TheETG club history
The letter below…….Letter from Steve Miller in 1991, at the time Director Of Sports Marketing for Nike, an eventual Chairman of the Board of USA Track & Field. He was responding to some stuff I sent him, the early version of what is today known as TheETG Training Packets, a collection of applied sport sciences info for human performance in distance running. I was ecstatic just getting a reply. The first part of his letter speaks the packets as being the most comprehensive stuff he’d ever seen in our sport. They were pretty paltry in those days but the content was ahead of the norm and enough to get anybody’s attention, which apparently it did. The feedback was a big deal for me at the time.
The 2nd part of his letter addresses a request for Nike sponsorship of my track club. At the time my plan was that athletes in my track club would be people I coached at the high school level in Virginia who were about to graduate college or leave their college team, so I naively had in my brain that I wanted to cram them into a large house in Austin and have Nike pay for it all. So I included a letter asking Nike for funds for that idea. Fortunately Nike wasn’t naive enough to give me a bunch of money. I had a pretty well designed training program at the time but didn’t realize it. In those days there were many, very many open physiological questions in training and I was very much in exploratory mode, changing the training program almost monthly. I wasn’t ready for prime time and the money would have been a disaster.
by Marshall Burt
In 1988 after several years of coaching at the high school level I decided to pursue coaching collegiate level. Made a list of schools…Oregon, Indiana University, and Texas. I visited Oregon during the 1988 NCAA Championships, few weeks later Indiana Bloomington while attending the Olympic Trials in Indianapolis, Texas the following year. Sometime in 1989 I narrowed the list to Texas as the place to try to get a job. I wanted to learn from the women’s coach who developed the top track and cross-country program in the nation and was an Olympic team coach. And I wanted in-person access to Human Performance researchers [Jack Wilmore, John Ivy, Ed Coyle, and Larry Abraham] at Texas who were among the best in the world. My top former high school runner was already running for Texas, and others were recruited.
I also started thinking about developing a professional track club and created The ETG in June 1990. About one year prior I had begun developing an “Elite Coaching Support Group”, researchers and clinicians around the country who’s work would help me identify the mechanisms of performance in distance events. Several University of Texas researchers became a part of that group. In 1990 I got closer to creating an “Elite Coaching Library” which I had begun in 1984. Prior to moving to Austin I started with just following 3 or 4 science research journals. After moving to Austin, I was able to dramatically expand the list of research journals I followed in having access to 4 libraries on the University Of Texas campus. TheETG Human Performance Library grew to about 60 research journals across 8 – 10 doctoral disciplines that I follow all year around. The libraries on the University of Texas campus carried nearly all of them. The purpose of TheETG Human Performance Library has been, and continues to be, to acquire, combine, and apply research information from all major areas of sport sciences.
I moved to Austin, Texas on December 31, 1990 after setting things up with the coach the previous year. I wasn’t aware that the coach was on the way out or that the NCAA was about to pass a rule limiting salaries and number of coaches schools could have on staff [eventually struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court]. Following the coach’s departure I applied for the vacant coaching position but didn’t get an interview.
Spring 1992 I decided it was time to move The ETG from back burner to sole focus. I decided to stay in Austin to have in-person access to the top Human Performance researchers in the world and to set up my track club in a great place to live and train. I began aggressively pursing, not a degree program, but a concept of a coach’s knowledge level that I derived from a term the soviets used to use to describe their college degree program for coaches [no such degree program existed at U.S. colleges]…..”Master Of Sport”.
At the end of December 1990, having moved to Austin with $200 in my pocket, my car, one month rent paid, and finding that there was no coaching job at the Univ. of Texas, I was in a financially bad situation. It was partially improved for me by being evicted from my apartment, and basically having few options available, I moved into a small inexpensive room in a boarding house located a few blocks from the Univ. of Texas campus. The rent was cheap and my parents and brothers helped me financially when I needed it. Living on the cheap allowed me to only have to work part time, leaving time to spend several hours a day in the libraries on campus and in the human performance and exercise physiology labs acquiring training information. On average I lived on approximately $5000 to $7000 per year for 10 years. I worked many relatively odd jobs around the Univ. of Texas campus, including bus boy and dishwasher in the Athlete dining hall run by the Men’s Athletics department. My first part-time job in Austin began a few days after I arrived and was through Trina Painter, a local world class distance runner [4th at U.S. Olympic Trials 10,000m, pr for track 10k = 32:14]. I was in a hallway reading research poster presentations outside the lab of Jack Wilmore, one of the world’s leading researchers in exercise physiology [and member of the ETG Elite Coaching Support Group]. Trina happened by and asked if I would help her coach a group of runners. I had met Trina when her boyfriend [eventual husband, David Painter] was the roommate of one of my former high school athletes, Gabrielle Pohlmann [now ETG club member, Gabrielle Patterson]. At the time, Trina was the assistant director of the Univ. of Texas Adult Fitness Program, working under runner & researcher, Phil Stanforth. She had begun a running program there and had a group of about 80 adult runners who had joined. Her group later came to be known as “Team Trina”.
This job gradually led me to move into doing running seminars and consulting work for local adult runners. The owners of the running store [called RunTex] Paul and Sheila Carrozza [Paul coached Sheila to a spot on the U.S. team for the 1993 World Track & Field Championships]. RunTex has become the center of the universe in the Austin running community. Paul and Sheila were extremely generous in practically adopting me, allowing me to set up a table in the corner of their store to see local Austin runners as a consultant and in setting up evening seminars for me in their store which I was later able to turn into a lengthy series over several months. Thanksgiving dinner, ice skating,and pickup basketball were other contributions of theirs as well. Friends of theirs, national class distance runner [now masters runner] Carmen Troncoso and her husband Ricardo were also very supportive. That included Carmen giving me a couple of her U.S. National team warmup suits which I made good use of in training on cold and rainy days. Also contributing to a very supportive environment in Austin were other local runners Greg Fuller [800m 1:49], Harry Green [10,000m 28:18], Noyes Livingston [3000m steeple chase 8:33], Melanie Bloch [1990 PAC-10 Conference Champion at 1500m], Steve Sisson [half-marathon 1:03], Barry Coffman [800m 1:48], Gary Etgen [800m 1:48], and a PhD student at the University of Texas who was also a national level cycling coach and one of the world leaders in cycling biomechanics research, Jim Martin.
