Jim Pearson, M.ed.
Associate Head Track & Field, Cross Country Coach
Former US Champion, American Record Holder, World Qualifier
USATF Level 1 Certified Coach
3 x Hall of Fame Honoree (Lake Stevens HS, WWU, Snohomish County)
Hour Run: 11 miles 844 Yards (20th, 21st place in US Hour-Run Championships)
Marathon: 2:22:32 (3rd Place - Portland Marathon
50k: 3:02 USA 50k Championships 2nd Place; 5th all time US History
60k: (Oregon 60k Champion, 4th all-Time US History)
50 Mile: 5:12:41 (USA 50 Mile Champion, American Record, 3rd Fastest time in World)
100k: 7:07:49 (Coca Cola Ultra Runs - 1st Place, 2nd all-Time US History)
Jim Pearson, Associate Head Track & Field, Cross Country Coach, is a former US Champion, American Record Holder, and World Qualifier who has not missed a day of running in almost 47 years. His athletic career highlights includes running and competing for Nike (1975-1984); Adidas (1984); Avia (1985-1986); Snohomish Track Club (1967-Present).
Jim has coached athletes for 51 years, including 34 years serving as head coach at Ferndale High School, 1 year as an Assistant at Mead High School, 2 years at Whatcom C.C. as Associate Head Track & Field Coach, 2 years at Cardinal Stritch University as Associate Head Cross Country Coach, and currently is the Head Men's Track & Field Coach at Everett Community College.
Jim Pearson's athletes have set American records, Won USA Championships, qualified for the Olympic Trials, World Cross Country Championships, World Half-Marathon Championships, won league, district and state titles.
As a runner, Pearson, a two time national champion, qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 1972 and 1976, set an American record for the 50 mile run (still 5th all time), competed in 4 world championships, and placed in the top 5 in U.S. championship races in 7 of his 25 qualified competitions, his best being the U.S. national championships in the 50 mile in 1975. Having run every day for over 42 years, Pearson sees no excuse for runners skipping a practice session.
Jim coached Mark Anderson, the only Washington runner, and one of only 6 Americans, to ever win the prestigious Bloomsday Road Race.
The Pearson File: Positions Held
Associate Head Cross Country, Track & Field Coach - Harrier Track Club
Associate Head Cross Country Coach, Assistant Track & Field Coach - Cardinal Stritch University
Associate Head Track & Field, Cross Country Coach - Whatcom Community College
Assistant Cross Country Coach - Mead High School
Head Cross Country, Track Coach - Ferndale High School
Head Coach - Ferndale Track Club, Freedom Flower Road Runners, Snohomish Track Club
The Pearson File: As an athlete
USA 50 Mile Champion
American 50 mile Record holder
1972 & 1976 Olympic Trials Qualifier - Marathon
Winner of Seattle and Portland Marathons
Twice ran the second fastest 100k in US History
16 x Birch Bay Marathon Champion - ARRS World Record
3 x World Masters Qualifier (10k, 25k, Marathon)
The Pearson File: As a Coach
55 x National USA Qualifiers
30 x USA all-Americans (15k, Half-Marathon, Marathon, 50k, 50 Mile, 100k)
7 x Olympic Trails Qualifiers (3k Steeple, 10k, Marathon, 20k Race Walk)
7 x World Qualifiers (Cross Country, Half Marathon, 25k, Marathon, Junior-Mountain)
USA 50 Mile Champion
USA 50 Mile Masters Champion
American 50 Mile Record Holder
National Junior Hour-Run Champ - (11 miles, 490 yards)
American Junior 50k Record Holder - (3:10:07)
El Salvador National Junior 800m Record - (1:53.02)
3 x USA Junior National Qualifiers (5k, 10k, 3k Steeple)
Pearson founded the famous Birch Bay Marathon in 1969, the Ferndale Track Club in 1970, co-founded the Snohomish Track Club in 1968 and the Freedom Flower Road Runners in 1976. He was also a past president of the Greater Bellingham Running Club, the Snohomish Track Club, and the Freedom Flower Road Runners. He put on such races as the Chuckanut Foot Race, the Lummi Island Run, the Lake Samish 6.5 and 13 mile races, the Lake Samish 25k run, the Ferndale Flat and Fast 10k, and 35 years of high school cross country meets. He also helped change several WIAA rules.
Pearson has appeared in and on the cover of magazines and books and was once referred to by Runner's World as an “Ultra Running King.” He has appeared in the following magazines: Runner's World, Track and Field News, Ultra Running, Northwest Runner. He has also been included in the following books: The Running Mind by Jim Lillefors; On the Road: The Marathon by Jim Shapiro; Why We Run by Bernd Heinrich; Racing the Antelopeby Heinrich; Ultra-Marathoning by Tom Osler; Ultramarathon by Shapiro; Serious Runner's Handbook by Osler; and Running Around Puget Sound by Peter Holman Smith.
Jim was basically a self-coached athlete who followed somewhat the teachings of New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard and the advice and encouragement of his summer coach, Keith Gilbertson, sr. In retrospect, he has been heard to say that his training mirrored that of the great Clarence DeMar, the seven-time Boston marathon winner: very high mileage with short local road races tossed in. Since he never thought of himself as a good runner, this low key attitude about intensity seems quite logical. The higher than normal mileage rose out of a self-imposed challenge to see what his body could handle. As a result, he had an 11 1/2 year stretch where he AVERAGED over 100 miles per week. His longest streak of consecutive 100 miles or better weeks hit exactly a year and a half: 78 weeks. Pearson ran no exceptionally high weekly mileage--a best of 185 miles--but recorded some fairly high months--729 and 719 (back to back). His two best years were 6,174 miles in 1975 and 6,028 miles in 1978. This type of mileage led to a fairly easy AAU National 50 mile title in 5:12:41 for a new American record. The endurance was further emphasized by his running a 2:22:32 marathon just 35 days later. The key to his progress was consistency which led to a streak of over 40 years without missing a day of running.
Pearson admits that had he had a coach who controlled his practices, he would have run more short and intense workouts. "With the training program I used," Pearson explained, "I was able to surpass 2:45 in the marathon which was my lifetime goal. In fact, when I started running the ultras, I could run the first 26.2 faster than that. That was the case in the record run, and then I ran the last 25 miles at a faster pace." When he ran the marathon just five weeks later, he slowed only 25 seconds on the course which consisted of two identical laps. Most of his successful races were run with negative splits. "My greatest mistake was not in my training, but in my failure to rest adequately. I tapered well for the record 50 mile (see below), but later would run a marathon in the 2:40 range the week before an ultra. In retrospect, I can see that decision as being a mistake."
Sample of training: (21 weeks)
The 16 weeks prior to Pearson's 50 mile American record: (# is miles that week)
1) 158 5) 161 9) 166 13) 119
2) 165 6) 159 10) 130 14) 123
3) 175 7) 158 11) 125 15) 109
4) 166 8) 161 12) 130 16) 111
Week 17=102 miles and a 5:12:41 American record for the 1975 U.S. 50M Champs!
Note: Tapering for the race began seven weeks before the championship race.
Week 22 = 104 miles and a third place finish - Portland marathon 2:22:32.
Note: After a rest week (109 miles), a longer week was run before tapering resumed.