2015 Issues

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    Volume 19 | Number 6 | November/December 2015



    Rich Benyo


    Perhaps not so much these days, but in traditional journalism circles, -30- indicates the end of a story. Some claim its use is derived from the Civil War-era telegraphic shorthand to indicate the end of a transmission.
    You hold in your hand the 114th issue of Marathon & Beyond. It is also the last issue of Marathon & Beyond.
    Due to a steady decline in subscriptions over the past several years, the magazine is no longer able to sustain itself in a media environment that is rapidly—and inexorably—changing.

    On the Road with Chris Lotsbom


    It’s early morning on Friday, July 31, and the sun is rising in the east. Powerful waves from the Atlantic strike against Casco Bay with a majesty that is unmatched, white mist flying into the air. The smell of salt water tickles your nose—a powerful refresher reminding you the ocean is mere steps away.

    Every 20 seconds or so, the sound of a booming foghorn fills the air, alerting boats in the area to the jagged rocks beneath the water’s surface. On this weekend, the ear-piercing horn is like a dinner bell, welcoming 6,500-plus athletes home. The main course is a 10K through the picturesque and quaint village of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, home to lobsters and lighthouses, rock jetties and road runners.

    Somewhere, 1984 Olympic Marathon gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson is smiling. In an hour she will address members of the media and the elite athletes gathered in town. In less than 24 hours, the finish area will be buzzing, runners from around the country completing the race.

    This was her vision. This is her baby. This is her race.
    She is Cape Elizabeth’s most famous citizen, so the first weekend of August always is dedicated to Joan Benoit Samuelson’s vision. It’s when the race that she founded—the TD Beach to Beacon 10K—runs straight through her hometown’s heart.

    My Most Unforgettable Ultramarathon

    Mike Brooks

    Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 10-Day Ultra

    QUEENS, NEW YORK, April 22-May 2, 2009—This was a fund-raiser for Camp Sunshine, with a goal of raising $10,000. Camp Sunshine is located in Maine and is a place where children with serious and life-threatening illnesses spend a week with their families. Mike Smith from Camp Sunshine has helped me with previous fund-raisers, the biggest being $28,000 I raised running the Badwater 135 and more than $6,000 doing a six-day race.

    When I told him I was going to do the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 10-Day ultra, he came up with the idea, after talking with me about it, that I should do 500 miles. I thought that was an awful lot for a 63-year-old guy like me. “That is an average of 50 miles a day.” Mike just looked back with an evil grin and assured me that I could do it. Well, he talked me into setting 500 as my goal, or perhaps I should say that I let him talk me into it. When friend and ultrarunner Andy Velazco found out about my goal, he told me he would donate $1 per mile for $500 but not a penny if I didn’t do 500 miles. Well, now the pressure was really on me and on this old, arthritic, beat-up body.

    Mississippi Blues Marathon

    In the city with soul.

    The city of Jackson, Mississippi, and its marathon can be summed up most easily with a couple of words: hospitality and music. It is telling that when race director John Noblin talks about music and this city, he says, “There is so much blues around here that we just take it for granted.” The blues theme is woven throughout your stay, from the CD of local music that comes in your packet and the harmonica that has been in the packet in past years to the live local music at the expo and along the course (providing the weather doesn’t take another major dip into the cold end of the thermometer). You won’t take the hospitality for granted, either. Volunteers for the race and generally people you meet along the route in Jackson will thank you for coming, and if you jump to thank the volunteers, they will say, “No, thank you!” The smiles are huge and genuine.

    Biofile: Jorge Torres

    “Scoop” Malinowski

    Date of Birth: August 22, 1980, in Chicago, Illinois

    Running Inspirations: “My coach, Greg Fedyski, who passed away in 2009. I grew up with him and he taught me a lot of things. When I crossed the finish line in New York City, it was sad for me because I wish he was there to witness it.”

    On the Trail with Meghan Hicks

    Checks and Balances

    In this column, I write about balance—and sometimes a lack thereof—in a couple of aspects of trail running.

    The unbalanced book

    It’s the middle of the night and I’m somewhere over the northern Atlantic Ocean. I’ve had the little airplane tray of dinner food (chicken with curry sauce!) and one of those minibottles of red wine, and I’ve tried to put myself to sleep by watching Water Diviner on the little seat-back screen. In a couple of hours, this zippy time-travel device will have removed me from a late afternoon in Denver and plopped me in France for dawn. I’ll spring into action, into my work, like nothing strange has happened.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions.

    One last time. I’ve been running for five decades, running marathons for more than four. I’ve run more than 100 marathons, and the running/marathon lifestyle has been a godsend in my life. But due to my aging and slowing (it takes forever to do long runs these days), I’ve decided that my next marathon will be my last. I don’t want to keep wonderful volunteers out on the course any longer than necessary, and the same goes for my own aged body; it needs some rest. As I contemplate my last marathon, I’m filled with mixed emotions, most of them centered on the end of an era and the question of “What’s next?” I was wondering if some of your wonderful writers—writers having a bent toward philosophy and all—have any feelings and insights into what I face on the other side of my last marathon. Norman Heffelfinger via e-mail



    The 1968 Olympic 
Marathon Trials

    Joe Head

    My road to Alamosa.

