Featured Runner “Laura Gietl” November 2019

Laura Gietl is a mother and administrative assistant in Fort Worth, Texas. Laura is also an RRCA-Certified running coach (www.texasruncoach.com) who helps runner-athletes, of all abilities, reach their goals through personal one-to-one communication. After running well over 100 marathons or longer, she has first-hand experience to truly understand the arduous processes of developing endurance and finding an athlete’s happy place. Supporting her athletes and watching them grow, brings her great satisfaction.  Laura loves to share adventures with Lily Bear the Husky and Harper Bean the Golden.


Date of Birth:  28  February 1968

Place of Birth: Detroit, MI

Currently Residing:   Fort Worth, TX

Marital Status: Divorced

Job(s): Administrative Assistant in a law office, certified run coach, mom.

Children: Madeleine (21 come January).

Height: 5’4”

Weight: 125

Shoe Size: 7

Best Physical Feature: I smile. A lot.

Worst Physical Feature:  Umm, runner’s feet?

Religion: Catholicism

Political Affiliation: “Hate. Hate. Double hate. LOATHE.”

Educational Background: Continual, really. Most of all from Hard Knocks U.

Personal Strength(s): Persistence, determination, intuition and empathy.

Personal Weakness(es): Insecurity in my abilities.

Make Of Car You Drive: Mercedes SUV.

Make Of Car You Would Like To Drive:   65 Chevy Nomad (ya’ can’t take Detroit outta’ this girl!).

Pets: Doggos! Lily Bear the Husky & Harper Bean the Golden (both female).


Favorite Author: Mark Twain. Easy-ish reads, entertaining, but always an underlying lesson or truth.

Favorite Book: This Perfect Day by Ira Levin.  Haven’t read it in years!

Favorite Non-running Magazine: Fashion magazines! Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar.

Favorite Movie: There are certain ones I’ll watch over and over. Some, no matter where in the story line, I have to watch to the end. Most anything by John Hughes (16 Candles, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, etc), Steel Magnolias (interestingly, I saw it on stage at the Kennedy Center long before the movie was released), Elf/The Grinch/Christmas Vacation, Breakfast at Tiffany’s…

Favorite TV Show: I don’t watch much, however, when I do it’s usually HGTV or college football.

Favorite Actor/Actress: There’s no way to narrow that down, so a few favorites: Vincent D’Onofrio, Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts.

Favorite Music: Most any/everything and usually depends on my mood. Pantera and Rob Zombie, to George Strait and Josh Abbott Band, to REM, U2 and The Smiths…

Favorite Musical Performer: Top three concerts: Prince, Neil Diamond, Kiss. U2 was amazing, as was REM. Casey Donohew was this weekend’s favorite….

Favorite Artist: Claude Monet

Favorite Spectator Sport: People watching.

Favorite Subject in School: I really enjoyed German in High School.

Favorite Game: Well, I grew up playing soccer…

Favorite Vacation Destination: The beach, the mountains, the Hill Country, the Keys…

Favorite Time Of Day: Love sunrises, love sunsets, love stars. 

Favorite Item Of Clothing:  I’m a clothes horse, so that’s impossible to answer.

Favorite Running Shoe: Road, Asics; Trail, Salomon.

Favorite Food/Drink Before An Ultra: Steak, sweet potato, glass of red wine.

Favorite Food/Drink During An Ultra: Surprisingly a PBJ with a Girl Scout peanut butter patty cookie tucked inside.

Favorite Food/Drink After An Ultra: I’ll crave a beer or a Sonic slush through an entire race, then have one gulp and be finished with it. I’ll order everything on a menu and take one bite of each item. Desserts…

Favorite Crew/Pacer Person(s): Comedians, babysitters, mathematicians, fortune tellers. 

Favorite Place To Run (so far): Western States trail

Favorite Type Of Running Surface: I like both road and trail. For the road, the ability to mentally check out and just run is the draw. On the trail, it’s not just about physical exhaustion but mental exhaustion, too. 

Favorite Famous Quote: “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” — Marilyn Monroe


Number of Years Running Ultras:  First ultra was 2010, so nearly 10 years! Roger Soler had taken over the Sunmart race weekend. (Never got the chance to run that one!) Nothing cooler than an Olympian putting a medal around your neck!

