Meet the Coaches

Our Coaching Staff

Coach Dan Blankenship is our club’s Founder and President.  He has been coaching for over twenty years and is the overall Head Coach for our training programs. Coach Dan ran track in high school and college – is a USA Track & Field Certified Level I and Level 2 Endurance Coach (currently a candidate for Level 3 which is the highest coaching certification in USATF) and a Certified Personal Trainer. He has lead several large running groups, including serving as the Head Coach of the Sportsbackers’ 10k Training Team which included over 4,000 runners and 215 coaches.  Coach Dan has been active in the running community for over 25 years.  In his 25 years+, he has trained thousands of runners from 5k through marathons.  He has completed numerous 5k, 10k, over 20 half marathons and close to 50 full marathons but spends his time now running to help others accomplish their goals in our sport.  An Executive at Oracle, he has a B.S. degree in Accounting, holds several professional certifications including a CPA, and attended graduate school at both Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech….but we won’t hold that against him.  He loves spending time with his wife, Cyndi (who also helps coach), and their children (3 boys, 1 girl), and two dogs, Lacey & Beau.

Greg RCoach Greg started running track in the 6th grade and has been running ever since.  He is a USATF Level 1 Coach & RRCA Distance Coach.  He has been trained in coaching Middle Distance Runners by Scott Simmons of the American Distance Project & in the Effects of Altitude Training on Endurance Athletes at the USOC in Colorado Springs.  He qualified for Boston 7 times & competed there 5 times.  Greg has been coaching distance runners since 2002.  His first marathon was Cleveland Revco in 1982 on a bet – which he won – clocking a 3:20.  He is a USATF National Level Track/Field/Cross-Country Official and has officiated numerous NCAA conference championships, NCAA Southeast Regional Meets, Women’s Diamond League Pole Vault, & National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association (D-III) National Championships. He specializes in Vertical Jumps – Pole Vault/High Jump.  He is a member of several clubs, including Race Team RVA, Richmond Road Runners, Annapolis Striders, Richmond Triathlon Club, & Richmond Area Bicycling Association.  He refers to himself as a military brat, proud son of a father who served over 30 years in US Marines requiring his family to move around frequently.  Although originally from Quantico, Va, he grew up in VA, SC, NC, OH, & attended high school in Japan.   He received his undergrad from The Defiance College & MBA from the University of Findlay.  Greg and his wife Deb, also an avid runner/coach/Boston Competitor have 6 children, & 8 grandchildren, making Hanover County their home with two dogs……We are looking forward to the day they all run their first race together!

Coach Mike Williams ran track in high school and during his freshman year in college at Washington and Lee. He ran the mile, 800m and 3200m. Mike resumed running after college, starting back up with the Monument Ave 10k and eventually moving to the half marathon, where he completed 12 of them with a PR of 1:29. Mike then stepped up to the marathon, completing seven since his first in 2012 (Marine Corps). He has qualified for the Boston Marathon four times including most recently at the 2017 Chicago Marathon. His PR of 3:11 was set at the 2015 Boston Marathon and he will return to Boston in 2019. Mike loves to talk about running and is ready to help anyone trying to meet their goals, whether it’s qualifying for Boston, breaking 4:00 or completing their first marathon.  He has an MBA from Duke and enjoys Duke basketball (of course!) and spending time with his wife, Amy, and their 2 daughters and 1 small dog.

