Response to public harassment by Kimberly ("Kim") Duclos

(If you've already seen this page, have a look at Part 2, details about the false report Kimberly Duclos gave to the Boulder Police Department on February 26, 2016; Part 3, details about the dishonest restraining-order petition Kimberly Duclos filed on February 29, 2016; and Part 4, a page of links to my blog posts about this unpleasant saga, one I'll update as needed but hopefully will be able to neglect altogether going forward.)

I have had very few bad experiences in my online-coaching endeavors, and in fact have had a surprisingly limited number of truly negative interactions with distance runners in general. This, of course, only makes the one noteworthy exception all the more raucous and ridiculous.

Although I have hesitated to make the details of this experience and its aftermath public, I believe that in the face of ongoing harassment from this person, I have no choice but to do so in order to protect myself and people close to me from the machinations of a truly malignant human being who continues to pour the same reckless, boundless energy into a misguided, cowardly, and utterly dishonest personal campaign against me as she once did into running.

I shouldn't have to say that I find none of this remotely enjoyable.

(Originally posted Feb. 23, 2016; last update Sept. 14, 2017.)


Kim Duclos and I were once in the same running club, the Central Mass Striders (CMS). (By the way, if you want to skip the background and go straight to the various examples of Kim's lying and otherwise acting in extremely poor faith, try this.) In October 2009, when she was still living in her native Worcester, Mass. and I was in New Hampshire, she asked me to coach her. I had only met her once, briefly at that, and fortunately have seen her only twice in person since our arrangement began.

Kim competed at a respectable level in cross-country in high school started running marathons at age 19, in 2001. She came close to breaking three hours at that age, and thanks to relentless mileage and nothing more sophisticated that than for the next seven or eight years, slowly eased her times down until plateauing somewhat after a pair of 2:44s. At that point, she figured she needed a boost to get her to the elite level, and e-mailed me out of the blue. I agreed to coach her. She disclosed past problems with alcohol and similar substances, but said she was through with that aspect of her life.

Within two months, Kim dropped her 5K personal best from 17:16 to 16:32, and soon afterward dropped six minutes off her already solid marathon time with a 2:38:21 marathon in Huntsville, Alabama, just before the qualifying period for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials opened. She earned some nice recognition in the process. Her running "career" reached what would prove to be its lifetime zenith in March 2010, when she reached the Olympic Trials standard in Los Angeles with a 2:41:57, making her the first American to finish.

During this time, I also set her up with an agent, got her into the elite fields of a few races, set her up with someone to stay with in New York City for the New Year's Eve 4-Miler, got her a writing gig with a content mill I had done a lot of work for, and connected her with a roommate in Massachusetts, a very good friend of mine of long standing. In fact, things worked out so that my longtime friend, also a runner, actually wound up paying Kim herself for coaching.

In the face of these successes and positive developments, however, a lot of potential trouble spots were already presenting themselves. Kim wasn't able to pay me (or so she said), but I overlooked this because she wasn't employed and was trying to work through some of her aforementioned issues (or so I believed). She also lashed out at the agent I had gotten her because he -- to Kim's unfounded surprise -- wasn't interested in working entirely for free. (This surreal sense of entitlement was and remains an overarching theme in Kim's life; she has been convinced from the outset that the world owes her favors at every step, which has manifested itself over the years in various forms -- e.g., wanting to move to such-and-such a location as long as an elite training group would pay her to do so, filing for Massachusetts unemployment while living in Indiana, not even being willing to create her own running resume and expecting me to do this instead, and much more.)

But by the spring of 2010, the biggest trouble spot by far was Kim's obsessive ranting about her love interest, a young engineer who had gone to college in Terre Haute, Indiana but was working in Worcester and doing workouts with CMS. Kim was still with her companion of some 11 or 12 years at the time -- her high-school sweetheart -- but behind her boyfriend's back was doing her best to move things along with the engineer, who was in the process of relocating back to Terre Haute for graduate school. In a coincidental twist I wish could have been avoided, my aforementioned friend was planning her own move to Indiana to be close to her family, and Kim took advantage of this by arranging to follow my friend there, ostensibly to get away from Massachusetts but quite obviously for the purpose of being within a short drive of her engineering pal, who was showing increasing signs of not being romantically interested in her.

