Meet the Leadership Team

SCRR staffs a phenomenal team dedicated to serving its members and the running community.

Jennifer Salamon - Communications Manager 

Jennifer began running in 2011 as a way to try to keep up with and stay healthy for her son with autism. She downloaded the Couch to 5k app to train for the Great Race and caught the running bug after that, joining SCRR in 2012. She has since completed one full marathon, 13 half marathons and countless other races. More recently, Jennifer has really enjoyed being a part of the SCRR Pace Team.

Jennifer loves that running has become a family affair. She regularly runs 5ks with her older son, while pushing her toddler in the jogging stroller. Her husband Mike, also a SCRR member, runs the Pittsburgh half every year, just for “fun.”

When not running, Jennifer is the Communications Director at a local autism nonprofit and serves on the communications committee at her church. She enjoys cooking and dance parties with her two sons, and visiting local breweries with her husband.

Questions? Email her here

Elijah Shekinah - Assistant Coach

Elijah started running in 1999, not in high school or college, but in the Navy where he first gained a passion for running. Since then he has continued to train and race in distances ranging from one mile to marathons. Along the way he has made many friends and deepened his passion for the sport.
Elijah's background in the sport includes; leading marathon training groups, serving on the Board of Directors for a running club, directing an 8K race, and he even coached high school track and cross country.
In 2008, after being coached by a good friend for several years, Elijah began coaching himself as well as a few individuals training for specific goals.
What he loves most about running is that it can be a very personal experience and a group/team sport at the same time. Everyone is supportive of you no matter your ability and we can all achieve our goals at the same time regardless of where you are in the pack!

Perry Erlichman - Coach

In late 2010, Perry went from not running at all to registering for a half marathon as a way to get in shape. Since completing that race, running has become a passion for Perry. He has run over 20 half and full marathons to date and plans on many more.

Running serves as way for him to stay active, but also as a way to meet others along the way. This has been especially true since joining the Steel City Road Runners in September, 2011.

Perry became an RRCA certified coach in June 2015 as a way to help others along their running journey.

In addition to running, Perry also enjoys incorporating CrossFit, mobility and cycling into his training.

Brittany Goncar - Coach

Brittany slipped into her first cross country uniform in fifth grade. Her love for running only continues to grow. After competing in high school, she took a year off before competing in Division III athletics. She was a member of the first cross country team at Chatham University where she also served as the sports information assistant as a graduate student.

At Chatham, Brittany learned that running is just as much about the community, as it is fitness and personal goals. It’s with Steel City Road Runners that Brittany truly developed a passion for distance running. She even met many of her close friends during long runs! Her primary distance is half marathons, but she completed her first full marathon in October 2014 in Niagara Falls.

After dealing with the effects of environmental stress, Brittany has put a strong focus on her overall health by practicing a clean diet and increasing her strength and conditioning. She works with a personal trainer at SHAPE and has a “non-running” goal of completing 100 pushes and 10 pull-ups.

As a coach, Brittany wants to help runners of all levels achieve their goals anywhere from racing to improving diet and general fitness. Running and physical health are gateways to many different things in life. Brittany wants to help her runners make note of these small joys as they work towards and accomplish their goals.

Brittany interns in the athletic department at Carnegie Mellon University and covers high school track and field, and cross country for the Post-Gazette.

Her other interests include hot yoga and baking. Her favorite running book is "Running with the Buffaloes," by Chris Lear.

Betsy Magovern - Coach

Betsy began running for fun and exercise while in college 42 years ago. She has run more 5k and 10k races than she can remember. She began her longer distance running career in 1999 at the Montour Trail 1/2 Marathon and has run many half marathons since. She ran her first full marathon in Pittsburgh in 2000, and to date has completed 20 with a few more on the horizon. 

She joined SCRR in spring 2013 hoping to find friends who shared her passion for the sport. She certainly did find them! She began pacing SCRR training runs for the Pittsburgh Marathon in January 2015 and local races after that. Pacing and coaching other runners to help them meet their goals are two of her favorite reasons to run. She received her RRCA coaching certification in June 2015, and is a coach on the SCRR Leadership Team. She has coached the P3R North Hills kids summer running camp for three years and will do so again this summer. 

