John Skinner runs San Francisco Marathon - Testimonial

Let’s get an image of a guy, 52 years old, who hadn't run at all since 8th grade cross country, and wanted to run a marathon someday, but had no idea how to approach the idea. At 6’2” and 195 lbs, this guy was not the vision of the sculpted marathoner. He had a history of being over-ambitious and extreme, had been in the restaurant industry, wearing crappy shoes, for decades, had back and knee issues. When he ran, he thought he must look like a overweight Yeti pounding along, leaving startled and disturbed people in his wake. That guy was me, last year.

As I began to start running, I had a calf injury, (what a surprise, as I did run like an overweight Yeti) for which I saw Michael Westgate of Westgate therapy. Michael recommended that I contact Levi Webb of Runnaturally.org (now Pinnacle Running,) a professional running coach, to learn the proper form that would enable me to run the Marathon without injuring myself.

I had a phone conversation with Levi, after which I scheduled to begin training with him immediately, as I was very impressed with his professionalism and knowledge, as well as his easy and straightforward style of communicating. Levi provided my with a running form and coaching plan that has enabled me to complete the San Francisco Marathon yesterday without injury, but which has more importantly resulted in a change of belief and lifestyle which challenges what I had come to accept as what is possible for me as a 53 year old. There were pieces of the training along the way that were invaluable: the video gait analysis, which illustrated how I had been landing each stride like a framing hammer, on the heel, way out in front of my center of mass, the focus on corrective exercises, the personalized training plan leading up to the Marathon, yesterday… But it was Levis’ un-ending emphasis on a proper running form, the heart and soul of my training, that really became an almost moving meditative practice, where my attention would go when pushed or tired, that got me through the last two miles yesterday, for a 4:31 finish at an average 10:22/mi pace.

Whether you are already running, or just getting started running for the first time in your life, I cannot recommend Levi Webb highly enough.

Post written by John Skinner