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 5ks through marathons.  He has completed numerous 5k, 10k, over 20 half marathons and 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 is our Head Coach/Technical Advisor  to the team/coaches and is a Board Member of Race Team RVA Running Club.  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!

SandyCoach Sandy Lawson is the Head Coach of our 9 Mile Training Team. received her BS degree in Health Sciences with concentration in School Health from JMU and started her career as a Health & P.E. teacher and track coach. She currently works at the John Rolfe YMCA as a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor (certified in TRX, PiYo, CXWorx, Yoga, and Cycle) and at Re-Kinect as a medical exercise specialist. Throughout her 20 years in the health & fitness industry, she remains an avid runner. Sandy coaches all levels and has coached for the YMCA 10K training teams, including serving as head coach for the Tuckahoe YMCA, and for Commonwealth Sports Medicine’s half/full marathon training team. She has raced in 9 marathons and numerous half marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks, triathlons, and obstacle mud races. Her proudest accomplishment is raising 2 awesome kids, Anna & Trevor (who both run track in school), with husband, Phil.

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!

Coach Kelly is the Co-Head Coach of our Short Pump team – she 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!

Coach Paula Bryant is a Co-Head Coach of our Short Pump team – she 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 numerous 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.

Nick DCoach Nick is the Co-Head Coach of our Woodlake team.  Nick started 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!

Troy UCoach Troy Unger is the Co-Head Coach of our Woodlake training team.  He found the love for running at an early age as he ran his 1st half marathon at age 13 & 1st full marathon at age 17. He ran Track & Cross Country at Mills Godwin high school & continued running after school down in Florida while working for a local running store & competing in many 5K &10k races. He moved back to Richmond where he became a certified personal trainer & certified youth speed & agility coach for the past 7 years. In 2018 he ran his 1st Boston Marathon  & completed his 1st 50 Mile Ultra Marathon in the Fall. Currently is the coach for Lucky Road weekly runs & track workouts from Midlothian store location. Troy with his wife & 2 children have lived in Midlothian area for the last 14 years, when he is not out running you will most likely find him at the Midlothian Lucky Road running Store helping people find the best shoes & equipment for all runners & walkers or you can find him at any of his Daughters Soccer games!

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 numerous half marathons, 10K and 5K races. 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.

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…

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.

 

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!

Andrew LCoach Andrew Lee developed a passion for sports in High School while part of the wrestling program at Midlothian High School.   He went on to further his advancement by obtaining a Masters Degree from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse.  As part of his graduate program, he worked with the Huskers Athletic Department where he honed his interest in strength, agility, and performance, working with several Olympic runners in Track & Field.   He is the founder of Draft Day Athletics and has been working in Sports Performance for 19 years.   Over the years he has helped thousands of athletes from middle school all the way up to D1 athletes who have gone to the Olympics in Track & Field.   His specialties are speed, strength, and core conditioning programs. He is a coach for our Woodlake team.  If you are looking to improve your performance, ask Coach Andrew to help.  He loves helping athletes!

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 a 5k) 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!

TammyCoach Tammy Harrison (also known as the Taminator) reminds you of that cool High School teacher who was part friend, part mentor – that teacher that gave you sound advice, encouraged you to be your best, and through tough love, kept pushing you to reach higher – that teacher that taught you what was REALLY important in life.   Well, meet the Taminator.  And if you ask her “what she loves about running?” – she may  respond by saying “I don’t love running. I love the solitude of running alone at times, contemplating and solving life’s challenges, but I really enjoy spending long runs with other runners, getting to know different people, and knowing that I’m doing something that is improving my health and fitness – the actual running part – not always so much.”  She would describe herself as a teacher/coach, chocked full of wisdom, who occasional dispenses a few fart jokes (yes, we actually said that!).  Overcoming a childhood full of health issues – including Forrest Gump-like leg braces – Taminator was scared by the notion of running a race.  But knew she HAD TO give it a try.  10 years, 4 marathons, 2 ultramarathons, a Sprint Triathlon and an 8 hour/53 mile treadmill run and several 5k & 10k runs later – she can offer some darn useful insights on what has, and hasn’t, worked for her.   She is known for her unusual costumes, having run a marathon dressed as a coffee cup as well as running a 5k race dressed in only running shoes and sunglasses (yes, you heard that right).  She did have a setback in a 50k race once, where she  Did Not Finish (DNF), but learned a lot of self-awareness and wisdom in the process.  Tammy is also trained by Lucky Road Running Store to perform Gait Analysis, and is a Certified Road Runners Club of America Level I Coach who enjoys taking technical theory and turning it into practical, useful advice.  We love her spirit and energy, and know that you will too!

Elizabeth GunnCoach Elizabeth (Liz) Gunn was born in Oregon and moved to Richmond (her husband’s birthplace) in 2005.  Although born in a state that is known for producing some of our nations most famous elite runners, Elizabeth didn’t take up the sport until her late 20s, going from Couch to 5K in late 2007, then to the full Richmond marathon in 2008.  After the births of her daughter, Ainsley in 2010, and son Corbin in 2012, she decided to lace up her shoes again on January 1, 2015 and she hasn’t stopped since.  She’s completed 6 marathons, multiple half marathons, and has served as an official pacer for the Richmond half marathon and other races.  When not serving as a MUber (Mom-Uber), Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, and searching for her next destination race.  You can frequently find her running in the dark with the Ridgefield Runners during the week and oftentimes with her husband (who is also an avid runner).  Nothing like keeping it in the family!

