Coach Jerry

Jerry Alexander was a walk-on at Columbia who at least partially made up for his complete lack of talent with his dogged refusal to accept the reality that he had no business running in Division I. As a senior, Jerry was captain of the Lions XC and Track squads. Jerry used his final year of track eligibility as a first year law student at Vanderbilt, where he broke the school record in the steeplechase. Jerry’s running “career” was cut short by injury, which prompted him to take up the noble art of coaching.

Because Jerry subscribes to the proposition that the coach gets full credit for all successes (and its corollary that the coach takes no blame for any failures), he is quick to take credit for the excellent results achieved by GRC men on his watch, including seven men qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Trials Marathon, which is the most of any team in the country, an outstanding fourth place in the 2023 USATF Club Cross Country Championships, and having more than ten men break 14:30 for 5,000 meters and 30:00 for 10,000 meters on the track.

Outstanding individual achievements include (but are not limited to):

  • Kieran O’ Connor – 24th at the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon and 2020 Trials Qualifier
  • Tom Slattery – marathon PR of 2:15:32 to qualify for 2024 Olympic Trials, 10 mile PR of 48:58
  • Zach Herriott – marathon PR of 2:15:34 to qualify for 2024 Olympic Trials, club record sixth place at 2023 USATF Clubs XC
  • Elias Graca – GRC club records in mile (4:02.79) and road mile (3:59.9)
  • Lucas Stalnaker – 20th Place Finish in the 2019 USATF Outdoor Championship in the 10,000 Meters and GRC club records at 3000 meters (8:11) and 10,000 meters (28:57) 
  • Clint McKelvey – marathon PR of 2:16:35 to qualify for 2024 Olympic Trials Marathon, GRC club record 1:03:16 half marathon
  • Dan Meeter – 2020 Trials Qualifier in Marathon Debut (2:17:38), half marathon PR 1:04:53
  • Sam Doud – marathon PR of 2:15:52 to qualify for 2024 Olympic Trials Marathon, 10,000 PR of 29:58
  • Zach Hine – marathon PR of 2:16:36 to qualify for 2020 Olympic Trials
  • Mike Franklin – 2014 Penn Relays 10,000 Champion (29:32) 
  • Zack Holden-marathon PR of 2:16:54 to qualify for 2024 Olympic Trials Marathon, 10 mile PR of 48:53 
  • John McGowan – marathon PR of 2:17:28 to qualify for 2024 Olympic Trials Marathon, half marathon PR of 1:05:48 
  • Owen Ritz – GRC club record 48:45 10 mile, 2024 Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier

Jerry also takes credit for huge PRs run by, among others, Keith Carlson (14:13 5000, 29:33 10,000), Carlos Jamieson (29:34 10,000), Brian Rich (49:07 10 mile, 2:21:21 marathon), Stewart Reich (8:34 3000, 14:30 5000, 29:46 10,000), Sam Luff (14:15 5000, 29:37 10,000), Jerry Greenlaw (2:25:53 marathon), Kevin McNab (50:28 10 mile), Ryan Witters (4:08.6 mile, 14:24.7 5000), Ben Szuhaj (14:30 5000, 29:48 10,000), Eric Beyerle (14:30.1 5000), Patrick Hanley (1:05:41 half marathon), and Joe LoRusso (3:50.1 1500, 14:29.6 5000). 

Jerry also claims full credit for the transformation of the GRC’s women’s team into a national power, which was amply demonstrated by the team’s outstanding third place USATF Club XC Championships , and multiple qualifiers for the 2016, 2020, and 2024 Olympic Trials Marathon. 

Outstanding individual achievements include (but are not limited to):

  • Frances Koons – 8th at the 2014 USATF Club Cross Country Championship, 8th place and 3rd American at the BUPA Great Edinburgh International Cross Country race in Scotland, 2015 Penn Relays 5000 Champion, GRC club records in 10,000 meters (33:17) and road 8k (26:27)
  • Elena Hayday – marathon PR of 2:30:51 to qualify for 2024 Olympic Trials, half marathon PR of 1:11:33 which also qualified for 2024 Olympic Trials marathon, GRC club records in road 10k (33:30) and 10 Mile (53:54)
  • Gina McNamara – Gold medalist in 800, 1500, and 5000 at 2023 European Small States Championship and silver medalist in 800 and 1500 at 2023 European Team Championships while representing Malta, GRC club records in the 800 (2:04:41), 1000 (2:45.27), 1500 (4:12.64), mile (4:39.67), and road mile (4:29)
  • Emily de La Bruyere – USATF Outdoor Championships Qualifier in the 3000 Steeplechase (2017 and 2018), Club Records in 3000 (9:24.28), Steeplechase (9:59.33), and 5000 (16:03.42)
  • Maura Linde – 108th at 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon (2:44:13), 20th at the 2017 USATF Clubs XC Championship
  • Teal Burrell – 72nd at the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon
  • Emily Potter – 102nd at the 2016 Olympic Trials Marathon
  • Stephanie Reich – 2016 and 2017 Penn Relays 10,000 Champion, 2016 Army Ten Mile Champion
  • Frances Loeb – 2016 Penn Relays 5000 Champion

Jerry also takes credit for huge PRs run by, among others, Cecilia Barowski (2:02.14 800), Tessa Barrett (1:14:32 half marathon, 2:45:33 marathon), Sydney Leiher (56:43 10 mile, 1:17:04 half marathon, 2:41:32 marathon), Anna Kenig-Zeisler (1:16:46 half marathon, 2:43:53 marathon), Cleo Whiting (27:05 5 mile, 56:20 10 Mile), Lauren White (34:29 10,000, 56:39 10 Mile), Catherine Campbell (1:18:23 half marathon, 2:43:57 marathon), Alex Orr (2:46:22 marathon), and Maura Carroll (17:27 5000, 35:45 10k, 59:56 10 mile, 1:19:46 half marathon, 2:49:54 marathon).

Before he started working with post-graduate athletes, Jerry was a college coach in the DC area. When Jerry became Head Coach at the University of the District of Columbia in 1995, he inherited a program that was in complete disarray. In his two years at UDC, Jerry recruited and coached an athlete who qualified for Division II nationals in the 800 and 1500 in indoor and outdoor track, but his rebuilding project was cut short when budget problems led to the suspension of the athletic department. Jerry moved to American University where he was Assistant Coach for seven years, during which time he recruited and coached All-Americans Sean O’Brien, Sean Duffy, and Samia Akbar.

Jerry also coaches the Northern Virginia Running Club, a community-based team where he has worked with numerous standout women distance runners, including Jessica McGuire, who qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon with a huge PR of 2:43:55, former LaSalle All-American Kathy Liever, and Martha Merz, who broke the 17 year-old American Record for 10,000 meters for runners over 45 years-old at the 2008 Penn Relays.

Jerry lives in Bethesda with his wife Michelle, who only runs when she’s chasing their son Jacob. When he’s not devising new and unique ways to whip his runners into shape, Jerry is a Trial Attorney with the United States Department of Justice.