Teacher, coach, and early rising inspiration; An Interview with Jim Burrows (@jimburrowsruns)

Jim Burrows

Day Job: Carpentry Teacher (9-12) High School XC and TF Distance coach



AER: From following your story so long on Instagram, we have noticed some extremely early morning runs. What's the driver behind the early morning runs and have you always been an early riser?  

JIM: I've always been a morning person, but not middle of the night morning.  When I started training for my first marathon I knew "before work" would be easier than "after work."  There are no distractions at 4 am.  It worked and it stuck.  I'll admit in the summers when I'm not working my mornings start a few hours later.


AER: Tell us a little bit about your XCTF coaching and how you got into that? 

JIM: My son decided to run XC his freshman year and I went to the first practice.  The school was in it's third year and I was about to start year 2 of teaching.  The AD said. "What are you doing here?  You want to coach? You don't have to do much as the assistant and you get paid."  I agreed to be the "in school liaison" (checking grades etc.) as the new head coach was not a teacher.  My son gave it up for baseball, and I stayed on.  After year 2 the head coach left and the team was looking at it's 4th head coach in 5 years.  Here I am about to start year 6 as head coach.


AER: What subject do you teach and does running help you be a better teacher?   

JIM: Carpentry.  Running has made me a better coach. I WAS NOT A RUNNER until after my second year as HC.  I had a handful of freshman girls that were better than any other girls we had and I knew I would be doing them an injustice if I didn't figure out HOW to coach running.  After reading The Daniels Formula, I decided to run.  First to lose weight (260 lbs) and second to know what a tempo, fartlek, speed work, etc felt like so I could relate to my runners.  It worked and was what the program needed to transition from a social team to a competitive one.  First Conference Championship Fall 2019.


AER: 2020 run goals?  

JIM: 2019 was the year I made peace with the Half.  PRin twice and running all 3 completely without any walking.  2020 was my year to make peace with the Full.  I PRed the half again in February 1:42:37 and was well on my way with the Wilmington< NC marathon scheduled for 3/21.  THANKS COVID!!!  Recently I've trained for the Mile with a PR of 6:19 and will be working on the 5K for a short while before picking up training for the Richmond Full in late November.....let's hope!


AER: If you could recommend one race to a fellow runner, which would it be and why?  

JIM: Marine Corps Marathon is pretty freaking awesome.  The Marines throughout and lining the finish line was amazing.


AER: Do you find balance through running? If so, how?  

JIM: Running is the one thing that is 100% mine.  I have a very supportive family but they don't run my runs.  I knew I was a runner in the fall of 2018 when one day at school I had "one of those days" and my first thought was "I need to run."  Threw on my clothes and it was like hitting the mental reset button.


AER: Favorite Alter Ego Running product?  

JIM: All your hats and mugs.  Still waiting for the XL option so I can rep the brand even more.