    Over the years, as I have returned to run again the marathons of my youth, I find myself feeling more and more out of place, a dodo of sorts from a bygone era. Looking around at my fellow runners eagerly awaiting the starter’s gun, seeing their color-coordinated outfits, hydration packs, and those ubiquitous packets of GU, I feel strangely old. I find myself longing for the simple camaraderie of those who just love to run long distances. But there was another time, a time when I didn’t feel old, when, as I toed a starting line one August afternoon in 1968, I knew I was in the presence of greatness. I had no business being there, really. I was undertrained, inexperienced, a real novice—as they say, “a rank amateur.” Even now I find what I did that summer a little hard to believe.

    The Hand of Friendship

    Roger Robinson

    Dick Beardsley at the 1981 London Marathon: 
a symbol for the new running movement.

    “The hand of friendship” was the theme of the 35th London Marathon on April 26, 2015. All finishers, more than 35,000 of them, were encouraged by a big social-media campaign to cross the line hand in hand with another runner. Thousands did. Normally stiff-lipped Brits went soggy with goodwill as they grasped a random hand alongside and tottered united under the finish archway. Even Paula Radcliffe, the women’s world record holder and a living legend, who was completing probably her last marathon to huge acclaim, remembered to grab an astonished stranger’s wrist and flourish it aloft.

    Self-Coaching Using Your GPS Watch

    Phil Miller

    Max your training with available technology.

    In the vast universe of all things related to running, there is an empty space next to the signpost that says, “Here be the analysis tools for self-coached runners.” It’s not fair.
    For the recreational runners whose goal is to finish a marathon, there are social websites like Strava and Garmin Connect.

    Recreational runners get to see colorful graphs of their runs and even post them on Facebook to show their friends. On the other end of the spectrum, the elite runners who are training to win a race hire their own personal coaches—who undoubtedly have custom spreadsheets set up to crunch every nuance of their running data.

    And then there are the rest of us. We’re the self-coached community.

    Running From the Dark

    Paul C. Maurer

    The amazing recovery of Richard Dodd.

    Richard Dodd stood at the edge of the icy river ready to end his life. The jump wouldn’t be far, no more than 10 feet; surely the fall itself wouldn’t kill him. It was clear the unforgiving river would perform the task in a numbing and seamless fashion. He grasped the wrought-iron railing with gloveless hands until the frozen metal burned his palms. He gripped harder and his knuckles blanched, but he scarcely noticed the discoloration. His mind swirled as a whirlwind of images and thoughts flashed. What if he had never been born? Would it really have mattered? Even worse, if he jumped would anyone even know he was gone? Would the world care that one more hopeless drunk had flung himself in the icy flow and ended his godforsaken life? He closed his eyes as the winter winds whipped and thought of his family: the weaving love and hate of an alcoholic father that formed his future, a mother who endured years of strain holding a family together but who forgot the simple acts forming the soul of a young boy, an older brother living in a group home after a singular tragedy left him a remnant of the man he used to be. He thought of runners who valued his coaching and trusted the words spurring them to run better than they had ever thought possible. He gripped the railing harder and rocked back and forth in a silence that had become deafening.


    Jeff Horowitz

    Preparing for the world’s greatest ultra marathon.

    Some people would say that there are two kinds of ultrarunners: those who have run Comrades, and those who want to.
    Comrades is famous in the world of ultramarathoning as the largest ultramarathon in the world. Although it is less well known in the general running community in the United States, in South Africa, where it takes place, it’s considered a legendary running challenge.

    For the many Americans who are unfamiliar with the race, it can be said that Comrades is, in many ways, the Boston Marathon of ultrarunning. Like Boston, it is the oldest annually run race of its kind. It has a rich history of showcasing bravery, tenacity, and yes, even cheating. It has mirrored the evolution of our culture, like Boston, by admitting formerly banned participants—women in Boston, and women and black runners in Comrades. And like Boston, it is wicked hard. Tackling Comrades is actually like running two Boston Marathons, back to back.

    Into the Maine Woods

    Rich Limacher

    With Bernd “Henry David” Heinrich.

    Would you like to travel through time? Of course you would! So how about traveling back to 1981 and Chicago’s Lakefront to witness one of the greatest ultramarathons ever raced?
    But maybe even further back than that to, say, New England during August of 1846. You discover that’s when Henry David Thoreau went to Maine. You also discover that his surname, incredibly, isn’t pronounced Thor-ROW but THUR-oh as in “thorough.” So you decide you’d like to travel back to Maine in the mid-19th century and visit your backwoodsy hero there.

    Instead, through some glitch in the Southwest Airlines Time Machine, the new hero you find somewhere in the backwoods of western Maine isn’t H. D. Thoreau, visiting from Walden Pond, but B. Heinrich, residing full time next to a well. The hand-hewn log cabin, of course, is the same.
    In fact, the very first question out of your mouth when approaching the University of Vermont biology professor emeritus—and world-famous ultrarunner—for the first time in your life is: “What year is this?”

    Return From Burnout

    Holly Hight

    There is always a way back.

