Mile High Run Club’s claim to fame may be that it’s the first studio dedicated to running, or that it’s a growing business with a third location in the works. But it’s also a place where you can run with Olympians.
Among the 16 coaches who lead classes at the NoMad and NoHo studios, as well as outdoor runs, two have competed in the Olympic Games for track and field.
“They’re the Johns — John No. 1 and John No. 2,” said Debora Warner, who founded the treadmill studio in 2014. “Both are amazing.”
John No. 1 would be John Henwood. The New Zealand native-turned-New Yorker joined Mile High when it took over his own running studio — TheRUN — last year. Warner invited Henwood to be the supervisor of Mile High’s outdoor program, which recently launched a new fall marathon training program with 40 runners. His achievements include competing for New Zealand in the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 10,000-meter finals.
John No. 2 is John Trautmann. He first came to Mile High as a client, brought in by another Olympian — Michael Stember — who used to coach at the studio. Trautmann won the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 5,000-meter to compete in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
“The Olympics was obviously a blast,” Trautmann said. “I met the entire Dream Team.”
A foot injury forced Trautmann to drop out three laps into the Olympic semifinal. After working as a credit trader on Wall Street for 18 years, Trautmann got back into running and was transitioning to coaching full-time when he joined Mile High as a coach earlier this year for outdoor and indoor classes.
“I really fell back in love with the sport,” said Trautmann, who since returning to running competitively now holds the world record in the mile for men ages 45-49 after running a 4:12.33 last year.
The Johns have their eyes on this summer’s Olympics, too, as both coach athletes who are heading to Rio. As an assistant coach for the New Jersey New York Track Club, Trautmann had 16 athletes compete at last month’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon, and one — Donn Cabral — made the team for the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Henwood coaches Jane Vongvorachoti, a Thai-American who lives in NYC who will be representing Thailand in the women’s marathon in Rio (he was unavailable to be interviewed for this article).
Though both coach elite athletes, they work with beginners and intermediate runners, too. Mile High attracts anyone from novice to experienced customers looking to improve their form and race times.
“I love helping people achieve their goals,” Trautmann said. “I get just as much of a rush from coaching someone to run 4:20 for the marathon as my elite runners who are training to make the Olympic team. It makes me feel like I am helping someone, which is important to me.”
Indeed, in addition to having racing or coaching experience already, Warner looks for passion and a “generosity of spirit” in her coaches. “The willingness to share all the knowledge and help people, that’s something that is very important,” she said.
And though there’s no “cult of personality” at Mile High that you might find at other boutique fitness studios, being able to train with an Olympian “is such a privilege,” Warner said.
“Being able to work with both of the Johns, I feel incredibly lucky to have them,” she said. “They’re both just so nice and humble and have great personalities.”