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Runner Academy is Plagiarizing Our Content!

iStock_000019637523LargeIt has been brought to my attention that another running coach, Matt Johnson of Runner Academy, has plagiarized and stolen content from MTA.

You may have seen the Runner Academy podcast in iTunes sometimes recommended next to ours. When Matt Johnson first came along I thought it was strange that his podcast imitated ours so closely.

The most obvious semblance is the use of “Academy” in his name but that’s not where the imitation stops. When his show first began, the format mimicked ours with welcoming new members and shout outs in the beginning, then the feature segment, and a quick tip at the end.

Coach Jeff Gaudette at runnersconnect.net has dealt with Matt Johnson plagiarizing his strength training course. You can read about it here: Runner Academy Stealing and Plagiarizing from RunnersConnect and Why it Matters to You. Both Coach Jeff and I have confronted Matt Johnson about this but he totally denies any wrong doing.

In this post I will document examples of how Matt has stolen our training content and conclude with some thoughts about why I have decided to make this public.

Matt Johnson of Runner Academy Plagiarizing Our Content

Matt joined our Academy on March 11th 2012 and cancelled his membership a few days later. He stayed long enough to swipe our training materials and re-purpose them for his own forthcoming membership site.

His plagiarism is sometimes verbatim, other times it is a paraphrasing of Coach Angie’s words while maintaining the same basic thoughts and structure.

According to Wikipedia plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.

Below are examples of where Matt has stolen Coach Angie’s language, thoughts, ideas, and expressions.

Examples of Matt Johnson’s Plagiarism

EXAMPLE #1

I’ve placed red boxes around similar language, thoughts, ideas, and expressions. It’s pretty easy to see that Matt downloaded Angie’s coaching notes shuffled a few words around and started selling it to his members. Compare Angie’s training lesson on “Finding Your Big Payoff Factors” with Matt’s “The Importance of Understanding Your Motivations”.

From Angie's training lesson "Finding Your Big Payoff Factors" (2011)

From Angie’s training lesson “Finding Your Big Payoff Factors” (2011)


From Matt Johnson's "Identifying Your Motivations" (2014)

From Matt Johnson’s “Identifying Your Motivations” (2014)

Example #2

This is a short segment of the above video for quick side by side comparison. We will compare Angie’s training lesson “Finding Time to Run” with Matt’s “Finding Time to Run”.


EXAMPLE #3

This is another shorter video segment from the above. This shows the core of my problem with what Runner Academy has done -copying our course structure for their own membership site.

Poaching Content and Customers

These are Matt’s own comments posted in the Warrior Forum, a forum for internet marketers, gloating about what he is going to do to his competitors. Click to enlarge images.

warrior_forum_1

warrior-forum-2

warrior_forum_3__payment1

wf_4

Is Marathon Training Academy the business that Matt Johnson wants to “swift boat”, “kill”, and sink the “dagger in”?

Angie and I support any running coach who is working hard to create unique content and value in the market place. We have welcomed many running coaches on our podcast through the years. My desire is to see the running world (online and offline) remain a positive place where each runner can find tools and resources to reach their goals, and each coach is committed to maintaining high ethical practices in their coaching business.


Postscript

I have been repeatedly lied to by Matt Johnson. After I broke the news on our blog about his plagiarism he camped out in the comment section and tried to do damage control. When it became obvious that people weren’t buying into his excuses he took a different tack – telling us all that he is shutting down Runner Academy for good. But everything Matt said in his comments and emails to me proved to be a total lie, a tactic to get my blog post taken down.

Addendum (January 2015)

Another podcaster shared with me that Matt Johnson has been trying to get into this podcaster’s closed member’s only Facebook Group using fake FB accounts like “Chad Hopkins” and “Matt Johns”.

Screenshot “Chad Hopkins”
Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 5.41.43 PM

That makes 4 running coaches/podcasters I’ve spoken to who have had unfortunate dealings with Matt Johnson of Runner Academy. I’m just wondering who else has dealt with this?

87 Responses to Runner Academy is Plagiarizing Our Content!

  1. Trev October 7, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    checking the comment system

  2. Jim October 8, 2014 at 3:50 am #

    Good luck with your site. I quit Matt Johnson’s membership site the day I saw the evidence that he stole from Runners Connect. Within a few days of that, I read an article on heart-rate training (on Runners Connect) that could have been the script for a podcast answer Johnson gave one of his listeners.

  3. Tracy October 8, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    I’m not sure how the podcast world works but can you take legal action on this matter? How disheartened to learn that all your time and effort is being copied and stolen by someone else for their own benefit.

    • Matt October 8, 2014 at 11:41 am #

      My podcast format and episodes are not infringing. I put hours of work into each one. You could then argue that any podcast that has an intro, gives shout outs and offers tips is infringing.

      Google Entrepreneur on Fire and see how many clones of that podcast exist – hundreds.

      That being said, I am preparing to make a couple of tweaks to the format soon not because of anything here as it is not related to the podcast but in response to feedback to what the audience wants and the direction I am going to take the show.