    As I barreled down the highway toward Bend, I thought I’d fallen out of love permanently. I was on my third and final 6.02-mile leg of the Cascade Lakes Relay and dying a slow, agonizing death, convinced I’d never lace up again. We were neck and neck with a rival team and I’d run the previous two legs at my 5K race pace, this one even faster. I’d dreaded this leg the way I’d dreaded, back in college, a bungee ride I knew I’d regret halfway up (sure enough, I’d started to panic as the gears hauled me up nearly 15 stories above the pavement). I’d told my team to check on me every half mile (stomach cramps had already set in) and if I gave the thumbs up or an affirmative grunt, I was good to go, my legs numbly churning through what felt like mud, the only place in the world that mattered dancing like a carrot just a few excruciating miles down the road: the finish line, a country to which I’d forever pledge my allegiance, along with a party that included BBQ pork, microbrew, and, most important, a well-earned soak in the river. All I wanted was to be done. For good. This kind of anguish was reserved for miracles like childbirth.

    From Kidnapping to Kona

    Cathy Tibet’s

    A long and winding road to the championships.

    Jose Ramirez had never thought about qualifying for a coveted slot at the Hawaii Ironman World Championships, but it happened at Ironman Cozumel on December 1, 2013. His second-place finish in the male 70-74 age division secured him a spot when the first-place male in his age division didn’t want it. The Kona slot would roll down to him as long as he showed up at the awards ceremony the following day to claim it. With fewer than 2 percent of triathletes ever qualifying for the annual event in Kailua Kona, Hawaii, it was an opportunity that most of them only dream of.

    The problem was, he couldn’t make it to the awards ceremony: he had been kidnapped.


    Douglas Jordan

    To the tune of “Sailing” by Christopher Cross.

    Well, it’s not far down to paradise, at least it’s not for me
    Almost any time you can lace your flats, and find tranquility
    Oh, a singlet can do miracles, put one on and see
    Believe me

    It’s not too far to peace of mind, you can get there too
    Running short or long or fast or slow, brings you serenity
    A marathon does miracles, run one soon and see
    Believe me

    Running, takes me away to where I always wanted to be
    Running shoes and the ground to carry me
    And soon I will be free

    Well, it’s not too far to better health, it’s simple to achieve
    Either day or night run joyfully, toward a better you
    Oh, an ultra can do miracles, go beyond and see
    Believe me

    It’s not too far to blacktop, or any nearby trail
    Any time is right to run outside, and be innocent again
    Oh, fartleks can do miracles, run a few and see
    Believe me

    Joie de vivre, it gets the best of me
    When I’m running
    Every step is a joy for me, carpe diem brings reverie
    Won’t you believe me?

    It’s a joy any time of year, that much is so very clear
    And when the climb is right you feel more alive, than you thought possible
    Oh, ascending can do miracles, exert yourself and see
    Believe me

    Clarity, it always comes to me
    When I’m running
    All my cares simply melt away, there’s no better form of play
    Won’t you believe me today?

    Running, takes me away to where I always wanted to be
    Running shoes and the ground to carry me
    And soon I will be free

    Book Bonus: The Death Valley 300

    Rich Benyo

    Getting down to the basics—and beyond. Part 6.

    Editor’s note: We have excluded Chapter 3 from this serialization because it deals with the history, geography, and culture of Inyo County, and not with running. Although Inyo County is fascinating on many levels (from housing the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and the highest point in the contiguous United States, from its native populations to the plot to divert the water of Owens Valley to a parched L.A., from the Manly wagon train’s disastrous delve into Death Valley in 1949 to numerous Hollywood films made in the Alabama Hills above Lone Pine), we didn’t want to slow down the running commentary.

    Chapter 4: Extremities (continued)

    Long Endurance

    The term “long-endurance” at first appears redundant. Endurance, at least in runner-ese, implies long. But everything is relative. A person new to long-distance running might train for a 10K race and a seven- or eight-miler might be the height of endurance. For the marathoner, endurance might be the eighteen-mile workout building toward the marathon race. But for Tom and me, endurance for the year extending from July 31, 1988, to July 17, 1989, required a stretch of its traditional meaning. In the process, we were going to have to stretch our egos to the thinness of salt water taffy being pulled apart.

    What I mean by that is simply that a runner works for years to improve, to train better and more wisely, to work harder to turn in faster times. As that runner ages, he or she is forced to accept the gradual diminution of youthful speed. There is a gradual softening of racing times as the human body ages. True, by training wisely and well, that softening of race times can be minimized—but it is still inevitable. This very natural process has one of two effects for the distance runner: (1) He cannot handle the softening times and quits racing so as not to bruise his ego over something over which he has no power, or (2) He has the grace to move into age-group competition where he can compete against himself and other people his own age whose bodies are forcing them to go through the same process. In either case, there is a nostalgia for the days when you could run the 10K a minute faster.

    Volume 19 | Number 5 | September/October 2015



    Rich Benyo

    Young Marathoners

    Today we live in an America infested by weenies and busybodies.

