Meet Your LAM Coach: Ezra

Learn more about the Pasadena Pacer’s LA Marathon training program.

Meet Ezra Weisz, Warm-up, Half Marathon Coach, & LAM Coach

He’s the happy, friendly guy leading our warm-ups every week while cracking jokes to make us forget it’s 7am on a Saturday. Quick to help a fellow Pacer and always looking to meet new people on his runs, Ezra embodies the Pacer spirit. We love his spunk, energy, and his YouTube Channel.

How long have you been running with the Pasadena Pacers?
A while. I think 12 years.

Why did you join our amazing club?
I wanted to expand my running community. I was running with friends, two or three at a time, but wanted to hook up with a larger group. I didn’t want to pay money to join a club (can get expensive) and I didn’t want a fundraising component to run (expensive and time consuming). I had seen Pacer shirts at a few events and thought I’d check them out.

Frankly, I was kind of drawn to the Pacers. It felt like a beacon of fate. Maybe it was the silly Pasadena Pacers logo, the one with the smiley face “P”. I would see them at races and I used to think, “what a dumb looking logo” but it really grew on me and now I love that “dumb looking logo”.

Tell us how you got started as the Warm-up and Half Marathon Coach.
When I warm up to run, I do Tai Chi (editor’s note: Ezra’s been practicing Tai Chi for 28 years) and when I started running with the Pacers I just did my exercises off to the side. It wasn’t too long before it got noticed and I was asked to lead the Pacer warm-ups.  Warming everyone up for their long runs brings me so much joy. I just want to make sure everyone is awake and ready to do their best.  My favorite moments are when we do our “Pasadena Pacers drumroll” and when we all breathe together as a community.  Those few moments we share, taking in the morning and the freshness of the day are my favorite.

Then, a few years later, the Half Marathon Coach left and Dr. Smith asked me to take it on. Haven’t looked back and love the gig. Now, I’ve taken on the Los Angeles Marathon coaching as well. This will be my 10th consecutive LAM (18 overall LAM)–39 marathons total.

Why do you stay in the Pacers (besides being a coach)?
I like to see and run with people committed to the same style of running that I am—leisurely, but goal based. I also love seeing everyone. Some people are there week after week like I am. Others come and go but I am always so happy to see people when they return (even if it’s just for one random Saturday).

Also, I now know enough people in the club and there’s a level of accountability. Or, moreover, a family has developed. We are a real community. I can show up and get what I need, but it’s bigger and better when shared with like-minded people.

Tell us about an amazing Pacer memory?
Oh, there’s a bunch. I guess the ones that stick out the most are where I really get to see I have an impact on people and they have an impact on me.

First, I’ve assisted two Pacers in separate years to finish the LA Marathon. One year it was too hot, the other too cold and raining—very serious conditions, both runners needed assistance from the medical tent after crossing the finish line. But in that last mile I was able to help them put their focus on me and get them across the finish line. I also have a challenging time at mile 25 so it was nice to have those runners to help me put my focus on them instead of myself. It was a privilege to help them and I’m glad we were there for each other.

Another memory is at one of our annual Victory Dinners. My family was there, which doesn’t happen often. A runner who was active with the Half Marathon group gave a really amazing introduction for me. In it she said, “If Ezra has ever helped you during a run, please stand up.” A bunch of people stood up. She went on to add things like “if you’ve run with him please stand”, “If he’s made you smile or laugh in the morning, please rise” …you get the point. By the end, the whole room was standing. I was so humbling. It’s a lasting image and a very touching memory and I was thrilled to share it with my family.

What do you think is the best thing about the Pacers?
Always the people. The Pacers just attract a nice quality of people. Also, we offer a nurturing environment for all runners. It’s such a good group to be a part of.

And, of course, the location. I think running with the Pacers offers the perfect blend of flat roads, trails, and hills to help train you for any run you might want to race in the country.

And, really, just being a Pacer has so many perks. It’s well organized. It’s completely volunteer run. That’s why the Green Can is so important. Plus, you’re never alone as a Pacer. You show up to a race, wear your Pacer colors, and people know the club and cheer for you. When I wear my Pacer red, I carry the club with me. Actually, I was just in Albuquerque, ran a race, and someone recognized my Pacer gear and chatted with me. The world isn’t  such a scary place when things like that happen.

Tell the folks why they should do half marathon?
It’s a distance I have complete confidence I can help anyone to achieve—healthy and happy. It’s my intention to get rid of any doubt you have. If there’s any doldrums when you run, we’ll reverse that (without being obnoxious, of course).

Do you have any secret talents?
I play sax. I played for about four years. I just play enough for someone to say “Oh, he can use that thing.” I am a voiceover actor and director. I direct a popular kids show called Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir on Netflix.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
Here’s a bunch of stuff:

  • I’m afraid of roadkill. I screech and jump. (If you’ve run with me, you probably already knew that.)
  • Before I was a runner, my first adult run was running with the bulls in Pamplona. (I survived, obviously.)
  • When I went to China to walk the great wall, I took me Pasadena Pacer shirt with me.
  • Both my parents are Holocaust survivors.
  • I’m the baby of the whole family—youngest of five and last born of all my cousins.

What do you do when you’re not running/working?
I like to watch horror movies with my daughter, plan and go on dates with my wife, and record Lego podcast with my son.

Speed Round

Longest distance: 50K (done seven times, another one soon).
Average pace: 10.5 min/mile (conversational pace).
Favorite food: BBQ chicken, fresh bread, Brussel sprouts, and spinach. (Doesn’t have to be all the same meal, but why not?)
Hometown: Freehold, NJ (known for Bruce Springsteen and the race track).
Family: wife Sabrina (married for 20 years), daughter Sarah (16 years old), and son Jacob (14).
Job: I teach Tai-Chi (my warm-up) at Occidental College. Theatre artist and director. Teach improv workshops. Voiceover director. Audience warm-up.
Horoscope: Capricorn
Running mantra: “Slow, steady, and relaxed.” or “The longer I run, the easier gets”