  4. Cintia Listenbee October 8, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    I am so sorry this has happened to you. I believe your post is coming from a great place in your heart, you are trying to educate us with wisdom on why this is not correct and I totally agree. Thanks for the post, I will share it on my social media platforms. I pray that even through this you will gain members who can benefit from your hard work. Thanks for all you do,
    Cintia

    • Tim October 8, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      So disappointed with Matt. Dropped from FB, Sticher, and Itunes. The running community is huge and both groups could thrive and both should have helped monetize their website and podcast instead of trying to “swift boat” the other.

    • Matt October 8, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      We still can. And I am not looking to “swift boat” anybody.

    • Chris Palmer October 8, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

      Matt,
      Sorry bro, but this evidence is super compelling. I’ve known Trevor and Angie for years. They are stand up and hard working people.

      My suggestion would be to swallow your pride, admit your mistake, and move on. It’s pretty obvious you’re guilty here.

      Trevor and Angie have nothing to gain from just calling someone out like this. So, that tells me this is 100% real, plus the evidence that they’ve produced.

  5. Sarah October 8, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    That sucks! People need to grow up and realize that stuff like this is just flat out stealing. By day I’m a musician and it takes me a LONG time to make original stuff that actually sounds good and is fun for my students. I can appreciate how angry I would be if someone skipped on over to the xerox machine and sold copies of my hard work. It’s theft, and it sucks

  6. Tonya October 8, 2014 at 7:03 am #

    As a professor who is well versed on the definition of plagiarism, this would definitely be considered plagiarism! I’m not an expert in copyright law, but you could potentially go after him for theft of intellectual property.

  7. Elspeth October 8, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    I listened to his podcast months ago and thought, this is rubbish, not a patch on MTA.

    Where there is sweetness, there are flies. His behaviour looks atrocious but all I can say is

    CREAM ALWAYS RISES TO THE TOP

    and Angie is the cream of running coaches.

  8. Bruce October 8, 2014 at 7:18 am #

    I hate, hate to say this but you might want to consider legal action. Don’t know if the economics really justify it though.But as someone who has seen both sites (and your’s is better), I will keep away from his and advise others to do the same.

  9. Adolfo Salgueiro October 8, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    I am shocked to read both your blog post and the one you linked to. I have been listening to Matt’s podcasts for a couple of years now. I was actually listening to a rerun on tapering before I entered Facebook and found your post on the issue. I am speechless because both blog postings take time proving what they are claiming and Matt does not come out looking good. Best of luck on your fight for what is right. You have my support and prayers.

    • Matt October 8, 2014 at 8:46 am #

      I’m sorry if you feel I have let you down. The mastering the taper episode is not in question by them and it has helped many runners. I hope it helps you ahead of your goal race and that you will continue to enjoy our podcasts.

      • Adolfo Salgueiro October 8, 2014 at 9:35 am #

        Thanks for your response, Matt. I appreciate you taking the time to do s.

  10. Terri October 8, 2014 at 8:08 am #

    Would it be helpful to leave comments on his iTunes account reflecting these concerns? I just did.

    • Matt October 8, 2014 at 8:43 am #

      Hi Terri,

      I hope you would reconsider. I put 4-6 hours of hard research into each of my guest interviews, reading their books/biographies and another 3-4 hours editing and putting together each one.

      I work tirelessly with agents and the athletes themselves to book times and make it all happen.

      They have concern with less than 1% of what I have out there – and even so I am willing to work with them.

      Just trying to put the real context behind this.

      Angie and Trevor do a great job with their podcast which is why I initially reached out wanting to see if they would like to collaborate from time to time. We have some crossover audience and topics but we also are taking our shows in different directions it seems. Either way, more is better and people will decide what style and delivery they like best.

      • Sarah October 8, 2014 at 10:57 am #

        I think what you’re doing is theft with a side dish of tacky. Even if cumulatively all we are talking about is 1%, quantity does not matter. In the music industry, these little “1%”s are called riffs and they are protected under law. Just ask Vanilla Ice about his law suit from Queen when he took a “riff”. All the work and thoughts are Angie’s and are protected by law and that includes the “1%”s you claim are not a big deal. If you want any hope of not getting sued(and you would lose) the best course of action is to take it down and come up with your own stuff. It sounds like you have the resources to do so, taking chances IS hard and sometimes doing the right thing is harder but usually they carry a lot less regret than stealing and hurting others.

        • Sarah October 8, 2014 at 10:58 am #

          This was to Matt by the way, MTA is awesome and my number one running resource.

  11. Mary C October 8, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    I get so upset when I read your article. Word of mouth in the running community is BIG. He is an imposter and is not only stealing your information but misrepresenting himself as a “coach” to unsuspecting people. Have you posted this information on the maniacs page? There are a lot of people on that page that are not maniacs yet but look to coaches to help them achieve their goals. I always say that karma is good. He will feel the financial karma pain when the running community figure this guy out. I’m really sorry this is happening to you.

    • Matt October 8, 2014 at 9:02 am #

      I have been coaching runners long before Marathon Training Academy or Runner Academy existed. I was a runner for 10 years even before that. I am a coach and have coached runners to success long before taking anything online. I sat through certification seminars and learned from other coaches.

      Did I take a look at what was already out there when I first thought about moving things online? Sure. That is what anyone would do. Any company buys the products of their competitors.

      There are countless imitators out there in tons of industries.

      I do not consider myself one of them.

