About the show

Join Tom “ACE” Clifford and Matt “HAMMER” Hammersmith on the Without Limits podcast, where the world of endurance sports comes alive through candid discussions. From the intricacies of training for a race to the behind-the-scenes of race directing, no topic is off-limits. Dive deep into the latest happenings in high school, college, professional, and amateur running. Whether it’s dissecting elite performances or celebrating the joy of fun runs, we’ve got the insider scoop. As former Eastern Michigan University runners turned race directors and coaches, our aim is to entertain and educate!

Episode 40: Are Extreme Endurance Sports Healthy?

Join Tom as he sits down with Dr. Justin Vandermolen, a cardiologist at Novant Health, to explore the intricate workings of the heart during endurance exercise. They delve into the conversation of whether extreme long term endurance sports are beneficial or harmful to heart health.

In light of recent news involving cardiac arrests in endurance races and high-profile endurance athletes requiring heart surgery later in life, this episode seeks to discuss what might be going on and what precautions athletes should take. Tune in to gain valuable insights and practical advice from an expert in the field.

Episode 39: Mike Barnhart Axis Fitness – Endurance and Strength

Join Hammer, Ace, and special guest Mike Barnhart, owner of Axis Fitness, as they dive into the world of strength training for athletes. Discover how to effectively incorporate strength workouts into your training routine beyond just basic online exercises. Whether you’re a runner, triathlete, or sports enthusiast, learn valuable insights from Mike on optimizing your strength training regimen to enhance performance. Tune in for expert tips and strategies that can elevate your athletic game.

Episode 38: Questions from Runners for US!

Questions as a RUNNER

If you could only run to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Would you rather run with a pebble in your shoe or run with your shoelaces untied?
Have you ever accidentally run in the wrong direction during a race?
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen while on a run?
Would you rather run a marathon backwards or in a clown costume?
What’s your go-to excuse to skip a run?
Have you ever stopped a run just to take a perfect selfie?
If you could have any superpower to help with your running, what would it be?
What’s more motivating: a cheering crowd or the promise of pizza at the finish line?

Questions as a COACH

What’s the most creative excuse you’ve heard for skipping a run?
If you could coach any cartoon character in a race, who would it be?
What’s your secret to surviving on a diet of pasta and energy gels?
Have you ever had a runner get lost during practice?
If you could rename “interval training” to something more fun, what would you call it?
Have you ever been challenged to a race by one of your runners? Did you win?
What’s the most unusual running attire you’ve seen on one of your runners?
If you could invent a new piece of running gear, what would it be and why?

In most cases, generally, you can achieve 80% of maximum, with 20% of time/effort investment (if done correctly). In the case of cardio fitness, measured by VO2Max (or other metric) what is the “minimum effective dose” before the threshold of diminishing returns is crossed?

Episode 37: Ann Marie Pierce The Road To Greatness

In this episode, we delve into the inspiring journey of Ann Marie Pierce, who has qualified for the 2024 Olympic Trials in the marathon. Discover her rigorous training regimen, the challenges she’s overcome, and her passion for coaching the next generation of youth athletes.

We also hear from Tom, who shares his race experience of winning the Masters division at the Bayshore Marathon. Tune in for insights, motivation, and behind-the-scenes stories.

Whether you’re a seasoned runner, an aspiring athlete, or simply love compelling stories of dedication and success, this episode has something for everyone.


Episode 36: Bouncing Back from a Poor Performance

Join Tom and Matt as they delve into the reasons behind athletes’ poor performances in races. They offer insightful analysis and practical tips to help you stay motivated and not worry excessively, as long as you’re putting in the effort!

Episode 35: Genetics vs. Go Get It

Join Hammer and Ace as they dive deep into the intriguing world of sports performance, exploring the age-old debate between genetic talent and the sheer grit of hard work in training. In this episode, we discuss the types of results you can achieve based on your inherent abilities versus dedicated effort. Tune in to unravel the dynamics of talent and tenacity in shaping sports careers.

