If you’re looking to take your running to the next level—whether that means running a 5K without taking walk breaks, qualifying for the Boston Marathon, or competing in a national event—McKirdy Trained can help you reach your goals. McKirdy Trained launched in 2016 with James McKirdy training 10 runners. In just a few years, the business has grown to 35 coaches serving more than 1,000 athletes of all ages and abilities, all over the world.
As a child, James watched his dad run marathons, and he started running himself in middle school, trying out for every track event. He loved running and also discovered that he had a passion for coaching and for helping others become their best. He began volunteer coaching and then became a high school head coach, as well as a personal trainer, before starting McKirdy Trained.
With dozens of coaches, any athlete can find a McKirdy Trained coach to meet their needs. No matter which coach they choose, a runner can rest assured that he or she will receive the highest level of care and professional guidance. McKirdy Trained puts the health of their athletes first and prides themselves on communicating effectively and fostering a caring relationship between each coach and client. James says, “It’s key to understand the WHY behind our athletes’ goals. That helps guide us.”
James says that he’s found great success using ElliptiGO bikes. He recalls, “I first encountered an ElliptiGO bike when McKirdy Trained coach Tim Ritchie was laid up with a calf issue in 2017.” Tim couldn’t run for four weeks, and he had a big race, the USATF Half Marathon Championships, on his calendar. Tim barely ran for 28 days, but he trained on his ElliptiGO bike. James says, “Tim went on to finish third at that championship event!”
McKirdy Trained only partners with companies they know and trust, so after seeing Tim’s success, James purchased an ElliptiGO bike himself and started riding it to ensure that it truly added value to a running training program. He found it was particularly helpful in recovery, especially after he experienced injuries and illnesses ranging from stepping on rocks to major internal health issues. James says, “ElliptiGO bikes are the best tool on the market for cross-training, especially while recovering from injuries, and the best way for runners to increase mileage.”
In addition to coaching and operating his coaching business, McKirdy started two races, the Bakline McKirdy Micro Marathon and 10K. ElliptiGO is a proud race sponsor. James says, “Bakline’s McKirdy Micro Marathon is the ONLY marathon in the country set up with the Olympic Trials standard in mind. The race was designed for on-the-cusp athletes who are looking to earn their way to the Olympic Trials in early February 2024. It’s also a chance for athletes who are at a professional level to better their world rankings or run the Olympic Standard, which is a much harder qualification.” The course is fast, flat, and includes bottle support.
The 10K is one of the fastest 10ks in the country, and it is open to all levels of athletes. Anyone can watch the exciting marathon race, be inspired, and then run the 10K themselves—the 10K starts 45 minutes after the marathon completes. This year the races will be held on October 14, 2023, at Rockland Lake State Park in Valley Cottage, New York, about an hour north of New York City. Check the qualification information and register for the marathon by August 15 or the 10K by October 7.
If you’re a runner who wants to compete in the Bakline McKirdy Micro Marathon in the future, or increase your mileage or decrease your mile time, McKirdy Trained offers six- and 12-month training programs. James notes that his coaches often see athletes stay in the program for many years. Among his athletes’ successes are runners who have reduced their marathon times from over five hours to a low three-hour marathon. One amazing example is runner Dan Montgomery. Dan’s first marathon, 20 years ago, was a bit longer than five hours. Now, at 47 years old, Dan has set his sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. James shares, “He recently ran a lifetime best in the marathon at 3 hours, 26 minutes, and he plans to be below 3 hours, 20 minutes in the New York City Marathon.” Dan even became a coach for McKirdy Trained a few years ago.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an athlete, hiring a coach can help you reach new goals and change the way you view yourself. James shares that he’s worked with individuals who never saw themselves as athletes, and he helped them discover they had more spirit and fight than they ever could have imagined. Some of them even became national elite runners. He says, “It’s truly an honor to have helped so many find joy and happiness on their running journeys.”