I eventually worked as an academic tutor and academic mentor for the women’s athletics department, where I worked several years [7 as a tutor, 5 as a mentor].
For about 7 years from the late 1990’s to mid-2006 I worked at the University Of Texas graduate school for public policy, “LBJ School of Public Affairs” founded by the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson [LBJ] in the early 1970’s when public policy was generally referred to as public affairs. Its for masters and PhD students, preparing them for careers in public policy and/or politics. I started off as a mail clerk. Then did odd jobs around the building for about 4 years. Later worked for about 2 years as the sales manager in charge of the sales department which consisted of me, myself, and I. Several of the professors and PhD students did research reports usually requested and funded by Congressional committees, federal agencies, foreign governments, Texas state agencies, or by committees in the Texas state legislature. After the reports were given to the requester, I sold copies usually to other Public Policy grad schools in the United States or Mexico, foreign governments, and individuals in Europe and Asia interested in a specific area of public policy for their country. An interesting place to work…..in one direction down the hall from my office was the office of a former deputy director of the CIA and director of NSA. Down the hall in the other direction was the office of a former commander of all NATO troops in Europe. He was on MSNBC just about every night during the early days of the Iraq war. On the floor below my office was the former Under-Secretary of Defense in charge of military readiness. He was the dean prior to the guy that closed out my department. Also on the faculty were a few big-wig state legislature and Austin city council types. The building had a couple of large auditoriums so there were several high profile events held there that I got to attend. Also got to attend some smaller yet still pretty interesting stuff. Joe Biden came by during the very early days  of his campaign for the Democratic Party’s 2008 nomination for President. And the elder George Bush [senior] came by and did an interview that aired on C-SPAN. That job ended a few months after a new Dean came in and closed our department [the new Dean moved on to become the Obama administration’s Deputy Secretary Of State]. Venturing off campus, I later worked part-time for over 10 years at the Dell Community Center.
Environment & Norms I Was Exposed To Growing-up In The Sport
My oldest brother ran for University of Texas El Paso during the Suleiman Nyambui era of world records and NCAA Championships. My high school [Fort Hunt High School] had 6 High School All-Americans my first year there [one of whom was my older brother, triple jump] and 5 High School All-American —distance runners— my senior year. My freshman year of college I was the 8th of 8 on our cross-country team, which was #4 on the East Coast the previous year. There were 6 older, white American born runners in front of me, all of whom had attended high school in Virginia [most of whom ranked nationally in high school] and one Somalian. Of that group, one became a collegiate All-American in cross-country [Jon Babcock], one later became a World Champion at 1500m [Abdi Bile], and another qualified for the Olympic Trials at 10,000 meters [David McCormack 28:40’s].
In northern Virginia, our version of “local runners”, did things such as run 3:51 for the mile [John Gregorek] Georgetown University, or like my college teammate [Abdi Bile ] went on to become World Champion at 1500 meters and collegiate record holder [3:31 at 1500 meters….overal PR’s 1500m = 3:30….800m = 1:43] —-[in the final at the World Championships, he set a record for the fastest time ever run over the final 800m of a 1500m race =1:45]. Rob Muzzio , another college teammate [out of local Robinson High School] went on a 5th place finish in the decathlon at the Olympic Games.
Our version of “local high schoolers” did such things as run 1:48 for 800 meters [Ray Brown], run 10:01 for 2 miles indoors and 16:14 for a track 5k. [Erin Keogh], finish in the top 15 at the World Junior cross-country Championships [Jim Hill], or later era runners such as Alan Webb, 3:53 for the mile [national record] and Sharif Karie 4:02 for the mile.
Our “local high schoolers” went on to do things like start businesses called SportHill [founded by Jim Hill], the maker of some of the running close you can buy at running stores in Austin. Our version of “local adult road runners” started companies like Moving Comfort , maker of women’s running clothes, or became president of the Road Runners Clubs Of America [Henly Gibble] the headquarters for which was also in our area.
Our version of “local high school coaches”, earned jobs at our country’s most storied college programs, such as Martin Smith former head coach of the men’s and women’s cross-country and track programs at the University of Oregon . Our version of local high school coaches , also went on to do things like my college coach John Cook , who produced NCAA team titles at our local college, George Mason University, produced a World Champion at 1500 meters [more recently he has coached Shalane Flanagan to American Records at both 3000 meters and 5000 meters.], and was meet director for one of only 3 IAAF Grand Prix track meets held on U.S. soil, and broadcast on live network television nationwide.
Our version of a typical “local all-comer track meet” over the summer consisted of the usual 40 – 60 year olds doing their thing in a heat of the men’s 1500 meters followed by things like the men s American record holder at 1500 meters [Sydney Maree] getting beat by the NCAA champion at 1500 meters [John Trautman]. An assistant women’s track coach at the University of Texas at Austin, Dana Boone , was a former high school All-American in our area [Lake Braddock high school]. She attended the same high school which later housed a hurdler named Allen Johnson , who went on the become the American Record holder and World Champion. Out of local West Potomac high school, Tiombe Hurd went on to become the American Record Holder in the triple jump.