Other interests include skiing, golf, tennis, travel, cooking and entertaining at home with family and friends. Betsy has four children: Paul, 37, Megan, 34, Charlie, 28, Molly, 24, and a daughter-in-law, Dora, 35, all of whom enjoy running. Also, granddaughter, Marin, 5, who has already shown a love for running with her Nana, as well as new grandson James who is 1 1/2!

Victor Siclari - Coach

Victor used the Galloway program to get back into running in 2012 after a decade of back issues and a desire to do something longer than a 10K. He wanted a healthier existence, a way to manage stress, and to experience the excitement his wife did in completing several Pittsburgh full and half marathons.

He attended an SCRR orientation meeting in October 2012, listened to a presentation about the Galloway run/walk/run training program and joined on the spot. Anxious to begin, he signed up for the Galloway full marathon training because it was kicking off three months before the half marathon training. By mid-November, every long run became a new PR. By religiously attending training runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, he completed his first marathon in May 2013 at the young age of 51, proving you can teach an old dog new tricks if you have the right training program. He has since completed 3 fulls in Pittsburgh (2014, 2015, and 2017-- had his first bad running day in 2016 so wisely detoured at the Birmingham Bridge to enjoy the post-race activities in half the time), his first half in Baltimore in October 2015, the Gasparilla Michelob Ultra Challenge in 2016 (4 races in 2 days: 15K, 5K, half marathon and 8K for 30.4 miles), and PA Ragnar in 2017 (200+ mile relay in 36 hours). He also enjoys helping others succeed by pacing races ranging from 5Ks to the EQT 10 miler. 

Victor loves the “universa-utility” of the Galloway program with its application to beginners, intermediates and elites to increase distance and performance with lower risk of injury and better post-run recovery.  He and Danielle have co-coached the Galloway full and half training program since 2014; during that time, program membership has quadrupled (>100 participants), and the EQT 10 miler training program was added in 2017.  However, the program wouldn’t be where it is today without its participants’ promotion to others and the support provided by the pace group mentors that help “run” the program.

Danielle Yeager - Coach

Danielle is a coach for the Steel City Road Runners Galloway program. Danielle started running after completing her MBA. She decided to run her first marathon last May after attending a Jeff Galloway seminar. As a certified RRCA and USATF coach, she's excited to share her coaching and Galloway program knowledge with runners in the Pittsburgh area. Outside of running, Danielle is a volunteer and advocate for Animal Friends. 

Daniel Heckert - Coach

Daniel has been running for years, though his initial running wasn’t for the love of the sport. As a former high school and collegiate wrestler, running was done as weight control. While in high school, Daniel ran with the York Road Runners and competed in their Winter Series Races numerous times. Little did he know that he was laying the groundwork for a new passion later in life. Due to some injuries from wrestling, he got away from running until the marathon came back to Pittsburgh. The energy around the running community sparked a new fire in him and gave him a way to “compete” in a post collegiate world.

Daniel ended up joining the Steel City Road Runners in its very first year. This soon became more than a bunch of runners, they became family. Some of his closest friends are people he met through SCRR. He loves that regardless of speed or distance, members of SCRR bond together over the common goal of running. Daniel is also very active with the SCRR Pace Team and enjoys that he can help out runners in reaching their goal during race day.

His journey through running started with the 5k and the marathon relay. However, crossing the finish line with the full marathoners while doing the relay sparked Daniel to want to experience the “pain and glory” of running longer. He soon transitioned to running 10k’s and half marathons. Daniel also became a RRCA Certified Coach in 2016. He wanted to better understand his training as well as give back to the running community. In 2017 Daniel ran his first full marathon, however that may be his only one as he enjoys the shorter distances. His favorite race is actually the Liberty Mile because the six minutes of all-out running reminds him of the feeling he had during a wrestling match (also typically around 6-7 minutes).

Daniel has been married to his wife Elisa (fellow SCRR Member) since 2004. Daniel has also been coaching high school wrestling since 2004. He spent 11 years at Pittsburgh Central Catholic before moving to his current position with North Allegheny. When not running, Daniel enjoys golfing, hunting, fishing and working on their “small” garden..

