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Meet John Tate

Running coach

Date of Birth

01 Jan 1966




Personal Best

Marathon    3:25.23 PR, BQ (Richmond)

Half-Marathon    1:37.08 (City of Oaks)

10K        42:44 (Monument Ave 10k)

5K        18:57 (Run to Reclaim)

Other Running Notables

120th Boston Marathon Finisher

Favorite Marathon: St George Marathon, St George, UT

Level-1 Certified Track and Field Coach, USA Track & Field Association

Running Mantra, “Push When You’re Tired”

About coach john

“The lesson of running is to train well, and then have full faith in your training and show the proof in the race.”  Eliud Kipchoge

Under coach, mentor, and friend Bob Dannegger (then, Head Run Coach of the North Carolina Roadrunners Club), John ran his first marathon in 1997 in Washington D.C. – the Marine Corps Marathon. John went on to run the same marathon in 1998 and the LaSalle Banks Chicago Marathon in 1999 and 2000. It is from those four marathons that set John on an incredible journey of long-distance running that was rewarded with qualifying and finishing the Boston Marathon in 2016. 


John embraced his newfound passion and began training to run marathons, half-marathons, and short distance races around the US and locally. The perfect sport that drove his competitive nature and provided a healthy-focus lifestyle. 


After moving to South Florida in late 2001/2002, John joined the Palm Beach Roadrunners Club. There, he met a new group of runners who became friends and inspired him to become an even better long-distance runner. So much so, that by the time he left South Florida to return home to North Carolina in 2007, qualifying and running the Boston Marathon was his number one running priority. 


In 2008, John ran the Portland Marathon. Although a finisher in Portland as well as at other marathons, it was the first of many failures on the journey to qualify for Boston. 


Fast-forward to 2012 - John traveled to St George, UT to run the St George Marathon. A net downhill marathon, John thought for sure that a BQ was doable and achievable. Unfortunately, he missed the qualifying time by 2+ minutes. While another disappointment, it was the closest that he came to qualifying and left St George “believing” that he could reach Boston. Upon returning to Raleigh, John said to his coach, “I believe I need higher mile volume to counter the consistent dismal performance the last 3 miles” Coach Bob made the training plan adjustments.  Four marathons later, John qualified to run the Boston Marathon.  


The Anthem Richmond Marathon, 2014, is where John qualified to run the Boston Marathon. After running, finishing the Tobacco Road and Twin Cities Marathons in 2013 and Tobacco Road in the Spring 2014. The journey continued to be filled with disappointments even after the 2012 adjustments, but John’s persistence never waned.


John’s coach designed the Boston training plan to “get you to the starting line.” John would have to figure out how to finish the race. This came after John told his coach that his long runs were not going well due to nagging pain in his left knee. To scratch from running the Boston Marathon was not an option so the training had to go on in a manner to manage the injury. 


John ran and finished – the 120th Boston Marathon – in 2016. Brutally hot and being less than 100% with a torn meniscus (diagnosed a few months afterwards), it made for a hard, difficult day. While it was not John’s finest hour, he managed to finish. The finish line photo of his left leg that is completely shot sums up the day. 


Today, John still runs and is enjoying the coaching side. John’s coaching is all about profiling and understanding his athletes and to build the best plan that helps each maximize his/her efforts on race day through Speed, Endurance, and Recovery, including hefty strength training. 


John began coaching at Life Time Fitness – Cary, NC in 2017 and has been a coach with Triangle Run Smart in Holly Springs, NC. He has coached over 40 runners who’ve run personal bests at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, Anthem Richmond Marathon/Half-Marathon, City of Oaks Half Marathon, Tobacco Road Half Marathon, plus others.


Read On about John’s Mission and Core Values

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