Our community is centered around runners of all ability levels, so don’t be intimidated by the times that some of our coaches have run. We specialize in coaching runners of all ages and ability levels. Having run fast ourselves only means that we’ve had the opportunity to train under, and learn from, America’s best coaches. If you were learning to play golf, would you want to learn from Tiger Woods or some guy who played in high school? Running isn’t any different from golf – you deserve to learn from the best. Our coaches are some of the most accomplished you will find anywhere.
Position: Assistant Coach
Years Coaching: 2
Mile – 4:44
10 Mile: 54:15
1/2 Marathon: 1:13
A two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, Coach Sarah has been running for eleven years, first at Hockinson High School, in Hockinson, Washington, then at Western Washington University, then professionally as a representative for Reebok through the ZAP Fitness group in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Sarah currently resides and trains at high altitude in South Lake Tahoe, California with her husband Michael, (also a professional runner with ZAP Fitness).
Coach Sarah first discovered a passion for coaching in 2009 when she began coaching young women through the Girls On The Run program. The passion for running and improvement that Sarah experienced among these young women inspired her to pursue coaching those of all ages and abilities. Respected for her knowledge of the sport, Sarah has been published in Running Journal magazine as well as Adventure Northwest magazine.
“The beautiful parallels that our sport draws between those of all abilities is wonderfully unique. You would never find Michael Jordan playing a pick-up game at the YMCA or find a woman with a baby stroller standing in the Superbowl huddle, yet on race day, at the same time and in the same place, you will find the best of the best competing for the win as well as the very beginners of the sport, perhaps competing for the first time, every person feeling the same emotion, experiencing the same challenge. This is why I love the sport of running and why I am passionate about helping improve anyone who has the motivation to start!”
Position: Assistant Coach
Years Coaching: 13
National Champions coached – 3
Renee Metivier-Ballie (3,000m – 2010)
Brent Vaughn (Cross Country – 2011)
Fernando Cabada (25 km – 2011)
Coach Jay is one of the most knowledgeable and respected coaches in the United States. His resume includes a master’s degree in kinesiology and applied physiology, director of Boulder Running Camps, writer for Active.com and RunningTimes, presenter for various Nike sponsored clinics and camps, and has coached three athletes to US Championships in the last three years.
In the last few years, Coach Jay has turned his attention to coaching adult runners; including Boston qualifiers, Masters runners, and new runners to the sport. Perhaps Coach Jay’s greatest strength is his desire and passion for learning about the sport and applying the latest research and training concepts into the schedules of his “everyday” runners.
“I strive to form a strong athlete-coach relationship and bond with every runner I coach. I have a passion for helping runners stay healthy, teaching them how to be better and smarter runners, and guiding them so they can reach their full potential.”
Position: Owner/Head Coach
Years Coaching: 6
1500: 3:46 (4:04 mile)
5,000m – 13:59
10,000m – 28:46
10 mile – 49:49
Half Marathon – 1:05:30
Marathon – 2:22:02
Coach Jeff has been running for 13 years, at all levels of the sport. He was a two time Division-I All-American in Cross Country while at Brown University and competed professionally for 4 years after college. Jeff has competed all over the world, in numerous marathons, and recorded Olympic Trials qualifying times in the marathon and 10,000 meters.
Jeff began coaching in 2005 while a member of the Hansons-Brooks professional team. He’s had success at all levels of coaching; high school, college, local elite, and everyday runners. Under his tutelage, hundreds of runners have finished their first marathon and he’s helped countless runners qualify for Boston. Jeff has been featured in Running Times magazine, Endurance Magazine, as well as numerous local magazine fitness columns. Jeff currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, but coach athletes in 36 different states and 4 countries.
“I believe that no matter your level in the sport, running a personal best or achieving a goal is one of the greatest feelings you can experience. Guiding athletes to this experience and watching them succeed is what drives me to always be working to make you run faster. I have a true passion for helping runners of all ability levels reach their running goals. I take pride in bringing the knowledge I’ve accumulated from some of the best coaches in the world to runners everywhere.”
Position: Assistant Coach
Years Coaching: 6
Coach Casey is one of the most versatile coaches on the RunnersConnect staff. In his 6 years of coaching, Casey has directly worked with athletes of every age and ability level, and has seen success with everyone he has worked with. While at Dakota Wesleyan University, his athletes set 12 school records and recorded 11 national qualifying performances.