By late summer, with her love life or lack thereof proving to be her sole area of concern, Kim was starting to unravel and become uncooperative. My aforementioned friend, now roommates with Kim in Bloomington, Indiana, was giving me less-than-hopeful-sounding reports about Kim's day-to-day conduct. Kim, rather than discuss her running with me -- she could no longer be bothered to either do the workouts I was sending her or give me reports about her training -- would instead ramble ad nauseam by instant messenger programs and e-mail about her revenge fantasies concerning her engineering pal's ex-girlfriend and other things I had neither the time nor the inclination to consider at length. When I started to resist this unrelenting barrage of non-running-related messages, I could tell that I was at risk of making it onto Kim's long list of adversaries (she had at one time boasted of having blocked about 30 people on Facebook); I could not claim to be altogether surprised at this despite having served as nothing but a source of support for her, because even when things were going smothly between us, it was clear that she was fickle to the point of absurdity.

Things fell completely apart during and after the 2010 Chicago Marathon, where Kim dropped out three miles in with a nonexistent back problem she announced to me by text message the night before the race. I knew that Kim's training had not been going all that well and that she was unhappy with herself heading into Chicago. Despite knowing this and being aware of her tendencies, though, I wasn't quite expecting her to drop me as a coach and a friend without a single direct word to me in the aftermath of her DNF, going so far as to block me on Facebook. As I already noted, I all but saw this coming, given how many other people she'd mentioned casting aside, among them her biggest unconditional supporters. Still, this was a disappointment. It was also raw of her to ditch the roommate and friend I'd hitched her up with while owing that person at least two months' worth of rent, but this is but one smallish example of Kim's chronic and unapologetic habit of burning whatever bridges to compassion and sanity she's enjoyed.

I then heard nothing from or about Kim for nearly three years. (By the way, some are probably wondering at this point if Kim and I were ever romantically involved, as a few people have told me they have a difficult time believing that anyone who was not an ex-partner would act so erratically and caustically toward me. There was never the slightest hint of such a thing.)

Fast forward to late 2013, when Kim re-emerged, full of contrition and asking if I'd be willing to give her one more shot as an athlete. I agreed, but I am not a complete fool, so I told her I would need her to pay me the already-discounted monthly rate I'd quoted her in 2010, and moreover, that I couldn't be a receptacle for her love-life angst. She agreed, but to prove that I am, in fact, at least an incomplete fool, I never saw a dime of this money -- only repeated promises that it would soon be on its way. Along the way, I acted as a reference for her when she was applying to Rockwell-Collins (she wanted me to flat-out lie to a recruiter on her behalf, which I wouldn't do) and, at her request, added her as a coach to my Web site.

This time around, though, things went downhill almost immediately, and for the same reasons: She was drinking, she got angry when I reminded her that she had resolved not to drink (as well as abuse prescription drugs), and she again just refused to discuss running at all. Moreover, as mentioned, she had promised to pay me and did not. So in January of 2014, I told her that we were again through. Although it shouldn't have mattered -- she hadn't offered me a single running-related update in months -- this went over poorly; Kim, despite her antisocial ways, insists on always being the one to cut things off, and as an over-controlling/out-of-control sort she abhors being the "victim" of such treatment. When she immediately started going ballistic on my Facebook page, I blocked her. This amplified her rage, which has miraculously yet to burn out.

My greatest offense during both of our coach-athlete stints? Kim Duclos plainly expected me to serve as her life manager in every respect, even though there was nothing tangible in this prospect for me. In the end, the one thing I wasn't willing to do is listen to her endless rants and ravings about the men in her life -- her and her partners' specific sexual fetishes, her diabolical plans to leave this guy for that one or worse -- especially when she would not only fail to furnish me with reports of the running she was supposedly doing, but bristled at the very fact that I asked her to supply this information.

In the end, I gave her free coaching for at least 16 or 17 months -- I believe she paid me a grand total of about $160 -- and although I never credit myself for the success of "my" athletes, Kim and I both know that she wouldn't have qualified for the Olympic Trials, which she unsurprisingly wound up skipping, without my help. (Anyone reading this knows that I am the last person to take credit for anyone else's running success. I don't put up pages on my Web site filled with ATHLETE TESTIMONIALS or anything like that.)

My reward for the role I played in her life? After I blocked her, she tried to smear me on her own Facebook wall with a bunch of garbage about me threatening her, or hitting on her, or being on a bender of my own, or all of the above. She later erased this in a rare burst of decent judgment (or, just as likely, fear), but this goofy salvo wasn't enough for her, so months later, she tried much the same thing under an anonym on Letsrun.com, with poor results (I had the relevant thread pulled by the moderators out of sheer mercy).