    We could use a few hundred thousand words to enumerate the “weeniefication” of America, everything from some nonsense referred to as “triggering” by words or phrases that are going to send some college student into spasms of emotional pain where they are compelled to call anything they don’t agree with “hate speech” to emotional meltdowns when facing a world that is not living up to whatever the current definition of “utopia” happens to be. Seems like we’re reverting back to the Victorian age when one could be rendered incapacitated by an attack of the vapors.

    On the busybody side, the government and many of your neighbors want to have access to everything about you and to use that information to control you while hiding behind a lead curtain that even kryptonite can’t penetrate under the guise of protecting you from your dumb self. (Of course, many younger people are surrendering everything they have and more by overloading Facebook pages with what would at one time have been considered private.)

    On the Road with Chris Lotsbom

    The Future Is Upon Us

    It started in Eugene, also known as TrackTown USA, headed east through Austin and then to Jacksonville, Florida, and Greenville, South Carolina. It continued through New York, the city that never sleeps, east toward its archrival Boston, to the Gateway to the West in Saint Louis, and then farther west to Eugene once again. A cross-country flight back to New York, a detour to Greensboro, North Carolina, and then on to Portland. Heck, where in America didn’t this trip cover?

    What am I talking about? A month-long running spree this spring when America’s future in the sport was on full display, a glimpse of what may be in store for the future of track and field, road racing, and marathoning in the United States.

    My Most Unforgettable Ultramarathon

    Amber Green

    2015 Grandma’s Marathon

    DULUTH, MINNESOTA, June 20, 2015 — As I sit here on a plane, flying over the Midwest, heading back to my home in Saint George, Utah, a smile spreads across my face. I did it. Pause . . . wait, no; that’s not right. We did it!
    Fifteen years ago, at the age of 20, I decided to run my first marathon. I was a freshman at my local junior college with interests in student government and my boyfriend, Matt. I wasn’t much interested in running. I had always tried to stay fit, but I had never in my life run over three miles. The marathon seemed the perfect challenge, and I was inspired by my mom (also not a runner), who had trained and completed the Saint George Marathon years earlier when I was just 12 years old. I will never forget seeing my mother in her colorful running shorts, running the race with her sister Terri, who had to drop out due to a knee injury. My mom later told me how she forged on to the finish line alone. When the race got hard, she pressed on by taking one segment of the road at a time. She would tell herself, OK, just run to that next road sign; that’s all you have to do. She would arrive at the sign and then pick a new point in the road ahead as her next goal. She inspired me. If she could complete a marathon, not being a real “runner” by definition, then I certainly wanted to try it, too.

    Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon

    Do you believe in monkeys?

    Do you believe in flying monkeys? Do you run for camaraderie, for a good, tough time, and for bragging rights? Do you want something a little different? There is a beautiful part of Nashville, Tennessee, called Harpeth Hills where you may find all of these. The Harpeth Hills area houses two joined parks, Edwin Warner and Percy Warner, making up one of the largest municipal-park systems in the country. It boasts rolling hills, dense forests, and lots of grassland. Every November, Percy Warner Park erupts into craziness with loco runners, flying monkeys (human and otherwise), too much food, and a lot of fun. Every year since its inception, the race has filled up. In the last few years, a lottery has been instituted, thanks to the demand for spaces. Where’s the magic? For one thing, there is an air of fantasy about the whole thing—there are flying monkeys on the course, though some of them are human, and some are . . . 
magical. There is a potluck of food at the end and a raffle. And there are no age group awards, just enjoyment.

    Biofile: Amy Hastings

    “Scoop” Malinowski

    Date of Birth: January 21, 1984, in Long Beach, California

    First Running Memory: “When I was little, my dad worked at the Naval Academy. Sometimes we’d walk around the campus. One time when I was 3 or 4 I saw the track and I was like, ‘How many laps to the mile?’ So I started running and my mom thought I’d stop after one lap. First lap I made it, second lap I made, and halfway through the third my mom made me stop because she didn’t want me to do too much. My dad after, always tells me, that’s when he knew I was gonna be a runner, which I don’t remember at all. And he didn’t tell me until years later after I became a runner. So that was my first running experience.”

    Running Inspirations: “I think there are so many. All of the women who came before me are such inspirations. They went through a lot and they’re such incredible athletes.”

    On the Trail with Meghan Hicks

    Making It Work: The 2015 Hardrock 100

    December 6, 2014

    My phone explodes, not literally, but all the apps suddenly key up dozens of notifications. The collective message is this: it’s Hardrock Hundred-Mile Endurance Run lottery day and my name has been drawn. I will run the July 2015 edition of this race.My stomach practically shoots out of my mouth: the feeling of fear. And my heart leaps against the insides of my chest. That’s the sensation of elation. My reaction is an emotional dichotomy, and for good reason.

    The Hardrock 100 is a 100-mile loop through southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. If you’ve ever visited this range, you know these mountains as a multicolor, vertical, altitudinous wonderland used today by recreationists but in the past by gold, silver, and other precious-metal miners. The racecourse travels old mining trails and roads, connecting valleys with the high country and back, over and over again. The race was designed as a homage to the range’s past “hardrockers,” as those miners were called. The race will allow just 152 entrants for 2015, and 1,367 people qualified for and entered the race lottery. Just getting through those rigors is exciting.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions.

