Recess Coaches

Meet the Recess coaching staff
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Katie Landa

Katie Landa, Owner of Recess Endurance Training, transformed her body at the age of 14, dropping 40 pounds off her 5’3” frame. This dramatic lifestyle change, started her fitness journey.

Katie has cheered as an NFL Cheerleader for the Arizona Cardinals and participated in Ironman Chattanooga, ½ marathons, Ragnar and triathlons around the country.

She is the Recess Group Core Conditioning Coach and Cycling Coach.

“The human spirit is like an elastic band. The more you stretch, the greater your capacity.”

Allison Merlo

Allison Merlo, born and raised in New York, is a pediatric and school based occupational therapist (OTR/L), registered yoga instructor (RYT) and Schwinn certified spin instructor. She co-founded Outreach Theraplay, a non-profit organization that strives to provide play resources to underdevelopment and impoverished communities worldwide, with current projects in Haiti, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Allison is an ambassador of the Prison Yoga Project Phoenix and currently teaches yoga to incarcerated veterans and juveniles within the Maricopa County Jail system. As an occupational therapist and yoga instructor, Allison loves to incorporate mindful movement in her therapy treatment sessions. She firmly believes in the transformational power of mindful movement as it greatly benefits a child’s play and development!

As an avid triathlete, she loves to incorporate her passion for self-improvement by encouraging and pushing others to reach their utmost potential as a spin instructor, friend and training partner!

Personal Accomplishments:

  • Allison qualified for USA Nationals and placed within the top 10%, qualifying to race with Team USA in both the sprint and Olympic distance races at the World Championship in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in September 2017.
  • First overall female in the Sprint Distance race at Lifetime Tri Tempe and first overall female in the Olympic Distance race at Bartlett Lake Triathlon Ironman Superfrog 70.3 placing 3rd in her age group among elite athletes.
  • The Boston Marathon in 2015.
  • Finishing in top 20 for females at Rock and Roll Half Marathon Arizona 2017 5th overall female at Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon with a personal record of 1:23:23.

Courtney Hughes (Dawe)

Courtney Hughes has been an athlete for most of her life. Growing up right here in Scottsdale, Arizona Courtney trained from a young age for competitive equestrian riding. Becoming very successful in her sport, she got recruited to the NCAA Equestrian team at Texas A&M University.

With her competitive past and love for fitness, Courtney has continued on her athletic journey to soon find her passion for yoga, fitness competitions, CrossFit, functional fitness and racing elite in obstacle races, specifically Spartan Races. 2015 getting her 200HR yoga certification, she quickly found that functional fitness and yoga is where she belongs. Courtney is passionate about endurance, health, functionality of athletes, mental health, balance and the importance of living a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Personal Accomplishments:

  • Texas A&M Athletics Scholar Award
  • Iron Horse Award
  • Big XII Commissioner’s Honor Roll
  • 2010 Big XII Champion
  • 4x NCAA National Champion 2009-2012
  • 3 Half Marathons
  • 2014 1st Place Dennis James Classic- Novice Class
  • 7 Spartan Races- Elite Division Finishing Top 10
  • 2016 1st Place Team at CrossFit Competition- Unbroken Series

Kelly Menard

Graduate of Central Michigan University in Physical Education and Sport

Personal trainer certified through ACE

Lacrosse, soccer, and volleyball athlete

Former children’s sports trainer

Lived in AZ for two years, originally from Livonia,MI

Found love of hiking and paddle boarding when moved to AZ.

Working on obtaining a masters at ASU for Clinical Exercise Physiology

Kelly Menard

Lauren Krueger

Lauren is originally from right here in Scottsdale, AZ. From a young age Lauren had a passion for swimming and swam competitively through high school on Scottsdale Aquatic Club and Horizon High School. Lauren then attended Pepperdine University where she also swam on their D1 team and took up club water polo. After college burnout from swimming, Lauren started running and competed in all distance races up to a marathon. Shortly thereafter, Lauren resumed swimming, bought a bike and finally completed her first triathlon. In 2013, she completed her first Olympic, Half Ironman and Full Ironman races and has developed a true love for the sport ever since. She has now completed 4 Half Ironmans and 2 Full Ironmans and looking to do more in the future.

When not training, Lauren works in marketing at Grand Canyon University. Also mother to 6-year old, Kathryn, she loves spending time with her and inspiring her to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Lauren is always up for adventure but also just enjoys any time spent with family and friends.

Personal Accomplishments:

  • 2013 Ironman AZ (11:09)
  • 2014 Phoenix Marathon, 3rd in Age Group (3:19 qualifying for Boston Marathon)
  • 2014 Soma Half Ironman, 3rd Overall Female (4:43)
  • 2015 Boston Marathon
  • Espirit de She, 2015- 1st Overall, 2016- 2nd Overall
  • 2016 Ironman Superfrog 70.3, 3rd in Age Group (5:13)

Linda Bruneau

Linda is originally from Austria and has been fortunate to spend a season with the national Austrian female ski-team. She is a strength and conditioning coach, outdoor tour guide and nutrition consultant.

Being a health-conscious person herself, Linda thinks that the human body is trainable to reach any kind of goals. She believes in “mind over matter” – we can push our bodies to a much better and higher performance than we may dream of! She encourages, motivates, and wants to help everyone, who is ready to take action steps for living a high-quality, healthy, and happy life.

Personal Accomplishments:

  • Rim to Rim Grand Canyon (5 hours)
  • Rim to Rim to Rim Grand Canyon (12 hours)
  • Tour de Mount Blanc (TMB – running through 3 countries in 3 days)
  • Camelback – Echo Canyon (12 times up and down in 11 hours)
  • Numerous fitness endurance races, such as 12- and 24-hour mountain bike races, as well as trail running races, Duathlons and Triathlons, time trials, and mud races

Lauren Thomas

Lauren is from a small agricultural town in Eastern Oregon, where fitness and competitive sports were always a big part of her life. When transitioning to college, she discovered endurance sports and ran her first marathon at age 19. Through college, graduate school, and into her career, Lauren has continued to improve her health a fitness knowledge by teaching a coaching a variety of fitness classes, yoga, and participating as an athlete herself!
Lauren is passionate about the mind/body connection to physical activity, and tries to bring that connection into each coaching and teaching experience, as well as her own health and fitness.

Personal Accomplishments:

  • BS, Nutrition Science and Dietetics, Oregon State University
  • MS, Exercise Physiology and Kinesiology, Boise State University
  • American Council on Exercise Group Fitness Professional
  • 200-Hour Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher
  • 2005 Portland Marathon Age Division Winner (20 and under)
  • Boston Marathon Qualifier, 2005, 2006
  • 10 Marathons completed
  • 8 Half Marathons completed