Going Long: An Interview with Danny Mackey

By Mario Fraioli

“The one thing that was the key thing — that I like about coaching — is that it’s so hard and there’s so much on the line,” Mackey says. “It kind of scratches an itch that keeps me a little bit settled. Coaching helps me because there’s so much going on all the time. It’s intense, and humans are really unpredictable.” Photo: Courtesy of Brooks Running

“For me, I had such interesting jobs that were with great companies, and I was so bored. The one thing that was the key thing—that I like about coaching—is that it’s so hard and there’s so much on the line. It kind of scratches an itch that keeps me a little bit settled. Coaching helps me because there’s so much going on all the time. It’s intense, and humans are really unpredictable. We could do the same workout, the same time of year, three years in a row and then the fourth year it doesn’t get a response. Then you’ve got to figure out why. What caused it to be different? I love that. I love that there’s stuff on the line. That’s why I wanted to coach, so I was able to do a corporate job and carve out some time in the day to do that, and it would keep me going.”

I’ve been following Danny Mackey’s coaching career since he began writing training-related articles for Flotrack back in 2008 (scroll through pages 7, 8 and 9 from this link if you’re interested in checking them out) and in addition to learning a lot through his writings, I have been impressed and inspired by his persistence, passion and professionalism. Coaching is where Mackey’s passion lies, and it’s the path he’s stuck with despite getting rejection letters from the 209 collegiate positions he applied to after finishing graduate school. The now 36-year-old Mackey now heads up the Brooks Beasts Track Club—a full-time position he’s held since 2013—where he coaches a number of Olympic level middle and long-distance athletes. I went long with him recently to talk about the path his coaching career has followed, which mentors have influenced him the most, what the sport of track and field is struggling with most right now, and much more. Settle in and have a read!

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