Coach Jim Morris is from upstate NY but moved to Richmond 29 years ago. He ran his first marathon 26 years ago after being challenged by some friends.  Since then, he has run over 15 marathons, including Boston twice, and about the same number of half marathons. He received his MBA from VCU and has worked in finance at Anthem for the last 29 years. Jim and his wife, Patty, enjoy traveling (usually in the fall) which can make training for fall races difficult at times. Although from NY, he has southern charm and personality…..guess we rubbed off him…

Erin W Flag PicCoach Erin is the Head Coach of our Sunday group runs.  She started running as a child while living at The United States Military Academy at West Point, NY–where running and fitness was a way of life. In 2014 she ran the Richmond Marathon for the first time and had such a terrible experience she vowed never to do it again!  Three months later she was back to training for her next race.  She fell in love with marathons all over again at the 2016 Steamtown Marathon and qualified for Boston in the 2016 Richmond Marathon. After a dalliance with triathlons, Erin ventured off the roads and onto trail running, completing her first two 50ks winning first place in the female division.   In 2018 she was on the podium again for her first 50 miler, 100k, and 100 mile races.   She found her niche in trail running and is happiest with mud on her shoes and the peace and quiet of the mountains around her.  Erin enjoys helping people through their journey of long distance running and is proof that a bad race does not define the love for our sport.   Erin loves sharing her knowledge about road and trail running, including shoe selections for various races, strength training, nutrition/hydration, or just about anything to help you exceed at getting across the Finish Line.  Since 2001, she has been seen carrying the American Flag in races to honor of all who lost their lives on 9/11 and for all our military–present and future, who volunteer to serve and protect our great country.  We love her heart and spirit and you will too!

Grumpy KATCoach Kat (Kathryn)has always enjoyed athletics but she did not start running until her mid-thirties.  Although she has completed many long-distance races, she really enjoys half marathons, and she is especially fond of 10 mile races.  From Ironman/Triathlons, marathoners, half marathons and many 10 milers, 10k, and 5k races, she has done it all.  When compared to triathlons (running, swimming, and cycling), she has found running to be the lowest maintenance of the three (we agree).  Coach Kat prefers to cross train for variety.  She also enjoys cycling and swimming on her non-running days.  And at times, Coach Kat can be competitive as we learned firsthand when she was almost being passed by a runner in a bee costume during a marathon….several overheard her say “Buzz Off” and she blew past that runner!!!  That’s why she is also known as “Grumpy Kat”…..just don’t challenge her or you might see what we mean.  She loves running in fun socks, study Brooks, meeting up with Friends after burning some calories, and she enjoys a good cup of joe as a reward after a run.  We can’t complain about that logic.  A full time high school English teacher, she has the knowledge to motivate you with the power of words.

Coach Kelly caught the running bug in 2003 and has since run many races in distances from 5k to 50k, including 17 marathons. Since 2007, she has coached 10k, 12k and half marathon training teams. She is passionate about helping other runners achieve their goals, whether that is to finish a new distance for the first time or to meet a specific time goal. When not running, Kelly works as a marketing manager and enjoys spending time with her husband, three boys (all runners), and two dogs.  Plus she’s a Hokie and avid fan….gotta love that!

Nick DCoach Nick is the Head Coach of our South Side team.  Nick started tarted running in middle school because a friend ran and he got his name on the announcements, and Nick wanted to hear his name too.  After that, it was just something he enjoyed. Nick ran track for Clover Hill High School and one year in college. He has run three marathons, three half marathons, but really enjoys running 5K’s more than anything.    In the last few years, he cut back on the number of days he ran and made sure that he focused on the purpose of his runs to make each count.  He went from running 5-6 days a week to running 3 days a week and still runs a sub-19:00 5K.   In addition to running, he lifts weight and cycles to stay strong and maintain his aerobic capacity.   When not running, he enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter.   He really enjoys helping people set PR’s or completing new race distances for the first time!  His wife is also a runner but they find it challenging to run together these days with a small child.  We hear ya Nick – many couples are in the same boat too, but trust us, enjoy this time with your child now; soon your car keys will become more important!

Coach Paula Bryant began running in 2000 as a stress relief while supporting family members through serious health issues. Running became a way to continue managing stress, maintaining fitness and meeting new people and building friendships. Coach Paula has completed 16 half marathons, multiple 5K and 10K races, and sprint triathlons.   She obtained her personal training certification and many times leads our group in dynamic exercises prior to our runs.

