Our Coaches

Lois DeJohn

Organizer - Half Marathon Coach

I started running at 40.  At first I only did 5Ks, but I had my sights set on a bigger goal: the half marathon!  In 2012 I joined USA Fit Albany and it changed my life!  I completed my first half marathon and haven’t stop running!  

I started dating Victor, my husband, in 2013. He wanted to join the group and start with a half marathon.  Not me!  I was going the whole way… marathon or bust!   I finished my first marathon that October with Victor by my side (well, maybe he finished ahead of me!).  My running experience consists of one marathon, five half marathons and numerous 5Ks.

Jennie and Jeff Heidbreder introduced Albany to USA FIT. This is where I met them and was supported and encouraged by them every step of the way. I’m not sure I could have done it without them.

Victor and I are stepping into some very big shoes!

Victor DeJohn

Head Coach - Half Marathon

My running  “career” started in High School as a sprinter on the track team.  I never thought of running long distances until my Uncle Sam “suggested” it!  I really enjoyed running the many, many miles with a group.  After the Army, I realized I didn’t like to run alone and stopped for almost 30 years.

That all changed when I met Lois.  She talked me into a marathon! We joined USA FIT Albany and with all the help and encouragement of the coaches and friends, I was able to achieve my goal!

Since that first year I have completed many half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks.

I’m confident I can help you reach your goal safely while having more fun than you can handle!

Jeremy Denton Sr.

Head Coach - Marathon Group

For me, running started when I was 14. That was 26 years ago. Between soccer and the cross country team in High School, I developed a love-hate relationship with running. I ALWAYS feel better after a run but getting my shoes on wasn’t always easy. I served in the US Army for 8 years where I coached and ran races all over the world. I took a multiple year break from running and got back into it through triathlons. I have completed several short distance triathlons, mud runs and obstacle courses. I am currently training for next year’s Canadian Death Race in Grande Cache, BC. I am the team captain for team UPS here in Albany and I have ran the Boston for The United Way. I have also been certified as a coach by SUNY. Running is liberating and there is no better feeling than crossing that finish line. I am new here to USA Fit Albany and hope to have a great season!

Ed Bonapartain

Assistant Coach -

I caught the running bug four years ago when a close friend of mine told me she was running the Mohawk-Hudson Full Marathon. Being a non-runner at the time, I thought she needed her head examined but still agreed to her request to stand by the halfway point of the race so she could swap out water bottles. Five months later when she ran the race I did meet her out on the course; however it was to run the last 14 miles of the race with her. Crossing the finish line with her was a life changing moment for me as I had reached a personal goal I never would have thought possible.

As a member of USA Fit this past year, I was often reminded of that moment. Experiencing the encouragement and support of my fellow runners and the coaches while completing my own first full marathon has as shown me that we runners are a tribal lot. The bonds of friendship formed over the   miles are never easily forgotten.

This year, I look forward to being an assistant coach for the half marathon group. I recently read an article where the word friendship was defined as any relationship which brings out our highest potential. For me, that definition easily applies to the USA Fit training program and, it is my wish to  support the other runners in the program so they too, may experience that life changing moment of crossing a half marathon finish line for the first time.

Jacinda “Jazz” Conboy

Assistant Coach - Half Marathon Group

I’ve been running now for about twenty years.  I kind of did things a little backward at first; after running a few 5Ks I decided I was going to run a full marathon.  Ever since then I’ve been hooked! I’ve run numerous half marathons, 15Ks, 10Ks, and 5Ks.   I am a true believer that running solves all my problems, it relieves my stress, cures my insomnia, physically makes me feel great, mentally it’s a huge boost and these days it is my social time to catch up with friends!

I’ve trained with USA FIT Albany and I had such a good experience that I’ve come back for three years now as a coach.  This year I will be one of the assistant coaches for 1/2 marathon; I am always looking for ways to improve my performance.  I am thrilled to be part of the coaching team for USA FIT Albany.  I am looking forward to a great 2017season!


Rose Marie Hawver

Assistant Coach - Red Half

Hi my name is Rose Marie Hawver and this is my third year with USAfitAlbany.  This group has been a great source of support to my these past two years and I look forward to a new training year.

I began my “running” career over 35 years ago when my husband and I moved to Houston, Texas.  That year I discovered that one could actually run through the fall and winter without freezing to death.  In fact, I was very thrilled to be part of the upcoming new trend of people running for pleasure.  However come  March, the horrendous Houston heat and humidity taught me to take advantage of the early morning (pre-sunrise hours) to accomplish any outdoor activities.

This “early morning” training came in very handy once I had my children.  We had moved back to Albany, but I was committed to working out (preferably running) and I had learned to depend on and cherish my early morning runs. It seemed like the only way I could guarantee my “me” time was to take it prior to my children waking up and prior to heading to Shaker High School to teach French.  I did this very routine year round (I didn’t change my schedule even in the summer) for almost 35 years.  During those years I logged many miles with various friends and colleagues who were as crazy as I was.  Our morning runs became a time to share all our trials, tribulations and triumphs.  When we had exhausted all the topics, we enjoyed the silence and the wonderful camaraderie. Throughout the years, I have trained for(and run) several races including numerous 5K’s and 10 k’s , over ten ½ marathons and 1 marathon.  These races have always been a wonderful opportunity to spend precious time with friends and family.

Once I retired 2 years ago(after almost 40 years of teaching), I thought I would be a woman of leisure and could run in the daylight….luxuriate at the gym, etc.  Even though, I do now have the time and luxury to work out in the light of the day…..I still most enjoy my early morning runs with my friends or by myself.  The harsh past winter has made my running routine rather inconsistent, so I finally took advantage of all the cross training that my gym has to offer.  In many ways I feel stronger, but I know that my running stamina has suffered.

Therefore, I approach the new training season with all of you with a renewed commitment to get back on track and perhaps finally reach some of my goals!

Rose Marie Hawver