Testimonials


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Kinnie Pruden trained with Coach Valerie

Coach Valerie,

Where do I begin? I have learned a ton from you as trainer and as a friend. Remember, in 2005, you helped me buy my first bike! You were there for my first rides, teaching and offering advice. There's something to be said for staring out with a veteran rider, i.e., starting out right, not developing bad habits, and being safe all the while. I no doubt owe a lot to you.

Many thanks!

2007 Duke Liver Half Ironman 2nd fastest split (women) of the day. 2:44:28 (20.43 mph)

Anne Viviani trained with Coach Valerie

Coach Val,

What can I say? You are a magician and your coaching is truly amazing. I look back on that phone call in August when I asked you to help me reach my dream goal – to complete Ironman Hawaii just 10-1/2 weeks away. You not only agreed, but you held my hand as I trained, never giving up ……and we not only finished, but I completed this extraordinary triathlon 15 minutes faster than my time 10 years ago! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Christine Snyder trained with Coach Valerie

I had the great fortune of meeting Coach Valerie at the beginning of my triathlon experience and endurance training. I took a class she offered at the local health club and had so much fun learning the sport from her I became quickly hooked. I am now in my third season progressing from barely finishing a sprint distance to now racing the Olympic triathlon winning 3rd place in my age group- I even did my first two half marathons this season.

Coach Valerie has designed workouts to suit where I am in my training abilities, accommodated areas where my body has had trouble, designed plans to strengthen those areas so they aren't a problem in the future all while remembering I have a little girl at home who likes time with mommy. I have been amazed at how quickly my speeds and endurance have improved through her coaching. She has been there to strategize and plan each race as they come about, guide through challenging times and be a true motivator even when you would rather just go back to bed. I could never have done this without her coaching and awesome training plans designed around me.

Thanks for all your support!

Alex Bogges trained with Coach Valerie

Thanks again for your help. Many folks that go into Ironman train only by books and internet plans; I know that works (for some), but it doesn't mean it's the best thing for everyone. After my surgery I was really concerned about whether I could do Wisconsin. I didn't want my first Ironman to be a Sunday ride and a 26 mile walk. I think it could have been a disaster, but you helped me through the mental battle as well as pushing the training harder than I would likely have gone myself.

Coach Val, I came on board with you late in this game with an injury and unable to run 10 feet, you directed me brilliantly and you burst with energy inspiring all the athletes you coach.

Brad Meara trained with Coach Duston

Qualifying for WC 70.3 became a goal for me after I completed my first 70.3. I was leaving the race venue and came across a group of racers listening intently to an announcer. I asked what was going on and found out that this was the WC slot awards. I looked at the times and thought, "I can do that, I only have to take 22 minutes off to get under five hours.

I continued to move my training forward on my own, spending a lot of time covering the distance. Finally, a friend suggested I give Coach Duston a call. I improved my training dramatically, saving wasted miles, increasing speed, finishing in the top 20 consistently, and eventually getting one of the roll down spots over two years later (cutting over 37 minutes from that first event). It meant a lot to me to finally reach that goal. The actual race was just the cherry on top!

Maria White trained with Coach Valerie

Thank you Coach Valerie for helping me to achieve what I thought impossible, and to do it with/for all those who could not. This has changed my life forever.

With only two months to train, White contacted Chicago-based marathon coach, Valerie Ellsworth Gattis, who created a custom weekly training schedule for White. The training included running approximately 40 miles a week, cycling and weight lifting. “Of all the activities, my favorite was running,” said White. “And my favorite place to run was down the tree-covered streets of Hills Center Drive. The picturesque setting was calming to my spirit despite the physical demands of training for a marathon.” White claims her new goal is to run a marathon every year. “It’s a great achievement, especially at this stage of my life,” she said. “Despite my aches and pains, I can honestly say I am looking forward to my next marathon."

Maria White dedicated her run in the Las Vegas Marathon to loved ones who have passed away during the last five years as well as women over the age of 50. She finished strong with a time of 05:07:40.

Curtis Mann trained with Coach Valerie

I have been involved in endurance sport most of my life. As a high school and college runner, I dabbled in road races from my late 20s to mid 30s, and was eventually drawn to triathlon. Self-coached during this period, I did what most of us do as we enter this sport: obtaining tips from magazines, endurance books and other athletes. I took the next step and utilized a running and swim coach; performances improved with this decision.

Knowing I was at a point I needed someone to collectively tie my training together, I went searching for a multisport coach. I researched several and came to interview three top notch coaches. My interview with Coach Valerie lasted over an hour, but I knew early in the conversation that she could do what I needed to put it all together. It was her attentiveness and infectious excitement to set course for the season that drew me to her.