Episode 34: 2024 White Lake Half Pro-Am Podcast Preview

Join Tom (ACE) and Coach Aaron Kolk as they delve into the 2024 White Lake Half Pro-Am. In this episode, they provide an in-depth review of the event, preview the challenging course, and discuss key strategies for race execution. They’ll cover everything you need to consider for White Lake’s 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run, ensuring you’re fully prepared to tackle each segment. Learn more at www.whitelakehalf.com

Episode 33: Speed Shifts: Elevating Your Run with High-Intensity Workouts, Efficient Training, and Cross Training

Join Matt (Hammer) and Tom (Ace) as they dive into the dynamic world of running workouts. Discover how transitioning from strength and tempo routines to faster, more intense sessions can not only boost your fitness but also enhance your performance. They’ll also explore the benefits of cross-training and delve into how efficiency in sports can be a major catalyst for improvement. Tune in for insightful discussions and expert tips on taking your training to the next level!

Episode 32: Post Boston Follow Up, Hammer and Ace’s races, Running Arm Swing, A Boston Negative Split and more!

Join Hammer (Matt) and Ace (Tom) as they dive into a recap of their weekend races. After a two-year hiatus, Matt pushes his limits in an all-out mile race, while masters runnerTom runs a 15:02 in the 5K. But that’s just the start—they also break down arm swing when running hard, the Boston Marathon, from the hot weather to their personal insights. Plus, don’t miss their interview with Casie Henrie, who achieved a remarkable negative split at Boston this year. Tune in for an enjoyable conversation filled with running tales, marathon musings, and more!

Episode 31: BOSTON 2024: Weather, Course Execution, Race Tips

Join us for an exhilarating preview of the Boston Marathon 2024 in today’s episode, featuring an exceptional lineup of guests. On the podcast, we have Colin Hackman, a 7-time Boston Marathon finisher and a meteorologist who will be running the race this year, and Phillip Davis, a 6-time finisher who achieved his personal best on this very course during a warm year, bringing a wealth of experience at the age of 63. Together with seasoned marathoners, professional coaches, and athletes, they dive into a comprehensive guide to this year’s event. Discover what to expect, learn strategies for navigating the course, and uncover the best tactics to achieve your personal best in Boston’s iconic 26.2 miles. Whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran, this episode is your go-to source for making the most out of the Boston Marathon 2024.

Episode 30: Boston Medals, 69 high school boys under 9:00 in the 2 mile and more!  

What do you think about race medals? How about Bank of America logo being on the Boston Marathon medal? Ace and Hammer talk medals, cost, ordering timelines, and other current running talk for this week!

Episode 29: Podcast Reboot With Tom ‘ACE’ Clifford an Matt HAMMER Hammersmith.  

Join Tom “Ace” Clifford and Matt “Hammer” Hammersmith as they reboot the WOL Podcast. Tune in as they delve into the latest coaching topics, share updates on their events, and catch up to kick off the podcast. From navigating the challenges of aging and running to striving for personal bests as masters, they explore it all. Plus, get a glimpse into the future of our podcast. Have ideas for topics you want to hear? Email us at tom@iamwithoutlimits.com and let us know!

Episode 28: Swim/Run NC – Listen to Tom Clifford and Cam Holman discuss their Record Breaking Race

Listen in on Tom Clifford and Cam Holman’s record breaking race at Swim/Run NC (Hanging Rock).  Tom and Cam finished by just a hair in a 3:05 making 5 lead exchanges with the 2nd place team.  It was an amazing experience!  Learn more about the race and swim/run the sport.

Swim/Run NC Recap on Slowtwitch: https://www.slowtwitch.com/News/Fast_Action_at_SwimRun_NC_8528.html

Upcoming races: https://www.iamwithoutlimits.com/events/

— Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/wol-runners-podcast/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/wol-runners-podcast/support

Episode 27: A Record Free Dive by a Runner!