My High School Coaches……During my 4 years in high school [Fort Hunt High School], I had several different coaches. After a coach retired my freshman year, a couple people stepped in for a season or two until a regular coach was hired. My high school coaches…….Joe Rose, Al Perrault, Andy Tisinger, Duel Ballard, Marshall Windsor. Coach Windsor later gave me my first job in coaching. Marshall Windsor, Al Perrault, and Andy Tissinger were extremely successful coaches, having produced a significant number of runners ranked on the east coast and nationally among high schoolers. That kind of environment helped lay the foundation that led to my deciding to become a coach who was capable of producing athletes of that level of achievement, and later to creating the ETG.
[photo above] Andy Tissinger coached the Fort Hunt girls 4 x 800m relay to an indoor National High School Record. Linda Portasik, Nancy Davis, Jeannie Coughlin, and Sue Miley. Linda went on to run 4:49 mile in her senior year and ran in college at University Of Tennessee, Collegiate All-American, Sue Miley became a 4:56 miler, 10:40 2miler in her senior year, a multi-time Virginia State Champion in track and cross-country, High School All-American ran in college at Penn State.
Adding to that environment in a huge way were 2 coaches at summer cross-country camps that I attended while I was in high school. John Cook was a coach at Edison High School in Springfield Virginia [John Cook has since coached Abdi Bile to a 1987 World Championship at 1500m, and coached Shalane Flanagan in 2006-07 to American Records at 3000m, 5000m, and 10,000m]. I attended his camp during the summer of 1977 just prior to the beginning of my freshman year of high school. A coaching friend of his, Martin Smith [coach at Oakton High School in Vienna Virginia, developed Jim Hill who went on to become founder of the running apparel company called “SportHill”], worked the camp with him. They were both extremely successful at the high school level in our area having produced a significant number of runners ranked on the East coast and nationally among high schoolers. That level of success continued when they both became coaches at a local college, George Mason University . I attended their camp there during the summer prior to my sophomore year [learned about running form and began making large scale changes in mine, in areas of arm carriage and foot strike (went from heel striker to forefoot striker)]. Martin Smith went on to coach at Univ. of Virginia where I attended his camp during the summer prior to my Junior year [After coaching UVA women’s cross-country team to national championships, Martin Smith went on to coach the men’s team at Univ. of Wisconsin to a national championship, and coached at Univ. of Oregon [now at Univ. of Oklahoma].
I went to college at George Mason University where I was coached by John Cook. As my college coach, he preached “think big” pretty aggressively and was a good example of it himself. That contributed significantly to my deciding to become a coach, focusing on getting my high school athletes to the east coast and national levels, and later to creating the ETG.
Virginia overly represented nationally
Virginia’s [especially northern Virginia] 40 – 45 years of being overly represented in producing the nation’s top high school track athletes and coaches and in producing folks that go on to become among the world’s top athletes and coaches. Just to name a few folks [a complete list would be rather lengthy] the partial list of high school athletes/coaches…….
—– John Cook, former coach at Edison high school in the late 1970’s [my college coach in the early 1980’s]. At Edison produced east coast record holder George Watts 8:51 for 2 miles, at George Mason University won NCAA Championships. Coach Cook went on to coach professional runners to be among the best in the world….my college teammate Abdi Bile 1987 World Champion at 1500m, Shalane Flanagan American Record at 10,000m, Leo Manzano 2012 Olympic silver medalist at 1500m, Shannon Rowbury 2009 World Championships bronze medalist at 1500m.
—– Martin Smith, former coach at Oakton high school in the late 1970’s. At Oakton produced east coast record holder Jim Hill 8:47 for 2 miles, the eventual founder of global running apparel company “SportHill”. Coach Smith went on to become a top college coach winning NCAA Championships at University of Virginia and Wisconsin. Has been at Oklahoma and Iowa State, and includes a stint at University Of Oregon.
—– Ron Helmer, former coach at Woodbridge high school in the 1980’s, went on to become a top college coach. Most recently at University Of Indiana.
—– Mike Tomasello, former coach at T.C.Williams high school in the late 1970’s, went on to coach at Tennessee and Stanford.
Virginia overly represented nationally
Virginia’s [especially northern Virginia] 40 – 45 years of being overly represented in producing the nation’s top high school track athletes and coaches and in producing folks that go on to become among the world’s top athletes and coaches. Just to name a few folks [a complete list would be rather lengthy] the partial list of high school athletes/coaches…….
— Andre Cason, Green Run high school in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Former Indoor World Record Holder at 60m. 2nd place World Championships at 100m. USA Track & Field Champion at 100m. Personal bests 9.92 for 100m. World Champion 4 x 100m relay and former World Record Holder.
— Jim Hill, Oakton high school in northern Virginia. 8:47 for 2 miles, Founder of Sport Hill running apparel in Eugene, Oregon.
— Alisa Harvey, Jefferson high school in northern Virginia. USA Track & Field Champion 800m. Personal best 1:59.72 for 800m.
— Rob Muzzio, Robinson high school in northern Virginia. Decathlon, 5th place at Olympic Games
— Erin Keogh, Langley high school in northern Virginia. Former National High School Record Holder indoor 3000m, 3200m. 2-time Foot Locker cross-country National Champion.
— Bill Burke, Lake Braddock high school in northern Virginia. USA Track & Field Champion at 1500m.
— Julie [Speights] Henner [now Julie Benson], W.T. Woodson high school in northern Virginia. USA Track & Field Champion, Ran in the 1500m at the 1996 Olympic Games. Coached Jenny Simpson to be the 2011 World Champion at 1500m.
— Seneca Lassiter, Laffayette high school, Williamsburg Virginia. 6th place 1500m at World Indoor Championships. USA Track & Field Champion at 1500m. Personal bests 1:45 for 800m, 3:33 1500m.
–– Alan Webb, South Lakes high school in northern Virginia. The American Record for the mile [3:46], National High School Record for the mile and 1500m.
— Tiombe Hurd, West Potomac high school in northern Virginia. The former American Record holder in the triple jump [47′ 5″ in July 2004].