    Footwear Wars. You’ll forgive me if I’m a little confused at the direction in which running shoes are going. When Born to Run came out, there was a lot of noise about making shoes as minimal as possible, even potentially going without shoes as being the perfect solution to running well and injury free. Fortunately, I never bought into that, in part because I thought there was a lot of dishonesty involved when proponents tried to tie the Tarahumara into the shoeless movement. The Tarahumara don’t run shoeless; they make sandals from discarded car and truck tires. Besides, who would want to run barefoot when there are sharp rocks sticking up out of the ground, discarded drug needles in parks, and broken soda and beer bottles everywhere? The major shoe companies jumped into the fray with minimalist shoes. For those of us who stood back and simply watched the hysteria, has any sensible solution to developing logical running footwear come out the other end? – Karen Dupree via e-mail



    My New York City 

    Ken Frick

    In memory of mother.

    I didn’t know what to expect, only that this was going to be special. Some things you can prepare for, but in a lifetime not many rise to this level. In minutes I would be crossing the start line of the 2014 New York City Marathon, running the distance in my mother’s memory. She had passed away 18 years ago on this day. This was my first New York City Marathon. I had been looking forward to it for a long time.

    Knowing that I was going to run in the event would have made my mother unbelievably proud and also scared her to death. To Mom, big-city New York was a dark and foreboding place. She had grown up during the Depression and knew what darkness was. To her New York wasn’t a place of theater, art galleries, and fine dining. To her it was the police dramas and gang movies she watched inside the box in her living room. She would have wanted no part of it and would have preferred that I steer clear of the evil Gotham.

    The Marine Corps 
Marathon Turns 40

    Rick Nealis

    Marine Corps Marathon race director Rick Nealis shares the history and growth of “The People’s Marathon.”

    Editor’s note: On October 25, 2015, the Marine Corps Marathon will run for the 40th consecutive year. Known as “The People’s Marathon,” for most of its existence the event has been directed by Richard “Rick” Nealis. M&B spoke with Rick about the Marine Corps Marathon’s special position, both geographically and as a bridge between civilians and the American military.
    M&B: How did the Marine Corps Marathon originally get started? Who was behind it, and what was the original purpose for founding the race?

    Nealis: In 1975, Colonel Jim Fowler, United States Marine Corps Reserve, submitted a proposal to his commanding officer, Major General Michael Ryan, to approve an idea he had. He believed the Marines could execute a military operation of hosting a marathon event in our nation’s capital that would showcase the Marines’ organization skills, support community goodwill, and promote a healthy lifestyle. That year, 1,018 runners crossed the finish line, following course-winner Kenny Moore, a two-time Olympian (1968 Mexico City and 1972 Munich), into the record books.

    Autumn Marathons

    Marsha White

    The sweet season.

    First, a confession: I am addicted to racing, and the time of year is irrelevant to me. Unless a race is canceled because of snow or some other unusual circumstance, if I am registered, I will go. My calendar is full year-round. That said, I have discovered that the autumn months of September, October, and November are filled with a bounty of wonderful marathons.

    There are many reasons why autumn is prime racing season. Children return to school, vacation time is over, the weather generally cools, and there is a brief respite before winter holiday madness takes over. Race directors must understand this, because the autumn months are filled with marathons to pull you in and entice you to ramp up your training. It’s a great time to sign up for one or more races.

    For the Long Run

    Holly Hight

    Evolving as a long-distance runner.

    I’ve been running regularly for the past eight years, though I consider myself a lifelong runner. I started when I was 11, when my dad and I ran the Skunk Alley Run near Missoula, Montana.

    I remember so well his encouragement as I ran, and back then, it was just fun. I wasn’t thinking about competition; it was an adventure, even this two-mile race. To me, it took forever and seemed a vast distance, every step uncharted territory.

    I was used to watching my dad run, as he did every morning, six miles or so. We had this long stretch of road from our house, so that I could see him getting smaller as he ran north, toward the Mission Mountains. I remember thinking how incredible it was, that he could run that far, that he could be that fit. Six miles may as well have been 6,000.

    Then I entered that two-mile race and I realized, with a little encouragement, that I could do what he did. That was incredible. It hadn’t occurred to me before that I could do it, too.

    The Way We Were

    Michael Bernick

    A now-grizzled high school cross-country team looks back at the formative years.

    Editor’s note: Several years ago we received a link to a posting by San Francisco attorney Michael Bernick, who was looking back at long-distance running the decade before the running revolution struck. What caught our eye about the piece was its vivid recreation of the baby boomers engaging in high school cross-country while also going to the other extreme and occasionally running one of the relatively few marathons available in those days. Dr. Bill Roberts, the medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon, has for years been researching the effects on runners under 18 who take on the challenge of the marathon; his findings: nothing wrong with a teen running a marathon. We contacted Michael, and he was able to in turn contact some of his high school teammates to solicit from them their memories of that 50-year-old era. What follows is the running boom before the “running boom” hit.