Alex Llinas @saltyfreediver dove 70m (230’) without fins or the aid of any propulsion or pulling…it is basically a modified breast stroke all the way there and back.  It was a Continental record for South America and his 5th National record.  I did it because just like with running, I wanted to explore the results of dedicating a year to freediving training would have and to see where my limits are or as you would say without limits.  I also want to hopefully inspire some people to chase their goals and dreams despite adversity and what life throws your way.  If a at 44 years a person that has had cancer and other health issues can successfully start their competitive freediving career, so can many others start to pursue their dreams and passions.  It is early in the year and my 1st competition, but have a few other goals and comps coming up and I am hopeful Incan overcome some of the issues I am having with my equalization.  This is a journey and nothing is guaranteed, but i’m sure gonna try like hell!

Episode 26: Continued Discussion on Running, Weight Loss, Eating Issues with Diana Davis

We follow up with registered Dietitian Diana Davis on eating issues.  One of our previous podcasts with Terra Jackson discussed her eating disorder and how she overcame that.  Now we get into some more healthy conversation on how to deal with it from a dietetics standpoint.  Listen to Tom and Diana on this topic that many athletes struggle with.

Episode 25: Body Image with Top Hyrox and Dekafit Athlete Terra Jackson

Tom Clifford talks with one of the top Hyrox and Dekafit athletes in the world Terra Jackson.  Terra began her athletic career in running and had major eating and body issues.  Her image was her nemesis and she found a way out and is now faster than she has ever been.  Listen in on what Terra has to say and hopefully she will inspire you!  You can follow Terra at: @terranovatrainer on instagram and on Facebook

— Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/wol-runners-podcast/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/wol-runners-podcast/support

Episode 24: Athlete Communication at Races with our Athlete Services Coordinator Tracy Meyerson

Tom Clifford and Tracy Meyerson discuss race rules, athlete communication, advice for athletes from a race directors point of view and an athlete’s point of view.  Tracy Meyerson is 58 year young and has done 34 out of 50 states for the marathon.  She has done over 50 marathons (or greater distance) is the USATF 2015 Marathon Trail Champion age 50-54 an a Barkley Fall Classic Finisher.  She has been the president of the Wilmington Road Runners and a board member for 15 years.  She started her own company Good Habits in 2019 and calls herself a lifestyle modification specialist.  Her favorite quote is “YOU MUST BE THE CEO OF YOUR OWN HEALTH” Tony Robbins.  https://goodhabits.guru/

— Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/wol-runners-podcast/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/wol-runners-podcast/support

Episode 23:  What it means to be a VIP Runner?  Why go VIP at your next race

Let’s Talk VIP status at your next race with Destination Marathon!  Tom Clifford and Mark Janik, two Eastern Michigan grads talk VIP packages.  Destination marathon is a great option for your next marathon experience and they come to the Novant Health Wilmington Marathon along with other large races around the world.  Listen in if you are thinking “I might want to go VIP”

— Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/wol-runners-podcast/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/wol-runners-podcast/support

Episode 22: Breathing – Wim Hof for Endurance athletes and more techniques for meditation and performance.

Tom Clifford talks with certified breathing instructor and Without Limits Coach Angela Midget on breathing, Wim Hof Method and how breathing can help you overcome many things in life and may enhance performance in endurance sports!

— Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/wol-runners-podcast/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/wol-runners-podcast/support

Episode 21: Ice Baths, Breathing and Intermittent Fasting. What I have learned and explored

Tom Clifford talks about exploring the benefits of Ice Baths, Wim Hof Breathing and Intermittent fasting during a period of low training load time.  Does all of this work?  We will get into more details about each of these on separate podcasts but for now, chime in and take a listen to how this has affected Tom.

