RunnersFix: How It All Began
RunnersFix: How It All Began. From The Bottom To The Top.
The day is Saturday, October 27th, 2018. I’m sitting in my hotel room in Sacramento, CA. after a team dinner (Hansons Brooks Original Distance Project based in Michigan). I was prepping for the California International Marathon at the time that was about a month away and doing a course tour. I’m bored in my room and scrolling through social media and kept seeing how many of the runners I follow were improving so much with a coach. It was super inspiring. I’ve always wanted to be a coach but never thought I would be good at it. I knew I had the knowledge but I just didn’t think I would be able to put it all together and make someone a better runner. But while sitting alone in this hotel room I got this increased sense of motivation and confidence. I don’t even know where it came from. This is when I knew it was time to pull the trigger and chase after a dream that’s been on my mind for years.
I honestly had no idea where to start. The first thing I did was create my social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram. But then what? Just because you’re on social media doesn’t mean the runners are going to want you. They don’t even know who you are. They want someone with proven experience. At the time I didn’t have this. I was a successful runner but that doesn’t mean anything unless I have the coaching success to back it up. I had to prove my knowledge and hopefully people would take the risk with using me as their coach. Social media can be a huge way to attract runners if you know what you’re doing. Well, I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I was motivated and would do whatever it took to make this work. When I want to be good at something I’m literally all in on it. So, here I am trying to prove myself and my knowledge. This is when I started to write informative posts on social media every single day! It took a lot of time and it almost seemed pointless because these posts weren’t getting much attention. After about a month or so my presence was slowly but surely increasing. Nothing crazy but I was seeing glimpses of hope. I started with coaching one runner and by the end of the month I was at 5 runners. Nowhere near where I wanted to be but the success was beginning.
My time with Hansons Brooks had finally come to an end. It was finally time for me to come home. My forever home. Lakeland, FL. This is where my happiness and confidence was left when I lived in Michigan. I was so glad to be back where I truly felt loved by my community. Now this is when I believe RunnersFix really began. Word was spreading. My social media presence was increasing. I was currently coaching about 15 runners. Again, still not where I wanted to be but I couldn’t be upset with the progress that was being made. I just had to be patient which is something I’ve struggled with in the past. But I stayed focused and committed to the process. It always seemed like two steps forward and one step back. Finally, the business that I was dreaming of was all coming together. Week after week I kept gaining more runners. By the end of 2019 I had over 30 runners. This is where I thought I would peak. Well, I couldn’t be anymore wrong. When people see success they want to be a part of it. Not only were my runners absolutely crushing it but so was I with my own running.
Now we’re in 2020 during the pandemic. I’m not going to lie, I thought this was going to be the end of my business considering so many races were getting cancelled. There was nothing to train for so why would anyone want a coach. Well, I’m not sure how it happened but the pandemic actually attracted more runners to me. Pretty crazy how it happened. I’m sitting on about 50 runners trying to figure out where they can race. It wasn’t until the end of 2020 where I was finally able to find a race. Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon. Remember, there weren’t any other races to do. I had to make a decision. I pushed all my runners towards this event. This is when I was able to create a true team environment without even realizing it. Think about it…you have all these runners coming together to train for the same race. It was inspiring. They motivated each other. This is something we only get to experience in high school or college when running cross country / track & field. I brought about 25 runners to Biloxi, MS and guess what? The team absolutely crushed it! This was probably my greatest experience as a coach. Once again I felt like I was just getting started. This hype that this race caused allowed me to become not only recognized in Florida but all around the country. This new approach with creating a team atmosphere was just what I was needing to really take my business to the next level.
We’re now in 2021 and I’m currently coaching about 70 runners. Races are starting to happen again and I wanted to continue with this team approach. Grandma’s Marathon and Half Marathon was my next target. And guess what? The team showed up big time with almost all 20 runners setting a PR. Not joking. We lit up that event! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better the team pulls this off. So, where do I go from here? Well, nothing needed to change. Why change something that’s working. The next goal? Houston Marathon and Half Marathon! And this was unknowingly going to be the biggest event ever for this team. We had 40 runners entered in this event. That’s no typo. Once again the team absolutely crushed it! We had runners hitting the OTQ, BQ, winning Age Groups, and smashing PR’s. This is where I qualified for my 3rd Olympic Trials. Something that I was dreaming about since college.
Now we’re in 2022. Once again looking for another team race to do. My goal was to try and top Houston. This would be a hard feat. Well, I don’t know how it all came together but I was lucky enough to be contacted by a local race director and he was wanting me to put a team together for a 5K here in Lakeland. It was called the Rotary Twilight 5K. It’s not the biggest race but I do consider it one of the best local races in Lakeland. I kept getting interest from my runners and somehow was able to form a massive group. We had 60 runners compete. We took over this race! I can’t even count how many PR’s were set that night. Something so unexpected turned out to be one of the best nights of my life for many reasons. You know why.
Here we currently are at the moment. RunnersFix is now at its all time high. A secret goal of mine was to chase after that 100 runners barrier. It finally happened! I’ve achieved something that even my own running accomplishments can’t top. We, as in us, surpassed 100 runners! And it doesn’t stop here. I seriously couldn’t be anymore thankful for this. I’m living a dream life. I’m doing something that I never thought I could accomplish. Seeing my runners at the lake wearing my team shirt is something that can’t be put into words. To everyone who has supported me and encouraged me not to give up, you’re the reason why we were able to build such a strong community. You all know who you are. RunnersFix will be around for a long time. My goal is to take over the coaching game!