Be The Runner
Personalized coaching from someone just like you

Meet Marty

I ran my first race while in 6th grade, a half-mile race that took place at San Mateo High School. I was so far back in DFL (Dead Flat Last) that the announcer had to warn the people setting up for the next race, "Hold on, people – there's still one more runner on the track!" I figured running was just not my sport.

Fast forward a few years, to my junior and senior years in high school. Things weren’t a whole lot better, in terms of performance. I racked up 19 DFLs in only two seasons of track & field, which is probably a record! But something was different: I loved it! I distinctly remember my first track meet, which was just a non-league pre-season meet, with about four people in the stands. Yes, I did indeed finish DFL in my half-mile race, but the atmosphere made me feel like I was in the Olympics!

I jogged when I could during college, and then decided to train for a marathon in 1984. I ran the Livermore Marathon, and did much better than expected. During that year, I began running with a running club at Stanford University, where I worked, called the Angell Field Ancients (see photo to the left, but please don't emulate that heel-striking form - yikes!). The club included a wide range of abilities, from joggers all the way to Olympians and American record-holders. Once I truly learned how to train from listening to these great people (all of them), my times started to come down, and I began enjoying everything about running even more. I was even the recipient of the Ancients' prestigious Golden Jock Award in 1989. No, really, it is quite prestigious.

In 1988, I won a race for the first time (a small 5k trail race), and had a stellar year, setting most of my all-time personal bests that still stand today. Over the next 15 years or so, I continued to enjoy running and compete in races of many different types, including track races ranging from 60 meters up through the mile, cross-country races, and lots and lots of road races. In 2004, having finally recovered from a badly sprained ankle and related injuries, I decided to train for another marathon, my first since 1987. My training went exactly according to plan, and I may have had my best race ever: I set a 6-minute all-time personal best of a hair under 3:13, only a few days after my 43rd birthday.

While I continued to enjoy running throughout the 2000s, something was missing. I had coached many friends and family members informally since the late 1980s, but had not tried anything more formal. When my son joined the cross-country team at his high school in the Fall of 2009, I offered to be the "helpful parent", shadowing the head coach to help him with timing, driving kids to workouts, etc. At the end of the season, he asked if I would come on board as an official Assistant Coach the following year. How could I refuse?! I joined the coaching staff, and am now the Head Coach of the Track & Field team. I loved it from the start, and knew that coaching was my destiny, so I started Be The Runner in 2012.

From the variety of people I have coached, I have learned there is no "one size fits all" approach to succeed in any kind of running. Many generic "training plans" may work to enable runners to survive a half marathon or marathon, for example. But a unique, flexible plan, tailored to a runner's strengths, weaknesses, schedule, lifestyle, and even personality, is orders of magnitude better than the generic approach. I love working with runners to achieve whatever their goals are. Running is a sport that provides rare opportunities for everyone to experience a huge sense of accomplishment, regardless of ability. Being a part of someone else's success is a thrill for me!

Specific Qualifications

  • Head Coach, Alameda High School Track and Field
  • Certified Coach in the following organizations:
    - USA Track & Field (USATF), Level 2 (Endurance)
    - National Federation of High Schools
    - California Interscholastic Federation
  • Certified Personal Trainer, Senior Fitness Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist, National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • Member, USA Track & Field

Running Experience

  • Competed in the following track events: 60m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, mile, 5000m, 10000m
    - Key PRs: 2:05 in 800m; 4:42 in Mile
  • Competed in road and cross-country events from 1 mile to marathon (3 marathons)
    - Key road PRs/PBs: 5k: 17:13; 10k: 37:48; 10 miles: 1:04:20; Half marathon: 1:27:35; Marathon: 3:13 (6-minute PB at age 43)
  • Ranked 7th in US in 10000m, 17th in 5000m in 2015 in 50-54 age group (outdoor track)
  • Five 5k road or trail race victories; three 5k age group road race victories
  • Oak Creek Grand Prix (Palo Alto) Champion, 5k Open division, 1988. Runner-up in 1989
  • Club member of Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders Racing Team (current); Angell Field Ancients, 1984-1990; East Bay Striders/Pacific Striders, 1994-2004
  • Sub-seeded qualifier for Bay to Breakers in 1998, 1999, and 2012-2016