Dave Caldwell, Head Coach

I am forever in-debt to Ethan for his belief in my system of training, and more importantly, enduring the process. Ethan's improvement is what lead to Amara and Kiley joining the program, and then officially, Whisper Running was formed.

I am forever in-debt to Ethan for his belief in my system of training, and more importantly, enduring the process. Ethan's improvement is what lead to Amara and Kiley joining the program, and then officially, Whisper Running was formed.

My coaching career began in 1997 at the Community Colleges of Spokane, where I gained six-years of experience working with the multi-event athletes (heptathletes and decathletes), jumpers, distance runners, and sprinters.  From there, I moved onto colleges in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington, leading competitive programs at Mt. Hood Community College and Clark College, all the while coaching countless All-Americans and Conference Championships in events ranging from the 100m to the 10k in track, as well as the Cross-Country 5k (women) and 8k (men). 

My commitment to all of my runners is unwavering.  It is my objective to study their kinetics, understand and enhance their psychology and motives for running, enhance their physical and psychological skillsets as a runner, and help each of them reach their potential in events ranging from the 100m through the 5k.  This means every runner, whether a sprinter or a distance runner, should be able to see improvements and run respectable times following each training cycle.  I understand runners will want to focus on specific events, however it is important to be able to have both top-end speed, as well as the physical and emotional endurance to sustain high levels of speed-endurance.

I earned my Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science and then my Masters of Science in Sport & Exercise Psychology.  Though my degrees have landed me a nice career at Clark College where I teach adult health and physical education classes, Whisper Running has enabled me to implement my degrees further into each training session.  Whether an athlete needs general conditioning, speed-endurance training, anxiety management, or simply to learn how to run and race, it is my objective to help runners reach their running goals.

To remain sharp in the field of Sport Psychology, I speak at annual coaching clinics on topics such as Goal Setting, Visualization, Anxiety Management, and more, providing tangible strategies coaches can implement the next day at their practice.  Appreciating the influence a coach may have on an athlete, I am highly sensitive to what and how I communicate for the betterment of my runner’s progress.  Teaching about communication, self-talk and developing self-confidence is paramount in a positive, healthy, and sustainable working relationship with a middle school and high school runner.  I recognize that in addition to developing a runner, I am also developing person who will learn to set goals in many facets of their lives, become a better peer and citizen, and live a healthy lifestyle. 

Sport Psychology and Exercise Science are fields of study I implement in my own life on a daily basis.  I raced in the 400m and 800m in both high school and college and in my late 30’s began racing in local, national, and international half and full marathons.  I am driven to remain in peak condition so that I can run with the groups of runners that I train during each practice, ensuring that they are running their prescribed pace during each workout.  I have had the blessing of qualifying numerous times for both the New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon, having run Boston twice so far.

Why Whisper?

When my daughter entered middle school cross-country, I was impressed by her head coaches knowledge and enthusiasm, as well as his ability to juggle over 100 middle school runners (all girls).  However, as I began to look around the conference, I noticed a severe need for off-season training.  Many kids attend their track or cross-country practice, only to stand around and/or socialize, not knowing or realizing that track and cross-country are very real sports and they might be able to do fairly well if they are provided with the appropriate training and support system in which to do so.  Running training is a real science, both psychologically and physically.  Like any other sport, running needs off-season training in order to maximize ones potential during season.  As I looked around the middle school conference, I saw this need for off-season training and in October 2016, after coaching for over 20-years, Whisper Running was formed. 

If you are still reading this, then I want to thank you for your time thus far.  Please send me an email using the contact link (above right) so we can get your child started in training for the up-coming season!


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Robert Williams, Assistant Coach

Robert (Bob) Williams joined the Whisper Running staff during the summer of 2017. Presently, Coach Bob is the Head XCTF Coach for the Clark College Penguins in Vancouver, WA. Coach Williams specializes in coaching distance runners. In his first year at Clark, Williams coached two athletes to All-American status in the Men’s 3k steeplechase and the Women’s 5k. He ran cross country and track, competing in the 3,000M steeplechase at NCAA Division I power house, University of Oregon.  He had the honor of being mentored by famed coach and Nike, Inc. co-founder Bill Bowerman, as well as Olympian, Bill Dellinger. After leaving Oregon, Williams earned his Bachelors in Health Education from Portland State University. He went on to teach health and sciences classes while helping coach the state champion cross-country team at Scappoose High School.  He also coached the wrestling team at Rainier High School prior to beginning his 25-year career at St. Helens High School.
In 2014, Williams took on the role of head coach for both the cross-country and track and field teams at Clark College and has a goal of building solid and competitive teams. He is no stranger to building strong programs.  While coaching at St. Helens High School, Williams coached three state champion athletes, several district champions, and helped coach the team to their first Oregon State Track and Field Championship in 2007. William’s former distance athlete, Ryan Waite, earned state champion and All-American honors in the 800M posting a 1:50.67.  Waite went on to compete at Brigham Young University. Coach Williams brings his experience, passion, and love of the sport to Whisper. If you were to speak to Williams’ athletes, you would likely hear that Bob’s quiet, reflective nature, consistent demeanor, good sense of humor, and genuine interest in developing adults of strong character are what set him apart as a coach and mentor. Coach Williams lives in Battleground, WA.  He has two sons of his own (Jeremy and Brandon Williams), and one grandsons (Tarance).


Hillary McKinstry, Assistant Distance Coach

Hillary (left) with her daughter, Ashley.

Hillary (left) with her daughter, Ashley.

“I first started running in elementary school with my school’s track program.  At 11 years old I ran my first 5K and was hooked.  I grew up in Southern California and went to Yucaipa High School where I ran both cross country and track, primarily competing in the 1600m and 3200m.  After high school I attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where I ran cross country and track, competing in the 3000m and 5000m.  I still love running but these days prefer the longer distances and have moved into the world of ultra-trail running.  I have 4 children, all who run, and nothing gives me more joy than to be able to run with them.  I started working with Coach Dave and the Whisper Running kids and love the excitement and dedication each one of them has.  I am excited to be able to share my experiences and love of running with them.


Hilary Garrison, Assistant Sprint Coach

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Hilary Garrison is a sprint/jump coach with experience coaching high school track for over 10 years. Hilary’s track career began in high school where she was a three-time Oregon state champion in the 100 meter and long jump, as well as four-time state champion runner up in the triple jump and a 200 meter. After high school Hilary excepted a scholarship to run for the University of Oregon and enjoyed a successful collegiate career as a sprinter and jumper.
Hilary has since coached at multiple high schools (Thanks to career moves), and has now settled back into the Pacific Northwest. High schools that include Oregon Espicopal school (OES), Mountain View High school in Bend Oregon, South Eugene and Excel Christian school in Sparks Nevada. In addition to coaching high school track Hilary has worked in speed and mobility with athletes across multiple sports. She has a passion for coaching middle and high school and loves diving into the fundamental of speed and agility with her athletes.


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Kyle Leif, Physical Therapist

Kyle is Physical Therapist with over 10 years of experience treating sports and orthopedic injuries.  He is certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Sports (SCS) and Orthopedics (OCS). He also holds certifications as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (SCS) and Running Coach (RRCA Level 1). Kyle is a PT at Washougal Sport and Spine and specializes in running.  He uses a combination approach that is individualized to each patient to treat and prevent injuries and improve performance. As a runner, Kyle has been running marathons and ultra marathons or over 15 years, but now with younger children he also enjoys local 5k and fun runs.