Background: I started running cross country high school freshman back in the 90s and I have no idea what made me get started but I am glad I did! I found I loved racing, and it took a few years but I eventually formed a good relationship with training as well.
Running experience: After running at Haverford High School and St Joseph’s University I competed into my 30s placing in the top 5 at Broad Street 3 times as well as a top 25 finish at the Boston Marathon.
Favorite distance or race: Ten miles is my favorite race distance. Long enough to require some serious training, but short enough you don’t have to worry too much about what to eat or being sore the next day.
Reason for coaching: I found myself making schedules for myself and other runners in my group and just sort of fell into coaching There is something really fantastic seeing people reach for their running goals, and then realizing after a few years they have become a lifelong runner. Coaches have had such a positive influence on my life and I hope I can pass that on.
Personal mantra: Smile and push on.
Background: Grew up outside Philadelphia in Delaware County, and running career began when his older brother made him come out for cross country his freshman year of high school. Since then it has been a life pursuit to understand everything there is regarding distance running.
Running Experience: Ran for Unionville high school where I was lucky enough to run under a great high school coach who understood how to develop young distance athletes and foster internal motivation for the sport. After high school I then went on to run for The College of William and Mary where I was again fortunate enough to run under the legendary coach Alex Gibby who helped continue my development as an endurance runner. My biggest accomplishment in college was helping the team finish 5th at the Division 1 NCAA Cross Country Championships in 2009, finishing 40th and earning the last All-American spot. Afterwards I had the privilege to serve as a volunteer assistant coach at the University Michigan under Coach Gibby, and gain some insight into what it takes to coach and rebuild a program. I continued to compete as an athlete and earned my first USA Jersey by qualifying for the NACAC Cross Country Championships where I helped the United States win gold and earned a bronze medal as an individual. After Michigan, I pursued a MS in Strength & Conditioning on an athletic scholarship at the University of East London. During my time in London, I had the opportunity to run for an elite sports management company (Run-Fast LTD) and be coached by Peter McHugh who helped foster a sense of ownership over my training and racing. I also got to spend a lot of time training in Kenya and witness how the best athletes live and train. I returned to the states to train for my first marathon and started running for Coach Juli Benson. Since working with her, my marathon time has dropped from 2:18:16 to 2:14:43 and she has taught me the power of self belief. Currently training for the USA Marathon Championships that will be held in Atlanta on February 29th, 2020, and continue to pursue all things coaching and running.
Favorite distance or race: Favorite track distance is 5,000m and favorite road distance is the marathon. My favorite track race is the Penn Relays (because of the environment), favorite road race is the Izumo Eiken (a road relay race in Japan) because of the uniqueness and favorite Cross Country race is the British Cross Country Nationals because of all the mud.
Reason for coaching: I have been very fortunate to work with some great coaches during my running career. As one coach told me, you owe it to those who helped get you get to where are to stay involved in the sport and pass along their knowledge to others.
Personal mantra: "People come to find the secret, but you know what the secret is? That you think there's a secret. There is no secret.” - Brother Colm O'Connell
Coach Jenn Collins
Background: I started running in 2013 training with Team Philly for my first Broad Street Run.
Running experience: Since 2013, I've run 5ks, 10ks, Half Marathons and I'm currently training for my 3rd marathon.
Favorite distance or race: My favorite race is the Broad Street Run.
Reason for coaching: It wasn't too long ago that I was a beginning runner and I'd like to help people set and achieve their running goals.
Personal mantra: Trust your training!
Bonus: I'm a Mom of 2 boys (ages 11 & 9)
Coach Breandan Lyman
Background: I started running in middle school cross country and track then continued all 4 years of high school and college. I was pretty good at just going without stopping. I liked how practices were structured compared to other sports where it felt like you were always stopping and going. It helped that I had some talent too.
Running experience: I ran varsity in high school and then through injuries in college at LaSalle, a Division 1 program. Post college I transitioned into triathlons, ultra marathons and now, continual marathon training.
Favorite distance or race: My favorite race and distance is the Philly Marathon. Seeing your hometown friends and family cheering you on is tough to beat and it's a great time of the year.
Reason for coaching: I know how much my coaches meant to me and some of the best insight I've gotten both running related and not has came from them. The idea that someone would put their trust in me is a very gratifying feeling.
Personal mantra: Don't get old!
Bonus: Ran a 6 flat beer mile. Ran for 12 hours once. 2:36 marathon PR. My run training consists of a lot of treadmill power walking. I still think visors are in style and that training should be fun....most of the time
Coach Michael Zabrodski
Background: Growing up I used to think of running as a "necessary evil" to be successful at other sports endeavors. It wasn't until 2012 that I discovered my true love for running. My goal was to get back in shape and lead a healthier lifestyle. In the process I lost an enormous amount of weight, and found a new peace out on the road. I had no idea when I started that my little personal project would turn into a full blown obsession with running and racing.
Running Experience: Since I began racing, I have tackled distances from the 5k to the Marathon. I race as often as I can, usually trying to stay in marathon shape throughout the year, and run as many as my body will let me. My response to anyone asking if I want to run something of any distance is "ABSOLUTELY!" I'm currently transitioning into triathlon training as well, and plan on completing both the half and full Ironman distances in the near future.
Favorite Distance: There is something about the Marathon that I've fallen in love with. It's a physical and mental challenge, and every race is different. Some days your body has it and your mind doesn't. Some days your body is ready to quit and your mind keeps you just hanging on. And then some days, when everything comes together and both mind and body work in perfect unison, you can have the race of your life. It's miles and miles of joy, stress, energy, self doubt, and pure perseverance. What other sport can give you all of that in one event? A lot of people love the distance, but loathe the training. I think I'm that weird guy that looks forward to the torture of a good training cycle.
Reason for Coaching: In my family and circle of friends I quickly became the go-to-guy for all things running. I was already a teacher by profession, and my school was looking for a way to get students involved in more after school activities. We started a little running club and things just took off. For me coaching is just as much learning as it is leading; and I've always been someone who loves to gather information, mold it, and use it to help others. There's nothing more rewarding than watching someone I've coached cross that finish line. I became a Road Runners Club of America certified coach in 2015.