Sara Angelilli - Coach

Sara started running in 2013 after finally caving in to the Heckert’s.  It took them three years to convince her that she could run three miles. After running that first race, it was all over.  She was immediately captivated by the energy of race day morning and the enthusiasm of the runners.  She quickly progressed from 5k to marathon in that first year while learning many lessons the hard way.  Since then, she takes a smarter approach to training to keep balance and minimize injury risk.

During that first year, she became an active part of the Steel City community through the group runs. Being a shy person it was nice to have a welcoming and supportive group to push you with your training goals. Later on, she became more involved as a pacer for training runs/races and filled in for the occasional track Tuesday. 

Over the years, her love for running continued to grow and she became a RRCA certified coach in 2017. Obtaining that certification has afforded her the opportunity to take on personal coaching clients.  Coaching runners has truly become a passion.  She enjoys helping them to refine goals, push their limits and achieve their personal bests.  This passion has led to her most recent certification as a personal trainer.  Sara believes that running and strength training should go hand in hand.

When Sara isn’t running or training with her husband Aaron, she is working as a nurse educator.  She also plans to continue her training related education with additional specializations.  She is really excited to continue to give back to the running community and is looking forward to connecting new runners to this network to ensure that they also feel like they belong.

Jason Pergola - Coach

Jason started running in 2012 to become healthier. Running was always something that he despised doing and never thought that it would become something that he enjoyed. When starting out running he started with a couch to 5K program. This seemed like the best way to start out, especially for someone who really did not like running in the first place. It was not until 2013 that he got up the courage to run a 5K. His first 5K was the Burgh’s Pizza 5K, now called the National Tunnel 5K in Cecil.

In 2014, Jason decided it was time to challenge himself as he started running longer distances by signing up for his first ever half marathon in Pittsburgh. That fall while picking up his packet for the EQT 10 miler is when he became introduced to SCRR on first signed up. Even though he signed up at EQT it was not until January of 2015 that he attended his first SCRR group run while training for his first full marathon. Running with Steel City while training for the 2015 marathon is what really made running something that has become a passion for Jason.

Since then Jason has run 6 marathons and numerous other races of varying distances in between. His favorite race to date is the 2017 New York Marathon which he managed to break his personal best marathon time which held since his first in 2015. One thing that Jason enjoys with running is helping others accomplish their goals through pacing. During the spring of 2018 Jason got the opportunity to pace his first big race at the Cleveland Half Marathon.

Jocelyn Johnston - Coach

Jocelyn is a native of Brookville, PA, who finally lives in Pittsburgh after years of commuting to SCRR runs from Freeport. Jocelyn has been a runner for over twenty years. She is an RRCA certified coach and has been a member of SCRR since 2015. She can often be found leading the 8:30 pace group on Saturday long runs, and paces local races with the SCRR pace team. Her Pittsburgh Marathon Sunday has involved running a leg of the relay and dashing off to church to preach. 

She first qualified for the Boston marathon in the fall of 2016, but missed the cut by four stinking seconds. She has since qualified two more times, and is super looking forward to running the Boston Marathon in 2019. In addition to running, Jocelyn has biked the entirety of the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal trails from Pittsburgh to DC. 

She is a diehard Pittsburgh sports fan with a commensurate woman cave. She has also heralded herself with the moniker, “IPA Queen”, as she is a lover of craft beer, and especially hoppy IPAs. Jocelyn is excited to help runners develop training plans and achieve their running goals.

Rachel Rutkoski - Lead Ambassador

Rachel started running in 2006 when a friend asked if she wanted to train for the Philadelphia half marathon together. Having grown up playing soccer, Rachel was tentative about jumping right into running with a half marathon, however she was instantly hooked. 

Since the Philadelphia Half Marathon she has run 18 half marathons and does not plan to stop any time soon. Her favorite half marathon to date is the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in Cary, NC. Rachel has also run three marathons and even tried a triathlon last summer.

Her favorite running experience though has been participating in the Girls on The Run 5K program with her niece the past two years.  Hearing her niece say she wants running shoes just like hers was music to her ears.

Rachel loves participating in races and will try her hardest to get others to sign up with her. Be careful of her Jedi mind tricks, you might just find yourself signing up for a new race!