      The challenge with running is there are some principles that are universal and any good coach is going to have substantial overlap with.

      Someone who goes out, copies everything verbatim and then posts it as their own is wrong. I have not done this. They have concerns with just a couple of my training courses and a podcast from over 2 years ago. I’m willing to revise anything they feel is too similar in a reasonable timeframe – but I won’t allow a post like this or elsewhere smear me as a crook, thief or anything else.

      This post is making it look very one sided.

      Running is a passion of mine. the work I do and the success runner achieve that I work with is something I take great pride in.

      I am proud to have just raised over $1,000 to help impoverished students have access to running programs in Chicago with an organization I care deeply about.

      It’s also why I am here responding to these comments. Simply, I care.

      This is not the way someone who did not care and was out to steal acts.

      I hope that Angie and Trevor will respond to my offer to meet in Chicago this weekend as I think once text and how things are interpreted online comes down and you meet someone in person you can gauge who they truly are.

    • Ellen H October 8, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

      One more thing, Matt makes reference to the fact that those posting subject themselves to legal liability (according to a lawyer he’s spoken with). As an attorney, I can assume that he’s claiming that posters are committing defamation. But any lawyer also knows that (a) anyone is free to express his or her opinion without triggering a defamation cause of action, and (b) the truth is an absolute defense to defamation. Trevor has done an excellent job presenting his case for copyright infringement at least when it comes to their premium content and training plans, so, Matt’s liability cry appears wholly without merit.

  12. Luis Garzon October 8, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    I will go right now to iTunes and give him a negative review and a zero star rating.

    • Matt October 8, 2014 at 9:22 am #

      I hope you would reconsider. I put 4-6 hours of hard research into each of my guest interviews, reading their books/biographies and another 3-4 hours editing and putting together each one.

      I work tirelessly with agents and the athletes themselves to book times and make it all happen.

      They have concern with less than 1% of what I have out there – and even so I am willing to work with them.

      Just trying to put the real context behind this.

      Angie and Trevor do a great job with their podcast which is why I initially reached out wanting to see if they would like to collaborate from time to time. We have some crossover audience and topics but we also are taking our shows in different directions it seems. Either way, more is better and people will decide what style and delivery they like best.

  13. Tanya October 8, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    I too am shocked to read this. I am also bothered that although Matt seems to watching this and answering, he doesn’t address the frankly disturbing comments he made on the Warrior Forum. We all know what you guys do is a business, but it’s also very clear that Angie and Trevor actually care about what they do and about their listeners. Thank you for that.

    • Matt October 8, 2014 at 9:19 am #

      Hi Tanya,

      I’d be happy to address those too.

      First, they are from 2 1/2 years ago and do not reflect me as a person today. Those posts have since long been deleted as has my participation in that community – mainly because it was a toxic place.

      There are lot of unscrupulous practices discussed there and I participated in some threads mainly to gauge the type of community it was.

      I also reject operating like that and instead working with others in our space. That is what prompted me to attempt to do so earlier this year with Angie and Trevor and others.

      I have since joined a group of others in our space that Angie and Trevor could benefit from of well known bloggers and podcasters and running brands online. I am committed to working with others and realize that there are more people out there than any of us could ever reach or help. There is abundance.

      I do deeply care about the running community and everything I put out.

      • Josh October 8, 2014 at 9:38 am #

        Matt, I don’t think that the evidence and your responses are consistent. The postings in the forums are a pretty straightforward indication of intent. The parallels between your content and Angie & Trevor’s are far too similar to be written off as coincidental. So saying that the statements from those forums do not reflect you as a person today is just not good enough. I say this as a long time listener of both podcasts.

        Are you able to provide a substantial defense? For example, how can you prove the person that posted those malicious comments is not the same person today? How can you prove that the strikingly similar content (sometimes ripped off verbatim) is mere coincidence? If Angie & Trevor’s post had merely presented the similarities I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention. It’s the forum posts that clearly illustrate that you knew what you were doing. So stop dodging the issue and explain yourself directly – you owe it to your listeners, and to Angie & Trevor.

        • Matt October 8, 2014 at 9:53 am #

          Hi Josh,

          I’m sorry if you don’t find my response satisfactory but I do believe me reaching out to them last Spring wanting to work together more is about the truest indicator I can provide. I encourage them to meet me in Chicago to judge my character in person. I’m not mad at them, just dissapointed.

          I’ve given them my phone number.

          • Josh October 8, 2014 at 9:59 am #

            I understand that, my point is how do you expect anybody to believe you? You said you would do it, you did it. Unless you have an explanation that would prove that you didn’t do it, then own up to it.

            Otherwise, trolling their message boards and offering only roundabout answers seems manipulative. I understand the concept of damage control, but you’re not offering any substance, period.

          • Matt October 8, 2014 at 10:24 am #

            There is no “damage control”. I have to defend myself against one sided attacks that call into question everything I have done over a few sentences of information that is basic. I already responded to the forum posts. Posts like these are losing propositions for all involved.

            If you are still unhappy I can only wish you a great day and appreciate your thoughts.

          • Josh October 8, 2014 at 10:36 am #

            It’s only “one-sided” because you still continue to fail to provide any other side to it. You have officially lost a listener.

