Meet the Team: Big River Racing

The Big River Racing Team has been around since Big River Running Company opened in 2006!  The team is a dedicated group of like-minded individuals who train, race and socialize. The team exists to support runners from post-collegiate athletes to those relatively new to the sport and anyone in between. All paces are welcome and encouraged to be part of our running and racing community. Consider this your personal invitation to learn more and join our team!

Meet a few of our team members:

Matt Kruger

Why you joined the Big River Racing Team and what you like about being a member: I joined the Big River Racing Team back in 2013 when I moved to St. Louis to connect with other runners, find training partners, and to chase PRs. The Racing Team has been a big part of my life since I joined, and many of my Big River teammates, both past and present, have become lifelong friends. I enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being a member of the team, as well as competing for something that is bigger than myself.  

Favorite training shoe: New Balance 880
Favorite racing shoe:  Nike Lunaracer 3 (discontinued)
Favorite race you’ve completed: Boston Marathon
Favorite place to run: Katy Trail



Sadie Smith

Why you joined the Big River Racing Team and what you like about being a member: I have completed a Boston Qualifying marathon in every state, and along the way I’ve met some amazing people from around the country. I joined the Big River Racing Team so that I could also connect with local runners. I do most of my training solo, so the racing team has allowed me to feel like part of a larger community. I look forward to the Sunday group runs and to seeing other members at local races. I also like supporting/ promoting my local running store.

Favorite training shoe: My favorite training shoe are the Alphaflys that I’ve retired from races. I also like the Nike Zoom X Tempo and the Pegasus.
Favorite racing shoe: My favorite racing shoe is the Nike Alphafly.
Favorite race you’ve completed: The Leading Ladies Marathon in South Dakota. It’s a beautiful, fast course, and the race director is phenomenal. My favorite Missouri race is Heart of America in Columbia. (Even with the heat, humidity, and hills!)
Favorite place to run: I enjoy running through my local neighborhoods in Kirkwood and Webster and also frequent Grant’s Trial. It’s hard to top Forest Park on a beautiful spring or fall day, though.


Marcus Walton

Why you joined the Big River Racing Team and what you like about being a member: I initially aspired to join the Big River Racing Team because it provided me with a goal for my training. As a middle distance runner in my younger days I had never focused on any race discipline over 800 meters and had never run under 16:00 in the 5,000. Having reached that goal, I now find it helpful to be obligated to something outside of myself. On days when I don’t feel like training I know my teammates are on the roads getting their work done which helps me to be motivated to do the same.

Favorite training shoe: Nike Zoom Fly
Favorite training shoe: Nike VaporFly Next%
Favorite Race: 2019 JADASA 5,000 at Creve Coeur Lake Park. This race was in mid-October. It was cool, flat and there was a cash prize which attracted a considerably competitive field. I Remember executing the race fairly well which resulted in a solid 15:21 and a race win.
Favorite place to run: Any route that starts at my front door. Time is a precious commodity at this point in my life, so the convenience of starting and finishing at home is critical.


Michelle Dillon

Why you joined the Big River Racing Team and what you like about being a member: I joined the Big River Racing Team because of all of the great runners I met who were on the team. The best thing about being a part of the team is getting to know so many runners. It doesn’t matter your pace or how many races you have run, the team is for all. It is fun to run a St. Louis race and see other teammates running and cheering. It is also fun to run in another state and hear someone yell, “Go Big River”.

Favorite training shoe: Right now, the Brooks Hyperion Tempo
Favorite racing shoe: Nike Vaporfly Next%
Favorite race you’ve completed: Estes Park Half Marathon – unbelievable views!
Favorite place to run: Forest Park



Michael Cochran

Why you joined the Big River Racing Team and what you like about being a member: For me, running has always been a huge passion of mine ever since I was 10 years old. The breath of fresh air, the scenic routes, and the every week challenge/goal that I set for myself pushed me each day to continue to go further. After college, I ran mostly recreational but still had the desire to compete and race again, so I always would put myself through some form of competitive training with hopes to one day be able to race for a team again. I decided to look further into it and found the Big River Racing Team in which I got in contact with awesome manager Matt Helbig and met our team captain, Matt Kruger, someone who I’m happy to be able to call my friend. Matt and the entire Racing Team had the energy that I missed mostly and I really loved being able to be a part of such a friendly community who were all supportive of each other regardless of their level of performance. This was something that struck out mostly for me. Racing was competitive but still fun for everyone, and there wasn’t a lot of pressure that I sometimes felt in the past that I wish were different. Being a part of Big River Racing felt more than just being a part of a racing team. It felt like home and a welcoming place for all runners of many different backgrounds and levels.

Favorite training shoe: Nike Vaporfly Next% 2
Favorite racing shoe: HOKA CarbonX
Favorite race you’ve completed: Forest Park Cross Country Festival
Favorite place to run: Kind of a tie between SLU Medical Center Stadium’s outdoor track and Forest Park

Cassie Zehenny

Why you joined the Big River Racing Team and what you like about being a member: I joined Big River Racing Team after having such a great experience with Training Team and Summer Speedwork. I have met incredible people in both programs, and they helped me to fall in love with running all over again. I love the community Big River Running has created and being a part of this community has made me want to work on not only running as a hobby but running to challenge myself and reach my full potential.

Favorite training shoe: Brooks Ghost
Favorite racing shoe: Brooks Ghost again 😊
Favorite race you’ve completed: Favorite location: Glacier National Park Half Marathon in Montana; Favorite environment: Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, OH
Favorite place to run: I could run around exploring the historic neighborhoods of St. Louis all day. You can’t beat the beautiful buildings and incredible architecture found in the city