Founder/Director of Coaching

Michele graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in May of 2005 where she earned a degree in Kinesiological Sciences with a concentration in fitness management. Her personal training journey began in 2003 with a paid internship at Club Sport Green Valley, Henderson NV.  Michele has accumulated over a decade of experience in group training, kids fitness, individual training/coaching, fitness club and personal studio management.  Her educational background and experience provides her with professionalism in nutrition, cardio, core, strength, flexibility, and ultimately running. 

In running, Michele is a 2x Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon and a 4x USATF National Team member in the mountain and ultra trail events representing the US at the World and NACAC Championships.  She has completed over 20 marathons, with 9 wins, and still holds numerous course records at the elite level.  She is a 4x National Champion in the ultra trail events and has numerous course records and wins in trail and ultra races. Michele was also crowned Ms. Figure Colorado in 2008 where she had no less than a top 2 finish in each event she competed in within the year. 

  • Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiological Sciences with a concentration in fitness management

  • 2x Olympic Trials Marathon Competitor

  • USA Team-  World Mountain Trail Championships 2011

  • USA Team-NACAC 2012

  • 9 Marathon Wins 

  • Ms. Figure Colorado 2008

  • UNLV Steeplechase Record Holder

  • UNLV Indoor Track 5k Record

  • 4x National Champion (50 mile Trail 2012,2013-record holder and 100k Trail 2013, 50K Trail and record holder) 


  • Marathon PR - 2:38:37, Rock n Roll Seattle Marathon, 2009

  • Half Marathon PR - 1:17:23, Spirit of the Marathon Columbus OH, 2009

  • 10k PR - 34:16, Salt Lake City UT, 2009

  • 2nd Place National Mountain Trail Race 2011

  • 21st World Mountain Trail Championships Tirana Albania 2011

  • 5th North American Trail Championships Vancouver BC 2012

  • 2x National Champion and Record holder 50 Mile Trail 2012 & 2013

  • National Champion 100k Trail 2013

  • National Champion and record holder 50k Trail 2013

  • Overall winner- Indiana Trail 100 Mile, 17:35:18, Course Record, 2013

  • Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile Champion, 20:16:54, Course Record, 2013

  • 3rd Place Ultra Run of Champions 100k World Championships 2013

  • 1st place North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile 


  • Podium finishes- Trail Marathon National Champs 2007, 2012

  • Mountain Bike- "Queen of the Hill" Leadville series TX 2017, Bailey 100 7th place, Leadville 100 23rd. 

  • 2nd Place 100k trail National Champs Bandera TX 2018

  • MTB- Queen of the Hill Leadville series TX 2018

  • 1st Place Open division 3rd Place Female overall Bailey 100 MTB 2018 

  • 9th Female Overall Leadville 50mile MTB 2018

  • Quad Rock 50 mile 2nd Place Female 2018

  • Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile 1st Female New Course Record 2018




Marketing & Community Engagement Manager

In 2013, Joni graduated from Colorado State University with a B.A. in Communication Studies.  Shortly after, she started as a Marketing & Operations Intern for the U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge.  Later that Fall, upon the completion of her internship, she began working for VISIT DENVER, the Convention & Visitors Bureau and is currently working as a Partnership & Marketing Contractor.  Also, she is on the Board of Directors of Running Start, a nonprofit that helps women with barriers to fitness transform their lives through running. 

Joni grew up hiking and backpacking with her family.  In 2012, after going through a rough patch in her life, she was inspired to complete her first 5K and 10K.  That same year, she climbed 18 14ers (mountains over 14,000ft in elevation).  Over time, she continued to increase her running distance and began to run on trails and race ultra marathons.   Additionally, she has climbed over half the 14ers in Colorado with more than 40 total summits including repeats.  Joni began training with Michele in 2016 while chasing a marathon PR. Michele & The Rugged Running community have been instrumental in helping Joni achieve her fitness goals.  She continues to stay active running trails, cycling, swimming, and SUPing.  She loves to travel, take photos, volunteer at races, and is a Captain Ambassador for Skirt Sports.  She officially joined the Rugged Running team in March of 2019.



Endurance & Fitness Coach

Belmont is a certified personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine and holds a certification in Holistic Nutrition from the American College of Healthcare Sciences.  Since February 2014, Belmont has been under Michele’s coaching as a runner and under her mentorship as a personal trainer, gaining additional knowledge in sports nutrition, injury prevention, runner specific strength training, cardiovascular training, balance, and mobility.  Belmont shares Michele’s philosophy in training, that a holistic approach will produce the most effective results. Her experience includes working with individuals 1:1 and through distance consulting, creating individualized fitness programs for kids and adults, as well as teaching HIIT and Spin classes.      


In 2011, Belmont completed her first triathlon and her first trail race later that year.  She continued participating in both sports, but her love for the trails prompted her to pursue growth as a trail runner.  Beginning in 2014 with the coaching of Michele Yates, she began to experience that growth, obtaining PRs in both time and distance.  In 2018, she became an Ambassador for Rugged Running, and today she continues her pursuit of new challenges and goals in trail running, hiking adventures, obstacle racing, and more.  Belmont is also active in the local trail running community, serving as a 2018-2019 Board Member of the Mississippi Ultra and Trail Society (MUTS), assisting with their four annual races, monthly Fun Runs, trail work, and events.  