      • Bruce October 8, 2014 at 10:18 am #

        Don’t care how long you have been a runner or at this point if you are a better runner or coach. Stealing material and passing it off as your own is unacceptable. You have yet to claim they were your words. And one of your explanation about being on the Warrior Forum, is that you engaged in them just to see what they were doing. So you were pretending to be unscrupulousness to see their own unscrupulousness? But your’re not that person anymore? Do you see how you’re contradicting yourself?And the postings are from Sept. 2012 which is pretty much 2 years ago, not two and a half like you said.So are their other posts?

  14. Sarah October 8, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    First, I want to start by saying that I am an avid listener of both podcasts (and that will not change despite the accusations). While plagiarism is a serious issue, and there is some evidence here (example #1 being particularly damning), much of the stuff highlighted is not exactly original material.

    I work in the field of community wellness as a registered dietitian. I do research and create a lot of materials to help people work towards a healthier life, and I have to say that there are only so many ways to tell a person how to live a healthy lifestyle (example 4). And the section on chafing – resulting from friction, moisture, and salt left behind on the skin from sweat as well as the fact that it stings like a mother in the shower – I’m sure this information has been written in similar context in numerous books, articles, and blogs. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it has been plagiarized. I could have written almost the exact same thing without reading either of your articles.

    Now, I’m not saying that Matt is completely innocent here. Signing up for a membership only to cancel after a few days seems pretty shady (especially since he has faced accusations from other groups), but that doesn’t mean that his podcast isn’t valuable. In fact neither of you put out content fast enough to satisfy my insatiable desire for listening to information/stories about running while running 🙂 so I couldn’t possibly quit either of you. You both have great information, awesome guests, and inspiring stories. I just hope that Matt learns from this public shaming, and continues to put out good content while making sure that it entirely his own!

    • Matt October 8, 2014 at 10:01 am #

      Thanks Sarah. The reason I don’t put it out more is the hours it takes to do it right. This is on top of a full time job, a wife and house, coaching runners, my own running and this. I really don’t make much money at it nor is that my intent but it does cost to maintain it and put it out.

      • Sarah October 8, 2014 at 10:05 am #

        Oh, I completely understand. I don’t fault you for not getting the podcasts out faster. I agree, the quality would certainly suffer. I just love to run and listen to podcasts, and yours are some of my favorites, so of course they don’t last long on my ipod. 🙂

        • Matt October 8, 2014 at 10:16 am #

          No worries! That being said I am training someone to help with editing! But us runners can be perfectionists so its hard to let go of that but necessary in order to go weekly or more.

          Thanks for listening to both – more proof MTA and RA could accomplish more being on good terms and cooperative.

    • Bruce October 8, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      If you look at Trevor’s article this is the second time somebody has publicly wrote an article about him plagiarizing, so it’s not just this one time. And in that article in Runner’s Connect the writer says that was even the first time he had issues with Matt.So it’s at least 3 times plagiarizing incidents apparently took place.So to say gosh, everybody should just learn a lesson and get along, I don’t think is a correct way to look at it. Something wrong happened: either plagiarism or libel, so somebody needs to apologize to someone, at minimum.

    • Jason Fitzgerald October 8, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

      Matt’s podcast is admittedly good – I’ve listened to half an episode. But that doesn’t excuse theft, and more importantly, the consistent and blatant refusal to own up to it. Continuing to support a thief with no integrity isn’t helping the running community.

  15. Sarah October 8, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    Agreed! Nicely put.

  16. Matt October 8, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    I’ve had other coaches (not Angie and Trevor) copy some of my stuff or being a little too similar. I’ve had other coaches (not Angie and Trevor) buy my programs and even refund them and seen things appear in theirs.

    I’ve chosen not to say anything nor will I as it is counterproductive and in the end makes everyone look bad and helps no one which is what we all aim to do – help those that our messages resonate with.

    It puts me in a great deal of personal pain and distress to have to deal with this but I will continue to help those that seek it achieve their best.

    • Jason Fitzgerald October 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

      I’ll speak to this: I bought one of Matt’s programs and promptly refunded it. But that was to check to see if he copied my material because he has in the past.

      Frankly, I wouldn’t dare copy Matt’s content because a) I’m better than that, b) it takes just as much time!, and c) Matt’s content isn’t original in the first place.

  17. David October 8, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    Wow what a disgrace of a human being! I really hope MTA sues him. I’m glad you reached out to the MTA community for support about this. Hopefully some lawyer would take this pro-bono or you can start a legal fund. I know I wouldn’t be the only one to help you out. Also, you should contact Apple and try to have him removed from iTunes.

    The running community is a large part of what makes running and MTA so amazing. Its a shame this schmuck had to cast a shadow over it.

    • Matt October 8, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Appreciate the support Bob. I am still waiting to hear from Angie and Trevor. If for any reason they are reading this and afraid to call or feel uneasy please don’t be. I’m not mad – just disappointed and want to get on the same page with them. I offered to do so some time ago in June but never heard back so I assumed they dropped it and weren’t interested in talking.

      • Jack October 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

        Perhaps the reason you haven’t heard from them is they realise, given all the evidence, what a despicable, shallow snake you are and any more time given to you would be generous but a futile waste.

        Seriously: look in the mirror. Try and reflect on what you’ve done here. It’s really quite sad.

