The RRCA Coaching Certification Program provides a baseline of education for people wanting to become knowledgeable and ethical distance running coaches to work with runners of all ages and abilities and to connect with our global community of RRCA Certificted Coaches.
Level 1 Certification
The Level 1 Coaching Certification course focuses on adult distance running, defined as one mile and longer, and touches on youth running. The Level 1 Coaching Certification course is designed to educate prospective coaches so they may:
- Participants must be 18 years of age or older with no less than a high school diploma.
- Level I participants should have experience with the sport of running, a desire to improve their own running knowledge, and have an interest in coaching others.
- Intellectual interest in the sport of running and training theory from expert coaches is a must. Personal experience running in events ranging from 5K to marathon distances is helpful.
- An introductory video module will be emailed to registered participants and viewing is required in advance of the course.
- We recommend getting your required CPR and First Aid certifications completed before or shortly after completing the course.
Upcoming Level 1 Courses
Upcoming courses are announced via email notification and listed below. Prospective coaches must add their email addresses to the notification list below to receive new course registration announcements.
Before registering for a course, we recommend you create an individual profile in our system, log in, then register for a course. You do not need to join as an individual member to register for a course. Individual Membership is required to maintain certification in future years. Courses fill quickly, so create your profile today and register early.
July 1-2, 2023 – Louisville ONLINE – CLOSED – Central Time
July 22-23, 2023 – Hartford ONLINE – OPEN – Eastern Time
July 29-30, 2023 – Cleveland ONLINE – OPEN – Central Time
August 5-6, 2023 – Pueblo ONLINE – OPEN – Mountain Time
August 12-13, 2023 – Laramie ONLINE – OPEN – Mountain Time
August 21-22, 2023 – Richmond ONLINE – OPEN – Eastern Time **This is a Monday/Tuesday course**
September 9-10, 2023 – Huntsville, ONLINE – OPEN – Central Time
December 2-3, 2023 – Houston, TX IN PERSON – OPEN – Central Time
Review the Waiting List instructions below for adding your name to a full course’s waiting list.
Additional online and in-person courses will be announced as they are planned. Learn more about hosting a course.
Prospective coaches that have a special need should email the Director of Coaching Education at [email protected] prior to registration to review accommodation options.
At the conclusion of the Level I Coaching Certification course, information about accessing the 100-question online exam will be emailed to participants. Each participant must independently complete the online exam within 30 days of the course and pass with a score of 85% or higher to qualify for certification.
The exam is administered through a professional online testing platform that tracks individual responses, progress, IP address, and testing duration.
Participants are not permitted to work together on the test and submit answers. However, individual participants may reference their personal notes and course book while answering questions.
Before finalizing the test, participants will be asked to affirmatively agree to abide by the RRCA Coaching Code of Ethics .
Upon completion of the online exam, participants will receive an instant score, which is also emailed to the Director of Coaching Education. Answers to test questions are not provided to any participant following completion of the exam due to certification testing integrity.
If your score is 84% or lower, you have not passed the exam and will receive an email from the Director of Coaching Education detailing the re-testing process and associated fee. You must pass the exam to finalize the certification process.
Anyone that cannot pass the online exam in two attempts will not be certified as an RRCA Level I Coach and will not be granted a refund. Participants that do not pass the online exam on the second attempt may be granted the opportunity to take the Level I Coaching Certification course again, but will be required to pay the full course fee.
There is a six-month window from the course date to complete all steps (passing the exam and submitting valid CPR/FA certifications) in the Level I Coaching Certification process.
Participants must submit valid CPR and First Aid certifications within 60-days of the Level I Coaching Certification course.
We accept both CPR and First Aid courses that are completed online, in-person, or as a combination of online and in-person learning. We have no preferred providers for these courses, though many prospective coaches choose to take courses through the American Red Cross or American Heart Association. Electronic submissions via email are required, either as PDFs or image files of the certification documents. Faxed copies will not be accepted. Instructions for submitting certification proof will be included in the post-course communication emails.
CPR and First Aid certifications are usually valid for two years. You will be required to maintain CPR and First Aid certifications in order to remain an RRCA Level I Certified Coach in Good Standing and use the RRCA Level I Certified Coach credential. Coaches must update their CPR and First Aid expiration dates and upload their new documents to their profiles before they expire in order to maintain their Good Standing.
