**NOTE** This article may be a little different than my normal readers are used to. In fact I am posting it for a whole, brand new group of people. If you already know me, and you were looking forward to one of my normal articles about my training, racing, or why Kenyan distance runners are doing better than Americans, you can stop reading now if you like, those articles will continue to come, but this is not one of them. If you would like to learn more about my background, read on!
My name is John Coyle, and I am the new guy in town. Many of the people reading this article may be reading because you are customers and friends of Teton Running Company in Idaho Falls. If that is the case, then you know that my name I am the new manager for the store! I am extremely excited to meet all of you, get to know you, and get involved in the running community here in Idaho Falls, but first, here is a little bit about me.
I was born in Coeur d’Alene, ID and that is where I lived for my entire childhood, same house and everything. I was an only child, and I lived with my mom and dad, and later just my mom, in house that was about eight miles out of town on about two acres. A word of advice to parents, if you plan on living in the middle of nowhere, have more than one child. If you don’t, your child will be bored, when children get bored, bad things happen.
I loved sports growing up, all kinds of sports baseball, soccer, football, you name it, I either played it or I wanted to play it. My first love was baseball, and up until I was 14 I was absolutely convinced that I was going to play in the big leagues, but life had other plans for me. When I was young, I don’t remember how old, but elementary school aged, I got into these biathlons. It was just a run, bike race for different age groups. I was semi-talented and showed some promise, but I also had a lot more fun tackling people, and hitting balls with bats. In fact, I cared so little about running, I got second to last in my school’s fifth grade cross country race (there was this overweight kid that I totally out kicked.)
My parents had a rule that I could only be in one sport at a time because they didn’t have time to be my personal taxi drivers all day, everyday. However, my middle school also had sports, they were free to sign up for, and they took care of all of the transportation. Thus, in eighth grade I did all of the sports my parents would allow, I played on football, basketball, and baseball teams outside the school and I wrestled, played basketball and ran track for the school.
The first day of track practice, the coach said that she needed someone to break the school mile record because it had been standing for about 7 years. I joked that I would do it, which got a great laugh out of my friends (I was athletic, but I hated running.) After practice one of my friends was complimenting the extent of my pre-teen wit by stating how impossible it would actually be for me to break the mile record. It was at this point that I decided that I actually would be breaking the mile record, cause I could do anything I wanted. I thought, “how hard could it really be, you don’t even have to run as fast as you can, you just have to jog and not stop.”
Despite the talent that I showed in middle school track and field, I was still in love with team sports, and it wasn’t until my sophomore year that I was convinced to quit football and run cross country instead. I fell in love with running that fall. I didn’t quite fall in love with the pain, and monotony of it, but I fell in love with the competition, the pure, physical contest, uninfluenced by style, or politics, or anything but who can cover ground the fastest. It was a hard decision but I decided not to play baseball and run Track instead. I made this decision partly because I realized I would be better at the shorter distance races that Track and Field had to offer, and partly because I have never been able to do something halfway. I knew that if I was going to run, I would have to run track, otherwise I would never be as good as I could be.
I had some success my sophomore year of track, but my best season in high school was, by far, my Junior year, track season. I won 5A State Titles in the 800m and the Sprint Medley Relay. I also made it to the Junior Olympic National Championships that year where I placed 1st in the 2k Steeplechase, and 6th in the 1500m.
Winning the 2k Steeplechase got me some notice from a few different colleges. Weber State University, the college I eventually chose, was particularly interested in my ability to run the Steeplechase. Weber State is known as a “Steeple School,” they are very good at it. The fact that I already had a proven ability to run the event as a high schooler made me a very attractive recruit to them.
My coach at Weber State University was Paul Pilkington, and I had a fantastic experience with him and my teammates. Sometimes I wonder, if I had it to do over again, would I pick a different school? While there are some options that may have been better for the professional distance running career that I am now pursuing, I met some of my best friends at Weber State. I had some amazing role models. I had one of the most knowledgable coaches that I have ever met, I met the most important person in my life, my wife, and I was able to progress to a point in my running that I am pursuing a professional career in distance running, which is a huge blessing.
In college I majored in Electronic Media, which is just a fancy way of saying that I learned a mix of media production (video, graphic design, etc.) and management (marketing, social media, etc.) After college I spent some time looking for a job as a graphic designer or video editor. After spending some time designing marketing materials for a company that builds custom homes, I realized, that running is my passion. Not only the pursuit of excellence in the sport, but the industry itself. It was at this point that I began looking for a career in the running specialty industry.
In high school I worked for the running store in Coeur d’Alene as a sales associate. I had a great experience there. I learned from some people who had been in the industry a long time, and had more knowledge than I could fathom. I took some time off from working in college to pursue academics and athletics full-time. Then, the summer between my Junior and Senior year of college, I went back to work at a running store in Logan, Utah. I spent some time as the sales associate there, and after graduation, I took over managing their social media profiles and blog.
I am extremely excited to be a part of the Teton Running Company team and to continue to pursue my career on the performance side of running. I can’t wait to meet everyone here in Idaho Falls, and get involved with the running community.
Stay tuned tomorrow to hear about some of the ideas I have for Teton Running Company. If anyone has any ideas, or suggestions, I would love to meet you and hear them! You can also follow my blog here at WordPress, or join me on twitter, my handle is @johnjhcoyle.