— Allen Johnson, Lake Braddock high school in northern Virginia. 4–time World Champion in the 110m hurdles. USA Track & Field Hall Of Fame.
— LaShawn Merritt, Woodrow Wilson high school, south-eastern Virginia. 400m World Champion, 400m Olympic Champion.
— Byron Robinson, Western Branch high school, south-eastern Virginia. 2016 Olympic Games 400m hurdles.
–– Sean McGorty, Chantilly high school in northern Virginia. 8:45 for 2 miles in high school. Among the top college runners in the nation.
— Noah Lyles, T.C. Williams high school in northern Virginia. National High School Record Holder for 200 meters.
— Drew Hunter, Loudon Valley high school in northern Virginia. Indoor National High School Record Holder for mile and 3000 meters.
— Weini Kelati, Heritage high school in northern Virginia. National High School Record Holder indoor 5000m. Foot Locker cross-country National Champion
— Kate Murphy, Lake Bradock high school in northern Virginia. Ran 1500m under 4:08 one of the top 3 fastest high schoolers in history.
George Mason University Track & Cross-country
In the photo above……
Our track team my sophomore season at George Mason University.
I’m in the far back standing in front of head coach John Cook [in sunglasses] and the coach in the suit [Ed Zuraw, pole vaulting coach].
IC4A Champions to some degree translates into quasi East Coast Champions.
— My Ft. Hunt high school teammate Bob Murray….front row, second from the left. At Ft. Hunt Bob graduated as one of the top runners in Virginia.
— Mt. Vernon grad Mike Braxton is in front of me to my right. At Mt. Vernon Mike [high jump] was 3rd at Penn Relays, and 2nd at the Virginia State Championships.He was the United States junior National Champion, and finished second at the Pan American Games. The George Mason University school record holder and still ranks today [over 25 years later] among the school’s best of All-Time.
— Towards the back, right, the guy with the mustache is Mike Scuderi, a high school All-American in the triple jump at northern Virginia’s Annandale high school. Was the Virginia State Champion. In college he was the IC4A Champion [quasi East Coast Championships], and an NCAA National Championships qualifier. Mike, along with high jumper Mike Braxton coached with me at Ft. Hunt high school in the mid 1980’s.
— Towards the back, right, standing next to the guy with the mustache [Mike Scuderi] is Abdi Bile from Somalia. He came to GMU as a 1:48 800m runner and former soccer player. Became an NCAA Champion and the Collegiate Record Holder at 1500m. After college he defeated mile world record holder Steve Cram to win the 1500m at 1987 World Championships, running the fastest closing 800m [1:46] in a 1500m race….ever! Abdi finished his pro running career at 3:30 for 1500m and 1:44 for 800m.
— Standing behind, in between the shoulders of Abdi Bile and Mike Scuderi is Reggie Henderson. His best performances were in indoor track. At 500 meters he ran 1:01.45 which at the time ranked him #3 in the World….of All-Time. 27 years later, today it is #38 of All-Time. He ran it at George Mason’s indoor track, still among the fastest on the east coast.
— Second row, second from the right, Rob Muzzio, grad of northern Virginia’s Robinson high school. NCAA Champion in the decathlon. Finished 5th at the 1992 Olympic Games.
— In the second row, far left is Skeeter Jackson, 1984 Olympic Trials qualifier in the long jump [26′ 9″]. His highest world ranking was #12 in the World.
— Worth saying something about my coach. In the rear is head coach John Cook [standing right behind me, green sweater and sunglasses].
After coaching many years at one of my high school’s local rival [Edison High School], he went on to George Mason University. At Edison he produced a cross-country team that was ranked among the best on the East Coast and was likely among the best in the nation. His top runner there was an 8:50 two-miler, George Watts, who has been the men’s coach at the University Of Tennessee for over 25 years. The summer before my Freshman year at Ft Hunt high school I attended coach Cook’s cross-country camp at Edison where I met him for the first time. Summer after my sophomore year I attended his camp at George Mason Univ.
He is one of the top 2 coaches [with Martin Smith, Oakton high school] to come out of high school coaching in northern Virginia.
While at George Mason he put the school on the map. He built a national level program. Won NCAA National Championships. He built one of the fastest indoor track facilities in the country and then packed it by being the meet director for what became one of the only IAAF Grand Prix meets on U.S. soil. The meet was held a day or two after the Milrose Games at Madison Square Garden. On our little campus he got the meet covered live on NBC, and sold out tickets for many consecutive years.
After leaving George Mason, he moved to Portland, working with top athletes in one of Nike’s elite athlete programs.
He later moved to Florida and partially retired from coaching. While partially retired he developed several of our country’s top distance runners. Shalane Flanagan who set American Records at 3000m [indoor], 5000m, and 10,000m [30:22], and won the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games [10,000m]. He developed Shannon Rowbury [#3 in the world in 2008 at 1500m] and Erin Donahue both were on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team at 1500m. And he has coached fellow Austin Texas resident Leo Manzano, a 2008 Olympian who in 2010 ran 1500m 3:32 [#11 in the World], ran 800m 1:44 [#15 in the World], and ran the mile 3:50 [#6 in the World].
My coaching history
I started coaching in December 1983……..I coached at the high school level in the northern part of Virginia for a cumulative total of about 5 years. I had 6 male runners who ran 4:23 or better for the mile [Craig Schenkenberg, Bill Gorton, Kevin Lawrence, Al Thresher, Bill Thresher, Conan McDonough]. I had 2 female runners who ran 5:02 or better for the mile [Gabrielle Pohlmann, Sara Burke]. Between Conan, Sara, and Gabrielle, the 3 of them qualified for and competed in 4 National Championships and 3 East Coast Championships, during a 3 year time period, between Cross-Country, indoor track, and outdoor track.