        Do something good with your life.

        “I’m not mad – just disappointed”!!! You’re unreal.

    • Jeff Gaudette October 8, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

      You’re right, Bob. It’s only the third time Matt has been caught. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

    • Jason Fitzgerald October 8, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

      Bob, I’m not sure how you can call blatant plagiarism “differences.”

      And Matt’s charitable giving (which is great) is completely unrelated to his theft of content, both paid and free. This type of “support” to someone who’s been caught *three* times not only hurts runners, but coaches who bust their ass to create original content that helps runners achieve their goals.

  18. Jackie October 8, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    Wow. I know it’s competitive out there – both on the track and on the interwebs – but this is crazy.
    As a long-time listener of BOTH shows I’ve found value in hearing the same message explained different ways. I assume that if I were paying for your coaching services, I would receive more detailed info than “set your goals, figure out what’s important, eat right, get sleep…” Etc.? This is basic info that is in every fitness business primer.
    But – Matt’s postings from the forum, juxtaposed with the “extending the olive branch” letter is downright creepy.
    Although I don’t agree with airing of disagreements like this on blog posts, if I were in MTAs shoes I might have done similar. Matt – you have a lot of creepy behavior to answer for and have squandered whatever good faith you have built over the past two years.
    I’m sorry for both parties.

  19. Betina October 8, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    I thoroughly enjoy both podcasts. I first found Matt via his app and then I found MTA – so it’s probably good for both to have “academy” in your names! Matt is very professional, with good quality interviews and Angie and Trevor are more personal, intimate, fun but also inspiring, down to earth and informative! I need both podcasts for long runs as I can’t get enough of either of you!

    • Matt October 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

      I know many listen to both of our shows – as it should be if you get value from them both.

      I talk a lot about working together so here’s something Angie and Trevor never got to hear me out on but I’ll share here as an example. I have a friend (another running podcaster) that has access to a camp in Colorado where we could put on a summer running camp. Imagine if we brought the audiences from all 3 of our podcasts together.

      Would be great. I’m confident we could even get some of the elites in Boulder to come talk.

      Yet, here we are having a public discussion of a few paragraphs of text and their idea for training runners online. There are several others that are doing something similar to what we are both doing or have plans to. Are they wrong too?

      I’m making edits right now to what they have specifically called out as concerns of theirs in good faith so they are no longer concerns.

  20. Joy October 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    Wow, that is just terrible. What kind of a coach is too lazy to train their clients that they have to steal someone else’s motivations and training plans. He should lose his training certification.

  21. Amanda Jakubowski October 8, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    This just makes me so sad. I just joined and am so excited to be a part of this community. I appreciate your hard work and knowledge!

  22. Matt October 8, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    I still have not heard from Angie and Trevor, but I made changes to what they consider similar in their screenshots in good faith. Took about 10 minutes.

    For the one podcast from 2012 that they feel is too similar that will be updated as well shortly. These are things I would have heard them out on and offered to change in good faith if given the opportunity to do. A public shaming and defamation of my character was not necessary. An e-mail or phone call would have sufficed.

    I work very hard at bringing the best content for runners and will continue to do so and will offer forgiveness and a handshake to Angie and Trevor if they choose to reach out to me and meet with me in Chicago.

    • Trevor Spencer October 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

      Matt if you would watch the video you would see that there is way more than one podcast from 2012. You copied our entire course structure. There doesn’t appear to be a single training lesson that we have that you have not made a knock-off version of.

      When I confronted you about this you simply waved it off.

  23. Matt October 8, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    One point I would like to make is on the name “Runner Academy”. The name came to me one night when working out after hearing several talking about online academies where they coached others in business, dating, etc. I immediately wondered if anyone had runneracademy.com and it was available so I registered it. Never was meant to be a knock off from MTA and they had zero part in naming it. There is actually a business called “The Runner Academy” that opened in Toronto in 2013, long after I had started Runner Academy. It’s a great name and I was surprised no one had it yet.

    Many people have ideas like Angie, Trevor and I do. We haven’t seen the last of running podcasts all doing something similar to what we presently do. It will happen, in fact surprised it hasn’t happened more yet. It has happened everywhere else. Even then, people will listen to more or the same as they do now and take time with the host and guests they like best.

  24. Kevin October 8, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    Seriously Matt?! You at trolling MTA’s post, attempting damage control? If only you would have directed this much effort toward actually creating original content. Go “crush it” somewhere else.

  25. Jeff Gaudette October 8, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    I felt it important I chime in here considering Matt also stole content directly from my site.

    Not once, but twice!

    He’s also been caught (as I demonstrated) stealing content from Jason Fitzgerald’s StrengthRunning site.

    Now, I totally agree that many of the same topics are covered by a variety of different magazines and websites. However, writing about the same topic and copying another coach’s article verbatim are two very different things.

    Trevor went through great lengths in the video to demonstrate exactly how verbatim Matt copied his material (and mine, and Jason’s). In Matt’s words, he keeps saying he’s willing to change “content too similar” to MTA’s material.

    First, it is not “too similar”. It’s the EXACT same words! Sentence for sentence and entire paragraphs. There is absolutely no way it’s a coincidence. Matt flat out copied it.

