The Boston Athletic Association announced today that Terrence Mahon, former head coach of the Mammoth Track Club and for the last year the head endurance coach for British Athletics, has been hired to lead and coach a high performance distance running initiative for the organization.
“This has been in the works for a while,” BAA executive director Tom Grilk told me this afternoon. “We have wanted to get a high performance coach; we’ve been looking around for good people to work with around several fronts. But we got slowed down by what happened at the marathon this year (the terrorist bombings). Terrence was one of the people we asked if he was interested.”
“Since I got here (January 2011) we’ve talked about the mission of the BAA going back to its beginnings. The mission has always been to promote health and fitness by 1) putting on events, which is what everyone sees; 2) developing community support for kids and adults alike; and 3) the development of excellent athletes.
“Remember, the majority of the 1896 U.S. Olympic team was BAA guys. So this is just another way of us getting back to the original mission. We got lost a little along the way, but this (hiring) is a good way to hit the third part of our mission.”
An All-American at Villanova Universtity, Mahon ran a PR 2:13:02 in the 1997 Chicago Marathon, and is also a former U.S. 20K road champion. Considered one of the country’s finest middle and long distance coaches, Mahon is credited with having developed or coached eight Olympians since 2005 including Deena Kastor, Anna Pierce, Morgan Uceny, Ryan Hall, and Jen Rhines.
He began his coaching career in 2003 with renowned endurance coach Joe Vigil serving as his mentor. In 2003 and 2004, Mahon offered private coaching under his company Spiridon Running, LLC, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania prior to taking the helm of Team Running USA, the elite group which would later become the Mammoth Track Club. Most recently, Mahon was employed by UK Athletics in England , where he served as Lead Endurance Coach.
“Every detail about the size and scope of the program will have to be worked out with Terrence,” continued Tom Grilk. “But it will be a manageable number. We have always been a distance oriented club, but my goal is to be in Eugene in three years at the Olympic Trials, and to see BAA athletes in the Olympic Games. We want to pick a realistic goal, and the question is how do we go about achieving it? Terrence is a guy who stands out to help get us there.”
At the B.A.A. Mahon will work with head BAA coach Michael Pieroni to create a high performance running program consisting of U.S. athletes. Mahon will recruit and coach the high performance athletes, and Pieroni will continue to be the director of the entire club. Mahon, along with the athletes who will comprise the high performance group, will be based in Boston. Club members will compete under the B.A.A. name and affiliation.
“The B.A.A. has a rich history of athletic excellence, both in terms of events and club membership, and I look forward to developing the next generation of top Americans who will compete wearing the Unicorn,” said Mahon in the news release. “The athletes who will run for the B.A.A. in this program will represent one of this country’s oldest and most prestigious running clubs, and our group will be the newest contributor to the already strong legacy of running in Boston .”
Mahon officially begins with the B.A.A. in October, and the program will launch shortly thereafter. It is anticipated that the first athletes will join the club by January 2014.
“I can never tell what will work and catch on with people,” laughed Grilk when it was suggested that the other major races in America follow the BAA suit by re-establishing elite running clubs like those of the 1970s out of which emerged the era’s great champions. “We wanted to do this. So we’ll just keep pushing the chips around the table to see what works. Well just keep trying and see what happens. Now we just need someone to re-open the Eliot Lounge.”
Yes, a man with his priorities in order.