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Sports Backers Blog

Marathon Training Team Coach Q&A: Barb Jewell

Over the next few months, we’ll be 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: Barb Jewell


What is your favorite thing about MTT?

“My favorite thing about MTT is that it’s a program here in Richmond where young and old can come and be part of a team to accomplish a goal, no matter your pace. Everyone is welcome.”

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

“I started with MTT as a participant in 2011 on Pink Nation. Last year was my first year coaching MTT (with Pink) and this year I’m coaching the inaugural Team Margarita! I love helping others accomplish their goals.”

Barb Jewell

Do you have a favorite memory from your time with MTT?

“I have a lot of favorite memories. The best memories are those of all of the friendships that have been formed since my first day on MTT. Last year, one of our participants had a total meltdown on her 18-miler. The meltdown was full of self-doubt. Getting her past that meltdown point and being with her to finish her miles that day is something that neither she nor I will ever forget. I became her person.”

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

“Accountability, guidance, knowledge, support, friendship…. oh, so much.”

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

“Be patient with yourself.”

Describe a typical weekend group run.

“They are all so different depending on the mileage. While the miles are low, there are fewer stories to tell because the day is shorter. Moving from Sunday to Saturday though, wow! So many more people and quite honestly, so much more support. As the miles increase and the run starts, the part of the team I start with is typically never the part of the pack I finish with. I always want to make sure everyone has “someone.” I always end the run with a group of runners who need support or are learning the ropes about training for the marathon.”

What inspired or encouraged you to become a MTT coach?

“I can never thank the MTT coaches enough for being there for me. A warm smile, “don’t worry, I have your back” attitude and “I’m here for you” approach. I may not ever be the fastest runner, but I’m a cheerleader at heart. I’m supportive of everyone who has a goal and will help in any way I can.”

Do you have a favorite place to run in Richmond?

“From Carytown, to down past VCU, and everywhere in between. We have a beautiful city.”

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 20 marathons and 2 ultramarathons. As I was approaching 50 years old, I thought if I was ever going to do anything this grand, now was the time.”

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

“The coach and crowd support and the beautiful scenery!”

The VCU Health Richmond Marathon takes place on November 16, 2019, and registration is available at