Heartbreaker Highlight | Dave Coligado

Meet our newest Heartbreaker Highlight: Dave Coligado! I met Dave at our Heartbreaker Boston Marathon afterparty in 2018. Flyer Jordan Donnelly introduced me and said “if you ever want to do anything in Chicago, Dave is the guy you have to talk to.” Well, Heartbreak went to Chicago and Dave was crucial in making it happen. Let’s get to know Dave! 

Dan Fitzgerald: When/how did your running journey start?


Dave Coligado: About 16 years ago I was 300+ pounds. My doctor said I was going to have a heart attack at 25. That day I decided to commit to walking 20-30' a day, 3x a week. Months and months later, I eventually started running / walking 2-3 miles a day 4x a week. 5 years later and 100 pounds less, I got to a point where I was able to run 4-5 miles without stopping.  I decided to sign up for my first half marathon at the 2008 Brooklyn Half and was hooked. Running went from being a necessary evil to something I truly enjoyed. From there, the rest is history.

Ok, Dave, how many marathons have you run? Which was your favorite? Most memorable?


To date, 71 marathon / ultra marathons. My favorite was the Queenstown Marathon in NZ because of how picturesque it was but the most memorable was my first Boston Marathon. The crowds going absolutely bananas for 26.2 miles and running down Boylston to the finish line is unlike anything I've ever experienced in a race.

I know you’ve been a key founder of a few running groups in Chicago. You also have extensive coaching experience. Like me, you were an Nike+ Run Club coach, you’ve worked with Lululemon, you’ve founded your own groups, personally coached many athletes... What has coaching and being a leader taught you about running?


That's a tough one because I'm still learning every day. Here are some of the big ones I find important. 1) Each goal doesn't have a set timeline, it may take a training cycle or three, it make take a years. Getting to that goal is like chopping down a tree. It'll take a number of swings but you'll eventually take it down. 2) Never compare yourself to the person running next to you. Be your own athlete, set your own goals, run your race both on and off the road. 3) Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I feel like the marathon starts at mile 20 and your ability to embrace that pain will pay off at the finish line and beyond. 4) The power of a group is amazing. Having someone to push you, hold you accountable, and look after you can help you immensely in becoming a better runner. 5) Failure is not failing. Learn from your setbacks and mistakes. Some of setbacks (ex. missing my first BQ attempt by 40 seconds) motivate and prepare you for an awesome comeback.

When you’re not running, what are you up?

On a plane trying to find a more remote place to visit than the last time or seeing a new country I haven't been to.

Aside from your home city of Chicago, where is/was your most favorite run?

I've got to say New Zealand. It takes a long time to get there, but it's definitely worth it. The trails, paths, landscape, and terrain are absolutely are unlike anywhere else I've been to in the world.

What’s your favorite thing about the Heartbreakers?

I don't even know where to start on this one. Right from the get-go, I felt very welcomed by everyone and the community in both Boston and Chicago is truly inclusive. At any given Heartbreaker event, you meet someone new and it's not difficult to strike up a conversation at all. We runners are an interesting bunch and sometimes at different run events, it's like an awkward middle school dance where people are afraid to talk with each other. The Heartbreakers truly work hard and play hard, but bring everyone along for the journey.