Once a participant has completed all requirements for becoming an RRCA Level I Certified Coach (course attendance, pass the exam, submitted proof of CPR/FA certifications), the RRCA will confirm completion and send a congratulatory email via the SimpleCert platform. This email will contain a link to download the coach’s Level I Certificate.
The coach’s RRCA profile will be updated with their Level I credential, adding their name to the public Find a Coach listing. This will also grant access to the Certified Coaches Portal.
- Start at Membership System Login.
- Login with your email and password. If you have forgotten your password, utilize the links below to reset your password.*
- Click the My Profile button to enter the system.
- Click the small circle in the upper right corner and click My Profile.
- Click the blue pencil in the upper right to make the fields editable. Review your information and make any needed updates. We encourage you to add a profile photo/logo, information about your coaching services, etc. This will be included on your public listing.
- Add/update and validate your Directory Address. Our website uses your city and state to populate the Find a Coach list. While you must provide a full street address, only your city and state will be visible to the public. Completing this step will activate the Update button at the bottom of your profile.
- Update BOTH of your CPR and First Aid expiration dates, then and upload your new certification documents for BOTH pdf fields even if they are the same document.
- Click Update at the bottom of your profile to save your edits.
- Helps fund ongoing administrative needs for the Coaching Certification Program including technical support for Certified Coaches, oversight of the RRCA Certified Coaches online networking group, Find a Coach marketing and promotion, and more.
- Helps us invest in continued improvements and enhancements of the program for both new and existing coaches.
- Ensures RRCA Certified Coaches in Good Standing have an ongoing relationship with the organization following initial certification, and grants individual coaches the ongoing use of the RRCA Certified Coach logo and name for promotional purposes.
- Click the small circle in the upper right corner and click Join RRCA as an Individual. (If you have previously purchased an RRCA membership, you will click the small bell-shaped icon in the upper right corner and click “Renew.”)
- Select the Individual Coach membership type and click “Next.” If you do not see this option, your CPR/FA is expired and MUST be updated to return to Good Standing before proceeding.
- Acknowledge the Safe Sport, group run, and insurance guidelines and click “Next.”
- As needed, add the Certified Coach Liability Insurance policy on the following screen if desired. (Click “Next”) Detailed information about the policy is outlined in the Certified Coaches Portal, which is accessible to all RRCA certified coaches in Good Standing.
- Review the fee(s) and click “Add to Cart.”
- Click “Checkout.”
- Enter your payment information or select your saved payment method. Your billing address MUS match your credit card information or the processing will fail. Click “Checkout.” You will receive a payment confirmation in your email.
Level 2 Coaching Certification
The Level 2 Coaching Certification program provides a deeper understanding of the scientific, psychological, competitive, and managerial aspects of working with individual clients and training groups.
The program prepares coaches for organizing training programs and developing periodized plans that will bring athletes to success, help them manage fatigue, maintain motivation, and allow for peak performance at the appropriate time.
The Level II Coaching Certification program is open to all RRCA Level I Certified Coaches in good standing who have been certified for a minimum of one year. The Level II program is designed for coaches seeking to enhance their knowledge or reinforce concepts learned in Level I.
Level 2 Coaching Certification program participants must:
- Be an RRCA Level 1 Certified Coach for a minimum of 12 months. Coaches may begin the Level II program earlier but won’t be fully certified until 12 months following their Level 1 certification date.
- Be 18 years of age or older with no less than a high school diploma.
- Provide proof of coaching experience in the form of a brief essay outlining their experience as part of the enrollment process.
The Level 2 Coaching Certification program is delivered in a combination of two formats. Coaches must complete all of the following to receive Level 2 certification:
- A two-day, interactive, synchronous online Level 2 Session, scheduled several times during the year. Full participation across both days of the two-day Level 2 Session, including reading, writing, speaking, and the use of technology, is required for certification, as well as passing a 50-question online exam with a score of 80% or higher.
- A minimum of 15 asynchronous online modules with end-of-module quizzes requiring a score of 80% or better. Two modules are required while the rest are considered electives.
- $25 enrollment fee for RRCA Level 1 Certified Coaches that intend to pursue the Level 2 Certification credential. Following enrollment, participants will follow a pay-as-you-go system for the two-day Level 2 Session and individual online modules.