Andrew HCoach Andrew Hardymon started running 5k’s and 10k’s when he was 8. He ran track and cross country in Middle and High School in NC, where he grew up.  Andrew took a hiatus from running while studying at Duke University (there was basketball to watch….). He was inspired to take it up again while living in Boston.  Soon after, he moved to VA and ran local races before running his first marathon in 2000.  Since then, Andrew has completed over 25 marathons and several 50k’s. In 2019, he ran three marathons in a 15 day period while training for the Blue Ridge Double Marathon which he ran in April, 2019.  Andrew enjoys running and helping all levels, whether they are seeking a PR, or simply trying to get fit.  When not running, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Sarah, and their four children, and is a passionate Duke Blue Devil fan.

Brittany ACoach Brittany is a Richmond native and has been running since 2008. She ran cross-country and track at Godwin High School and continued to run recreationally through undergrad in Chapel Hill, NC.  She was excited to return to her Richmond running roots when she started physical therapy school at VCU in 2017.  Still early in her running career, Brittany has complete one full marathon and several shorter distance races.  She is looking forward to running the streets of Richmond again this summer with RaceTeam RVA!

Alan HCoach Alan Harrison, as you may have guessed, is Coach Tammy’s (Taminator) husband.  Alan started running seven years ago to support Tammy’s first marathon and he’s been hooked ever since.  In 2012, both Alan and Coach Tammy trained for, and ran the Richmond marathon, finding a love for the sport something they shared together.  Alan has helped coach many runners through 8k, 10k and 12k races and found that giving back to the sport he loves much more rewarding.  He developed a passion for long distance running as well as trail running (and the struggles that go with it), but his real passion comes in seeing the faces of runners he has helped to coach reach their goals.  He will tell you that nothing compares to being a coach and the joys realized in helping someone, not only cross the finish line, but helping them get to the starting line and seeing them do something they never thought they would be able to.  He claims the best seat in the house during a race is at the finish line!  He may act a little crazy at times, but that is what makes Alan a terrific coach and friend.  If he can do this, so can you!

Amy GCoach Amy Galvin is one of our run/walking marathon coaches on our Full Marathon team.  A Richmond native, Amy went to the University of South Carolina, married with 2 gorgeous girls, and is a Manager of Workers Compensation at Sentry Insurance.  Coach Amy started running in 2009 after signing up for Monument on a whim then just kept entering one race after another.   Since 2009, Amy has run over 25 half, full and 10k races.   Wow!  She would describe herself as a slow poke and loves having fun with other runners in the back of the pack.  That’s okay with us Amy – just shows us you love what you do!  She’s consistent, dedicated and enjoys helping runners reach their goal!

RobertCoach Robert LaRock ran cross country and indoor/outdoor track in high school.   He stopped running when he joined the Marine Corp since the physical demands and challenges of serving in the Marines kept him fit.   However, his love for running never waned so in 2013, he joined his wife and starting running again.  He hasn’t stopped yet.    Coach Robert ran his first half marathon in 2015 and his first full marathon in 2015.  Since then he has gone on to run a 50k race and completed his first sprint triathlon in 2017.  He has recently taking up trail running/racing and may join us this summer for some of our Sunday trail runs too.    Coach Robert has also coached 8K, 10k and 12k teams.  He will be coaching at our Willow Lawn location.   We are proud to have him as a coach and thank him for his service to our country!

Coach Beth Rosenthal – not pictured…..but ask us about her story and we’ll gladly tell you.  She’s also the Club’s Risk & Safety Director so listen to her advice (or she may come after you).

Coach Doug Fernandez – not pictured…..but ask us about his story and we’ll gladly tell you.  He’s won several master level running events and continues to run a sub 3 marathon.

Coach JP Blosser – not pictured…..JP has coached with us before and took off last year to nurse an injury but he is back in full form this year.  A strong runner and a good Physical Therapist – need advice, ask JP.

Coach John Snuggs – (known just as Coach Snuggs) not pictured…..returns again after taking a few years off from coaching.  You can often time find John bringing up the back of the pack runners in the full marathon, cracking jokes and entertaining the team during their longer runs.  Coach Snuggs will start with the Short Pump team then transfer to Willow Lawn in late August.

Coach Debra Roth – not pictured…..is of course the wife of Coach Greg Roth.  Debra has run several marathons and half marathons and has coached many runners across the finish line.  She and Coach Greg help support our Sunday group runs from Willow Lawn.  WE love our coaches that have made it a family affair to coach for our team!

Coach Phil Lawson – not pictured…..is married to Coach Sandy.  The Lawson family is a running family with both of their kids running track too!   Phil is also the minister of music at Gayton Road Baptist Church as well as a full time Realtor.   WE love our coaches that have made it a family affair to coach for our team!

Coach Christine Johnson- not pictured…..is our youngest coach and daughter of Coaches Dan & Cyndi.  This will be her first year coaching but she has been around runners her entire life….guess that comes with being the daughter of two of our coaches!

Fitness/Core/Strength Instructors & Partners:

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

Paul Caminiti, Founder and Head Instructor for Team Adrenaline, USA

Grandison Graham, Founder and Coach for TriGirl/TriQuest Training

Andrew Lee, Draft Day Athletics (South Side)

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