Running Coaches Around Philadelphia Who Can Help You Cross Your Next Finish Line

Working towards your next marathon? Your first 5K? We've got a running coach for you.

Photograph by iStock/Wavebreakmedia

Welcome to Run Month at Be Well Philly! Every week, we’ll bring you the best and the latest on info on running around Philadelphia. Stay tuned for more great running articles!

Thinking about getting into running and unsure of where to begin? Experienced runner looking for that missing piece to break through your personal record wall? There’s a running coach for that.

Hiring a running coach is a great move for newbies and experienced runners alike, as they can help you navigate how to begin your running journey or make you even faster than you already are. Below, find nine of the area’s running coaches who are ready to help you cross your next finish line. Happy running!

Cory Smith

Who: Cory Smith is the founder of Run Your Personal Best and a USA Track & Field Level 2 Endurance Certified Running Coach. He coaches cross-country at Penn State Brandywine and co-founded Villanova Elite.
Where: Center City and the surrounding areas.
Work with him: Smith provides one-on-one coaching services tailored to each client’s end goal. Want a coach to run beside you? Or prefer a less involved approach? Both are offered as different packages. Depending on the service selected, the coach will either pace the client, or just provide encouragement and accountability.
Online Coaching: A client can also choose from two online coaching packages. The first provides daily workout e-mail/text alerts, and the second gives access to an online running coach who will provide feedback and tailor workouts to a client’s schedule. Both packages provide you with unlimited access to the online running coach.

Kasey Manwaring

Who: Kasey Manwaring is the owner of GoalsFit and a certified personal trainer. She regularly competes in the Boston Marathon.
Where: 4450 Main Street, in Manayunk
Work with her: Manwaring offers multiple running programs, all of which are group-based training and open to all skill levels. Offered Programs are: The You Should Be Running Marathon Program, Half Marathon Program, Broad Street Training, and Track Attack Programs. In addition, GoalsFit offers SuperGirl Striders for girls who are ages four to six, in case you want to get your future track star started early. (This program also ends with a half-mile fun run and ice cream party—what’s not to love?)

Ali Cook Jackson

Who: Ali Jackson is the founder, owner, and head trainer of Never Give Up Training. She is an accomplished Ironman Triathlete and races at Olympic and Ironman distances.
Where: 4368 Cresson Street, in Manayunk
Work with her: Jackson provides individual sport training (in running, swimming, and cycling), triathlon training, and small-group training. The individual training programs are tiered, but all include an initial consultation, a personalized weekly training plan based off of goals, and unlimited e-mail and phone calls. Group training is for up to five people at a time, and each participant receives an initial on-on-one session to go over goals and evaluate fitness levels.
Online Coaching: Skype and FaceTime sessions are also offered.

John Goldthorp

Who: John Goldthorp is the founder of Fix Your Run, and he has been working as a fitness professional for 15 years. He is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, and he’s certified by the Road Runners Club of America.
Where: 401 South 2nd Street, in Old City
Work with him: Goldthorp sets himself apart by using the Functional Movement Screen and Neurokinetic Therapy for helping runners recover. Through it, he’ll identify a client’s weakest link and choose the correct drills to improve movement ability. John prefers to kick off training with an in-person meeting to chat about goals and to fix running form and underlying movement issues. John also provides strength training to supplement running programs, which are in person.

Kari Smith

Who: A former Division I soccer player, Kari Smith (a Philly Surge Running coach) was chosen by lottery for the 2005 New York City Marathon. Since then, she has run 15 marathons. Kari has also earned her coaching and Certified Personal Trainer certifications from USA Track and Field, Road Runners Club of America, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Prior to relocating to Philadelphia, Kari was a marathon coach for the New York Flyers.
Where: Philadelphia area
Work with her: Smith provides four categories of training options: Online Run Coaching, Private Run Coaching, Training Plans, and Personal Training. All training options include an initial meeting to discuss goals. The Training Plans option has the feature of a full training plan that leads up to race day, as well as suggested pace times for workouts. The Personal Training option also includes Youth Training.

PR Coaching

Who: There are seven coaches at PR (Philadelphia Runner) — Ross Martinson, Colin Leak, Jenn Collins, Ryan Fennelly, Breandan Lyman, Vic Aguilar, and Sara Robertson. Each coach has a different running history, ranging from All American athletes to just starting to run five years ago. You can read more about their individual experience and credentials here.
Where: Philadelphia Runner is a running apparel and shoe store, and PR coaches are based out of these stores.  PR has locations in Center City (1601 Sansom Street), University City (3621 Walnut Street), Glen Mills (505 Glen Eagle Square), and Manayunk (4358 Main Street).
Work with them: PR Coaching has two levels of packages: PR Basic Training and PR Plus Training. Both packages include initial consultations to assess needs and goals and to pair you with a compatible coach, plus weekly training plans, online training calendars and e-mail reminders, and bi-weekly check-ins with your coach. Add-ons to these training plans include Strength & Conditioning Plan, Nutrition Consultation, and Training Sessions. You can also join any of the free group runs based out of each store.

Phil Clark

Who: Phil Clark is the owner and founder of Run Shoe Store and The Training Station gym. Clark is registered as a coach with the USA Track and Field Coaches Registry. He’s trained with elite athletes and Olympians and coached at Widener University Track & Field.
Where: Run Shoe Store and The Training Station (533 Spring Garden Street)
Work with him: E-mail Phil Clark at and describe your goals. He will write back and you will schedule a face-to-face appointment. During a one-hour consultation, Phil can usually map out your entire training program.

Natalie Johnson

Who: Natalie Johnson is the founder and head coach of RUN F.I.T.. She is a RRCA Certified Running Coach, Certified USATF Level 1 Track Coach, and Certified NASM Personal Trainer. She currently serves as the head coach of the Bucks County Road Runners and as assistant coach at Central Bucks East.
Where: Doylestown, but she coaches runners throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Work with her: Johnson works with beginner runners and experienced runners, as well as people just hoping to lose weight. Personal coaching is offered at an hourly rate, or there’s her Flat Fee Training Plans, which include guidance on pacing, racing, and creating a training plan calendar, without any in-person coaching.
Online Coaching: Three programs are offered, all including an evaluation of past training and goal discussion, check-ins via e-mail, a account, workout plans, race prep taper plans, post-race recovery plans, and race-day nutrition plans.

Mindy Solkin

Who: Mindy Solkin is the founder of The Running Center. Mindy grew up in Philadelphia, but then moved to New York City, where she coached 12,000 people. She is a USA Track & Field Level 2 Certified Running Coach and a WITZ certified personal trainer. Mindy has since moved back to Philadelphia — thankfully for us!
Where: Private running coaching is offered to those who live in or near Philadelphia.
Work with her: A Custom Running Training Schedule includes four weeks of coaching, with the option to add on as many four-week sessions as desired. After contacting Solkin via email, each client begins with a “get started” session, which is by Skype, phone, or in-person. After, the clients will begin the training schedule, which includes pacing, distance, cross-training, and suggested heart rate zones.
Online coaching: Available for those who do not live in the Philadelphia area.

Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with Be Well Philly—here’s how: