Warren MacPhail is regarded one of the most respected runners and triathletes on the North Shore. He has been dedicated to long distance running since graduating from North Adams State College where played basketball and ran cross country.
MacPhail, 53, is still very active on the circuit. And importantly to the highly competitive athlete, he’s still winning races. Last Sunday, MacPhail prevailed over 74 other competitors of all ages to win the Beat The Tide Road Race run along Nahant Beach. MacPhail covered the 3.2-mile course on the beach in 20:12.
It was MacPhail’s second major win in three days. Last Thursday night, MacPhail was first in the Nahant Beach Triathlon, completing a sweep of this summer’s races.
“Warren’s amazing,” said Artie Gray of Winthrop, a friend and fellow long-distance runner. “He’s also a great coach. He taught my kids in school and he was my daughter Aubrey’s coach at Winthrop High and she went on to be a three-year captain at St. Joseph’s College. He’s the best. I met him at the Winthrop Hospital. I was the director of pharmacy there and he was working there as a youngster. I’ve known him for over 30 years. He’s like the mayor of Winthrop. He’s everybody’s friend.”
Triathlons Now His Specialty
MacPhail has been competing in national and world championship triathlons for three decades. In addition to his string of victories in Nahant, he has been a consistent top-tier finisher in his age group at regional events.
The handsome, 6-foot triathlete has also caught the attention of athletic attire companies, calling on him to compete under their company banner.
MacPhail’s success has not gone unnoticed among his peers on the North Shore.
“Warren is very dedicated to the sport and I respect all his accomplishments in coaching, running, and triathlons,” said Bob Levine, director of the Nahant Beach Triathlon.
Said Stephen Boudreau, former Saugus High assistant basketball coach and long-distance runner, “He’s just a great guy who personifies what sports is all about. He’s dedicated and always helping out runners with his knowledge and experience. I remember I was coaching at Saugus and Warren hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Today that would have been a game-winning three-pointer.”
Building a Program at Fisher College
MacPhail is currently the men’s and women’s cross country and track coach at Fisher College in Boston. The teams are running “virtual” meets this fall due to the coronavirus.
“I’m trying to build a program where runners on the North Shore and the South Shore, if they want to continue running at a small school on the Charles River, – the opportunity is there,” said MacPhail.
Fisher College athletes, some of whom competed in Sunday’s race in Nahant, said MacPhail is inspiring them through his coaching.
Samantha Nelson, a sophomore from Rye, N.Y., said, “He’s encouraging, supportive, and pushes us to be better.
“He’s awesome coach, he’s motivating and always pushes you to do better,” said Tatiana Lopez of Houston, Texas.
Fisher student Ethan Menard of Suffield Connecticut said MacPhail “really help me practice and run better.”
Maurice Gayetay of Providence said he learned of his coach’s reputation as a superb triathlete and long-distance runner. “I know he’s not only of the one of the greatest coaches but also one of the greatest coaches and he proves that every time he goes on the course,” said Gayetay. “I’ve learned so much from him. That’s why I want to keep running – he’s very inspiring and motivating. I want to compete at the highest level possible like he does. It’s impressive what he’s done.”
Danny Morel of the Bronx, N.Y, said, “He’s an amazing coach. Last season was my first year running and he built me up to where I could win a meet.”
Interestingly, MacPhail’s Fisher College teams are training two days a week at Deer Island in Winthrop.
Teaching and Coaching in the Winthrop Schools
MacPhail is a fourth grade teacher at the Arthur T. Cummings Elementary School. This is his 29th year in the profession in the Winthrop school system.
“I like being in Winthrop,” said MacPhail. “I feel like everybody who leaves Winthrop as a teacher, when I talk to them, they tell me that they miss teaching here. You don’t get that close got-your-back feel that you have here, I know my colleagues would do anything for me and I would do anything for them and you don’t get that everywhere.”
MacPhail’s two children, Corman and Fiona, are both graduates of Winthrop High School. Cormac, an outstanding runner himself and a future WHS Hall of Famer, is a student at the University of New Hampshire. Fiona, also a versatile track athlete at WHS, is a freshman at New York University.
“I have to say coaching my children has to be the best experience of my career,” said MacPhail.
MacPhail was an assistant coach on Peter Grimes’s staff for the 1995 state championship boys basketball team. “A lot of my coaching techniques comes from Peter,” said MacPhail. “I also learned a lot from Coach Pat McGee. She was so competitive, it was win or nothing. She would knock down a lot to beat you. And then as a young guy I got to watch Tony Fucillo coach every day and run his practices. Tony Fucillo is just an amazing coach. He’s a teacher-coach so I got to see him do it right. I was lucky. I got to see some really good people.”
MacPhail has advanced the careers of several Winthrop High, notably Nicole Guaquinto who went to be an All-American runner at UMass Lowell, Jenny Fucillo, who competed at Division 1 Notre Dame, Jackie Costonis, a New England champion in the high jump, and Danyelle Dillard, a record holder in the 200 meters at Westfield State, Mia Lewis, a record holder in the triple jump at Salem State, along with such stars as Maria Gambale, Colleen Lally, and Elizabeth Doherty.
MacPhail’s teams won 12 NEC titles as the smallest school in the conference.
The son of Nancy Paulson of Winthrop said he’s looking forward to continuing his teaching, coaching, and competitive running and triathlon careers for many years to come.
“I hope to keep doing what I’ve been doing for a long time,” said MacPhail.