The Joy Of Coaching

Posted: December 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

Coaching has always been so much more to me than training someone to get to the finish line of a marathon in relative comfort.  There are countless books written by distinguished runners that can help someone accomplish that.  My coaching career happened quite literally after the tragedy of losing my mother to leukemia the day before her 58th birthday on August 1, 1996.

When I spoke with mom for the last time I promised her I would do something significant with my life; something that would make her proud.  I have been able to fulfill that commitment beyond measure through my role as a marathon running coach for charity runners.  All credit goes to the amazing runners that I’ve had the honor of coaching and whom have raised countless millions to give hope to those desiring educational opportunities or just one more day of life!

I have been so inspired by their example and have never felt I can reciprocate enough for all they have given me.  I’m always touched when someone finds even an ounce of inspiration by my words or deeds.  Trisha Reeves attended training with the Marathon Coalition for the first time last week and here are her observations.  This journey that I’ve been immersed in the past 16 years begins at the finish line of every marathon…when every runner begins to believe they can accomplish more than they every imagined!

“I was invited to attend a Saturday training run given by Coach Rick, with a fellow (very inspiring) blogger and Boston Marathon runner, Sherée. This was the first time I’d ever met Sherée in person, and also the first time that I’d ever shared a training run with 40+ people and a Real Life Running Coach. I didn’t know what to expect, but I found myself sitting in a large room on the basement floor of the First Baptist Church in Newton, tights-clad butts in chairs lining the walls, every pair of eyes following the man with the inspired voice in the center. Coach Rick is just one of those people: you know the type, the guy who makes you feel like you could save the world with a paperclip. The kind of person who holds your gaze and appears truly enthusiastic about making your acquaintance, who instantly makes you feel important to him, even if you only just shook hands. He possesses the powerful companionability that got Barrack Obama voted into the White House, and the unshakable integrity of your greatest personal hero. The man talked for an entire hour in that church basement, and I was hooked the whole time. He mentioned the training and the fundraising that most of the runners had to do, but he talked about a lot of other stuff too. Motivating stuff. Sad stuff. Awe-inducing stuff. Stuff that you think about later on when you’re by yourself in the shower or having a bad day. All I could think the whole time was, man…if I had Coach Rick last winter, I bet that Incident of the Colossal Hill never would have happened, nor would I have had such a shitty outlook upon finishing my first half marathon. Hell…if I had Coach Rick last year, I might have run an entire marathon instead of just half of one. There was such a sense of community there, that I felt like I could conquer any distance I wanted, as long as I had this team of runners and coach with me.”

  1. Thanks for reposting my words, Rick! I meant every one of them. I’ve met a few people like you in my lifetime, teachers, relatives, coaches, but definitely not enough. The story about your mom resonated with me especially, as I lost both my parents at very young ages and I now live every day hoping they are proud of me. Tragedy can move us to great things if we allow it to, it’s an interesting phenomenon about life. I hope I can make it to more of your sessions – although I know you move up the mileage at double speed soon, so we will have to see. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. Trisha,

    Thank you again for your amazingly kind words…I added them to my ‘Testimonials’ page! I’m sorry that you experienced the loss of your parents at such young ages. I have no doubt they are proud of you. Your ability to write and paint amazing pictures and evoke emotions beyond belief with just words is a unique gift.

    I completely agree that tragedy can inspire us to do more than we ever considered or imagined…losing my mom provided that opportunity and it changed me beyond measure. I look forward to seeing at future Marathon Coalition trainings.

    Happy Holidays,


    • Terri says:

      Thank you to both of you… ! Tragedy and loss as painful as it is, has made me reflect on the relationships I do have in my life. As i continue in this journey with my running and with life, I value the quality of the people and the journey/path more than anything else. Learning and growing, getting better, and not taking it for granted. I feel blessed to be in your presence- thank you for who you are and sharing your experiences. Looking forward to this journey of 26.2 with you!

      • Hello Terri,

        It has been wonderful to share the marathon and life journey with you through the years…they’re so synonomous. I just returned from a hilly 10 mile run with Lori in Grafton and just relaxing with Macie Jo and Rider is so much more enjoyable than had we not run at all. Running helps to appreciate all the small things in life that most people take for granted.

        Running isn’t about how far or how fast you run…it’s about great health, enlightenment and personal growth!

        Your Coach,


  3. Mags says:

    I really missed everyone this past Saturday! I think I officially like getting up early on Saturdays because left to my own devices I didn’t go until much later in the day on Christmas Eve and it wasn’t as pumped of a run as I’ve been experiencing with our team in the mornings. Looking forward to Saturday!

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