Coach AnnCoach Ann is the Head Coach of our Run/Walk training program.  She has been with Race Team RVA for four years and has run 7 half marathons and numerous 10K and 5Ks. She started run/walking after recovering from a broken foot that she incurred while running a 10k (which, we note, she did finish). Ann feels that run/walk is a great way for beginning half marathoners to achieve the distance and can help runners ease back into running after an injury. She is an architect by day, specializing in school designs, and she enjoys coaching in her spare time.  She’s our energizer bunny, packing a lot of energy!  She is also the recipient of our “Coach of the Year” award for her dedication and commitment to our athletes and team.

robbie gCoach Robbie started running in 1998 so that he could lose weight and feel better about himself.   He felt like he was never built to be a runner, but somehow defied the odds and did it anyway.   Once he started, he was hooked.  Since then he’s run upwards of 50 races, from 5K’s to full marathons and 20 of those races being 1/2 marathons.   While he may not be the fastest on the course, Robbie is great at maintaining a steady pace, staying positive, and serving up some puns that are only about 1/2 as good as his full puns (pun intended).   Robbie took some time off from running and is working at not only rebuilding his endurance in 2019, but also encouraging his team of runners along the way.   When he’s not running, Robbie is an Occupational Therapist in a skilled nursing facility and he enjoys working to rehabilitate those who have been through life changing events.   He received his master’s degree from VCU and his undergrad from Virginia Tech.   His motto is “We are all a work in progress and are capable of more than we know”. Let’s do this, and of course, Go Hokies!”  Yeah Robbie, we love the Hokies too!

Cherine ReidCoach Cherine Reid has always been an athlete/cheering all of the way through graduate school but that was no longer an option once she got older (no one wants to toss a 40 year old in the air… That’s just asking for an ER Visit!). Once she was in her late thirties, she was dying to get her fitness and competitive spirit back. One of her friends at Team Adrenaline challenged her to run a marathon….(mind you she had never even done a5k) She was in! Anyone who knows Dr. Cherine, knows that she will never turn down a challenge! That’s when running began for her and she fell in love with it! Since, she has completed just about every running length from 5ks to marathons, and finally did a full Ironman. Here favorite is shorter runs from 5ks to ½ marathons. Coach Cherine is a Chiropractor and is passionate about teaching others how to live their lives to their fullest through chiropractic, fitness, and nutrition! We only have one life to live…challenge yourself…it’s never too late to start…make the most of it!  We love her enthusiasm!

Coach Cyndi started her running career on a Disney Cruise shcyndi2ip when a friend challenged her to run instead of walking between the bow and stern of the ship.  Her first response was, me?  Run?  I don’t like running!  But once she started, she realized she could finish her workouts quicker, which allowed her more time to pursue her mission on the cruise of relaxing and drinking wine….but she also realized it gave her more energy and she felt great!  (this is what we call the inner runner coming out).  Shortly after moving to Virginia, she took on her first 10k and ran the Monument Avenue 10k race.  Then she tried a half marathon.  After some great advice (from her coach), she improved her race times and had many PRs – she knew then she was hooked for life.   In 2012, she ran her first full marathon.  Cyndi’s high school friends on FB asked, “when did you turn into a runner?”  While she loves the health benefits that running provides, its the camaraderie of fellow runners that call her back to the open road.  Cyndi is known as the big cheerleader because of her energy and enthusiasm.  She truly enjoys encouraging and welcoming each runner to do their best and enjoy the sport she loves so much.  But being married to our head coach, she will tell you that he made her do it.   We don’t believe that Cyndi, nope, not for a minute!

Coach Beth Rosenthal – not pictured…..but ask us about her story and we’ll gladly tell you.

Fitness Instructors:

Michael Harlow, Founder & Director, Endorphin Fitness & Ryan Middleton, Coach, Endorphin Fitness

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