JASON KARP, PhD | Chief Running Officer
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People often ask me how I became an expert on running.
The truth is, it was entirely expected.
It started with a race once around the track in sixth grade in Marlboro, New Jersey. A year after my father died when I was 8 years old, my mother moved our family to New Jersey from Brooklyn, New York. Wanting to shield her twin sons from the dangers of the New York public school system, we moved to the suburbs. I still have my New York edge—you can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the boy. Instead of getting myself into trouble on the streets of Brooklyn, I grew up playing baseball and soccer and running track in the Jersey suburbs. And it was intoxicating. The passion that I found as a kid for the science of athletic performance (one of my earliest questions was how a baseball pitcher throws a curve ball) placed me on a yellow brick road that I’m still following all these years later as a coach, exercise physiologist, author, speaker, and educator. I may have inherited my love of sports from my mother, who played softball, basketball, and competed in the roller derby.
After four years in college working in the biomechanics laboratory with the professors and graduate students, I continued my education in Canada before coming back to the U.S. I went on to study muscle fiber recruitment patterns during eccentric contractions, metabolic causes of fatigue during exercise, nutritional strategies for post-workout recovery, and the relationship between breathing and stride rate in runners. Over the years, I have been most interested in the outermost limits of human physical performance.
After completing my PhD in 2007, I took the road less traveled by PhDs and moved to San Diego, California, where I didn’t know anyone, instead of pursuing a university faculty position. There’s something about the palm trees and runner-friendly climate that have kept my attention, because I have been living there ever since. It was hard, at first, to build a career alone, but I believed in myself and, perhaps arrogantly, believed there will always be an opportunity for someone with a PhD. Having received the IDEA National Personal Trainer of the Year award in 2011 and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership award in 2014, I figured I must be doing something right.
It didn’t take long working in the fitness industry to notice that despite running being the most popular, primal, and effective exercise, it is largely neglected in the industry. So I decided to create a running certification program—REVO₂LUTION RUNNING™—for fitness professionals and coaches.
In the three-year interim between completing my master’s degree and starting my PhD, I figured I should put my college English minor to use and started writing articles for fitness and coaching trade magazines. That grew to articles in national consumer magazines and eventually to books. I’m proud to have authored more than 400 published articles and eight books. My best-known titles include The Inner Runner, Run Your Fat Off, and Running a Marathon For Dummies.
Running has taken me all over the U.S. and the world, including running with the Kenyans in Kenya, coaching at colleges and high schools from Lakewood to La Jolla, teaching certification courses and speaking at conferences from Taiwan to Turkey, and competing at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel.
• PhD in Exercise Physiology with minor in Physiology, Indiana University
• Master of Kinesiology, University of Calgary
• Bachelor of Science in Exercise & Sport Science with minor in English, Penn State University
• MBA in Entrepreneurship, San Diego State University (in progress)
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