    Who We Were: When running became life: Southern California’s 1960s long-distance subculture.
    Before distance running entered the mainstream culture in the 1970s, before marathons and road races attracted thousands of runners, before Nike and Reebok, there was a distance-running subculture in Southern California. You wouldn’t have known it existed from reading the Los Angeles Times or watching local television or listening to the radio. But a vibrant distance-running community emerged in the 1960s. This community was linked by a network of all-comers’ races, weekly road races, and newly established marathons. Most important, new attitudes were emerging among these runners: about long-distance running as a lifestyle as well as about workout regimens, diet, lifelong training, and the inclusion of women.

    Running for Time

    Phil McCarthy

    When everyone finishes together – sort of.

    Imagine an ultra with no cutoffs, no sweep vehicle, and no DNFs! This is what you get with fixed-time ultras. According to runningintheusa.com, there are 190 fixed-time races in the United States in 2015, so they are out there, and they are worth a look for those unfamiliar with them. This article might serve as an introduction to this type of race for some of you; others already familiar will, I hope, still find some good information here.

    I’ve fielded lots of questions in person about this, and of my 90 or so ultras, 44 of them have been fixed-time races from three hours to six days. I managed to set an American record for 48 hours, at the race Three Days at the Fair in Augusta, New Jersey, in 2011, with 257.34 miles, and I nabbed a couple of 24-hour national championships at the NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run in Cleveland in 2009 and 2011. So as a runner who has been said to “specialize in mind-numbing loops”, I suppose I’m something close to an expert. So I’ll start with the basics. You’ll note that I’ll use the word “usually” a lot, to comment on what is most common, while acknowledging that there are always exceptions.

    On the Same Side

    Clint Cherepa

    Even the worst of us eventually mature.

    According to my sister, I was a jerk when I was a kid. When we were young and she was scared to sleep in her own room, I would charge her to sleep in my room. When I was with my friends, I would make her walk on the other side of the street. I don’t remember doing either of these things, but I don’t doubt them. I do remember throwing a jackknife at her foot when I was about 8 and she was 6. I don’t exactly remember why.

    My sister was a tomboy and proud of it. She regularly relates stories about knocking the wind out of my friends when we played tackle football. Who would expect it of the soft-spoken, wispy blonde girl?

    It’s hard to admit, but I think she was quicker and more agile than me for the majority of our childhood. We were competitors. As children, neither of us would label ourselves as runners; still, we spent hours competitively running as we played hide-and-seek, tag, and other sports.

    We were not strangers to endurance sports. Our father was a long-distance bicyclist who constantly exposed us to the never-ending cycle of riding and refueling.
    Officially, I don’t know who started running first. We were both in our late teens when we began to appreciate the value of mileage and endurance.

    Triple the Fun

    Sam Smith

    There are certain charms to going way longer.

    In 2007, I had been doing Ironmans for about six years and wished to attempt something longer. It was a natural choice to go for one of the multiples of Iron distance. After looking around I found a double Ironman in Virginia. Then I noticed on the website that there was a triple held on the same October weekend! Well, how can I do a double when there is also a triple? I had found my race—the aptly named “Tri Tri,” which was also the U.S. National Championships.

    When you do a race of such a magnificent distance, you are required to supply your own support crew to look after you. I managed to persuade my dear friend Peter “Skipper” Sawko to come out and crew for me. He had not been to America before, so it was a chance for him to see a bit of it, even though half the time he would be sitting in the middle of a forest attending to my needs day and night! I also hired another crew member from a list provided by the race organizer to give Pete a break and the opportunity for some sleep.

    We landed in Washington, hired a car, and drove down to Virginia. We got there late in the evening and found where we were staying—an old plantation manor house that had been bought by one of the descendants of the slaves that worked on it.

    The next day (Thursday) was the day before the race, and we had to get ready for the start on Friday morning at Lake Anna State Park. The park is home to numerous deer, large copperhead snakes, and bears. Also many large sea eagles soared overhead. After setting up our tent near race HQ, we headed to the supermarket to get three days’ worth of food. We could not risk getting too little, so we went a bit overboard.

    If it did not need heating or cooking and could be eat-
en with your hands, we bought 10 of it along with about eight crates of water 
and 100 bottles of Gatorade. We stashed it all in our tent and headed to the pasta party.

    Running the Shawangunk Ridge Trail

    Kenneth A. Posner

    Who needs a marked course?

    Where’s George?

    It’s 9:00 p.m. I’m standing at checkpoint #6, high in the Shawangunk Mountains. The woods, tangled and dark, envelop us. One volunteer is still here, but I had let search and rescue stand down at dusk. That might have been a bad call.

    George is nothing if not motivated and self-reliant. And he’s following the Shawangunk Ridge Trail, a footpath blazed through the forest. But some of the blazes are tricky to find, especially at night. And there are no supplemental markings, not a single flour arrow or scrap of engineer tape anywhere on the course. George could be disoriented, not to mention that he’s moving through his second night without sleep. He could be stumbling around in a daze. He could be totally lost.

    I’m the race director. It’s my second night without sleep, too. Now I’m wondering if George brought extra batteries for his headlamp.

    Fifteen minutes pass. I’m staring at my watch, blinking back fatigue, trying to figure out what to do if George is crashing through the woods without light, lying injured on a pile of rocks, or simply asleep by the side of the trail.

