We’re so impressed and motivated by Crystal Jahner, our April Coach of the Month. She’s a working mom, running coach, runner and oh yeah… race director!
Prepare to be inspired!
What was the main reason(s) that you wanted to become a running coach?
I had participated in a run group several years ago and loved encouraging others. I also host online groups for at home workouts. I really enjoy encouraging others and seeing them crush goals. I love running most and sharing running with others. I started a race here locally with my family and started a group helping people train for that. I was pretty much a run coach already but felt people would trust me more if I was a “run coach.”
Not many coaches can also add race founder/director to their resume’ like you. As I’m sure many of our coaches and readers have at some point wanted to organize a race, what would some tips be to get started!
Just do it! Find some friends and family, pick a date and make it happen! That is what I did! I had never thought about having my own race until I lost my dad in 2014. It was unexpected but seeing all the people at his funeral and the lives he touched was truly amazing! It made me what more out of life! My dad was super passionate about Hunter Education and taught classes for over 32 years in our hometown. He always struggled to have a place to hold classes and so I took his passion and my love and started the race. The money raised goes into an account to build a Hunter Education building in our community. My family thought I was crazy as they are not runners and only a few had been to any of my races but together with our community we will be hosting the 4th annual race and adding in a 13 mile bike race this year to it. Check it out at www.dalefkilweinmemorialrun.com!
A race is an idea and a bunch of volunteers! You don’t need to start big. You don’t need to charge a lot. You don’t even need to time it. It can be for fun. Each year we take the suggestions of participants and volunteers and tweak things to make the race better. My biggest tip is share your passion!
So let me get this straight…you have a job, you’re a race director, you spend time with your family and also started a run coaching group? Do you have any advice for successfully managing a busy schedule?
I feel like I am still trying to figure this out some days! I work full time at the BLM, with the help of family plan the race and the run group runs from May to August.
I am already running so the run group doesn’t affect my busy life too much other than some organization at the beginning and mapped group runs. It’s great to run with a group and see others excited about crushing a longer distance each week. Group runs are three times a week at 5am with long runs on Friday mornings. This is the only way to fit it “all” in because my family spends the weekends at the lake in the summer. My kids are 4 and 6 so they are not in sports yet that I have to work around.
As a race director, my family helps out with many parts of the race. My sister and my mom help a ton with hanging posters and getting sponsors. We have extended family that come in for race weekend to help also. Our race is pretty small but as we grow we will have to recruit some more help. Thank goodness for the internet as that saves time on getting the “big” things for the race scheduled and updated.
Do you have a level (ie. beginner) of runner that you’re most excited to coach?
I am most excited to help beginner runners. It’s so rewarding watching a person go from not being able to run 3 miles to running 13.1. To watch the runner grow inside and out is truly amazing! When training we celebrate the added miles each week! It’s so fun to see the faces of those runners and excitement about it! Watching someone fall in love with running makes my heart happy. I always think, “What if I didn’t do my run group? Who would have missed out?” Share your passion always…you never know who you will inspire.
As a runner who’s done races at most all distances, do you have a favorite distance to race and why?
I have run races from the 5k to the marathon. In just 2 weeks I will be adding my 5th marathon to my list, running Newport RI. My favorite distance is the half marathon. It still takes training, strength and heart but the training isn’t as time consuming. It’s easier to fit into my busy life.