meet
the
team
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Cass Benadum

Founder & Coach

Hey, I’m Cass! I founded GIRLAB in January of 2020. Who am I? Well… I guess I’ll start at the beginning. I wasn’t always a runner; I grew up in LA swimming competitively and riding horses. Back then, running was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do and I would do nearly anything to get out of dryland training in swim season. Fast forward to early 2012; I was coming out of a serious bout of mental illness and struggling through college. I went for a hike with my mom while I was home for winter break and she convinced me to run the last mile back to the car, I felt a joy like nothing I’d ever experienced - I was flying! It was in that moment, that brief mile,  that my love of running was born. I met my partner Blue just a few months later and was captivated by his passion for teaching the skill of running, the training methodologies and maybe most importantly, the mindset. It’s been 9 years since my first run and I’ve been thankful for every moment since; all of the ups and downs of injuries, races, pregnancies, self doubt, comebacks, and everything in between. While I may not have always recognized it in the moment, each experience has been an opportunity for growth and learning, things I now get to pay forward to the women I work with in GIRLAB.  

 

Blue and I founded a coaching company called Run With The Lab in early 2017. I was mostly connecting athletes with coaches and running the business behind the scenes, focusing on my own development as a runner and navigating motherhood (my first son was born in late 2016). After a few years, I realized my heart was pulling me towards coaching; it was time to embark on a new journey. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do but I intended on coaching a few women, then growing from there. Well, sometimes things don’t go to plan… I ended up coaching 28 women in that first season of GIRLAB. Then the world did a 180 part way through our season and our goal race got cancelled (thanks, Covid). So, we evolved. We successfully pivoted into a virtual realm and I experienced firsthand the true power of women supporting each other through challenges in running and life; our team and community are both growing and flourishing. 

 

Outside of GIRLAB, I’m all about family and adventure. Blue and I have two sons; they keep us on our toes and bring more love and joy into everyday life than I ever thought possible.  We live near the ocean and our free time is usually spent in the sand or the waves, or hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains. Most recently, I ran Zion 100 and discovered my love for ultra-distance running. Last year, Blue and I founded a health and wellness company called Guru Health to guide and empower individuals in their pursuit for optimal wellbeing. 

 

It’s all about the people - investing in the growth of others is my WHY. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m pretty stoked with the journey.

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amanda grue

Captain, Summit Lead

My running journey started when I (reluctantly) joined my high school cross country team freshman year. After a few mediocre JV seasons, I hit pause to focus on college and didn’t pick up the pursuit again until after graduating. At first, my only goal was to be in a healthier state, physically and mentally. The joy grew as I added more miles and saw what my body could accomplish. I had caught that so-called “marathon bug”.

Over a decade of mileage, training plans, and races later, I still considered running as a solo sport, until GirLAB catalyzed my changing attitude of what a group could accomplish together. The GIRLAB community provides support for both athletic and personal development, no matter if the goal is to PR your 10k or contribute in a novel way to your community.

As a part of the GIRLAB Summit experience, I will be assisting Coach Cassidy and the other GIRLAB leaders in creating more focused experiences that allow us to reach new heights, both figuratively and physically! I will be supporting in any way I can, from crafting logistics, to crewing day-of, to handing out that celebratory champagne (rosé, anyone?).

Outside of GIRLAB, you can find me traveling to new cities, planning group campouts, cheering on LA sports teams (go Dodgers!), and working as an engineer at NASA. My job is to manage tasks and ensure our space missions are successful, so it is my goal to apply the same amount of care to the success of GIRLAB through organizing, planning, and supporting my fellow runners. I could not be more excited to share this new experience as we launch GIRLAB Summit in 2021!

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Emma Krasovich

Captain

Hi! I'm Emma! I run for so many reasons, but I think the most important one is because it is a way to tell myself “yes I can, and I will.” In any context, I have always hated hearing when people tell me “no you can’t.” My running journey started in high school, which was also when I was diagnosed with five autoimmune diseases, and there were a lot of people telling me I "couldn’t" back then. Running was my way of showing myself and others that I could do things that no one thought I could, not even myself. Since then, I have continued to run for so many other reasons - and I keep coming back to it because of the community it has gifted me, because of the confidence it has allowed me to find within myself, because of the connection it allows me to feel to nature and my neighborhood, and because it has empowered me to respect and love my body.

 

GirLAB is the running family I had always been searching for and didn't know how much I was missing until I became involved. I wanted and found in GirLAB a community that consistently reminds us that each and everyone one of us - our backgrounds, our goals, our dreams, our mileage - is enough. After two incredible seasons, it has been an honor to call the women of GirLAB my teammates, my community, and family as we support, empower, cherish and learn from each other. While running might be one commonality that brings us together, it is all the other elements that make this community special. I am beyond excited to support the women of GirLAB as we reach for our goals and break down barriers in running, and in life too.

 

While I have been running for over half my life, being a runner is not all I am. Outside of running, I am a researcher at the Global Policy Lab at UC Berkeley, where I explore how the environment impacts health. You might also find me in the kitchen with a glass of wine or a dry cider baking up a storm to try out a new gluten free recipe - one of my favorite ways to decompress besides running or any other outdoor activity, so feel free to send your favorite recipes my way! And, I dare say some would call me a word nerd, as I love doing the NYT crossword daily and have co-founded a virtual trivia company, so be prepared for some GirLAB trivia coming your way!

 

Very excited for what's coming, and can't wait for the journey together! 

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ELizabeth Cho

Captain

Bio coming soon

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Vanessa Ong

Captain

Bio coming soon