Inspiring Coaches Finalist Steve O'Brien

Tyee High School - Seatac, Wash.

Number of years coaching: 2 years.

At a glance: Steve O’Brien inspires his runners at Tyee High School in Seatac, Wash., by teaching them that running is a lifestyle. Only a couple years ago, Coach O’Brien started running long distance as well as coaching. To date, he’s lost more than 200 lbs. through running. He has used his story to inspire his team and encourage his athletes to achieve their goals through running as well, whether that’s through volunteering his time as a coach, providing running shoes to kids in need or helping student-athletes with school projects.


What advice does Coach O’Brien give an athlete having a bad day to inspire them?
I remind them that running is one of the best sports to lose yourself and all the pressures and stresses of life that are going on around you. That when you get out there and run, you can leave it all out on the road, exhaust yourself and come back with a clear head. I always tell my runners that any issues or problems that come up are always temporary. That it is most important to take care of yourself by exercising, eating right and getting enough rest.

What makes Coach O’Brien Run Happy?
My Run Happy is just getting out there on the road, being able to find a new route, when I plan on running 5 or 6 miles and feeling so good that I end up running 10 to 12 miles. When I’m in the midst of running there are those moments when everything seems to line up and fall into perfect balance. The sights that I pass, the songs that come on at just the right time, the feel of my body reaching exhaustion, the comfort of a perfect fitting Brooks PureCadence shoe, each of my muscles straining to continue on, the perfect hydration, it all comes together to create my Run Happy.

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