Number of Ultras Finished:  Closest approximation is 45.

Best Ultra Performance(s): Most have all been good for one reason or another. I get to go out there and do something that makes me happy and fulfills me. 

Most Memorable Ultra:   My first 100 Mile at Tejas Trails’ Rocky Raccoon. 

Typical Training Week(s) Before A Major Race: Usually a good 2.5-3 week taper with lots of mental prep. This means spreadsheets, maps, measurements, drop bags—a little OCD behavior. I like to think through potential issues prior. It somehow relaxes my mind going in.  As for the running, it depends on the What, the Distance, the Terrain. 

Injuries: (knock on wood) nothing currently. Recently a sprained ankle. Historically, broken ankles (fibular, non-displaced), each at different times.

Ultrarunning Idol: Not sure I idolize anyone. First ‘elite’ I met was Hal Koerner at Tejas Trails’ Rocky Racoon (2012 or 13?). The 100 & the 50 were still on the same weekend then. I was completing my first 50. I finished in 12:34–a GREAT set of numbers! He finished right in front of me (13:34 for the 100). Pretty sure it was a record. Once the dust settled a bit, I walked over to him and complimented him on his performance. The wheels just didn’t wobble! He was graceful! He didn’t slow in the darkness! I asked for any advice he might have for running in the dark, since I slowed so much. He gave nothing away…no smirk…no tone…and said, “Practice.” LOL!  I adore Nicole K Bitter! Love seeing what Courtney Dauwalter sets her mind to do. Amelia Boone for her raw honesty.

Why Do You Run Ultras:  My “why” varies, but there are some permanent reasons. I enjoy the people, the atmosphere. It’s pretty familial and comfortable. Another reason is that it’s part of my self-management–it keeps me between the ditches. Therein lies purpose, process, patterns. 

Advice For Other Ultrarunners:  Are you kidding? They all teach me!


Personal Hero: My daughter, Madeleine. She encompasses grace, empathy, intelligence, fortitude. Her external beauty pales in comparison to the beauty of her heart and soul.

Laura & Madeleine

Personal Philosophy:  Well? What did you learn? What can you learn? Love, care, & concern go very far with me. Kindness matters. There’s just not enough smiling going on out there!

Short-Term Goal: Consistency. Life events have had a way of disrupting.

Long-Term Goal: Keeping at it as long as my body will allow. 

Most Prized Possession: Earrings that belonged to my great-aunt Agnes. She had iconic style!

Most Proud Achievement: Madeleine. Simply.

Happiest Memory: So many and so many yet to occur…

Secret Ambition/Fantasy: Well, it wouldn’t be a secret then, would it?  I do think it would be super-cool to run any/everywhere without financial concern.

Greatest Adventure:   Life! It’s every day! And that one time I ventured out on the Appalachain Trail from Gatlinburg to Clingman’s Dome mid-summer. Alone. During the week.


Least Liked Subject: Toss up between finance/math & politics. Barf!

Least Liked Household Chore: Unloading the dishwasher. 

Pet Peeve(s): Laziness, lack of commitment to a declared goal, selfishness.

Greatest Fear: Probably divulging those fears and weaknesses. One of which would be losing ANYONE to mental illness. At some point, the system won’t be so reactionary. I blame insurance companies and medical ignorance of the brain for much of it.


Book Currently Reading: I like auto/biographies. Recently finished Jon Cryer’s, Catra Corbett’s, Billy Tichenor’s. Yes, they’re older stories, but I’ve got a stack or two I’m still working on 🙂

Hobbies: I like to bake. I make a mean chocolate chip cookie and there’s this flour-less chocolate cake I’ve not made in awhile. Scharfenberger chocolate and a raspberry coulis. 

Collections: The obvious answer is The Medals/The Buckles. I have a thing for plates, dishes. Sugar skulls, flamingos, and unicorns affect me in an indescribable way.

What’s Next: More ADVENTURES!! Devil’s Den Trail Run, Bridgeport Trail 54k, Tejas Trails’ Bandera 100k. Longer term, I’d love to get back to WSER training camp and plans are in the works for NYC Marathon 2020.

Keys 100 Mile

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