Compounding the problem to some extent is that Kim followed her boyfriend to Boulder toward the end of 2014, and although I have thankfully not seen her, she is well aware that I am here and has made repeated references to this fact in her various defamatory efforts. Soon after her Letsrun.com gambit failed to pan out, she started a blog in which to continue her obsession. (The few comments on this blog come from Kim herself, with the exception of one a friend of mine posted as a test.) You can read through the mesmerizing array of psychological projection on the page, or spare yourself the drudgery and the misery. The capsule summary is that she uses this space to declare how happy she is now that her competitive running -- the only thing she has ever achieved positive, public recognition for -- is dead, although she alternately claims to be taking a few weeks off with health issues and running in excess of 100 miles a week. She also takes aim on this mess of a blog at a well-known and respected Boulder-based coach of top athletes (see below).

Kim appeared to have abandoned her blog for good after finally understanding that it was only backfiring -- and not coincidentally, after accusing another CMS member on Facebook of cheating on a race he didn't even finish (details below) -- but she has yet to give up her demented quest to cause me angst and worse. She has continued trying to discredit me on various running sites, always using my Web site URL instead of my name as well as posting under anonyms in an obvious attempt to keep herself safe from lawsuits (and because she is, at root, a coward). They are wise to her antics on Letsrun, but every now and again she tries the same thing there and elsewhere. Under any number of names, she has gone to various running websites claiming to be someone who paid me for coaching I never delivered (yes, irony of ironies) or serving up other lies, many of them straight-up bizarre and transparent (see below).

In summary, Kim Duclos has proven herself to be thoroughly vicious, irresponsible, and utterly unable or unwilling to see her causative role in any of this destruction. She is awash in her own delusions, and although she's not responsible for all of her mental problems -- she undeniably meets all relevant criteria for borderline personality disorder, and has had what I consider at least one or two legitimate breaks from reality -- she is, without question, responsible for mismanaging them. Either way, I have decided to not sit idly by while she continues trying to trash me and my friends. She is despised, feared or both by practically everyone in CMS who remembers her, and I like to think that virtually no one who reads what she writes is likely to believe her claims even if they have no previous experience with her. But I cannot count on this for certain. Therefore, I will not let her proceed unmolested with her efforts to defame me.

To this end, I have assembled various bits of evidence establishing her utter lack of credibility. Again, she posts under various fake names in an effort to avoid both exposure of her various misdeeds and legal retribution, but this hasn't kept her from leaving various trails of slime in her Internet wake. What follows is only a partial list.

  • In early 2010, shortly after running a six-plus-minute personal record of 2:38:21, Kim explained to USATF-New England that a contributing factor had been her new coach: "Although her training mileage had stayed the same, building from 100 mile weeks up to 140 before tapering for the race, Coach Beck introduced a more sophisticated training program that involved multiple periods of building up and then scaling back before hitting her maximum weekly mileage."

    A little over six years later, on Facebook, she did a complete about-face accusing me (and, without naming him, Brad) of, among other whimsical and nasty things, having ripped off her plans (graphic).

    As of March 2017, she was continuing to expand on this florid lie, claiming, with a degree of "doth protest too much" that would raise eyebrows even among people unaware of her history, to have been self-coached between the ages of 18 and 34.

    Advice to any pathological liars who might be reading this: Before loading a blog with falsehoods, try to be sure there's no evidence elsewhere exposing your fraudulence.

  • Kim's self-provided education and employment history is a wonder of extravagant fictions and contradictions. As of July 2010, Kim had supposedly worked at South End Realty in Worcester as a marketing administrator for a few months in 2007 before being laid off. A month later, she supposedly caught on with Marriott, also in Worcester, as a sales coordinator, where she lasted until Oct. 2008, when she was again apparently laid off. She claimed at this time to hold a degree in communications from Worcester State College. Her stating that she was laid off in Oct. 2008 meshes with this June 2009 profile of her in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, which notes that Kim had been collecting unemployment for about eight months.

    As of today, according to her LinkedIn profile, she has two degrees from Worcester State -- one in communications and the other information technology -- as well as an associate's in computer science from WPI. She also supposedly worked at South End Realty from May 2004 to Oct. 2008 and then at Marriott from Nov. 2008 to Jan. 2012, both times as an office manager. Given that she moved to Indiana in the summer of 2010, working in an office in central Massachussetts would have required one hell of a commute. And the idea that she stayed put in Worcester for eight straight years after graduating from college doesn't cohere with what she told the Telegram & Gazette reporter: "Since graduating from Worcester State with a communications degree five years ago, she has traveled to new adventures about every 18 months, only to return to Worcester. There was grad school in Chicago, then home. Then off to Boston, living a fungo's fly from Fenway Park's Green Monster."

    Furthermore, on a past version of her LinkedIn resume, she claimed she worked at IBM (this is no longer an element in her current LI resume) and also claimed to be the owner nonexistent limited liability company called "KSD Tech Solutions." Doesn't she know that other people can use search engines to verify such claims?