    Book Bonus: The Death Valley 300

    Rich Benyo

    Time to customize the running machine. Part 5.

    Editor’s note: We have excluded Chapter 3 from this serialization because it deals with the history, geography, and culture of Inyo County, and not with running. Although Inyo County is fascinating on many levels (from housing the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and the highest point in the contiguous United States, from its native populations to the plot to divert the water of Owens Valley to a parched L.A., from the Manly wagon train’s disastrous delve into Death Valley in 1949 to numerous Hollywood films made in the Alabama Hills above Lone Pine), we didn’t want to slow down the running commentary.

    Chapter 4: Extremities

    “Chance favors the prepared mind.”—Louis Pasteur


    The longer one looks at Death Valley and its history, the more one is struck by the almost classic poetry that is inherent. Death Valley and neighboring Panamint Valley hold mineral treasures of all kinds, but to earn the right to reach for them, one must confront the dragon that guards them. And the dragon is two-headed: extreme heat and water that’s as rare as gold.

    The heat problems an athlete faces in the middle of summer in Death Valley are these:
    1. Dehydration.
    2. Inability to process sufficient water to meet the needs of the exercising body.
    3. Radiant heat to the body further increasing the body’s temperature, and the painful consequences to the feet from radiant heat built up on the road surface.

    Because of the extremely low humidity in a place like Death Valley (at noon, the humidity is typically zero percent), even a body at rest is in danger of becoming dehydrated. Add the fact that there is frequently a dry wind that is warmed by passing over the radiantly heated desert surface, and even a person sitting quietly in the shade is likely to suffer. A perfect explanation of this danger is contained in Richard E. Lingenfelter’s definitive book Death Valley & The Amargosa:
    “What makes Death Valley seasonally dangerous is not so much that it’s extremely hot, but that it’s extremely dry. Dehydration, not heat stroke, is the principal cause of death in Death Valley. Heat stroke is a problem in hot, humid air where your body cannot keep cool enough by the evaporation of perspiration. In the hot, dry air of Death Valley, the situation is just the opposite: your body is cooled very effectively by evaporation, but at a dangerous rate of dehydration. On an average summer day in Death Valley, you can lose over two gallons of water just sitting in the shade; hiking in the sun, you can lose twice as much! Without enough to drink to replace it, the loss of four gallons of water is almost certainly fatal, and even the loss of two gallons could have fatal results.

    “The first sensation of thirst begins with the loss of a little over a quart of water. By the time you have lost a gallon you begin to feel tired and apathetic. Most of the water lost comes from your blood, and as it thickens, your circulation becomes poor, your heart strains, your muscles fatigue, and your head aches. With further loss of water you become dizzy and begin to stumble; your breathing is labored and your speech is indistinct. By the time you have lost two gallons of water your tongue is swollen, you can hardly keep your balance, your muscles spasm, and you are becoming delirious. You are likely to discard your hat, clothes, and shoes, which only hastens your dehydration and suffering. With a loss of more than three gallons of water you will collapse, your tongue and skin shriveled and numb, your eyes sunken, your vision dim, and your hearing almost gone. Bloody cracks will appear in your skin and you’ll soon be dead.
    “Such was the fate of fully two-thirds of those who have died in Death Valley.”

    Not a pretty prospect for a summer vacation.

    Volume 19 | Number 4 | July/August 2015



    Rich Benyo

    The Beginning

    This year the town/village of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, is celebrating its 300th birthday. The actual birthday is December 13, but since one of the town’s major distinctions is that on Patriots’ Day each year its population roughly triples as the Boston Marathon field comes to town, we feel justified in helping Hopkinton celebrate early.

    Let’s think of the swelling population of Hopkinton on Patriots’ Day in the same vein as the little town of Bethel, New York, in August 1969 when it enjoyed (or suffered) an enormous influx of strangers, but we’ll refrain from thinking of it in the same vein as the little settlement of Gerlach, Nevada, which at the end of each summer sees its population explode because of something called Burning Man. On second thought, let’s do think of Hopkinton in the same vein as Bethel and Gerlach: thousands of people running around in colorful clothes and with terrific enthusiasm, worldwide media coverage and loudspeakers, a tremendous increase in the psychic vibe, and then—poof!—within a mere day, peace and quiet and a return to what passes as normal for the rest of the year.

    On the Road with Chris Lotsbom

    To Host or Not to Host?

    As the temperatures get higher and baseball season transitions into its midsummer swing, you know the peak of summer is here. Summer is a time to relax with family, take a trip to the beach, and every four years celebrate some of the world’s best athletes. For nearly 120 years the world has come together in the name of sport, from Stockholm to Sydney, London to Los Angeles, and Mexico City to Montreal. The triumph of victory and achievement and the agony of defeat and tragedy have all been on display at these Games, which thousands of people attend over the span of two weeks with millions more watching on television back home.

    In January of this year, the United States Olympic Committee chose Boston, the state capital of Massachusetts and birthplace of the American Revolution, as its bid city for the 2024 Olympic Games. Boston is a city known as “The Hub” or “The Athens of America,” famous for its clam chowder, annual marathon, and ever-so-great drivers (all right, I’ll admit the last one is not so accurate).

