Meet the Leadership Team

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

Dave Spell - Head Coach/Operations Manager

Dave started running in 2009 to be healthy and lose weight. Since then he has lost over 70 pounds and has fell in love with running. Dave has run and paced over 45 marathons and half marathons.

Dave received his RRCA coaching certification in 2012 and is an integral part of the Steel City Road Runners.

Dave uses his passion for running to motivate his students at Shaler Area Middle School to become more active. He assists his wife in coaching their daughter's Kids of Steel Program for the Memorial Movers in the Bethel Park School District. He believes that it is very important to involve youth in running at an early age to promote a healthy lifestyle while having fun.

From leading the Ucan2 5K training program for brand new runners to pacing those aiming for the elusive 3:05 Boston Qualifying time, Dave has a well-rounded resume to assist any runner.

Email Coach Dave at

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, 12 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.

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 began a weight loss journey that did not include running in the original plan. His relationship with running was non-existent at the time.

While on a business trip, he was left without a gym and took a chance on a run for the first time. Three miles later and probably still full of adrenaline, he signed up for the 2011 Pittsburgh Half Marathon.
Since completing in that race, running has become a passion for Perry. 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 looks forward to meeting even more people as an ambassador for SCRR.
In addition to running, Perry also enjoys cycling, trivia and pretending that he’s going to start taking yoga classes.

Kelly Walburn - Coach

Kelly's running adventures started when she completed what she thought would be her first and only "bucket list 5k". Thanks to continued peer pressure and an addiction to finish lines, a runner was made! Kelly is now one of a growing number of "bariathletes", people who have discovered competitive sports after losing weight through bariatric surgery. Running a marathon was something she had never imagined before.

"The ability to run is a challenge and a blessing, and I'm thankful for both. Especially because this is something I never expected to be doing, every mile is a gift. I am so grateful to have found the Steel City Road Runners. The shoulder-to-shoulder support of my SCRR teammates has kept me moving forward, both on the road and in everyday life. It's a pleasure to be able to serve the club in return."

As an RRCA and USATF certified coach, Kelly works with SCRR's runners throughout the year and coaches high school cross country in the fall.

She is an avid foodie and her hobbies include surfing Pinterest for new recipes, hunting down Pittsburgh's food trucks, sad attempts at urban farming, and drinking coffee. She and her husband Roger have been married for 20 years and have three teen sons.

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.

Suzanne Natter - Coach

Suzanne discovered running in 2011 at the age of 48 by default. After losing 42 lbs, she realized she needed to just do more than lose weight so along came biking throughout our beautiful city. Winter put an end to biking and that is when she discovered the gym and a treadmill which she started running on in February. She crossed the finish line in April in her first race, a 10k, running outside for the first time, over dressed and under trained for the hills, snow, frigid cold and was completely hooked from that moment on. Since then she has ran in over 80 races including 4 marathons and one ultra marathon.

Running is a passion that she loves helping others discover. She started coaching the Couch to 5K program at Elite Runners & Walkers in 2013 and since has coached over 100 runners from 5K's to marathons and everything in between. To keep her graduates motivated and running, she has hosted weekly runs for the last two years and loves to put "fun" into the experience of running.

She is known for leaving no man behind and running the last runner across the finish line. Her greatest accomplishments in running come from seeing the runners she has coached reach their running goals.

Suzanne has been married for 33 years and has four children ranging in ages from 32 to 13. This past summer, her youngest took up running and now enjoys sharing her passion with him!

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 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. 

Larry Shields - Coach

If you asked him three years ago, Larry would have told you running is only something you do when chasing or being chased by something. Now, that's far from his opinion. Larry began running in 2014 as part of training for his first race, a Ragnar Trail Relay. It seemed that all it took was running in a 24 hour relay in the hills of West Virginia to change his mind on the subject. A terrible thing happened - he was hooked on running. After reading the book Born to Run and completing his first half marathon, he joined the Steel City Road Runners. The rest, as they say, is history. Now he's found a passion for the sport that has spanned a number of half and full marathons as well as an ultra marathon.

In 2015 he became an RRCA certified coach and began working with the UCan2 program. As a coach, he hopes to bring out the same passion he has for the sport in others. In addition to running he also enjoys cycling, yoga, the Pirates, the Pitt Panthers and the Steelers.

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!

Steven Obranovich - Ambassador

Steven started running a year and 7 months ago to train for the 6 mile leg of the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay 2013 when several of his friends asked him to participate and join their team. Steven was never a Track or Cross Country team member in high school so little did he know that one race would change his attitude toward running forever.  Seeing the spectators come out to cheer and the support each runner gave each other was inspirational and sparked Steven’s interest into running.  A colleague introduced him to the Steel City Road Runners (SCRR) in late May 2013 and his passion for running took off.

