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about THE


John Stevenson

I have been coaching high school cross country since 2010. I am currently the head boy's and girl's cross country coach and the head coach for the boys track and field team at Sarasota High School. 

I have coached several adults in endurance running and triathlons.

After college, I became hooked on running. I started running to stay in shape but realized I want to test myself and my body with endurance running. I competed in my first 5k when I was 24 years old and found racing to be exhilarating, which caused me to compete in more races from 5k to full marathon. I also competed in triathlons from all distances from sprints to a full Ironman.  I love the competitive nature endurance sports have on oneself by able to train your body and mind for a goal.

As a distance coach, I focus training young athletes to become more athletic and working on mechanics of running form. A lot of my coaching influence has come through being mentored by Dr. Alan King and the legendary Coach John Cook. The culture of the program is to work hard, build strength, and drive towards success.

I currently live in Sarasota, Florida with my wife Abby and our two sons, Ben and Luke (picture). 

  • 2018 4A Boys Florida Cross Country State Championship

  • 10 x Cross Country District Championships

  • 5 x Cross Country Regional Championships

  • 1 x Track & Field Regional Championship

  • 2 x Track & Fields District Championships

  • 3 x Girls Florida Cross Country State Runner-ups (2012, 2015, 2018)

  • 3 x Boys Florida Cross Country State Individual Champion (2015, 2017, 2018)

  • 2016 Boys Florida 3200 meter individual state champion

  • 2014 Girls Florida 800 meter individual state champion

  • 2014 Girls Florida 1600 meter individual state champion

  • 9 x Sarasota Herald Tribune Cross Country Coach of the Year.

  • 2 x Sarasota Herald Tribune Track & Field Coach of the Year.

  • 2018 4A Boys Florida Cross Country Coach of the Year

Ed Sera - USATF Level 2 Coach

I have been coaching track and field for 20 years in Sarasota County. For the past 15 years, I have had an athlete qualify for the state championship meet every year. Assistant cross country coach since 2015, where my focus is on strength and conditioning of distance runners.


In running events, my athletes have competed in the 100, 200, 400, 100/110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, and 400 meter runs in the state meet.


In field events, my athletes have competed in the long jump, triple jump, and high jump at the state meet.


In 2017 and 2018, I coached Jaasiel Torres to back to back Florida State Championships in the High Jump. In 2018, Jaasiel jumped over 7 feet and was ranked number 6 in the country, earning a full scholarship to the University of North Florida.

In 2019, Robbie Peterson broke the school record in the triple jump by earning a Florida Station Championship with a jump over 47 feet.

Other Sports:

Sarasota High girls basketball for 10 years, making the Final 8 in 2007, 2009, 2011.

Football for 8 years at Sarasota High.

Girls weightlifting for 5 years at Sarasota High, sending two athletes to the state championship in 2018.

I have lived in Sarasota for 25 years with my wife and two daughters who are both in college.

  • 2 x state champion in high jump

  • State qualifiers in 100 m, 200 m, 100/110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 400 m, HJ, TJ, LJ

  • 2 x Track & Fields District Championships


I have been coaching High School Cross Country and Track at Sarasota High since 2004 as a volunteer coach.  I have loved running since junior high school and believe that the sport develops discipline, demands dedication and teaches delayed gratification.  Learning that hard work usually, but not always, pays off helps you build for a successful and happy life!

I have been a team physician for several US distance runners in the past for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics as well as several World Championship under the leadership of the legendary coach John Cook. These athletes have included medalists Shannon Rowbury, Shalane Flanagan and Leo Manzano. Other Olympic athletes included David Torrence (RIP David) and Erin Donague, as well as a number of nationally ranked athletes. Working with Coach Cook, we were able to usher the new era of our highly successful program that Coach Stevenson has remarkably built upon for the Sota Distance Project.

Dr. Alan King

Although retried from competition, I had run competitively for over 40 years, including High school, D- 3 (almost D-4!) College Cross Country and Track. I have had extensive experience road racing and have ran over 50 marathons, including Boston eight times.  After being a top local age group and masters runner, logging a near 100,000 miles of running, I am now a fitness runner and do a fair amount of cross training with circuit boxing and spinning.


I am a full-time physician at Sarasota Memorial specializing in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. I teach as a core faculty member of FSU the Internal Residency Progam at SMH.  I have been mentoring high school, college, medical students and physicians over the last two decades. 


I am a lover of Reggae music and live in Nokomis with my two standard red poodles, Ziggy and Zara.

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Emily Harding (Currently volunteer coaching at the University of Minnesota)

I graduated from Sarasota High School in 2014 where I competed in cross country and track and played volleyball and basketball. As a senior, in my first year running cross country, I was part of the 2013 Girls State Runner-up team. On the track, I hold 2014 State Championship titles for both the 1600- and 800-meter races, along with six Sarasota High School records. My track event was the 400-meter dash until Coach Stevenson recruited me to run the 800-meter and finally my senior year I ran the 1600- and 3200-m. Continuing my athletic career in college, I ran cross country and track for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. I graduated in May 2018 with a degree in Public Health and a minor in Athletic Coaching. This year, I returned to Sarasota High to help coach the Sailor cross country team to two podium finishes at the state championship meet. My dad runs marathons, (hence my start in running), and has finished Boston 12 years in a row and counting!

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