every runner has a story
Meet Michelle Hoffert
► From: North Dakota
► Started Running: high school cross country
► Lakeland Runners Club 2022 Board President
Hoffert took a few years away from running after high school, and reconnected with the sport in 2013. In addition to being a RRCA certified running coach, Michelle has run the Boston Marathon twice and has Overall Female wins at Moon over Croom, the Pinellas Trail Challenge and X-Country 30k.
What is your favorite thing about being connected to LRC?
LRC is genuinely the most diverse club I know. What do I mean by that? We aren’t all just ‘fast’ or just ‘new’, ‘young’ or ‘old’. Every member is who and where they are in their running and fitness journey. Willing to give, share, help others grow and look to other members for help in their own lives. LRC for me was becoming a part of the Lakeland community, not just someone who lives in Lakeland. LRC was finding others who cared about running and not going the journey on my own.
Why do you serve on the LRC board?
I took my kids to kids running club back in the Coach Grace days. And then little by little I helped support Coach Amanda when she took over in whatever shy way I could because I was there. And then I talked to a few more people that became dear friends at the Mitchell’s coffee run. Eventually they learned I’m terrible at saying no. At the end of the day – the simplest things like handing out water during a race show you the impact and difference you can make in someone else’s story and watching finish lines gives me all the feels.
What is your favorite running memory?
Can I just choose making them? I do often laugh about ‘losing’ a couple of middle schoolers that coincidentally belonged to fellow board members at Holloway Park during practice a couple of years ago. (Everyone was retrieved safely for the record. But I am still terribly sorry for making Abby cry Chris and Kim!) Adventure is part of the cross country experience, right?
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I was born and raised a North Dakota farm girl. Music Major – doubled in education and performance. But have spent my adult career in Insurance Technology. Also known as: pretty darn nerdy.
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In 2012, a friend told Angi Griffin that it was so nice outside that they needed to walk Lake Hollingsworth instead of being stuck inside working out. They started meeting at the lake a couple of times a week. Angi was really intimidated being there because there were people running and we were walking. Some were even talking and laughing while they ran. After a couple of weeks, her friend said we should try running a little. That was a hard no for Angi. She didn’t run and didn’t like it, and besides, it might ruin her knees and she didn’t want to die (which she was sure would happen if she ran)! After a couple of more weeks went by, she started noticing there were some people much older than herself running. She decided she could try it and here we are today.
The Lakeland Runners Club exists to promote running and fitness for runners of all ages and abilities in the community. We are led entirely by volunteers, and for many years Sarah Kozul has been a dedicated volunteer to the club, executing behind the scenes with many, many hours donated to the benefit of LRC, and the entire running community.
Kaelani completed all 10 LRC races in 2019, winning overall female at the Aching Quad Challenge and Double Down 5k, and placing in her age group in the other events. Leone also became a certified RRCA running coach in 2019, and volunteers with the LRC as a coach for the LRC Kids Run Club. In 2020 Kaelani trained for and completed her first marathon, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, in 2:55:30.