Since joining the Steel City Road Runners, Steven has completed around 20+ races including four marathons, six half marathons, two 16.28 mile races, several 5Ks & 10Ks, and two Liberty Mile races.  Although Steven enjoys running for fun, he constantly challenges himself to break his personal records (PRs) and set goals for each race.  To accomplish such tasks, Steven reminds himself of goal quotes. “If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown.   In addition, Steven takes great pride in wanting to help others achieve their goals.  Steven has volunteered to pace runners during training runs last year and will do the same this year.

While not running, Steven enjoys playing pick-up games of hockey and soccer (depending on the season) and volunteer work.

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.

Nahum-Obed Sanchez - Ambassador

Sanchez, as we all know him, began running in 2013 thanks to one of his friends whoconvinced him to do so as a way to meet new friends, battle depression, and as a change of pace activity while in the process of finding and leading a healthier lifestyle so he could be a better role model for his teenage son. After completing his first 5K in May of that year, he got hooked and joined SCRR and his life has never been the same.

Since then, Sanchez has completed 17 half marathons, 7 full marathons, two 50K ultramarathons, and countless 5Ks and 10Ks. He is also a proud member of the SCRR Pace Team, having paced many local races. He is also part of the board and a lead mentor for Pumped to Run, a local nonprofit running support group for the homeless population in Pittsburgh.

He has a 14 year old son, who seems to have caught some of the running bug, and joined the cross country team at his school. When not running, Sanchez enjoys snowboarding in the winter, cheering other runners, video games with his son, and enjoying and supporting the growing local craft brewery scene.

Arjun Mishra - Ambassador

Arjun runs a lot of races for no apparent reason. His journey to becoming a runner involvedrunning nearly every day on a treadmill (same pace, same distance), taking a hiatus of over a year, and running the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2015 on a dare (which he trained for by running once a week). SCRR deserves credit for beating some of the bad habits out of him. He’s fallen in love with running since the fall of 2015 and can usually be found trying to cajole others to sign up for races.

Outside of running races for the sake of running them or going for time, Arjun enjoys pacing others in all distances. Some of his most rewarding running experiences are being present for the successes and triumphs of others. It is often as gratifying as personal success.

Arjun joined SCRR to get faster and become a better runner. He has ended up meeting some tremendous people along the way, who in addition to being great running partners, are stellar people. They have challenged and inspired him, and he is grateful for that. Some of his favorite moments from races are seeing SCRR shirts and people along the race course and waving/high-fiving/screaming.

Also, Arjun hates trails.

Deanna Skvarla - Ambassador

Deanna has been active on and off throughout her entire life. She danced and cheered in school and attempted track but hated it. After having two kids, Deanna set a goal to start running in June of 2014 to become more healthy and set a good example for her children. She started out using the elliptical and walking in April 2014 with the goal in mind to start running in June. 

Deanna joined SCRR in November of 2015 to surround herself with more experienced runners and for the social aspect. She was hooked! Deanna attends most, if not all, group runs. She quickly made friends in SCRR and picked up pacing as well. You can say she's a social butterfly.

Deanna completed her first half marathon in May (Pittsburgh marathon) and went on to complete her 2nd half in July and her first full marathon in Chicago on October 9, 2016, as well as completing several 5ks, 10ks and the 10 miler. She will be completing her first Disney half marathon in January 2017 (Disney is her second love!)

Deanna may not have as much race experience as others but she mostly enjoys the running aspect and pacing runs while getting to know new and old members of the group while giving them the boost and confidence to complete the run.

Outside of running, Deanna has two little kids (a 5 and 3 year old), and a two year old Westie named Crosby (yes after Sidney Crosby!), an adoring husband of 7 years. She markets her husband's self owned business in her free time as well as working her own career. She LOVES all things Disney, the ocean and Christmas.

Jon Lyons - Ambassador

Jon’s passion for running began sophomore year of high school when he began his journeyin cross country as well as track and field. His competitiveness grew as he participated in Division II athletics at Mercyhurst University. He ran cross country in addition to track and field all four years in college and continued to serve as the team’s Assistant Coach the following year. In addition to coaching he helped plan a conference championship race. Support and competition among teammates pushed him to surpass goals in both sport as well as life and helped him to realize the importance of camaraderie.

Since joining SCRR in 2015, Jon’s enthusiasm for running escalated after falling out of it for a few years. He has specialized in distances from the mile to half marathon in the past but has since taken on the challenge of the marathon. After completing his first marathon back in 2006 he never thought he would attempt one again. Fellow runners in the group motivated and inspired him to complete two additional full marathons this past year.   

“SCRR is different from other running clubs because of the people involved. I truly enjoy learning from the variety of experiences that each member has and made so many friends along the way. I lived here most of my life and never realized how much fun the running community of Pittsburgh is until moving downtown and getting involved. What makes this such a great running community is the different groups in the city do a phenomenal job of working together to make it into what it is today.” 

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. ;)

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