Improving diversity in endurance sports


Today, Black (and Brown) Americans face stubborn gaps between their economic position and that of white people:

  • $220 billion annual wage disparity
  • Underrepresentation
  • Paid less than white workers… within the same occupational categories, especially in managerial and leadership roles.

Two initiatives could make a big difference:

  1. Unblocking pipelines into higher-paying professions.
  2. Creating pathways to better careers

-Shelly Stewart III, Duwain Pinder, and Michael Chui

(Harvard Business Review: July 14, 2021)


In the wake of 2020’s horrific human rights violations (from Ahmaud Arbery to George Floyd) stemming from racism, COCI Founder Matt Fitzgerald woke up each day next to his (black) wife determined to do more to build (her) a safer world, a better world. To build a fairer world for his personal coaching mentees that he saw great promise in (like run coach & race director Bertrand Newson).

He resolved to play his part within his sphere of influence. He was determined to sway the disproportionate access to resources, wealth, seats/voices at the table, and job opportunities in endurance sport by creating & founding the Coaches of Color Initiative.


Angelina Ramos, Board Member


Coaches of Color Initiative’s primary mission is providing meaningful support and opportunities for people of color aspiring to successful careers as endurance coaches.

COCI offers selected minority coaches an apprenticeship and breaks down the barriers to great coaching mentorship and removes barriers to both start-up as well as sustained financial stability in the endurance coaching world. 

COCI offers a world renown endurance-sport author and coach (Matt Fitzgerald) along with a diverse, accomplished advisory board opening their rolodex of networks to a selected apprentice.

By providing connections, competency (endurance course access for learning development), and confidence through mentorship with the advisory board, the initiative aims to unblock pipelines to leadership roles and create a pathway to financially sustainable coaching professions.

Jessica's story

Let's do this -- together

What we do

We Find

The Coaches of Color Initiative (COCI) operates by awarding apprenticeship grants. Applicants are sought through various public channels with a new window opening every year. To qualify, prospective applicants must identify as a person of color/racial minority and have an established interest in pursuing a career as an endurance coach. Grant recipients are selected by the 80/20 Endurance Advisory Board based on review of an application form and personal statement.

We Fund

The chosen individuals receives financial assistance covering the following: website start-up/updates ($500), business coaching through Coach Michelle Lake’s Dream to Six Program ($2800 across 9 months), admission in Dr. Lara Pence’s 8-12 week intensive Coaching Collective ($1500), Coaching education ($200 8020 Endurance Mastery Course), and an all-expenses-paid trip to Dream Run Camp ($1000) to coach in-person and experience all DRC amenities.

We Support

The ultimate goal is to leave grant recipients fully prepared to prosper as an endurance coach when the apprenticeship concludes. Apprenticeship alumni will also be encouraged to remain professionally involved with 80/20 Endurance as mentors to future grant recipients and in other ways. Applicants who are not selected do not come away empty-handed: They may take part in the COCI instagram learning community as well as receive discounted certification as an 80/20 Endurance coach. Once you’ve completed the certification, you may be included in the 80/20 Minority Endurance Coach Database in order that those specificially searching for a coach of color may find you more easily! 

We Enable

Apprenticeship grant recipients undergo a comprehensive apprenticeship experience that includes certification as an 80/20 Endurance coach, one-on-one mentoring sessions with COCI advisors,  involvement in various 80/20 Endurance coaching activities such as creating coaching content including your own mini-course and an 8020 Endurance podcast, and participation in forum discussions,