We planned a six month season encompassing Olympic, 70.3 and a full Ironman. The training was dialed in to my unique needs as an athlete, attentive to certain weaknesses. Very specific intensities with designated relative rest set the ball in motion, and from my inaugural race in South Beach Miami (Olympic, 2nd Age Group), I knew it was going to be a thrilling season. I was surprised and amazed at how the season progressed: second place Age Group finish at 70.3 Racine and a top 25 Age Group finish at IMWI. The specificity of the training I believe is what truly made a difference.

Coach Valerie understands the needs of her athletes, having competed at the highest level herself. She has tremendous resources and drew on them to design a plan that was massaged by some of the finest minds in multisport. As I lined up on the beach or treaded water awaiting the starting gun for each race, I had utmost confidence in my training and most importantly in my coach. Knowing I had a specific plan for each race and the confidence I could race to my potential was the X factor I needed to break through some perceived barriers I had as an athlete.

I recommend Coach Valerie and Victory's Edge with utmost confidence; they can take an athlete to that next level and beyond. 

Mary Whitwell trained with Coach Valerie

Coach Valerie,

I don’t have the vocabulary to correctly and appropriately thank you for the wonderful experience you provided for me these past five months. I have achieved more than I even dreamed I could, I have regained a confidence in myself that had dissipated, and I have reveled in an adventure that was absolutely a hoot from start to finish. I have found a friend beyond measure in K.P, and I feel I have done the same with you as well. Nothing can compare to that last part.

I look forward to years of athletic challenges and I am eager to face them all in whatever form they may take. I know I will be employing you to guide me towards another race because this was so invigorating. ...we can stay in touch as “comrades in arms,” women who will NOT go gracefully into their “middle age” but who march into it with the pride and knowledge that life truly gets only better if you are open to the possibilities.

Just to complete a half Ironman was a mere possibility when we started this. Thanks to your tremendous talent as a mentor, constant contact and reassurance, and ability to make us each feel like we were the only athlete on the planet, it has been accomplished.

Kelly Case trained with Coach Valerie

Yippee! Yahoo...ran the race without any problem, had a lot of fun and didn't have any stomach problems! Success! It was very, very windy and somewhere Naperville found a few hills, including the entire last half mile..but it was all good. Roughly, I hit the 1 mile marker at 10:50 and the 2 mile marker about 22 and finished at 33:19. I'm trying to find my last 5k results (turkey trot) but I am sure this is a few minutes faster and for the most part, I felt great during the entire run. My heart rate was up the whole time, sitting at 178-182 and peaked at 192 when I sprinted to the finish. I was a bit worried my stomach wouldn't like that, but I didn't have any issues. I'm hoping that with more training and increased fitness, this number will change.

I am so happy and looking forward to the next one!

Thank you Valerie..for everything!!!

Tim Bruck trained with Coach Duston

I really appreciate all of your help over the past three years. It is impressive that you were able to take on the challenge of helping me achieve my goals, especially post aneurysm and stroke. Thanks for helping me become an Ironman!

Leigh Kertek trained with Coach Duston

Thank you for all of your guidance and expertise you shared helping me prepare for L.A. Although I did not achieve the time I hoped for, I got myself to the start line and set a new PR.

I am confident that I am a much stronger runner than I ever have been. I know my race results will show my progress in time. Thank you for the incredible impact you've had on my training and running.

Stefani Englestein  trained with Coach Duston

I've liked the strength training with the hand barbells and they must be working. We went canoeing for a week in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, and my arms were in great shape and my legs too.

During portaging, while Rich carried the canoe, I was able to carry everything else. Our whole six days of gear for two people for distances up to a mile! This is definitely better shape than I've ever been in before!

Gretchen S. trained with Coach Alan

Aspiring to run in (and finish) a 5K race for the first time at age 46, I joined Alan Maruschak’s 5K Training program at Midtown. Our small group sessions were fun and supportive, and Alan’s training was personalized and effective. I looked forward to every training session in spite of my beginner’s status, and am thrilled with the resulting fitness level and newfound friendships. I highly recommend joining Alan and the Midtown Running Program!

Pat P. trained with Coach Alan

If you want to learn how to run the right way and get in great shape, join Alan's running program. His training techniques are the best. You'll find yourself really looking forward to the workouts. I joined the group last year and continue to train with him.

Irina I. trained with Coach Alan

Midtown's running program helped motivate me to start running. Alan Maruschak's laid-back personality and depth of running knowledge made running easy, while meeting new people made it fun!