Event updates, fun stuff, and encouragement...just a click away!

Sports Backers Blog

Marathon Training Team Coach Q&A: Amanda Arno

Over the past few months, we’ve been sharing a Q&A series that features each Sports Backers Marathon Training Team coach in an effort to share more about the Marathon Training Team and the work the coaches put into helping participants reach their goals for the VCU Health Richmond Marathon on November 16. As we get closer to race day, you’ll have the chance to learn about the great things going on within the Marathon Training Team.

Featured Coach: Amanda Arno


What is your favorite thing about MTT?

100 percent, it’s the camaraderie! Before coaching, I met some of my greatest friends through MTT and it’s amazing how quickly you get to know someone when you go out for training runs together!

How many years have you been with MTT, either as a participant and/or coach? Which team do you coach?

This is my fifth year with MTT. Second year coaching for Team Fog!


Amanda Arno

What would you say is the biggest benefit that the program provides? 

The biggest benefit is that MTT does the brunt of the thinking for you. They provide a training plan, provide SAG stops, coaching, and you meet so many people! I couldn’t imagine going out for runs longer than eight miles without the fun and support of MTT!

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone looking to start training for a marathon?

TRUST THE PROCESS! If you can, do not go in with a crazy, set-in-stone time goal. The marathon is hard and can eat you up if you have a bad day. My biggest goal for my first marathon was to LOVE every second of the race and I did just that! It’s a huge accomplishment and as long as you cross that finish line that is something to be SO proud of!

Describe a typical weekend group run.

Everyone shows up, you gather together in your group meeting spot and chat with other runners. About 10 minutes before, the head coaches of each team chat with their runners (talking about important logistics but also fun stuff to lighten the mood, since sometimes long runs can be daunting to some people). Each group heads out on their route and you run, chatting with buddies and chipping away the miles until you get back to the stadium. Once back at the stadium, most teams offer ice pops or some other treat for the runners to help cool down. Some people stretch and hang out for a few while others just head home!

What inspired or encouraged you to become a MTT coach?

I LOVED my coaches on Team Fog before I was asked to be a coach. The friendship they share, and how great they are to our runners. They got me through a lot of miles over the last few years. I say it all the time: I never would have kept running, or finished a marathon, if it were not for MTT and my team. I was so honored when they asked me to come back as a coach and not just a runner last year. I can only hope I provide for our runners what they have for me!

Do you have a favorite place to run in Richmond?

Not really a favorite! I just love that there are so many options for scenery! You can run downtown or in the Fan, on the trails, by the river, in parks! Most is close enough that you won’t get sick of the same route daily.

How many marathons have you done, and do you have a favorite memory or experience? What was your reason to run your first marathon?

I have run five marathons to date! My favorite marathon to date was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2017 because my (now husband) proposed to me at the finish line after I ran a huge PR! Three weeks later, I ran the Richmond marathon and PR’d again and that was fantastic too! I ran my first marathon because an old coworker challenged me! I was never a runner before 2015 and we started with a 5k that February and crossed the Richmond Marathon finish line in November.

What do you like the most about the VCU Health Richmond Marathon?

It really is the friendliest marathon! So many spectators come out to cheer on strangers, and the MTT coaches help so many runners! You cannot help but smile the whole time you are running! Last year was my first time coaching/spectating and it was a whole new amazing experience from that perspective!

The VCU Health Richmond Marathon, Markel Richmond Half Marathon, and Allianz Partners 8k all take place on November 16, 2019, and registration is available at