for those who love the outdoors

25 June, 2024


Passion to profession

Hello. John Beattie here. I’m delighted to get started with sharing content here on Outside and Active. Whilst I may have met some of you after speaking at past editions of The National Running Show, I’d like to use this first piece to share my story in a little more detail.

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From there, we’ll get into the regular content, which will be based on experiences picked up over the past 23-years in the sport of running as both an athlete and as a coach.

I’ve tried to condense the last 25 years into a few paragraphs. As you’ll see, the entirety of my adult life has revolved around running.

The early days – Finding my running feet

As a child I absolutely loved sports. Football, cricket, squash, golf, badminton, hockey – You name it, I’d be willing to get stuck in and have a go.

Whilst I’ll never claim to be the person who was ‘picked last’ at sports, I never particularly excelled at anything, and was desperate to find a sport that I could be good at. My dad worked with a lot of professional sports people, and I wanted to be like the people he worked with who were at the top of their game.

After trying lots of different sports, I thought why not give running a try? I looked for races in the area and found myself entering the Great South Run 10-mile road race. It was there, as a 16-year-old, I ran a time of 59 minutes 35 seconds, finishing 75th out of the 10,000 runners. Whilst I didn’t know the significance of the result at the time, I knew instantly that it felt amazing.

Going all in

The experience I had after crossing that finish line must have been the ‘runners high’ that people talk about. Whatever it was, I wanted more. I joined a club, started training and running became front and center of importance in my life.

Things progressed very quickly over the next few years from club, to county, to regional, to national, and then international level at track, road, and cross country running.

Highs moments include representing England at the Commonwealth Games, finishing in the top 20 of the London Marathon, and winning a gold medal at the European Cross Country Championship. But there have also been many lows, such as horrible injuries, giving everything then missing targets, or being wheel-chaired away from my first marathon.

Turning passion to profession

Going from a keen-teen into my 20s, I was all in on running. I spent three years in the US studying and running as part of an athletics scholarship at a university, and then from there ended up in Loughborough as part of the Great Britain squad training setup.

As my 20s turned to 30s, whilst I was good at running, I was very aware that it wasn’t something that I could earn a living from for years to come.

I decided to start applying for full-time jobs. Despite what I thought to be a strong CV including a law degree and MBA from America, I didn’t even come close to landing a job.

Perhaps this was a good thing, because I remember thinking ‘if the job market doesn’t want me, then why not create my own job instead’?

What do I know lots about? What am I good at? What do I enjoy talking about? No prizes for guessing my answer… Running. Could I really turn my passion into profession and earn money from it? Only one way to find out.

I worked through the coaching qualifications to get certified and then declared myself a full-time running coach.

Was it easy to start? Did the clients come flooding in? Did know what I was doing to run a business? Emphatically no to all these things, but over time and with a lot of help from some amazing people, I managed to get things going.

I re-branded from the highly original ‘John Beattie Fitness’ to Move Better Run Better, and things started to gain momentum. Runners I helped were smashing PBs, getting great results, and as such more people were coming to me for coaching. My partner Lilly made the decision a few years in to join me full time, and the coaching team has subsequently grown over time as well.

To date my team and I have now coached hundreds of marathon runners around the world to smash PBs and achieve things they previously thought beyond them. Whether that be good for age, championship qualifying, sub-3, or sub-4, one of the best feelings for me now is seeing everything come together for people when it really matters.

To this day, I’m very grateful that running has been so kind to me. I’m loving still trying to keep up with the youngsters in my own competitions, and these days get just as much joy in helping other ambitious runners to work towards and achieve their own goals.

Thanks for reading, I’m very excited to be contributing to Outside and Active, and look forward to sharing things that have served myself and many others well over the past two decades.


John Beattie

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John Beattie is a coach who helps ambitious marathon runners achieve their ultimate goals in both running and life, through 1:to:1 online coaching.

John has also been an elite runner for many years, and has represented Great Britain and England in track, cross country and road running.

Although now focussed primarily on coaching, John is keen to lead by example and show older runners that ‘age is just a number.’ Now in his late 30s, and 23 years into his own running journey, he is still competing at a national level and remains under 30-minutes for 10k in 2024.

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