 and a half marathon coach since 2012. My husband Max also runs and will be running with us!

I have a passion for coaching beginning runners towards their goals, be it a 5k, a marathon, or anywhere in between.  Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you may have, and if I don’t know the answer, I will find out.  I am looking forward to getting to know you and running with you!


Bob Samala

Head Coach - Marathon

Running a marathon will “Change Your Life”. It certainly has for me. In 2014 I made a resolution to finally run a marathon. I did not have a running background. I tried training on my own by reading books, following various online programs, but I was running without real direction. I found running alone was not very fun. Then I joined the Albuquerque Fit Summer Program that June. I never knew there was such a large group of runners – all ages, all levels of ability, all shapes and sizes and most importantly all friendly and supportive. My once dreaded runs turned to miles of joy! I had running buddies! The training programs that Albuquerque Fit provides really work. They get you to the finish line with a smile on your face.
I ran my 1st marathon (Long Beach) in October 2014. I thought I was one and done, but I ran my 2nd in February 2015 (Phoenix Rock & Roll). Same year I ran another marathon, a 45K & 50K ultramarathon and my running journey continues.
Since joining Albuquerque Fit, I have found that running is not just about races. It’s about relationships. Running with other people will make your running fun! We have pace groups, run-walk philosophy and a knowledgeable and very friendly organizer and coaches that will be there for you every step of the way! I look forward to seeing you this season!


Deana Fowler

Head Coach - Marathon

Hi! My name is Deana Fowler, and am a transplant from rainy Seattle Washington. I’ve been an educational assistant at the public schools in Rio Rancho for 10 years, and I’m finally back in school to get a degree in teaching. I am also fluent in American Sign Language. I’ve been married for 28 years and have two college aged children. I’m the only crazy runner in the family, but all are supportive and encouraging in my journey.
After moving here in 2005, with that glorious blue sky and rare rainy day I had to get outside and get moving! I started with triathlons and lost 25lbs. Triathlons take up a lot of time training in three different events so I later joined ABQFIT. I’ve been a member of Albuquerque Fit since 2006. I love ABQFIT because you never have to run alone. We have runners of every ability and I am always more motivated when running with other people. After my first marathon, the Duke City Marathon in Albuquerque in 2006, I joined the 50 state Club. We run a marathon in every state. I have completed 43 marathons in 43 states. I will finish in Colorado, October 2018 for my 50th birthday; and you are all invited! Even my children are planning on running my last state with me.
I absolutely love helping others reach their running goals. No matter the pace, we should all set a goal and I would like to assist in helping you achieve it. I’ve reached many of my own speed goals, including qualifying for Boston, and have been running my 50 state goal for 11 years. Please ask us questions, and we’ll help you find the answers and help you reach your goals. No pace is too slow or too fast, we’re all here to improve and keep moving.


Ted Borek

Head Coach - 10K

I hope to help you reach your time and distance goals while you train with us this season.

I run, swim, bike, and lift weights, which I have done my entire life. I swam and ran cross country in high school, which is longer ago than I care to think about. My current challenge is triathlon.

Up until 2 years ago, I dreaded running events, because I was slow and was convinced I couldn’t go faster, didn’t know how to train, and thought I could never go farther than 3 miles without keeling over. Albuquerque Fit has shown me that I am able to run as far as I want, improve my time, and improve my health. It has helped to change my life.

So, I want to bring these benefits to you. Whether your goals are 5k, 10k, or farther, we’ll unlock your physical and mental potential so you will look forward to running whenever you get the chance!


Leann Wright

Head Coach - 10K

Four years ago my husband started running as a result of a health scare. I saw a major change in him so I started running 3 and 1/2 years ago as a way to improve my health and lose weight too. I work in an office and my days are very sedentary. So running became my path to improving my health so I can live longer. I have a 16 year old daughter and it is important to me to be around for a very long time. At first it was very hard because my knees hurt, my feet hurt, my hips hurt…you get the idea. It got easier as I lost weight, and my ligaments and tendons got stronger. I also discovered running on dirt is much easier on the joints, which led me to trail running. I live in the foothills so this was also convenient for my midweek runs. I look forward to these runs because it’s always an adventure. I often see rabbits, roadrunners, and coyotes. (Maybe I live in a cartoon?) On rare occasions I see deer and rattlesnakes; and the sunsets are amazing. I feel very lucky when I see these because it is an experience I wouldn’t have sitting on my couch – except for the rattlesnakes, of course. No one feels lucky when they see a rattlesnake.

I have made some great friends running with Albuquerque Fit, and have learned many things about myself and running. Who knew runners came in all shapes and sizes? Everyone is so supportive! (Isn’t it a competition?) Its really interesting to hear everyone’s personal stories as well as their tips and tricks about running. Having a large group allows me to get advice from many people, try different things, and figure out what works for me. I haven’t been running my whole life so I still remember what it was like in the beginning and want to help others begin their fitness journey.