Todd Williams, RunSafer, photo from RunSafer.com
RBR, # 1, I obviously know you, but could you write about your career highlights?
Todd Williams: - 1992-1996 Olympian 10,000m
- Current American Record Holder for 15k set in 1995 42:22
- 4 - time US Champ 10,000m 92,93,95,96
- 1 - time US Champ 3,000m indoor 97
- 2 - time US Champ XC 91,93
- 14 - time US Champ on roads ranging from 10k to 25k
- 9th at World Cross 95
- 15th at World Junior Cross 88
- ran at University of Tennessee...led them to National title 91
- best times 4:00,7:43,8:14,13:19,27:31,1:00.11,2:11.17
RBR, # 2: When did you know that your elite running career was over?
Todd Williams: " I just felt I was maxed out.....I didn't want to hang around and not be able to improve! I feel looking back at my career I ran as fast as I possibly could in all distances....no regrets!"
RBR, # 3: Between retirement and RunSafer, what were you doing or trying to do?
Todd Williams:- worked on television/web as an analyst with Elite, Competitor,USATF,NBC,NYRR,CBS,ABC ETC..
- brand ambassador for adidas
- sales rep for Puma and adidas Running
- sell thru specialist adidas Running
- brand ambassador with SignMeUp
- taught and still teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Conditioning in Saint Johns, Florida
- trained and still train my butt off in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and self defense
RBR, #4: How did you come up with RunSafer?
Todd Williams:"I always tell my daughters to "find something you love and turn it into your job one day" . Well I'm doing that with RunSafer. I knew with my Olympic running background and Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I could tie them together and create a service and business that was much needed! "
RBR, # 5: How difficult/easy was it for you to get a sponsor like ASICS?
Todd Williams:"I'm very fortunate to have a lot of great friends in the running industry and one being Ryan Hall (not the runner), who works with ASICS as a sales representative. When I told him about RunSafer and what I was starting he presented it to ASICS Running.
Damian McCusker of ASICS took it from there and we were off to the races! We have formed a great partnership and are both very satisfied about what we've accomplished so far and where we're headed! ASICS is committed to the runner,jogger,walker and their overall experience and safety is and always will be a very important aspect of that experience.
Our goal with RunSafer and ASICS is to continue to get the word out and educate about how important safety should be in life! I feel the RunSafer/ ASICS seminars and workshops gives tools to help decrease the i individuals chances of ever getting in dangerous situation as well as showing techniques on what one needs to do no matter who they are if someone is trying to harm them or their loved ones! Plus we do get highlight how great a brand ASICS is at every presentation as well! "
RBR, # 6: When the program started, could you describe the positives and growing pains?
Todd Williams: The RunSafer program officially started January 2013, but lots of time and effort before that to get things ready to go!
As far as positives I LOVE IT, I'm my own boss and it's up to me to make things happen! In saying that I work pretty much non-stop because I love it so much and don't want to shut it off! I'm pretty much obsessed on making RunSafer very successful! I also know I'm making a positive impact and am truly making a difference through my "work".....30+ years in the running world and 13+ years in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/Self Defense training....I can't think of a better way to combine my two passions!
The only growing pain initially was finding the right partner and having them believe in what I was about to start. ASICS did and here we are today! I also can't say enough about all the great running specialty stores around the country who really have been the driver of my business so far! They let RunSafer have the stage and trusted me with their customers to work with....invaluable relationships!"
RBR, # 7: How is RunSafer doing these days?
Todd Williams: RunSafer year three is hammering away and continuing to build the RunSafer brand. It's all about getting out there and showing the running world as well as the general public what we do on behalf of safety! The 2015 schedule is already completely booked with clinics,demonstrations and workshops across the United States in running stores,universities,schools and corporate environments.
Some people have ask me if I'm going to burnout....my answer is "hell no"I love what I do! I'm trying to figure out how I can do more....burn bright while you can! "
RBR, # 8: Do you see a great expansion opportunity?
Todd Williams: Yes RunSafer is not going away! I believe the business can grow but I also want to keep it true to what it is.....teaching and educating individuals about their personal safety! I see products,books,apps,on-line resources etc. in the future for sure...anything to reach a broader audience I'll take a look at!
RBR, # 9: Besides the advice from RunSafer, what advice would you give to a young distance runner?
Todd Williams: The biggest piece of advice is to take advantage of every single day and try not to make dumb decisions! Most "young" ones don't understand how fast time goes by and the short period you have to kick ass! Try to train intelligent, HARD and know it's not easy but feels so good when maximizing your talents and finish your career knowing you maxed out!
Also don't quit on your dreams because others do and the "real world" is calling. If you love running and WANT IT then keep at it as long as possible! I've seen a lot good ones leave the sport too early then look back and wonder what if?"
RBR, # 10: Do you still keep in touch with your fellow Olympians-like Bob Kennedy or others?
Todd Williams: Yes Bob and I are really good friends! I'm very proud of him for all the great things he's accomplished both on and off the track since meeting back in 1986. The guy knows how to get it done and continues to do great things!
I also get to reconnect with many others through my travels with RunSafer. In the last year I've had a few laughs and told many "back in the day" stories with Mark Coogan, Mark Croghan, Matt Guisto, Marc Davis, Keith Brantley, Tim Broe, Dathan Ritzenhein, Paul McMullen, Tony Cosey and many more.
Plus through Facebook I keep up with as many as I can. It's amazing what John Trautman is doing on the track these days. It's awesome to see so many doing great things out there!"
To learn more about RunSafer, please go to http://www.runsafer.com.
Ed Eyestone, Todd Williams, Pat Porter, XC 1993, photo by PhotoRun.net
This photo is one of my favorite covers for American Athletics, the predecessor of American Track & Field. Funny thing is, two of my favorites are with Todd Williams. The other is from his first win at USA XC in November 1991, where he won the US championships, and defeated Pat Porter for the first time.
To me, Todd Williams will always be, the raging bull of track & field. He ran like a boxer battles in the ring. In his day, one had to run a round in the 10,000 meters to make the final. Then, two days later, one ran the final.
His second career, with RunSafer is fascinating, as Todd Williams is having fun and doing something wonderful for the sport he loves.
Jeff Benjamin, one of the few writers who wrote for us when we were American Athletics, wrote this interview with Todd Williams. We think that you will like it!