Gabrielle [Jennifer Pohlmann], National High School Cross-Country Championships in 1985 and in 1986. Her highest track ranking was #9 fastest high schooler in the nation at 2 miles indoors [Track & Field News Magazine high school list]. Her best outdoor performance a 5th place finish at Penn Relays in the 3000m [10:06].
Added to them, a second tier of 4 [2 boys[Craig Schenkenberg, Bill Gorton], 2 girls [Sara Burke/Teri Snell] were among the 35 fastest on the East Coast. Mike Morgovnik was among the top 35 on the East Coast Championships in Cross-Country. I was a secondary coach to Maria Mireles [mainly coached by Matt Murray at WT Woodson High School] 8th place 1500 meters National Junior Championships [her bests were 4:58, 2:14]. After high school Maria was later one of the founding members of TheETG.
———- Cross-Country [through (4) seasons]
(3) All-South United States Team runners [Kinney (now Footlocker) Southern Regional — placed in top 24]
(1) two time National Championship qualifier
(1) two time Harrier Magazine High School All-American
———- Indoor Track [through (4) seasons]
(4) Runners on the East coast rankings list [Eastern Track Magazine]
(2) National Scholastic Championship qualifiers
———- Outdoor Track [through (6) seasons]
(6) Virginia State Championship Medalists
(2) East Coast Championship medalists
(2) runners ranked on the U.S. National list [Track & Field News Magazine]
—– assistant coach December 1983 — June 1984 at Fort Hunt High School, Alexandria, Virginia. Coached with….[2 of my high school coaches Marshall Windsor boys head coach, and Andy Tissinger girls head coach]….[and Vicki Verender, former runner at Langley high school]
—– assistant coach December 1984 — June 1985 at Fort Hunt High School, Alexandria, Virginia. Coached with…..[Eric Parcells, head coach]….[Mike Scuderi my former college teammate, High School All-American triple jumper at Annandale high school]….[Mike Braxton my former college teammate, National Junior Champion and school record holder in the high jump at George Mason University, High School All-American at Mt Vernon high school].
For several months I coached the girl friend of head coach Eric Parcels. She was a 26 year old elementary school teacher and 3:06 marathon runner attempting to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials marathon. She only wanted to do one attempt. Had some issues during the race but ran 2:56 at the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Trials qualifying time was around 2:47.
—– assistant coach August 1985 — June 1986 at West Potomac High School, Alexandria, Virginia. Fort Hunt & Groveton high schools merged to form what is now West Potomac high school. Coached with….[Nels Kloster, head coach, a former top high school 800m runner at Groveton high school. Nels coached at Groveton prior to the merger with Ft Hunt and produced a national level high school distance runner at Groveton].
—– assistant coach August 1986 — December 1988 at West Potomac High School, Alexandria, Virginia. Coached with….[Don Beebe, girls track head coach, also head coach for boys and girls cross-country, and my former high school teammate]….[Inez Bryant boys track head coach]….[Mike Scuderi my former college teammate, High School All-American triple jumper at Annandale high school].
—– USA Track & Field Coaches Education/Certificate….December 1987, Level I Certificate….Manhattan, New York [3 days at Columbia University]
—– USA Track & Field Coaches Education/Certificate….August 1988, Level II Certificate….Colorado Springs, Colorado [stayed for a week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center]
—– Virginia Sportsmedicine Institute in Arlington, Virginia……Around late 1987 or early 1988 I got a job at the Virginia Sportsmedicine Institute in Arlington, Virginia. As a track coach trying to work my way up the ranks to being among the top coaches in the country I got a job there to learn about sports medicine. I worked there as a physical therapy aide in somewhat of a self-styled, paid internship.
Working there really advanced the ball for me.
Worked until a few days prior to moving to Austin Texas at the end of December 1990.
It was among our country’s first and largest sports medicine clinics.
There were 4 orthopedic surgeons and 9 physical therapists. Owned by one of the orthopedic surgeons Robert Nirschl, known world wide as one of the top orthos in the world. Invented surgical procedures eventually named after him. Became somewhat of a doctor “to the stars” in sport, especially professional tennis.
I periodically followed a couple of the orthos around during patient visits and had frequent question and answer sessions with the physical therapists over the course of 2 years. I spent most of my educational time there learning from physical therapist Ellen [Maguire] deJong who now owns her own physical therapy clinic [Seaside Physical Therapy] on the outer banks in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
The clinic paid my way to the International Olympic Committee’s first World Congress On Sport Sciences held at the Broadmore hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Outside of the American College Of Sports Medicine that was the largest conference I had ever attended. Dramatically expanded my view of how much sport sciences info I didn’t know.
Aside from the information I learned by working at the Virginia Sportsmedicine Institute, I got a huge boost to my self-image by getting to give inservice lectures to the physical therapists and doctors, and I got to participate in sport evaluations of world ranked professional athletes.
As part of the clinic’s involvement with the Sport Science Committee of the United States Tennis Association, I got to assist in doing sport evaluations and testing of top world ranked professional tennis players [Monica Seles, Pete Sampras, Mary Jo Fernandez, David Wheaton].
– Was watching TV one day and heard that Monica Seles, #3 in the world at the time had some sort of injury, was somewhere in Europe, and was seeing some doctor that had nothing to do with us. Couple days later while at work I see the owner of the clinic walk in the door with Monica Seles. Later they emerge from an exam room and tell me to do an isokinetic shoulder, knee, and ankle strength evaluation on her.
-Was watching the men’s final of the U.S. Open on TV. Pete Sampras took down the great Ivan Lendl. Lotta hoopla, huge TV ratings, news networks went crazy. President Of The United States invited Sampras to the White House. Phone call came in to the clinic saying that Sampras would be there in X number of hours on his way to the White House. Got to do a shoulder, knee, and ankle strength evaluation on him.