    Second, this is now the THIRD time Matt has been called out on this. Each time it’s been with shockingly supportive evidence. Once – ok, my bad. Twice – wow, I must be really lazy. Three times – I am a crook. Does Matt really expect sane people to believe that this could happen three different times to three different coaches?

    Finally, why would anyone want to work together with Matt? Sure, steal Trevor and Angie’s material and then contact them to work together? Is he delusional? Why anyone would want to associate themselves with such a dishonest and unscrupulous person, I have no idea.

    Regarding the posts on Warrior Forum and Matt’s “change of heart”. Trevor only highlighted one post. As recently as 2013 (last year) Matt had this to say: “Don’t you love how February only has 28 days? It means people’s cards are hitting 2-3 days sooner on my membership site for their monthly payments to me 🙂 (source: http://runnersconnect.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/warrior_forum_3__payment1.png)

    Yup, Matt you’ve really changed your attitude!

    Matt, if you really could coach then this would not be the THIRD time someone has documented your plagiarism.

    • Terri October 9, 2014 at 6:15 am #

      Jeff,
      Somethings says it won’t stay just the third time for long.

      You make good points and I have forwarded this blog post (with all of the comments) to a huge established women’s running community. They have loads of resources, books in print, website, podcast, etc. I asked that they might want to have one of their interns check to see if their content has been used without permission too.

      Knowledge is power and I am sure everyone in the running community appreciates hearing what your and MTA’s experiences are.

  26. JP October 8, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    “I am proud to have just raised over $1,000 to help impoverished students have access to running programs in Chicago with an organization I care deeply about.”

    How did that whole “I give to charity so I’m an awesome guy and you should trust me” thing work out for Lance Armstrong? What a joke.

    • Matt October 8, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

      I didn’t do that for that purpose. I raised funds because I see first hand the violence and lack of opportunity for children in Chicago. I love my city and want to what I can in a small way. I know this charity and been to their events. It makes a real difference.

      • Chris allen October 8, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

        Guy just robbed my house but heck the houses are similar. what a jerk I am for not meeting with him to talk about things, he’s just misunderstood. Besides he gave some of the money he got from my stuff to charity so he must be a good guy. I feel like such a jerk.

  27. Melissa October 8, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    okay. I thought the chaffing thing wasn’t THAT big of a deal. I mean, that’s how I would describe chaffing to anyone. I’ve made that exact comment about the horrific shower discovery of chaffage. And the forum posts…eh….so the guy is a tool on forums. That would push me towards someone else but, there are a lot of tools on forums. So..whatever.

    But then, THEN….I watched the video. What in the he-hockey sticks. He literally read your notes with some personal commentary. That’s ridiculous. And you know, I’m generally against blasting people on public forums…There’s generally a better, middle way. But I think this was acceptable. He’s got numerous instances of this and that’s just in-freaking-excusable.

    A+T- Y’all have been with me since my first marathon. You saw me through my first ultra. I think y’all rock hard and I hope this gets resolved in your favor. This guy says that he will change things that are “too similar”…I don’t think that’s far enough. He’s ripping off content blatantly. There’s no room in my sport for stuff like that…..

  28. Mary C October 8, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    Matt you are even using this forum to talk about yourself and your services, DISPICABLE! Do you see how low and douchey this is? If you looked bad before all of your replies to EVERYONE of the comments, you look horrible now. Shame on you for not being able to use your own forum to comment on all of your bad press. You have no respect from me as a “coach”. I’m sure I have a lot of amens out there from this academy.

  29. Chris allen October 8, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    Loved the podcast on the aging marathoner, can’t wait to hear it again on Runner Academy podcast next week. Ooops……..too soon? Left ol’ Matt a message about karma and integrity on his facebook page but surprise, it was deleted and I was blocked. Thats OK I’m sure he’ll read all the messages here and I don’t think he can control itunes reviews so see ya all there.

  30. Ellen H October 8, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    I’m an attorney and would like to add that if what MTA is saying is true (and I have no reason to doubt the truth of what they are saying here), then it appears that this Matt character has committed copyright infringement, plain and simple. To be clear, plagiarism is unethical, copyright infringment is unlawful. Trevor and Angie, you should consult a Missouri lawyer who can help you seek a remedy.

  31. HH October 8, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

    Matt’s repeated assertions that he will “edit” posts or change the things that are pointed out seem ridiculous. It’s not about words being stolen, it’s about ideas. It’s about one person sitting down with a blank piece of paper or a blinking cursor and another simply editing someone else’s hard work.

    Clearly, shortcuts were taken and ideas and concepts were stolen from Angie, Jeff, and probably others, and Matt’s defense boils down to 1. it didn’t happen; 2. if it did, it’s not a big deal and I changed it; and 3. they should have just told me I plagiarized instead of telling everyone else. This seems like a publicist-style strategy of trying to change the conversation rather than engage in a legitimate debate.

  32. Johanna October 8, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    I am shocked and saddened. If nothing else, for me the true exemplar of Matt’s character is that he got on this page and started threatening MTA members with legal action for their personal comments. Really, Dude? Matt is really talented at interviews, and it is a shame he did not feel he could succeed based on his own abilities and talents. Angie and Trevor are making their case with facts. Matt is making his case via ad hominem attacks directed at Angie, Trevor, and their listeners. That is a universally accepted sign of low character.