Episode 20: Overcoming Depression, Eating Disorder and Weight Loss Through Endurance | 14 Year Anniversary in Business

Hosted  by Tom Clifford and Kim Baldwin

This episode has been published and can be heard everywhere your podcast is available.

Without Limits turned 14 this summer of 2021.  Tom Clifford talks a little bit about the past and the future.  Read the WOL 14 Year Story here 

Tom then interviews athlete Kim Baldwin gets into a deep Podcast on her past fight with depression, an eating disorder, weight loss and a near death experience.  How did she do it?  What was her journey like?  This is a must listen because we all know someone going through it, but what are they feeling.  This is a great listen.

Episode 19: Mental Fatigue

Hosted  by Tom Clifford and Tracy Hilsman

Tom Clifford interviews psychologist and clinical social worker Tracy Hilsman (hilsman3@gmail.com)

Mental fatigue is real for all of us and all athletes.  So what happens when you are mentally fatigued and how do you overcome it?  Do you have physical symptoms?  Can you perform when you are mentally fatigued?  How does your brain affect your performance.  Take a listen on what ALL OF US go through when life hits, a pandemic hits and we are extra busy while trying to race and train.   – Music by O.A.R. Taking on the World Today

Episode 18: Breaking Color Barriers

Hosted  by Tom Clifford and Angela P. Midgett

Our guest is Angela Midgett AKA Love Uplifted Lady.  Angela is an black female who has made it her life’s purpose to guide others into living their own Love Uplifted Lifestyle. She believes whole heartily that in order to conquer a life, you must first conquer the self.

We ask and answer questions such as: How to get more black people into the road race world, what does it feel like to be black at a race and fight against any stigmas, how can all sides show up and help pursue change!  Enjoy the podcast!

Episode 17: Youth Running Development

Hosted  by Tom Clifford

Listen in on Without Limits coaches and former youth athletes discuss training, coaching philosophy, memories and experiences, and how to get to the next level in running starting at the youth level!  Coaches Tom Clifford, Colin Hackman, Aaron Kolk, Ryan Hauck, Justin Fischetti, and youth athletes Robinson Snyder and Jamie Whitmer come together on a super fun discussion.

Learn more about our youth programs here:  https://www.iamwithoutlimits.com/memberships/youth/

Episode 16: Accountability 

Hosted  by Tom Clifford and Marine Kyle Phillips

This podcast is with Kyle Phillips, a 23 year veteran in the US Marine Corps. We discuss accountability which is defined as being ANSWERABLE TO YOUR ACTIONS.   There is pressure to hold yourself accountable, and pressure is a privilege, especially in endurance sports!

Episode 15: The Magic of Southern Tour Ultra and the Ultra Marathon Scene

Hosted  by the Ultra Running Guys Podcast interviewing Tom Clifford

We talk about ultra running, the magic of Southern Tour, and dig into the newest event this year, Last Man Standing.

It was AWESOME!  Tom Clifford was interviewed by The Ultra Running Guys Podcast

You can search “The Ultra Running Guys” wherever you get your podcasts. This is one you don’t want to miss!

LINK TO: @theultrarunningGuys

LINK TO: Without Limits Events

#TheUltraRunningGuys #Podcast #RunningPodcast #IAmWithoutLimits #UltraRunning #SouthernTourUltra

Episode 14: Are You In A Slump Mentally or through Injury?

With  Tom Clifford and Alecia Williams

Coach and athlete Tom Clifford discusses his own set back and also has guest athlete Alecia Williams on who overcame a broken femur in the Boston Marathon and 3 surgeries to fix it.  Alecia is now a grand master and is running 7:30 miles on the track.  You will get inspired and learn how to mentally overcome the hurdles you experience when you are deeply injured or in an athletic slump.

