A Trip Down Memory Lane
Updated: Feb 13
by Coach (Ret) John Murray
For the last eight years, life has been unpredictable but exciting as a nugget of an idea about some sort of triathlon training entity in our local area expanded to what Team MPI is today. I reflect back over the years and have many great memories. This month will be my last with the company and I have been reminiscing just a bit. The story may have been told previously but for those that haven’t heard…
It was summer of 2009 and I was working as a research nurse when a training partner, Andrew Rothfeder, rehashed a 2-year-old conversation where he spoke of a triathlon strength training program at a local high-end gym that was geared to professional athletes. I had recently changed jobs and now I was working on the same campus as the high-end gym. In this second conversation, Andrew mentioned an idea about triathlon coaching and asked if I knew of another person that I would like to bring in to hear about this idea. Mark Sortino was the first name that came to mind.
Mark and I sat in Andrew’s office for a conference call with a couple guys from Colorado. They pitched their idea. It was originally framed as a USAT Certified Performance Center. This sounded like something that Mark and I could wrap our brains around and pull off. There were several more calls and the Colorado guys, Alan Ley, Joe Turcotte and Roger Heroux flew in for a face-to-face with the facility. After the meeting, that Mark and I did not attend, the guys were very enthusiastic about moving forward. At that point, Mark and I were unsure about what are exact roles would be.
At some point, we asked for clarification…”so, are we just going to be salaried coaches for you?” They chuckled, “No, we are just coming up with the idea, it’s up to you to make the whole thing work!”
Now begins the true inception of the company. Mark and I decided after a few weeks to either go all in or go home. We knew that to make the idea come to fruition we would have to quit our jobs and dedicate everything to starting a triathlon coaching company.
From that decision, we have been working hard, having fun and living the dream. So many great times and memories…
Here are just a few-
The naming of Multisport Performance Institite - January, 21 2010 Top: me, Alan Ley, Roger Heroux Bottom: Mark, Michelle Cox, Joe Turcotte
Mark and I signed up for USAT Level 1 coaching. The class was held in Colorado Springs and we met with the team that had the idea. After attending the class, Roger and his wife Peggy, had us over dinner. Following dinner, we had a fun time coming up with a name for the company. Eventually we settled on Multisport Performance Institute!
Multisport Performance Institute is incorporated - January 26, 2010 Me and Mark with attorney Steve Shell. We didn’t waste any time.
First company deposit - Summer 2010 Mark does a bike fit and gets the first deposit into our company account. We both still have our fulltime jobs!
Maritime DeLuna Du - March 27, 2011 The kids’ races!! We began both the Sea Turtle Tri and the Maritime DeLuna Du early on. Both of these races, thankfully, live on through our local triathlon club.
The Portofino Tri Series - 2011 - 2017 Seven years of this successful series and thousands of great memories! This particular race stood out because one athlete invited a big crowd of friends and family to celebrate her birthday by doing a triathlon with her! Happy Birthday, Angela!
Working with Team USA Paratriathlon - March 2014 It has been an honor to help coach some of the most dedicated athletes out there! And what triathlon coach doesn’t want to coach on the deck of the Olympic Training Center??
Team Semper Fi Camps - 2013 - 2017 Since this first camp in April 2013, Team MPI has enjoyed a successful partnership with this fantastic charity that benefits wounded veterans.
Since our humble beginnings, Mark and I wanted to stand out as a coaching company that had a bigger footprint than just Pensacola, FL. Here at our first Coaches Retreat in 2017 we have a few laughs trying to take a group photo. Team MPI now has 18 coaches in 12 states!
It's humbling to think about the hundreds of athletes I've had the opportunity to work with to help them prepare for thousands of race starts. Our desire to foster multisport participation grew into so many races, camps, clinics, and coaching opportunities at national and international levels. Through all of these experiences I've met so many incredible people.
Just as our seed of an idea took root and blossomed, so can the seed of an athlete's dream!
It has been a lot of work, but even more fun to have been on this journey. I can always look back at these last eight years with no regrets and say to my “business” partner and say “well done, buddy, well done!”
We wish Coach John and Kelly a wonderful journey ahead and look forward to their updates from the road!