Endurance & Fitness Coach

Tara is a certified clinical exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine.  She has a master’s degree in Health and Exercise Science from Wake Forest University. She has previous experience working in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation where she created and implemented personal exercise prescriptions to improve the health, fitness, and quality of life of patients.  Tara embraces Michele’s holistic approach to training and understands the importance of addressing daily stress, and incorporating strength training and nutrition into training to yield successful outcomes. Her education in exercise science and the cardiorespiratory system will be constructive in the design of each individual training program.


Tara ran for Western State College where she was a 4x All-American.  She has qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta where she will be competing this February.  More recently she has found joy and success running ultras and trail races and found her way onto the cover of the October 2018 issue of UltraRunning Magazine. She was named to the USA 50K road team (but unfortunately was unable to compete due to injury), won the 2019 Leadville Marathon, was runner up at the USA Trail Marathon Championships and set a course record at the North Face Grand Traverse 40 Miler.  In addition to running, Tara enjoys ski mountaineering, camping and cooking.   



  • Marathon PR – 2:42:10, California International Marathon, 2018

  • Half Marathon PR – 1:15:51, VCU health Richmond Half Marathon, 2015

  • 10K PR – 34:33, Walnut CA, 2014

  • 50K road – 3:28:14, MadCity 50K

  • 1st place GoPro Mountain Games 10k and Pepi’s Faceoff, 2019

  • 1st place Leadville Trail Marathon, 2019

  • 2nd place USATF 50k Road Championships, 2019

  • 2nd place USATF Trail Marathon Championships, 2018 

  • 6th place USATF 50k Trail Championships, 2018

  • 1st place North Face Grand Traverse Run, Course Record, 2018

  • Cover of October 2018 UltraRunning Magazine



Endurance & Fitness Coach

Shelby is a UESCA certified run coach and an AAFA certified group fitness instructor.  She earned a Masters in Physician Assistant studies from the University of Colorado in 2014 and since that time has practiced in Pediatrics, Family Medicine, and Urgent Care.  Shelby has 3 beautiful children and is a proud military spouse. Running initially was a way to cope with long training cycles or deployments, but has transitioned into a way to empower those around her to go after their dreams and goals.  For the last several years, she has had a large focus on empowering parents to get back into running, coaching and leading classes for a local stroller workout program. Her in depth knowledge of the human body and understanding of the stressors as a busy parent mesh well with Michele's holistic coaching philosophy, allowing her to create training programs that encompass all of the parts of life.  


Shelby's love of the outdoors and study of the human body was a natural gateway to running, a journey which began in 2006.  As a young child, she spent her time camping, hiking, cycling, and climbing. In 2004 she joined the rowing team at the University of San Diego, but after an injury during her freshman year, she turned to running for cross training and found a new passion.  The marathon was her first love -her favorite being the 2014 Boston Marathon which she ran 7 months pregnant with her second baby. After baby #2 was born, she switched over to the trails and hasn't looked back. She joined Rugged Running as an Ambassador in 2017 and benefited from the holistic approach that Michele's training was founded on.  Nutrition has always been an important component of her running and as a plant based athlete, she believes in the power of nutrition on overall health.  



  • 1st female, Pikes Peak Ultra, 2017

  • 1st female, 2nd OA Secret Beach 50 Miler, October 2019

  • 2nd female, Run Rabbit Run 50 Miler, September 2017

  • 5th female, Nine Trails 35 Mile Endurance Race, March 2019

  • 2nd female, Fort Ord 25k, February 2019

  • 5th female, Run Rabbit Run 50 Miler, September 2018

  • 2nd place Santa Cruz 30k, August 2018

  • 2nd place Rodeo Valley Beach 50k, June 2018 



Endurance & Fitness Coach

Kelly graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2019 with a Bachelors degree in Sports Science concentrating in Psychology and Coaching. She was recruited to Northern to compete in Cross Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track and Field at the NCAA D2 level. Kelly specialized in the 4k and 6k for Cross Country as well as the 800m, 1500m, 1600m, and 3000m in Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field. During the summer of 2018 and 2019, Kelly was Queen City Running Company's Kids Club Program Coordinator, teaching children from grades K-8th the proper basics of running including form, pacing, agility, strength and injury prevention. Over the years she has also held running clinics across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan helping children of all ages and experiences find proper footwear, create training plans, and help in injury care and prevention. She has also created training programs and coached athletes for couch to 5ks, half marathons, marathons, and ultra marathons. In her free time she volunteers at local 5k, 10k, half & full marathons as well as MQT's Trail 50 and the special olympics hosted at Northern Michigan University's Superior Dome.


While on Northern's team Kelly was a leader, showing that passion and dedication can overcome any obstacle. Although her collegiate career came to an end due to illness and injury, she continued her involvement on the team as an assistant coach. After much needed rest, Kelly set foot on the trails of Marquette, Michigan where she fell in love with the endless amount of miles and beauty to see. She trained and competed in her first 50k during the summer of 2018, becoming Marquette's Trail 50 Women's Champion only minutes away from breaking the course record. Kelly's love for trails and adventure has fed into her hobbies of hiking, camping, and nature photography. From running on trails in Alberta and British Columbia to the Grand Tetons of Wyoming, and all over the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Kelly is a firm believer in running being a lifestyle. 


All prices are in USD. ©2019 by Rugged Running