We are happy to share with you our conversation with UC Santa Barbara Cross Country coach, Shayla Houlihan!

Shayla, an Iowa native, came to Santa Barbara after spending the previous two years in Flagstaff coaching a professional running group for Under Armor. Before that, Houlihan coached at UC Berkeley for seven years, three as the Head Cross Country Coach for the Golden Bears. Prior to CAL, Houlihan coached at Utah, where she finished her collegiate career while earning her master’s degree in Health Promotion and Education. At Utah, she established a new school record in the 3000m steeplechase before embarking on her professional career. 

Running for Brooks, Houlihan qualified for multiple USATF National Championships, culminating with an appearance at the 2012 US Olympic Trials in the 3000m Steeplechase. 

In this conversation, we talk with Shayla about the UC Santa Barbara men's cross country team winning the Big West Conference Championship this past fall! Shayla shares about coaching the team to a huge win as well as her own running journey. In the second half of the chat, Shayla shares her favorite places to run, dine out, places of interest and more in beautiful Santa Barbara.

Enjoy our conversation!

Shalya Houlihan's recommendations for Santa Barbara:


1. From UCSB. Go to More Mesa for a beautiful run.
2. Run the bluffs just north of UCSB's campus.
3. Run on the beach (run for miles)


1. Jeannine's (for breakfast)
2. Dune Coffee shop (Great French vanilla Latte)
3. South Coast Deli
4. Third Window Brewing (Best smash burgers)
5. Institutional Ale (beer)
6. Topa Topa (beer)


1. Lower State Street Area for hotels
2. Air BnB


1. Santa Barbara Half Marathon
2. Race at UC Santa Barbara put on by the team in September.

Places of Interest

1. Funk Zone
2. The view from the Rose Garden at the Santa Barbara Mission
3. Santa Barbara Mission
4. Drive out onto the Santa Barbara Pier

Running Store

1. Santa Barbara Running Company
2. Hoka's Corporate Headquarters (located in Goleta)

This episode is sponsored by:

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Where to find Shayla Houlihan:

Shayla on Instagram

Where to find Natalie and Jerold:

Natalie's Instagram
Suite Run Instagram
Natalie's Twitter
Suite Run Twitter
Natalie's Facebook
Suite Run Website
Suite Run Facebook