    • Steve October 9, 2014 at 4:42 am #

      I think you’ll find that the legal action that Matt mentioned (and then discounted) was about the blog post and not about the comments section.

      • Johanna October 9, 2014 at 7:55 am #

        If I misunderstood his words, I apologize. The way he phrased it was unclear to me. However, the fact remains that even if he did not threaten listeners, he still made several ad hominem attacks against Trevor and Angie.

  33. Simone October 8, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    I’ve listened to Angie and Trevor, I had runner academy no longer…..after reading all these posts.
    Kinda sad, runners just want information to run well… Not hear all these crimes.
    Apologize and give them proper credit, let’s move on

  34. Jason Fitzgerald October 8, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    Shanna, I think you need to understand that attorneys are exorbitantly expensive, the MTA and entire running community needs to know this so it shouldn’t be conducted behind closed doors, and this is the THIRD time Matt has stolen content.

    This isn’t “airing dirty laundry” – this is a well-deserved warning to you to avoid an unethical scammer. It’s a public service and I thank MTA for that.

  35. Xana October 9, 2014 at 12:37 am #

    The first thing it came to my mind when I read this post was how horrible this situation is. It is a lot of hard work to keep the website up-to-date, the podcast up and running with new contents and explained in a nice clear way. To be honest I have heard plenty of running podcasts and I become very much bored. You guys and Rich Roll podcast are the ones I follow religiously, I’m always waiting for the new episode coming out and listen endlessly to previous episodes on all my runs.
    I guess, in the middle of this disaster there is a lesson in here: You guys do such a great job that others want to copy it – “always look at the bright side of life” (Eric Iddle, Monty Phyton). Good luck in getting all this sorted, you deserve the recognition for all your great work. Warm regards,

    Xana

  36. Pascal October 9, 2014 at 7:02 am #

    I don’t like cheaters, so shame on you Matt, I will never listen to your podcasts again.

    I got I the inspiration and the best advices from Trevor and Angie who guided me in the succes of crossing the finish line in my first marathon. Marathon Training Academy rules!

    Thank you Angie and Trevor you are the best!

  37. Dan October 9, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    Wow, Matt closed his site and says he is ending his podcast. This is from his website (see giving credit means not plagiarizing 🙂 )

    “As of October 9, 2014 Runner Academy will be discontinuing all of our services to new runners and the podcasts.

    The decision is a personal one after several months of consideration.

    If you are a member, you will continue to have access to your training plans and content through the end of your term. I’ll also be available to answer your questions in the forum as usual as I intend to fulfill my commitment to you and ensure your training is not interrupted due to our decision.

    For all that have sent me personal notes about how we have in some way helped you change your life I thank you for them. They mean a lot to me.

    I wish you the best and hope you continue to get out and crush it!

    All the best,

    MattSignatureEmail

    Coach Matt”

    • Jeff Gaudette October 9, 2014 at 9:06 am #

      He did this when I called him out too. It lasted about a day.

      Personally, I think it’s an attempt to get his “fans” upset with MTA and RunnersConnect for closing down a podcast they enjoy.

      • Matt October 9, 2014 at 10:19 am #

        No. The show has been shut down and will be out of iTunes shortly. Runners will be left with Runners Connect and MTA.

        No stunt. I already irreversibly have deleted everything.

        I ask that you remove your post as well and let me have peace and privacy. There is no sense in continuing this any further.

  38. Gabe October 9, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Matt: Most disappointed in you for plagiarizing content and/or basing your course layout on MTA’s layout. While some of the examples I have no problems with (e.g., chafing), some of the other examples are particular damning, and I wish you would have owned up to this.

    Trevor: Also disappointed in you for airing this publicly and inciting so much vitriol from your audience, especially so soon before the Chicago Marathon, an event both MTA and RA (and many of your listeners, including me) will be attending. Maybe this was your strategy, and you got your desired outcome. I completely understand your issues with RA, but it seems like this might have been better handled behind the scenes, at least for now. (Sounds like this may have been attempted back in June, but who knows what to believe now.) I feel your timing was very poor. I hate to admit this, but all this public negativity and hate has definitely put a damper on my enthusiasm for the race. I’ve spent hours listing to both MTA and RA during my training, and now I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing. But I guess that’s my problem.

    • Matt October 9, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      No, I am indeed walking away. With so much hate and toxic energy being directed towards me from this group can you blame me? 20 – 1 star reviews in one day to try to take down the podcast that has nothing to do with any of this? The refusal of Angie and Trevor to remove this post after agreeing they would do so as evidenced while this is still up.

      They picked the timing perfectly. They came out and did to me exactly what I never did to them – swift boat. I did no damage to their business yet they destroyed mine. They are getting what they wanted.

      I don’t want to be part of a toxic environment. It puts a damper on everything and that would be something that would not change even if I carried on.

      I am a very talented podcaster and interviewer – talents that will no doubt be used elsewhere.

      • Jeff Gaudette October 9, 2014 at 10:24 am #

        That’s funny, Matt. You said the exact same thing to me when I called you out the second time. Here is a screenshot of your email to me: http://screencast.com/t/c0X0s5r8d.