    And as if all of that is not enough to keep track of, she said in 2012 that she was working toward a nursing degree (that article is also the source if a flurry of other falsehoods).

    I realize that a lot of people pad their resumes, but most people at least do so in a way that might withstand superficial scrutiny. Not Kim.

  • This post on Reddit is an archetypal example of what Kim has been up to during her solar-like (some might say hemorrhoid-like) flare-ups over the past year-plus. Here, she is claiming that my partnership with Pete Pfitzinger -- who in 2002 commissioned me to build the coaching site that I ultimately absorbed -- was nonexistent; that she paid me for services I never provided; that she contacted Pfitzy herself for advice; that I have no health or exercise background; and, most interestingly, that my website was the subject of something called a DMCA notice, which I had never heard of until now and which pertains to online copyright infringement. Obviously, all of these statements are demonstrably false and in fact frankly libelous.

    Notice that in addition to not using her own name here, Kim also goes to some lengths to keep me from discovering the post by not including my name -- a strategy that in the end is limited at best because she does have to at least include the term "kemibe."

  • This pair of images (one, two) in all likelihood represent Kim under the influence of one or more substances. Here, she created an account using the name of a real-life associate in Indiana, and using this identity contacted one of my friends to tell her that I had created a website showing nudes of this friend as well as a second person she calls "CN." Another of Kim's hallmarks is saying things like "I have proof if you need it" or "I guess I shoulda taken screen shots" in lieu of actual proof that she can never actually furnish because it doesn't exist.

    I informed the person whose identity Kim feigned here -- and why she chose this Indiana resident when the person she sent this message to would immediately know it was coming from Kim anyway -- know of Kim's malfeasance. She was not happy and messaged Kim to say so, and Kim, true to form, never replied.

  • In the spring of 2015, Kim, acting on whatever psychological whims were propelling her at the time, decided to diversify her lashing out at CMS members by accusing my friend Kevin Tilton of cheating in an ultramarathon that KT did not even finish. This upset not only KT but a number of others both within and outside of CMS; when KT messaged her to demand an explanation, Kim, again playing the coward quite nicely, did not respond.

  • On Letsrun, her favorite place to bash me because she can use whatever handle suits her even though no one is fooled, Kim -- in one of countless forays to the LRC message board -- decided to vilify me as well as target Brad Hudson for supposedly being a part of my coaching scam at some level. She has also ripped Brad and his HTS Elite group on her blog, which is par for the course since she once aspired to be a part of the group.

I think the foregoing should be sufficient to establish both Kim Duclos's dishonesty and her detachment from reality. But as others will attest, believe it or not, what I have presented here barely scratches the surface of how nasty she can be. I have a wealth of GMail Hangouts chats -- which I am glad I saved only because they might protect me to some extent -- that show how thoroughly hateful Kim can be to other people, both her perceived rivals and those who have helped her out the most (the latter being classic "borderline" behavior).

DIGRESSION

Kim Duclos is very fond of this idea: "Nobody knows you better than yourself and with just some basic research, you can train yourself to some pretty good times." (This is in quotes because it appears on the blog that she created to antagonize me.)

Understand, again, that I have never been one to take undue credit for "my" athletes' success; any of them will attest to this.

That said, let's see just how well Kim exemplifies this "do-it-yourself" concept. Some of this is a review. Also bear in mind that, while on her blog she states that I never changed anything about her training but instead jumped on board an already full-throttle success train, what she told USATF-New England after that body named her Athlete of the Month was, as mentioned above, quite different.

  • On her own (everything before 10/2009): at least eight marathons with a best of 2:44:32; best 5K of 17:16
  • While coached (10/2009 to about 10/2010): her two fastest-ever marathons (2:38:21, 2:41:57), two fastest 5Ks (16:33, 16:5X), her only sub-one-hour 10M (59:35)
  • Since going back to her own "methods" (10/2010 to present): 2:56:59 marathon (April 2012), 1:39:58 half (April 2014), 20:22 5K (September 2014).

Many people can, of course, make solid cases for the value of being self-coached. Kim Duclos is not among these people. And it is not my fault that I refused to abide by her aggressive, misguided behaviors after tolerating and to some extent abetting them for quite a while.

In conclusion, I am not trying to "win" here. I don't consider this an opportunity for one-upmanship or participation in a flame war. All I want at this point is for Kim to either find a way to put paid to her unfounded resentment toward me or at least sublimate it and direct her boundless well of hostility elsewhere. I don't expect her to ever be a fast runner again, but I've been surprised before, and if nothing else she is always free to use running as therapy the way a lot of formerly successful competitors do. This would certainly beat how she's dealing with her demons at present.