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MEET THE COACHES & STAFF

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HAYDEN COX

Head Coach

Hayden founded Railroad to offer athletes an elite coaching experience, regardless of their pace. He believes that no matter your goal, you deserve a coach that will work with you with the same passion and resources offered at the NCAA D1 and professional levels. He sums up his training philosophy in 3 steps.

  1. Prioritize long term over short term

  2. Create and sustain consistency in training & in life

  3. Vary workouts & paces throughout a training cycle


In his 9 years of Athletics coaching, including stints at the High School and NCAA DI levels, Hayden has helped countless athletes achieve their dreams during his career. Here's a sampling:

National-Class Results

  • 5th, Melissa Anastasakis @ 2022 Greek XC Championships (8k XC)

  • 8th, Allen Sumrall @ 2023 Garry Bjorkland Half Marathon

  • 10th, Megan Wagenaar @ 2022 Canadian Outdoor Track Championships (Steeple)

  • 12th, Allen Sumrall @ 2023 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships (3000m)

  • 14th, Jordan West @ 2022 USATF 25k Road Championships

  • 16th, Allen Sumrall @ 2021 USA Half Marathon Road Championships

  • 16th, Anna West @ 2021 USA 15k Road Championships

  • 16th, Michaela Reinhart @ 2023 USATF XC Championships

  • 17th, Allen Sumrall @ 2023 USA Outdoor Championships (10k)

  • 26th, Cassidy Heaton @ 2022 Chicago Marathon (2:39:08)

Hayden is particularly proud of how each athlete developed. Melissa started as a 1500m runner. Yet, in her first postcollegiate season, she improved her aerobic strength to earn 5th in her country. Megan had never raced a steeplechase before, but wanted the best possible national finish. In her first year, she earned top 10 in Canada. Allen's PR's have dropped from (5k) 14:29 to 13:57, (10k) 29:44 to 28:44, and (Half) 66:32 to 64:13 in only a year. Anna has seen similar success: she debuted the Half in Spring 2022 with a strong 75:51 and has already dropped that to 73:40. When Cassidy joined Railroad, her Marathon PR was 2:51 and she'd never broken 18 for 5k. Now, she's the North Carolina 5k State Champion in a race she won in 16:48. She followed that up with a 12min PR in the Marathon, running 2:39 in Chicago. 

Hayden stresses that these national-class results, while​ fast and fun, are as meaningful to him as the countless PR's and podiums like: 

  • Scott Beardsley earns his first race win and sets PR's in the 5k, 10k, and Half. 

  • Emma Allison BQ's and sets a huge PR (placing 2nd) in her first marathon with Railroad.

  • Grace Marmaras improves her Half by 19 minutes and finishes her first marathon.

  • Taylor Smith sets a PR on the notoriously difficult Austin Half course

  • Brody Wooten sets 5k and 10k PR's and several age group wins

  • Eli Decker places 2nd & PR's at Run for the Water 10 miler

  • EJ Porras & Taylor Smith set Mile PR's together at the Schrader Mile

  • Liam Collins sets a course best at the Austin Half

  • Braden Videon sets a 5k PR

Hayden claims Kevin Jermyn and Rita Gary as his biggest coaching influences. He has previously held coaching positions at Elon University (Assistant Cross Country/Distance Track Coach), Chattahoochee High School (Assistant XC Coach), Furman Running Camp (Assistant Director), Furman Running Club (Head Coach), and C.C.R.C. (Head Coach).

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MARK HADLEY

Assistant Coach

Mark's coaching journey began in 2013 when he collaborated with his high school cross country coach to write his team’s training plan. That year he went on to win the Ohio Cross Country State Championship and earned a full D1 athletic scholarship to Furman. He's been addicted to the sport ever since,


A self-avowed overthinker, Mark has spent the past 15 years refining his knowledge of Athletics through countless hours of study and practice. Before it became the Railroad motto, Mark embraced the "One Step at a Time" mentality as an athlete and coach, getting the job done patiently without need for pomp or circumstance.


Mark is driven to help self-motivated athletes improve, finding just as much joy in helping athletes finish their first 5k as helping them qualify for Boston. He's even been known to hop in races and pace his athletes all the way to the finish. Here are a few of his favorite Railroad memories to date:


  • Running his 1st Marathon with Caitlyn Hadley, pacing her to a BQ!

  • Running his 2nd Marathon with Sammy O, pacing her to a BQ!

  • Taylor Hadley breaks 19:30 in the 5k

  • Kaitlyn Burk overcomes a prolonged bout with mono to earn a college roster spot at Stephen F. Austin

  • Christian Dang completes three marathons in three months in his 50's

  • Jessi Bentley gets 3rd at the Cleveland Marathon four months removed from getting hit by a car and breaking a rib

  • Nicole Mackey runs a Boston Qualifying 3:18 at the California International Marathon 

  • Lauren Stroud gets second at Austin Cross leading the Railroad Women to a team victory

  • quadragenarian, Juliana Neelbauer runs 5:53 in the mile, breaking 6:00 for the first time since high school

  • Christian May runs 3:05 at Indianapolis qualifying for the Boston Marathon


​Mark claims John Phillips, Whitney Resch, Rob Mizicko & Chris Neal as his biggest coaching influences. He embraces Railroad as an unconventional way to coach athletes while balancing his full-time corporate job and most importantly, a happy relationship with his wife.

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WILL THEISS

Media Associate

Think we look fast? Thank Will.

Will's passion and drive for photography and Athletics are evidenced in his top notch shots of our team. Like our athletes, Will has a tireless work ethic and willingness to learn.

Will joins our team following in the footsteps of his friend and teammate, Pierce Townsend, whose time at Railroad gave him a launchpad to become one of the best photographers in his niche. Will's trajectory is just as exciting and he is a bona fide rising star in our sport.

Keep an eye out for the man behind the camera!

If you like Will's work, he also accepts freelance work. Based out of Austin, TX, check him out @will_theiss.

Coaches & Staff: Meet the Staff
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