The marathon has been Coach Casey’s most successful coaching distance, having guided numerous athletes to huge personal bests. Most notably, Casey coached Thomas Madut to a 2:33.42, 3rd place finish in the marathon at the 2010 NAIA national championships, and helped Ellie Peterson record a 3:07.41 debut marathon, in just 7 months of running.
Coach Casey’s love for distance running began at the age of 14 and the passion for training and coaching has only blossomed with his success. “The joy of coaching for me comes from watching runners develop and grow into the athletes that they know they can become. There is no other job in the world where I can feel that sense of excitement that comes from when an athlete reaches their potential at their most important races.”
Position: Director of Coaching
Years Coaching: 6
1 mile: 3:59.18
3,000m – 7:57
5,000m – 13:46
8,000m – 23:28
Half Marathon – 1:08:07
Coach Blake is a highly decorated athlete and one the most experienced and successful coaches in the United States. During his prolific running career, Blake was a five-time MVC champion and still holds the school records in the indoor mile and outdoor 1500 meters. After college, Blake notched 4 top ten finishes at the US Track and Field Championships, and in 2007 he became only the third Iowa native to run a sub four minute mile when he ran 3:59.18.
Blake has spent his coaching years learning from the best minds in the sport and guiding his athletes to incredible success. Blake’s coaching resume includes the 2005 U.S. Junior Cross Country champion and Lisa Koll, the American collegiate record for 10,000 meters. During his time as an assistant coach at track powerhouse FSU, three of the distance runners that Blake worked with went on to represent Great Britain in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In 2009, Blake began coaching adult and recreational runners under the tutelage of legendary coach Jack Daniels. Blake has worked with athletes of all ability levels, from 800 meters to the marathon, and has produced amazing results.
In addition to coaching and running, Blake is an accomplished author, with articles appearing in the web edition of Running Times and Fitness Magazine. Blake received his USATF Level I coaching certification in 2004. In 2010, Blake was the recipient of the USATF Coaches Education Level II Scholarship. Blake is currently the assistant men’s and women’s track coach at the University of Pennsylvania.
Melanie Schorr, MD
Position: Team Doctor
Years Running: 9
1 mile – 4:56
5,000m – 16:30
10,000m – 33:50
Half Marathon – 1:22:10
Melanie was a Division-I All-American cross country runner while at Dartmouth College. During her collegiate career, Melanie was named to numerous All-Ivy and East Regional teams, finished second at the prestigious Penn Relays, and earned runner-up honors at the 2006 Heptagonal Championships. In addition to excelling on the track, Melanie graduated Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and received the Philip D. McInnis Class of 1936 Award, which honors the most outstanding woman in her graduating class.
Melanie attended medical school at Johns Hopkins University, where she continued to train and compete in the longer distances and road races. Melanie graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins in 2010 and is now in her residency program at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Dr. Schorr is a model for those who balance their professional lives with their training and racing goals. Melanie still finds the time to train herself, and is instrumental in helping the coaches at RunnersConnect develop safe and progressive training plans.
Emily Brown, RD, MPH
Position: Resident Nutritionist
Years Running: 14
1 mile – 4:37
5,000m – 15:19
10-mile – 56:13
Half Marathon – 1:12:44
At the University of Minnesota, Emily was a four-time All-American while earning her bachelors degree in Nutrition science. She is the school record holder in the 3000 meters indoor (9:27.33) and 3000m steeplechase (9:56.62). On the track, she finished fourth in the steeple at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
After graduating, Emily pursued her Master’s (MPH) in Public Health Nutrition and began to specialize in the area of sports nutrition, specifically working with runners.
During this time as a post grad and thanks to her continued focus on her own nutrition, Emily’s running soared to new heights. She placed third at the 2008 USA Cross Country 8k Championships to earn a spot on the U.S. World Cross team. At the World Cross Country Championships, Emily finished 18th overall. In 2008 Emily also qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 3000 meter steeple and the 5,000 meters.
Emily’s focus is “working with runners of all ability levels to develop simple, effective, and actionable nutritional guidance. My philosophy is centered around creating easy-to-implement and affordable nutritional plans as well as providing my clients with the nutritional information and guidance they need to continually make healthy nutrition decisions.”
Position: Head of Running Research
John Davis is a recent graduate of Carleton College and a long-time student of distance running. Currently, John has immersed himself in scientific research on physiology and biomechanics, trying to answer questions like “why do runners get injured?” and “how does training improve fitness?” At RunnersConnect, John researches the latest trends in fitness and exercise science and breaks down the complicated theories into easily digestible and applicable findings for you to implement. When any of the coaches or our athletes want to know if the latest fad is backed up by true science, John is the man we call upon.