—– Athletics Science Bulletin [Volume 1 #4…October 1989], produced by USA Track & Field Development Project…..www.track-tech.com/articles.htm….my article -Theoretical Applications Of Exercise Physiology to Distance Running & Distance Events Training…..my article – Distance Runner Sport Psychology
—– USA Track & Field Convention December 1989, in Washington D.C.. I attended my first convention. Mainly attended meetings of the Sport Science & Sports Medicine Committee, Development Committee, Coaches Education Committee, Athletes Advisory Committee, Mens & Women’s Track & Field Committee, and the Long Distance Running Committee.
—– Potomac Valley Association of USA Track & Field…..January 1990 — December 1990. Potomac Valley Association of USA Track & Field governed the sport in the Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. areas of our country. Founded and Chaired the Sport Science & Development Committee which organized sport science researchers and sports medicine specialists to provide training information and injury prevention advice to coaches and athletes. I hosted a 2 hour sports medicine symposium for local doctors and physical therapists. Hosted a 4 hour elite performance sprint clinic for local coaches, the speaker was Loren Seagrave, among the top sprint coaches in the world. I hosted several free clinics for runners with myself as the speaker on training and injury prevention.
—– assistant coach March 1990 – December 1990 at W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, Virginia. Coached with…..[sprint coach Craig Davis]….[Matt Murray, Head Coach who earlier coached Julie Speights to a national level, who later as Julie Henner ran 4:06 1500m to be a USA Track & Field Champion, and in 2011 as coach Julie Benson coached Jenny Simpson to the title of 1500m World Champion].
—– 1990 United States Women’s Track Coaches Association Award…….I was given Recognition Award for people “who have made significant contributions to women’s track and field” in the United States.
—– Athletics Science Bulletin [Volume 2 #2…February 1990], produced by USA Track & Field Development Project…..www.track-tech.com/articles.htm….my article – Distance Runner Sport Nutrition
—– Track & Field Quarterly Review [Volume 90 #2….Summer 1990], produced by NCAA Track & Field Coaches Association, my article- Distance Runner Training & Performance
—– 1991 United States Women’s Track Coaches Association Award…….I was given Recognition Award for people “who have made significant contributions to women’s track and field” in the United States.
—– Lectures & Classes……During the early 90’s in Austin….I gave about 30 lectures at RunTex [nationally known running store in Austin, Texas] to a cumulative total of about 200 runners. During the mid – late 1990’s….I’ve given a cumulative total of 4 lectures to the Austin Runners Club and Austin Triathletes Club. I’ve taught about 50 [2 to 4 hour] class sessions on sport sciences applied to running and the science of health through the University of Texas Informal Classes program.
—– Consultant & Training Advice….I worked as a consultant for about 50 other runners aged 26 – 55 years old, in Austin during the early 1990’s. Prior to doing consulting work, I worked for the University Of Texas Adult Fitness Program with Trina Painter [32:18 track 10,000 meters, 4th place 1992 Olympic Trials]. During that time period, I also worked with Melanie Bloch, who had just graduated from Stanford [1990 PAC-10 Conference champion at 1500 meters] a few months earlier. She was training to qualify for the 1992 Olympic Trials at 1500 meters. In her first race, a road race in March, she PR’d, low 16:50’s at the Daisy 5k to break the course record in 1992. She tied her PR in her first race [4:25] finishing a few seconds behind Patty-Sue Plummer [at that time, the American Record Holder at 5000 meters], and ran a couple seconds slower in her second race. Qualifying was 4:18 that year. I also worked briefly as a consultant with Steve Sisson when he took a semester off from University Of Texas. During his time away from his college program he ran 1:03 for the half marathon, and in the 48’s for a 10 miler where he beat his previous 10k pr in route, running in the 29:40’s.
—– Athletics Science Bulletin [Volume 4 #4….October/November 1992], produced by USA Track & Field Development Project…..www.track-tech.com/articles.htm….my article – Distance Training
—– Texas Athlete [September 1993….page 12 – 13], my article – Finding The Right Training To Improve Leg Speed, Endurance, And Acceleration
—– USA Track & Field Convention through most of the 1990’s. I attended the conventions in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Louisville, Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, and Orlando. Mainly attended meetings of the Sport Science & Sports Medicine Committee, Athletes Advisory Committee, Coaches Education Committee, Rules & Bylaws Committee.
—– Track Coach….formerly called “Track Technique” [Volume 133, Fall 1995], produced by the United States Track & Field Coaches Association….my article – All Interval Training All The Time
—– Texas Athlete [March 1996…page 20 – 23], my article — Mechanisms Of The Overuse Injury In Running
—– Texas Athlete [July 1996…page 12 – 13], my article – Developing A Progression For Elite Runners
—– April/May/June 2000….Seton Hospital Good Health Magazine article interview of Marshall Burt about “visualization”
—– September 2008….portion of an article in Runner’s World UK
—– June 9, 2009…..”The Marshall Burt Interview” 45 minute audio by Allan Besselink
—– September 1, 2009 “Marathon Training interview”50 minute audio by Allan Besselink
—– April 2010….article about TheETG approach to training, on the website of Mexico’s track & field governing body [Athletismo en Mexico]
Creating The ETG Website
So whose idea was it to create this website? Over lunch with close friend Allan Besselink [a.k.a. ETG Physical Therapist] in the mid-summer of 2006, we had a debate about whether or not I should continue sending out ETG Training Packets for free by snail mail, or create a website.
I lost that debate, and eventually asked one of my older brothers [Byron, a web programmer] to create a website for me….who also, a couple years earlier, had suggested that I start a website for the packets, and had even offered to do it for me.
Ok, so I come around to some things slowly.
But thanks to them, the site went up in September 2006.
