With the growth of the club, the need for multisport support in our group training, and Coach Sean being 100% maxed out in the personal coaching department…we needed back up! Enter Mark Cullen.
We are super excited to announce that Mark will be joining our coaching squad as a volunteer group coach for the cycling and multisport components of the club as well as working as a personal coach along side Coach Sean. You can check out his coaching profile here.
We had the chance to ask Mark a few questions related to his background in sports and coaching. Check it out below, and join us in welcoming him to the team!
(1) When did you first get into endurance sports?
I played rep soccer and hockey growing up so that took up most of my time but I always included some track and field and cross country in elementary and high school. Once in university I found distance running to be a perfect way to stay fit and be competitive with the time I had available as a fulltime student. A friend challenged me to run a half marathon and the rest is history!
(2) You’re going to join Jan in helping to improve and build on the multi sport component of H+P. Nothing is set in stone but what are some dreams you have for this part of the club?
H+P athletes have been having some fantastic results at local and international duathlons, triathlons and other multi-sport races and I would love to see that continue to grow.
I would love to see H+P add Multi-Sport goal races each year, put in teams for club championships, offer more talks & clinics around Swim, Bike & Run. Additionally, I would look to add on some Multi-Sport or single-sport specific training camps either locally or abroad. Multi-Sport has been sport career changing for me and just want to help to show how great the comprehensive aspect of the three sports can be for becoming a well-rounded athlete.
(3) You are already a personal coach for a number of athletes- what do you enjoy about coaching, and what drew you to it in the first place?
I love coaching because every day is a learning experience for myself and the athlete. There is no perfect path to success and getting to watch the athlete’s journey of self-discovery and growing confidence is something I truly love. Nothing gets me more amped up than watching one of my athlete’s trust in the plan, continue to grow and then go out and crush the goals they had set out for a race or just a personal goal.
(4) Describe your education and training to become a coach.
I took a Kinesiology & Health Sciences degree at York University after switching from Business Economics in my first year (Didn’t enjoy it even a bit). I fell in love with Kin right away and became obsessed with all things anatomy, exercise physiology, nutrition and coaching. I took my CSEP-CPT certification along the way as well as a number of coaching courses. I religiously am always reading the most up to date info on training, nutrition, strength and recovery to be able to offer my athletes the best training possible to meet their goals
(5) What are a few of your proudest accomplishments as an athlete thus far?
My top three would be my first Boston marathon in 2015 when I went sub-3 on a tough rainy day, second would be my 70.3 Tremblant in 2018 where I pulled together what I consider to be my most complete race and found that elusive “Flow State”, third would be completing my first ironman in 2017 at Lake Placid and going through some serious highs and lows to get to that finish line.
(6) What has been your hardest race moment in your endurance sports career? What did you learn from it?
My 2018 Ironman Mont-Tremblant race, I had such a great 70.3 a few months before in Tremblant and was feeling really fit and ready to have a great race. I just felt sluggish on the bike all day and knew early in the run it was going to be a long day out on the run course. It was a great learning experience to realize you sometimes just have to play the hand you are dealt on that day. I had a few minutes of feeling sorry for myself when I knew I wasn’t going to reach my goals but was pleasantly surprised that I was able to put that behind me and enjoy the rest of the day chatting and high fiving people I knew on course. I slowly trotted down to that amazing finish line through the village and it was still an amazing day. It is still one of my favorite race experiences even though the race itself didn’t go as planned. We do this as a hobby in the end and if you aren’t having fun out there then it’s not worth it!
(7) What motivates you to keep improving as an athlete?
I have always been someone who wants to be the best at whatever they are doing, growing up it was hockey and soccer and now its being the best runner and multi-sport athlete I can be. I am motivated by the people of all ages who consistently kick my butt in races. They better believe I am taking notes and spending every ounce of energy I can to be a little better every single time. I love knowing running and triathlon is something I can do for many years and I still have many good years left in me.
Welcome to the team Mark! We can’t wait to see how your support helps to bring our athletes and club to the next level.