BLOG ABOUT ALECIA: https://www.iamwithoutlimits.com/being-without-limits-by-alecia-williams/

Episode 13: Overcoming Injuries and Setbacks – Strategies to Return Safely to Training

With Chris Bailey and Tom Clifford

Without Limits hosts Coach Chris Bailey in a forum environment to discuss injuries and returning to training.  We also discuss other alternatives that assist running fitness and chat about how to stay fit without pounding your body too hard.

Episode 12: Ultra Marathon Q and A with 25 Ultra Athletes

With Matt Hammersmith and Tom Clifford

A little different podcast episode in that we had 25 people chime in on a zoom chat with Coach Matthew Hammersmith and Coach Tom Clifford. Athletes asked questions to Coach Matt and Coach Tom. Both coaches weigh in on some of the subjects on Ultra Marathoners’ minds: How to get into Ultras, nutrition, heart rate, blisters on your feet and more! Learn about Matt Hammersmith and some of his experiences getting into the sport and coaching it.

Episode 11: Aaron Kolk’s Solo 140.6 Effort in 8:42

With Tom Clifford and Aaron Kolk

Professional Triathlete and Coach Aaron Kolk discusses his solo 140.6 effort to raise nearly $7,000 for charity. Aaron talks about all aspects of the event from it being his first 140.6 race to his mindset, nutrition and coaching philosophy. While Aaron may not be one of the known elite’s, “YET” he gives great advice and not many can say they did 8:42 all alone for their first IRON-DISTANCE triathlon.

Episode 10: The Aging Runner

With Brenda Estlack and Eddie Buchanan

60-year-old Brenda Estlack and 70-year-old Eddie Buchanan join us for the conversation on aging as a runner. Brenda and Eddie are not just any old runners though, they are state record holders, national ranked and very motivated to continue. How do they stay motivated? What do they do differently? What keeps them out there?

Along with this podcast is a great blog written by Eddie that goes along with aging as a runner.  Find that blog here: https://www.iamwithoutlimits.com/the-impact-of-aging-on-the-human-body-and-the-importance-of-staying-in-motion-for-a-lifetime/

Episode 9: Paul McMullen Olympian on his Journey from High School to College to Professional

With Paul McMullen

Tom Clifford interviews U.S. Olympian Paul McMullen about his running experiences. Paul talks about his career in High School, his Collegiate experience at Eastern Michigan, his professional career, and what drove him to greatness. Paul gives great advice to young athletes who are striving for greatness to adult athletes who are looking for the edge.

Episode 8: Connecting Faith and Endurance—The Race of Life

With Father Richard Sutte

Tom Clifford talks to Father Richard Sutter of St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte, NC. Father Sutter and Tom connected after the 2017 Ironman NC 70.3 Triathlon at Sunday Mass. Father Sutter, himself, is a triathlete and marathon runner. He has competed in the 70.3 world championships and run 2:58 at the Boston Marathon. Father Sutter talks about the connection between endurance sports and faith, how to pray better when in your sport, who to pray for, how suffering in life and endurance sports are related, and more. If you want to grow in your faith and use your sport as an outlet, this is a great listen.

Episode 7: Running Chat—May 2020

With Colin Hackman

Tom Clifford and Colin Hackman talk about racing the mile and why it is good for everyone to do and try. Then they transition to ultra-marathon crazy distance running, Colin talks about Avery Collins a guy who used to run 8Ks and 10Ks; now is a known Ultramarathon runner, “Running High.” The talk then transitions to the importance of sleep, then to Colin discussing mental health, addiction, his own personal experiences, and how it ties together into his love for running. We finish up with some quirks and funny stories.