Shelly McGonigal - Ambassador

Shelly has been a Steel City Road Runner member since the inception of the club and has enjoyed every single step. Since her involvement, Shelly has made her way into pace groups at various races throughout the year. Shelly enjoys the camaraderie and relationships that she creates on the training runs and through the pace groups.  

In the community, Shelly enjoys volunteering at her local parish, St. Teresa of Avila and participating in community events through her employer, Allegheny Health Network. In her daily job at Allegheny Health Network, Shelly serves as the Director of Safety and Quality.

As an ambassador, Shelly looks forward to being instrumental in organizing group events such as: yoga and strength training workshops, good form running classes and running nutrition.

Jenn Cicchini - Ambassador

Jenn started walking 5Ks in 2012, and she soon decided to try to run them, even if shecouldn’t run the whole thing, and quickly got hooked. She signed up for the SCRR Campus Challenge in 2013, and timidly went by herself. She met a lot of great, welcoming people there and decided this was something she wanted to stick with and a group she wanted to be a part of, so she joined SCRR! After a couple of injuries while training for a half marathon, she wasn’t ready to give up, so she joined the Galloway group and has been both a member or a mentor ever since. She's now completed 7 marathons and numerous half marathons using the run/walk/run method. Jenn also enjoys being a member of the Pace Team, along with her hubby Jeff, to hopefully help others reach their race goals.

Jenn works as a teacher in the Monessen City School District where, along with a fellow SCRR member, they are excited to be organizing their first year in the Kids Of Steel program!

Jeff Cicchini - Ambassador

Jeff found his love for running in high school and college as a sprinter on the track team.After college, he thought his running days were over. In 2013, his wife, Jenn, had joined the Galloway program in hopes of completing a half marathon. Jeff spent many Saturday mornings waiting in the car and watching all of the runners during the group runs. He finally decided to try to run a mile to see how it would go. It was rough! But the love of running was back and finally Jeff decided to leave the warm car and try a group run. He was hooked! He soon wanted to try a longer distance and joined the Galloway program to train. He has since completed two full marathons, many half marathons and other distances. 

Jeff loves SCRR because of the support and encouragement of all of the members. Regardless of pace or distance levels, we are all one big happy running family! Jeff also enjoys being on the Pace Team to help others to reach their race goals.

Aside from running, Jeff also plays golf and shoots pool. Future goals include completing a beer mile!

Sylvia Gilbert - Ambassador

Sylvia started running regularly in the fall of 2014 after a friend suggested a half marathon in Puerto Rico the day they left on a cruise. Since then she has run two more halfs and the Pittsburgh full in 2016. She runs so she can drink more of her husband’s margaritas! Her other interests are biking, scuba diving and raising chickens. She and her husband Brian have been married since 1993 and they have two teenage sons, so be careful out there on the roads. ;)

Nancy Tullar – Ambassador

Nancy has been a member of SCRR since 2013 and a Galloway mentor since the 2014-2015 training season.  She is currently co-administrator of the P3R Galloway Training FB page.  She joined SCRR at the 2013 Marathon expo, because of that big selling point – the food tent at the finish line.  She soon learned how friendly and supportive everyone is and how easy it is to develop relationships with runners of different abilities – from beginners to BQ-ers, 

On non-running days, Nancy enjoys cycling, swimming and walking.  She stays active to counter balance her love for food and local craft beers.

In addition to her SCRR involvement, Nancy is a ‘Girls on the Run’ coach in her school district.  When not training, she does volunteer work at her church. As a member of BMWCCA, she volunteers annually at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in Schenley Park.  On ‘rest days’, she and her husband ‘Bear’ may be seen sampling a new beer at one of Pittsburgh’s craft breweries, or she may be attending one of her niece or nephew’s school activities.

Being a ‘back of the packer’ herself, Nancy has a soft spot for newer/slower/older runners.  She gets great satisfaction in helping them gain distance and confidence with each training run.  (Many of the new Galloway runners have never run more than a 5K.  During the early stages of training, some find running 5 miles to be daunting.  Fast forward to the last training run, she usually hears someone say, “We only have 7 miles to run”.)  With the continuing growth of the Galloway program, Nancy hopes to help more people cross the finish line for the first time
 . . . then sign up for their next distance race.

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