- $335 for the two-day Level 2 Session. Sessions are capped at 35 participants.
- $25 – $30 for each online module
- Approximate total cost is $750 to complete all Level 2 Coaching Certification Program requirements.
No running is required during the program.
Coaching Education Team
Randy is an accomplished educator and runner that brings a wealth of experience to the RRCA coaching program. He is the Communications Mentor for the top-ranked McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona, where he has twice received Teacher of the Year honors. Additionally, he has co-authored two continuing education courses on how to coach runners, and he has written running-based articles that have been published in Running Times, Runners World and the New York Times.
Brent has been active in the sport of running for over 50 years. He served on the RRCA Board of Directors from 1987 to 1990, again from 2004 to 2008, and was elected RRCA President from 2009 to 2012. Brent holds USATF Level I & Level II and USTFCCCA coaching certifications. He coached the Frederick Striders Youth Track & Field Club for 12 years. In 2003, he launched the Hood College Cross Country program followed by the Track & Field team and coached them for 13 years. Brent holds an MBA and worked for over 30 years with several different Members of the United States House of Representatives.
Beofra earned a Bachelor of Art in Psychology and a Master’s of Art in Human Services and Life Coaching and has been an active participant and leader in the running community for over 30 years. While serving in the military for over 28 years, she has completed races in every distance from the 5K to 100 miler, in addition she has run over 112 marathons. Beofra serves as a pacer for several marathons and is currently an Ambassadors for Black Girls Run!, Brooks Run Happy Team, Balega International, and Regional Ambassador for Marathon Maniac/Half Fanatics.
Bobby is a graduate of the University of Maryland and obtained his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1983. He completed his urological surgery training at Brown University and is a Board Certified urological surgeon. Bobby has served as Chairman for the Department Of Urology of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Affiliated Howard County General Hospital for over 10 years. Dr Gessler is an RRCA Certified Coach and Instructor and has USATF Level I and Level II coaching certifications in the endurance and combined events respectively as well as being a certified Level I Course instructor for the USATF.
Benson earned his Bachelors in Health Science and Master of Social Work from the University of South Dakota. While at Butler CC, he was NJCAA in Academics, Cross Country, and Track & Field. Benson is RRCA Level I & II Certifed Running Coach and a competitive distance runner specializing in the 5k – Marathon distances. Additionally, Benson was named the 2020 Boston Marathon Honorary Member and currently serves as the RRCA South Dakota State Representative.
Alex is the owner and head coach of the Resolute Running Training Center, a full-service training facility in Birmingham, AL that focuses on adult runners. Alex has been an RRCA Certified Coach since 2010. He is Lydiard Level II certified, USATF certified, and Coach Daniel’s VDOT 02 certified. He holds a personal training certification from AFAA and is a TRX qualified instructor. Alex is a multiple-time Boston Marathon qualifier, has completed all six World Marathon Majors: Chicago, Boston, Berlin, Tokyo, New York, and London, and has raced distances all the way up to 100 miles.
Cari earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology at Aquinas College, while earning All-American Honors 8 times and was national runner up in the indoor 1000 meters. In 2014 she was inducted into the Aquinas College Athletic Hall of Fame. Cari continued on to Michigan State University where she earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree. She is RRCA level II certified, level II USATF endurance coach, level II USTAFFCA in sprints and hurdles as well as she is certified in running mechanics through Newton Running.
Christine is an accomplished local runner with a 2:58 marathon PR. She has her doctorate in Kinesiology and has been an educator for over 25 years. She has served as the training coordinator for her local running club, the running coach for the youth triathlon program, and the head coach for the charity group Red Cross Rescue Racers. While an undergraduate Cross Country runner, she was an academic All-American. She is certified through RRCA and USATF as a running coach and ACSM as a personal trainer and exercise physiologist.
What People Say about the Course
Individuals that have completed the RRCA Coaching Certification course and earned the title RRCA Certified Coach are not employees, nor contractors, with the RRCA. All coaches operate independent from the RRCA. They have agreed to abide by the RRCA’s Coaches Code of Ethics, which includes revocation of the credential for serious violations.
RRCA only verifies that RRCA Certified Coaches have completed a formal education program and have completed the requirements to earn the credential of RRCA Certified Coach and be included in our searchable database of coaches.