        Let’s get some things straight though…

        YOU created the toxic environment by plagiarizing and stealing the content of other coaches 3 different times of the course of 2 years.

        YOU damaged their business by directly selling their content (and mind) and profiting from it. That is money taken directly from Trevor and Angie that could have been used to make MTA better.

        I applaud the MTA community for standing up for the coach and for the integrity of the sport.

        • Matt October 9, 2014 at 10:30 am #

          Remove your post Jeff and Angie and Trevor remove your post. There is no longer anything at issue here so move on.

    • Jeff Gaudette October 9, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      From what I can gather, the release of this post had nothing to do with Chicago. I know Trevor has been attempting to gather the evidence for a while and, from experience, writing this type of post takes a lot of time.

      I understand your feelings, but I do not believe keeping it private is in the best interest of the running community. Matt is clearly a fraud and using the hard work of others to benefit financially. Without making this public, Matt would be free to continue stealing and plagiarizing from real coaches.

      I believe that any motivation, inspiration and knowledge you gained from Matt should be attributed to the right people – the ones who originally shared the information.

      • Matt October 9, 2014 at 10:21 am #

        Which was not Runners Connect nor MTA but the great guests I brought on in a way no one else could. They were what the magic was.

        • Jeff Gaudette October 9, 2014 at 10:26 am #

          Yup, only you could get those guests!

          Except each one appeared on our podcast as well

    • Matt October 9, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      I feel the same way Gabe. I’m just going to go out and enjoy my race I have worked for. I hope you will do the same.

    • Trev October 9, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

      Gabe, thanks for the comment. I indeed had a email exchange with Matt about this in June and his attitude was the same as it is now. He has yet to admit to any wrong doing though the evidence is overwhelming. And we are the third running website that has had to deal with this crap. Coach Jeff Guadette and Coach Jason Fitzgerald will testify to this.

      I hate that I have had to focus our attention on negativity. This is the most unpleasant thing I have ever dealt with in the history of MTA but I feel that it had to be done. If the evidence of foul play was not so overwhelming I would have left it alone.

      My timing could have been better, I agree and accept your criticism. Please know that I did not intentionally wait until the Chicago Marathon. I should be tapering right now not dealing with Matt Johnson. I regret that I didn’t pay closer attention to what he was doing from the very beginning. I let Matt fly under the radar far too long. I should have been more on the ball. While I did have suspicions that Runner Academy was positioning itself eerily close to Marathon Training Academy, I tried to give Matt the benefit of the doubt and never bothered to investigate things closely.

      I have repeatedly asked Matt to simply take responsibility for his actions and continue to hope that he will. I am ready to forgive and put this in the past.

  39. Eric October 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    Here is my question… obviously this is plagiarism. But if you are a blogger and wishing to share others content in a unique way on your website is that ok? I mean as long as you credit it source. the other thing is, what were some of the things you notice in your time as coaches and bloggers that you have something truly unique to claim as your own? I know one of my fears as a blogger is I have some information i have aquired form my experience over the years but I have been reading more from others to further my knowledge to share with others. I dont want others thinking that my content is just a copy but because the concepts are similar and already developed over the years. I just want to maintain integrity as much as I can in light of this post.

    • Jason Fitzgerald October 9, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

      Hey Eric – you asked on Twitter that I reply to this so here goes.

      Citing other coaches/blogs on your own blog is SOP and encouraged because you’re a) showing that you don’t know everything (nobody does), b) developing relationships with other folks, and c) providing extra value to your readers.

      As running coaches and bloggers, we’re all going to cover the same things. But it’s how you cover it that matters. Give your own thoughts, unique examples, and stories. If you happen to share something you learned from a book or other blog, then just say that and link to the original source. No harm there.

      The most important thing is to lend your unique experiences to the running community. We all come from different backgrounds and have varied running histories. That’s an asset – share it.

      Cheers,
      – Jason.

  40. Laura September 4, 2015 at 5:02 am #

    I had been a loyal listener of the Runner’s Academy podcasts as I trained for my first marathon (Chicago) and then Cleveland Marathon just a few months later.

    I had made it to the end of the podcasts and wondered why they stopped. I kept refreshing their website to see if there were any more episodes mid-training and I even downloaded the RA podcast app. I hypothesized that Matt was discouraged after not winning the best podcast award and had I listened sooner, I would’ve voted for him. I was reading into it hard. I even emailed him through the website like “Where are you? When will the new podcasts start?” I had really thought he was a great coach. I must’ve somehow missed the memo that the podcasts were ending due to plagiarism.

    Anyways, I’m training again for Chicago this year and today, I googled Runner’s Academy to see if anyone else missed the podcasts too and I stumbled upon this. I kind of felt bad for Matt after reading his comments on here because I know his reputation is now tarnished. Then, I actually listened to the video per some of the comments. It’s verbatim. It’s really disheartening to see all of this when you really think of someone so positively. I feel cheated.

    Ultimately, I just want expert advice on running as I prepare for the marathon. I hadn’t known about Angie and Trevor or Jeff (I just started running early last year). I’m glad to know I have other podcasts to listen to and websites to explore with original content from respected coaches in the running community.

    Still, this is disappointing news to me.

    Angie and Trevor – Hoping to love the site. Thanks for sharing.

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