I moved to Denver from Massachusetts in June of 2015 to join a startup. I was in the middle of training for my Boston Qualifying marathon and found USA FIT Denver online. I emailed them and they were immediately welcoming.

My main goal was to find a group of new people with similar goals that would get me out of my apartment and help me train.

I use the program to keep myself grounded and to stay on track. Since joining USA FIT Denver my goals and fitness levels have varied from season to season.

My first season I leaned heavily on the USA FIT program to qualify for the Boston Marathon and achieve several personal bests for my marathon times and half marathon times. With this training as a baseline, I slowed down but built myself back up for back to back marathons and ultra-distances, including several 50-mile races. I am currently attempting my first Leadville 100.

I say the program helps me stay grounded because it really focuses on training safely. I have put together some over-eager training schedules that ended up being unrealistic with the amount of time available to train. This program focuses on quality training and helps provide knowledge to our members to keep them injury free for as long as possible.

My favorite part of the season is the second half. The runs start getting longer, the weather is hotter, and it’s exciting to learn how to cope with those challenges. It is easy to start skipping runs at this point since the time commitment starts to increase, but the group helps to keep yourself accountable.

We have all had difficult runs, where either we don't want to start, or things just don't go as planned but being able to look around and train with people going through the same things helps ease that burden. I really enjoy the 18- and 21-mile benchmark runs during this second half. It is very exciting to see our new runners tackle these for the first time and our returning members logging another major run.

Additionally, I really appreciate the social aspect of Denver FIT. We are an accommodating group that likes to help each other attain our goals, whether it’s a personal best half marathon, a Boston qualifying marathon, or working towards someone’s first trail race.

We have members with a lot of experience to learn from and members that are working towards their first race that bring new perspectives.

The USA FIT Denver program and our USA FIT Denver community really help me stay on track for smart, attainable goals that are still challenging and greatly rewarding.

Matt, Joined in 2015

When I was 22 I was injured while playing basketball and had to have a serious operation on my knee. At the time my orthopedic surgeon said I would have trouble with my knee sometime between the age of 55 to 60.

He was right.

In my 40s I injured my hamstring running rather badly and stopped running. I quit running for 10 years and ballooned up to 285 pounds (I’m 6’2”).

Then on April 15, 1995, I was diagnosed with diabetes. The doctor said, “lose weight!”

Three days later I participated in my first racewalking clinic and was hooked.

I heard of USA FIT Denver through word of mouth. My daughter was one of the marathon coaches at the time and told me about the racewalking (and the power/speed walking) program. I joined in 2003 and have been a member since.

I’m a goal-oriented person so setting out awesome challenges beyond just exercising was essential. Being with others made the rigors of training so much more tolerable. After training on Saturdays, we always have coffee and/or breakfast together. We talk about training but because we’ve become friends over the years we also catch up on each other’s lives.

In 2013 I became the walking coach when the previous coach retired. My two favorite parts of the season are the beginning when new people join, and then when group members select races, they want to participate in.

USA FIT DENVER trains walkers for 5ks, 10ks, half and full marathons. Because the average age of our walkers is 61 many prefer not to do a half or full marathon, so we offer training for 5k and 10k races. It’s important to have a goal to train towards, rather than just training for training’s sake. The shorter races are more feasible for some of our members and they enjoy doing them together.

One of the most motivating aspects of USA FIT Denver is the camaraderie and training weekly with other people who have similar goals. People in the walking group train at an acceptable pace for themselves yet challenging aerobically: some members train at 13-minute pace and others at an 18-minute pace. We encourage people to partner up with someone of similar ability.

Once the training season is over, many in the walking group continue to meet and train – we can’t afford to not train for six months! Some in our walking group have been together since 2003 and new people join each year adding to our numbers.

I switched to racewalking because it is a low-impact endurance sport and has much less joint impact on ankles, knees and hips. So much of health research says being active 30 minutes to an hour a day is the best “health pill” for good health and a longer life. Brisk walking is essential to achieve an aerobic effect which benefits your physiological, neurological, and psychological wellbeing.

If people are interested in losing weight, racewalking uses 15 percent more calories than running because of the hip movement required. More muscle is demanded for racewalking. I lost 100 pounds through diet and exercise — racewalking — and I’ve managed to keep the weight off.

I currently train 4 days a week and cross train 2 days a week. My current goal is to complete a half marathon in all 50 states. As of mid-March, 2019, I completed state # 49 in Hawaii. Once I complete a half in all 50 states plus Washington D.C. this year, my next goal is to do a half marathon in the 10 Canadian Provinces. My first Canadian race will be in June in Sherbrooke, Quebec.


Mike, Joined in 2003

My husband and I have been participating in Denver Fit for 5 years.

When we were thinking about joining a group, we were looking for exercise guidance and a training plan. Mike - our Coach - has been great. He has helped us complete our half marathon goal by providing weekly training plans and fit and form guidance.

We look forward to our weekly group training sessions on Saturdays -  not only for the exercise but for all the new friendships we have made.

Ginny and Rob, Joined in 2014

I joined USA FIT in 2018 for the first time at the ripe age of 59.  I was preparing for the Chicago Marathon.  USA Fit helped me with my continued weight loss of 40lbs (178 lbs to 138lbs), reduction in my blood pressure medication as well as halting the slide into diabetes.

Enjoying the support and camaraderie with other runners got me thru the training.  I loved running those early long runs with others.  Matt, Liz, and Melissa were great coaches in the finest sense of the word because they ran along, encouraged and gently taught me the finer aspects of running long distances.  They even helped me figure out the hypoglycemic bonk around mile 12!

I finished the Chicago marathon in 6 hrs and 31 minutes without injury and with the ability to still walk and go upstairs!   My 26-year-old son and his wife also ran and completed in 5 hrs.  So not too bad for a nearly 60 yr old beginner runner.

This next season, I plan to join again.  My running goals are simple:  stay fit and strong.  USA FIT will help me with these goals.

Linda, Joined in 2018