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Running Community Mourns Loss of Mike Broderick

By: Eve Mills

Every once in a while, if you’re very lucky, you get to know someone like Mike Broderick. 

Mike was a coach, a teacher, a runner and a friend to hundreds of men and women across the country.  But to those who knew him well - and there were many - he was much more than that.  If a person could be the heart and soul of a running community, that was Mike Broderick.  Known as the “coach’s coach,” Mike dedicate his life to the community of runners he loved so much, sharing his inspired form of coaching, not only by training runners himself, but also by teaching others to become coaches.

Mike passed away far too young, in the early hours of November 5, from complications arising from lung cancer.  As a perfect testament to Mike and the values for which he stood, fellow runners raised more than $35,000 in just four weeks for Team Labrecque in his honor, in the month before he passed.  Throughout his battle against cancer, Mike was buoyed by well wishes of hundreds of runners from across the country and maintained his upbeat demeanor and sharp wit. 

Mike Broderick gave up a career as an attorney to find fulfillment through running, teaching and coaching.  Since 1998, Mike had been a fixture in the DC running community, initially as a participant in the first-time marathon program of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club (MCRRC) and later as the founder and head coach of the experienced marathon program (XMP).  Mike made fitness his full-time job and became a personal trainer and instructor for the Road Runners Club of America, Certified Coaches Program, where he travelled the nation teaching a new generation of coaches.  On his own time, he ran the trails near his home and often could be found on Sugarloaf Mountain training for one of his many 100-mile trail races.  One of Mike’s personal goals was to run the Western States 100-Mile run, and he was thrilled to win an entry to the race, in which he competed this past June.  Mike was happiest when he was running long, long trails.   

But the beauty in Mike Broderick was not in his coaching tips or personal running achievements.  It was in the way he touched people’s lives.  Mike made time for everyone.  He was genuinely interested in each person’s success.  He found fulfillment by helping others set and accomplish their goals.  In his own words, “helping others find success is a hugely rewarding avocation, and it keeps me motivated every day to push myself to be as good as I can be.”

My own experience with Mike Broderick was probably quite typical.  I first became interested in long distance running in 2006.  I had run two mediocre marathons and needed advice and inspiration.  I met Mike Broderick and, at his suggestion, joined the XMP program.  Mike was extraordinarily generous with his time and coaching advice, taking a special interest in helping me find my rhythm as a runner and, later, as a running coach.  He encouraged me to run more marathons, to run and enjoy ultra races, to become an RRCA Certified Running Coach and to volunteer as a coach with the XMP program.  Inevitably along the way, Mike became more than a coach and personal trainer to me.  He became a mentor - for running, for racing, for coaching - and a friend.  In the words of one of Mike’s friends and fellow coach, “All we can do now is what Mike has always taught us to do: Be passionate. Take care of each other.  Be great friends and above all else, run.”

The running community has lost a friend and mentor, but Mike Broderick’s inspiration and positive energy will live on in our hearts.  Everyone who knew Mike is better for the privilege. 

Coach, we miss you already.

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