Episode 6: Swim-Run—The Sport, What It’s All About

With Kristen Jeno

Tom Clifford interviews Kristen Jeno a coach, event director, and swim-run guru. Kristen has a long list of accolades for swim-run as an athlete, but she is also a swim-run race director for Swim/Run Lake James and Swim the Loop, 3.5 mile swim. She has also participated and placed in:

  • The Otillo World Championships
  • 2019 Rockman SwimRun
  • 2018 SwimRun Hanging Rock – 1st place female team
  • 2017 SwimRun Casco Bay – 2nd place female team
  • 2017 SwimRun Hanging Rock – 1st place female team
  • 2016 Swim-Run Georgia
  • 2016 Swim-Run Casco Bay – 4th place female team
  • 2016 Swim-Run Hanging Rock – 3rd place female team

In this episode, Kristen and Tom sit down to discuss how to get into the sport, what it entails, training tips, what it’s like to train with a partner, and the equipment needed to perform at your best. Learn about Swim/Run and add it to your bucket list for the journey and experience or really race it and make it your new sport!

Episode 5: The Journey to the Olympic Trials for 3 Amateur Runners

With Brittany Perkins, Erin Hogston, & Peyton Thomas feat. Bridget Phillips

In today’s episode, coach Tom Clifford joined by special guest and training partner Bridget Phillips, interviews Brittany Perkins, Erin Hogston, and Peyton Thomas—three amateur runners—on their journey to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials. The podcast focuses on the journey of how qualifying for the trials unfolded for each of them, their advice to runners trying to qualify for specific events, and how Bridget at age 44, began as a 4:03 marathoner and overcame numerous mental hurdles to get under 3 hours, including stepping outside of her comfort zone to train with the girls. If you want to get inspired and meet four amazing women who are goal-oriented and relentlessly driven by the sport, then this is a great listen!

Episode 4: Running Chat—April 2020

With Colin Hackman

On today’s show, Tom Clifford has a special guest runner, race director, timer, and meteorologist Colin Hackman. Colin and Tom have been friends and work partners for over 10 years. The conversation begins with current events with COVID-19. We start out by discussing Colin’s solo 26.2 B.Q. on a 10 x 2.6-mile course, then dive into COVID-19, and its effects on smaller race events set for the fall race season. Tom talks about his background, what motivates him, how he still competes, runs 3 businesses, and raises his two daughters. Colin then interviews Tom on his background, mistakes, and a little fun Q&A. If you want to get to know us better at Without Limits™, then this episode is for you.

Episode 3: Running Event Impacts from COVID-19 for Race Directors and Runners

With Dave McGillivray

This week Tom interviews Dave McGillivray, an avid runner, and owner of DMSE Sports and Race Director of the Boston Marathon. They discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the race event industry, tips for race directors, how runners can assist in understanding what is happening, and how they can help to make races successful when they return. Dave is a runner himself and has a list of accomplishments personally and professionally.

Episode 2: Nutrition During COVID-19 and Immune Boosting Runners Supplementation

With Diana Davis

In this week’s episode, Tom Clifford interviews registered dietitian nutritionist, Diana Davis, RDN on nutrition pitfalls during COVID-19 lockdown, weight gain, and how to boost your immune system to fight off infection and recover better. We also discuss the effects of alcohol on endurance athletes, the best way to supplement for runners, iron, and some tips on periodizing eating when training increases and decreases. Diana has been a registered dietitian nutritionist since 1983 and has been a Without Limits™ athlete since 2010. She started running to keep up with her husband, Phillip, and their two children. Diana began as a walker at age 50 and qualified for the Boston Marathon for the first time in 2019. She is an inspiration on how to start from ground zero and breakthrough limits!

Episode 1: How Running Endurance Relates to Life Success

With Kyle Phillips & Keith Parrella

Without Limits™, owner Tom Clifford hosts the podcast on running and endurance sports relating to life, overcoming obstacles, resilience, and failure combined with personal experience. In this episode, Tom speaks with guests Kyle Phillips and Keith Parrella who are both endurance athletes and have served 22 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Kyle has done over 10 marathons, Ironman finishes, Swim-Run races, and lives the sport every day. Keith has done several 100-mile races, over 25 ultra marathons, and the JFK 50 x 3. This motivational podcast provides advice and guidance on race preparation, readiness, and overcoming your fear of failure.