[Allan also did the art work on the original version of the ETG logo in the early 1990’s]
Unfortunate experiences along the way
Unfortunate experience #1 has happened to high school and college coaches across America….Toward the end of the Fall cross-country season of 1988 I was fired at West Potomac High School for having “philosophy differences” with the head coach. During the previous 12 to 24 months I coached a girl to High School All-American honors in Cross-Country. Coached a different girl to a time that put her among the 25 fastest high school milers in the nation. Coached a guy who ran 15:23 to qualify individually for the State Cross-Country Championships. And I coached a different guy to an 18th place finish at the Southern U.S. Cross-Country Championships, missing 8th place and the trip to the National Championships by 15 seconds. Applied sport sciences were doing well for me given that I had only about 5 – 12 athletes to coach in any one season, none were transfer students or recruits. The main problem between myself and the head coach was that during some of those seasons some of his athletes would ask him if they could train with me. Across a few track and cross-country seasons we both were working with distance runners and each of us had a group to coach usually both boys and girls. This was the main situation that led to my firing.
After the end of a cross-country meet at Fort Hunt Park, he and I had a disagreement about who to run as the 7th man on our team at the upcoming district championship. Should it be one of the guys he was coaching who was doing well and able to compete for the spot, or the person I coached that had occupied that position. In front of several athletes he angrily blurted out that “you won’t be coaching here anymore after the end of the season”.
I arranged for a meeting with he and the Athletic Director later that week to find out what that was about. During the meeting he stated that “sport science is a bunch of crap”, and complained that I spent budget money taking the boys team to New York and “they only finished 14th”. The meet was the East Coast Cross-Country Championships]. The Athletic Director wasn’t phased by the comments and was unwilling to investigate the situation, stating that “he always backs his head coaches in situations like this”. Following my firing, when a group of parents of the athletes I coached went to talk to the Athletic Director and the Principal, he refused to speak about the reasons I was fired, citing that it was a “personnel decision”.
Unfortunate experience #2, cyber-bullying in track & field….. Around 1998, 1999 USA Track & Field used to have a forum on their website that was hosted by Do It Sports. Several months after a series of events highlighted by some of the things shown below, they had the forum taken off their site. Do It Sports however put it up separately, so it was still available until sometime in 2010 or early 2011.
One example of the shenanigans [perhaps also known as internet libel] that took place on the USA Track & Field forum from a thread titled “Marshall Burt is a Fake” posted by — Rodger Rawne, February 5, 2000…….”Where I come from we call things as we see them. When a man cannot tell the truth about what he does he cannot be trusted. Marshall Burt said that he was employed as a t&f coach in high school and college. This is not true Marshall Burt has never been employed as a college or a high school t&f coach. Marshall Burt said that he had a level I, level II and level III certificates from the usatf. This is not true marshall Burt has never met the standards for any of these certificates. Marshall Burt said that he has coached college national finalists this also is not true. For almost 2 years Marshall Burt passed off imformation that he got out of books as his own and now that he has been caught he starts saying that he is just presenting things that he has read. Marshall Burt has never participated or scientifically evaluated any of the studies that he presents. This is why Marshall Burt never talks about his credentials when asked to give them. Tell the truth Marshall Burt and stop pretending.”
Unfortunate experience #3, advice giver turf warring in adult running communities happens across America. One example….In the 1990’s and 2000’s RunTex was a nationally known running store in Austin, Texas. With the advent of large training groups in Austin in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s came the development of “running cliques”. Some individuals in one running clique in particular disapproved of me posting training and injury prevention information on the -very- popular forum located on the RunTex website. To them the role of “Advice Giver” was their highly coveted “turf”. After experiencing some of their shenanigans I eventually began referring to them collectively as internet “Forum Turf Warriors”. Some of the more aggressive ones were a guy named “Fletch”, Floyd Watson, Jay Hilscher, Leah Nyfeler, and Cathy Bridge
On the forum from 2001 to around 2006 they engaged in forum turf wars of various levels of intensity. One of these turf warriors [a guy named “Fletch”] posted that I was perpetrating a financial fraud on the Austin Running community, because statements in the ETG Newsletter about fitness levels of ETG athletes at various points in time was different than what he experienced in a race he ran sometime later with an ETG club member. That club member was an Austin Police Officer. “Fletch” was an Internal Affairs officer in the Austin Police Department. Internal Affairs officers are supposed to investigate possible wrong doing of police officers, which he obviously didn’t do because he didn’t suspect fraud, he only posted that he did. He stopped posting on the RunTex forum after I posted this concept and publicly threatened to contact his supervisor.
Then his friend [Floyd] decided to pursue on the RunTex Forum the concept that the athletes I coached at the high school level did not exist. Though Floyd’s bud “Fletch” claimed to have run against one of them, 2 prominent RunTex employees [Greg Fuller, Steve Sisson] ran an interval workout with another one of my athletes [Conan McDonough], and another one of my athletes [Gabrielle Patterson] was married to a friend of the owner of RunTex.
Though simple defamation was their primary objective, things did periodically escalate to libel. One episode consisted of “Floyd” posting that he had investigated “coaching references” I supposedly provided. He implied that he had called coach Brooks Johnson who coached one of my athletes when she ran at Stanford. He didn’t call anybody, but did report on the forum his invented results of the investigation…….Posted by — Floyd Watson March 11, 2002 —– “I meant the references that you provided for your coaching references. I did check up on them and that is why I now doubt your credibility……….”Posted March 26, 2002 —– “If Mr. Burt has practiced a pattern of deception and made misleading statements about his coaching credentials and the true intents of his “track club”, how can the readers of this Forum trust him to accurately and honestly interpret data contained in his rambling posts?…..”Posted: 14 December 2005 at 9:08am—– “Hmm…..actually called up some of your “coaching references” and found that some of them didn’t even know who you were…..”Posted: 18 December 2005 at 3:45pm—– “My name is Floyd Watson and I think you are an idiot.”
Eventually their somewhat odd behavior and the cyber bullying got directed toward many other participants on the RunTex forum and resulted in a collapse of its popularity. After a decade of being a daily high participation forum, it became a dead zone. As that was happening the turf warriors started redirecting their Head Advice Giver efforts. Some of them infiltrated the Austin Runner’s Club getting themselves into leadership positions. Some got themselves into being marathon pace group leaders in the local Austin Marathon. And also around that time a large and popular training group was on the rise in Austin, called “Rogue”. Several of them directed their Head Advice Giver efforts there, infiltrating Rogue by joining as customers and eventually getting themselves appointed as coaches.
Some descriptive comments about the behavior on the RunTex forum posted at charliefrancis.com……
[Sept 1, 2006] duxx—- “It is interesting to see trough what does this guy (Marshall) must pass trough…Reading this, you will soon realize, that CF.com is full of good and pleasant people…contrary to RunTex.”
[Sept 2, 2006] oldbloke—- “Duxx you are so right, I had the same type of abuse on the LetsRun board. I have found bad manners seem more common on distance running boards – which is embarassing to say since that is my background.”
Unfortunate experience #4, high school and college programs in America don’t do well with problem coaches. One example…. In the mid-1990’s I worked as an academic tutor and academic mentor for the University of Texas women’s athletics department. I worked several years [7 as a tutor, 5 as a mentor] until Spring 2001 semester when I notified the women’s athletic department that several athletes on the women’s track team were experiencing emotionally violent and abusive behavior from their assistant coach. One of the athletes had also been shoved against a wall by the coach. I learned directly from several athletes that the abusive situation had escalated over a period of years, with some athletes having sought psychological counseling and/or psychiatric treatment as a result. The coach’s behavior appeared to be consistent with the tenants of “intentional infliction of emotional distress” which had been specifically laid out by the Texas Supreme Court [ie. Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, subsequent Bush appointee to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court Of Appeals].
I had witnessed some of the department’s past history in dealing with problems with coaches in general. So in this situation I felt I had good reason to believe they would do as they’d done with other coaches in the past. That would be to leave the coach unsupervised with the athletes as they spent weeks investigating and months or years trying to get the coach to change behavior while also documenting various offenses. This tended to continue until the coach’s contract ran out, which they would then not renew.
Since an athlete capable of overcoming state sovereign immunity issues could rightly bring suit, to me this was no longer a “coaching issue”, but had become a legal issue. Especially if the athletic department, after being notified by myself and the athletes, continued to leave the athletes alone with the coach. With this in mind, right after I notified the athletic department of the problem, I also I sent an “anonymous” letter to the University’s Director of the Office Of Legal Affairs rather than wait for the Athletic department to deal with the problem. In knowing that the department would leave the athletes unprotected while they gathered information about the incidents, I included in the letter, a threat to go to the media if something wasn’t done to protect the athletes. I also included information about potential NCAA rules violations in 3 women’s sports thinking this might speed things up. Instead of investigating, the University’s legal affairs director handed the letter over to the women’s Athletics director. It was easy to identify me as the person inside the department that sent the letter since I was the only person who could have known all the details in the letter, including the potential NCAA violations. Like I had predicted, as the department continued their investigation the athletes, left unprotected, continued to experience more incidents from the coach.
On this team of about 20 athletes, eight  athletes quit the track team at the end of that season, six of whom had been trained by the assistant coach in question. Three of them transferred to other schools. One filed a formal grievance against the coach with [ironically] the UT Office of Legal Affairs. I was called as a witness during the investigation by the UT Office of Legal Affairs and interviewed for 3 hours by the person assigned to do an investigation and file a report. I was told by the athletes involved that two sought psychological counseling over the summer, and had been put on anti-depressant medication. That’s in addition to others in previous seasons.
I have assumed that due to the media related threat contained in my letter and the fact that I went outside the department with dirty laundry, I was not rehired as an academic mentor after this [which seemed to violate at least “the principle” of state whistle blower laws]. I was told that I wasn’t rehired because they didn’t have athletes to assign to me. Though that wasn’t a problem in each of the 5 previous years prior to the letter. To compensate for the loss of that part time job I eventually went back to the Athletic dining hall job as a food server and dishwasher. I continued working as a tutor until I noticed that for the first time in 7 years they hired tutors in the academic area in which I worked. As the number of athletes being sent to me decreased dramatically I eventually decided it may be best to no longer work for the athletic department all together and stopped.
Unfortunate experience #5….. Around summer time mid-2010, I was running along the TownLake trail in downtown Austin with one of my athletes [Gabrielle Patterson] a little ways prior to the Lamar street bridge we were coming up behind 2 male runners that were headed in the same direction. One seemed to keep quiet but the other got quite exercised and excited upon looking back and seeing me. As we approached he turned around and began shouting “Marshall Burt, Marshall Burt, Marshall Burt” somewhat sarcastically. As he ran along side us, he said something about my internet postings….”we read all that stuff you post”, and proceeded to run off with his silent friend. I later found out that he was a former Austin area high school runner [Paras Shah] who a few years earlier had participated in the turf wars on the RunTex forum. A few weeks after this episode, another episode on the trail, same guy, running with a group only this time going in the opposite direction from the one I was headed. Same guy chanting “Marshall Burt, Marshall Burt, Marshall Burt”. He was apparently out running with some high schoolers he was coaching in a summer RunTex or Rogue training group while he was home from college at LSU.
I have reason to suspect this person may have been at the root of a phenomenon that took place in December 2008. Someone started a thread on the “Letsrun.com” forum titled “Hilarious read of the day Elite Training Group”. It provided multiple links to each page of the ETG website embedded in multiple posts by anonymous posters poking fun at how crazy and ridiculous the ETG and Marshall Burt must be. It went 15 pages inside of one or 2 days. It resulted in over 3000 visitors and over 6000 visits to the ETG website on the day the thread was started. It expanded to 20 – 22 pages across the year that followed before the forum administrators deleted it.”