    My Most Unforgettable Ultramarathon

    Clint Cherepa

    2010 Kettle Moraine 100

    EAGLE, WISCONSIN, June 5, 2010—To finish, I needed to do more than put one foot in front of the other. I also needed a black 50-gallon garbage bag to keep me going. The garbage bag was the best aid-station gift I had ever received and still holds its place as the most useful.

    Training to run 100 miles, or to just cover the distance, is training to suffer. I envy the runner who covers the distance with no suffering at all, and I doubt this runner exists. Running is not about being comfortable: we can be comfortable on Sunday night after our weekend long run is in the log books.

    Sioux Falls Marathon

    A fast and flat Boston qualifier by the falls.

    It’s never easy to qualify for Boston, but the Sioux Falls Marathon offers runners a great opportunity for a BQ because of its flat and fast terrain. After all, Sioux Falls lies at the eastern border of the pancake-flat prairie lands of South Dakota. As an added bonus, the Sioux Falls area abounds in picturesque stone buildings, intriguing museums, and friendly, welcoming townsfolk so the race is a perfect excuse to visit a fascinating area of the United States.

    Biofile: Kara Goucher

    “Scoop” Malinowski

    Date of Birth: July 9, 1978, in Queens, New York

    First Running Memory: “I ran a race when I was 6 years old with my grandfather. I ran the one-mile race. I remember that, in Duluth, Minnesota.”

    Running Inspirations: “Growing up I really looked up to Suzy Favor Hamilton. Lynn Jennings was huge for me. As I got a little bit older, I shifted to Paula Radcliffe and Joan Samuelson.”

    On the Trail with Meghan Hicks

    Running Hard and Thinking Harder

    I’m fresh back from my fifth finish of the Marathon des Sables, a seven-day, six-stage, 250-kilometer race that takes place in the Moroccan Sahara Desert. If you are familiar with my writings here, you know that the “MdS,” as it’s often nicknamed, rests near and dear to my heart. In my five times at this race, Morocco, the Sahara, and the friends I’ve met through the race have secured their own place inside of me. On the racing side of things, I’ve had variable experiences there—a second place in 2009, the middle of the pack in 2010, fifth place in 2012, a win in 2013, and, now, fifth place this year.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions.

    Cheyenne and I have been running together for nearly three years. We are both in our late 20s and, to be honest, if we weren’t running with each other, I have doubts we’d have stuck with it. We run together four out of the five days a week we train. And of course, we enter and run races together. Here’s the problem: I’m starting to unearth a competitive side that I didn’t know I had, Cheyenne not so much; in fact, not at all. She loves to run but doesn’t seem to have a gear where you start to push it. As we run races, I’ve been purposely holding back so I don’t finish too far ahead of Cheyenne, and I think she’s starting to resent the fact that I’m not running the race right next to her, as I did when we first started. I’d love to see how well I can do in racing, but to do that, I’d need to train harder than I am with Cheyenne. By the way, we’re both putting in roughly 30 miles a week, a little more when we pick it up to train for a marathon—which we’ve been running in the 5:30 range. Is there any way I can ease out of training four days a week with Cheyenne so I can stretch my potential without my relationship with her going south? I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I don’t want to stifle what I think I could do if I trained longer and harder. – Halley Marks via e-mail



    Twenty-Four Hours, Minute by Minute

    Dan Horvath

    A race director’s job is never done.

    Saturday, September 20, 2014
    6:25 a.m.
    “You mean they’re really going to run for 24 hours?” Reluctant Race Director Dan (RRD for short, because RRDD has too many letters) patiently answers yes, they will. RRD has had to answer this one, as well as the inevitable follow-ups, like how do they manage to eat and use the restroom, many times before. He understands that a 24-hour race seems unusual, perhaps even extreme, to those unfamiliar with the format.

    How I Stopped Worrying About the Race

    Phil McCarthy

    And learned to love the run—part II.

    Numbers of all kinds were running through my head before the start of the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Six-Day Race, which started April 21, 2013, in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens. I had high hopes for big mileage totals, so those numbers were in my head as well as my expected mileage per day, minutes per mile, hours I’d have to sleep, and more. But before the end of the race, none of those numbers really mattered at all, and the most important number was the huge number of friends who came out to crew for me, bring me food, or cheer me on.

    So right off the bat I want to thank those people. Unfortunately, it would consume most of the article to list everyone who had a hand in this.

    The Unfinished Race That Stuck in My Craw

    Gary Dudney

    A final chance at redemption.

    Every step promised disaster. I placed a foot in the loose grit on the steep slope in the crook of the next switchback and shifted my weight slowly to see if it would hold or if I would go sliding off Topatopa Bluff, taking the loose stones that marked the edge of the trail with me. The tightening switchbacks were down to about 6 feet long. I looked up. My headlamp flashed over an endless jumble of rock debris that seesawed back and forth up the mountain. The trail was a narrow, slippery ribbon threading up through the loose stones, and somewhere beyond where my light failed was the top, where I would leave the stone I was carrying with the other stones brought there by runners in memory of Vicki DeVita, a fellow trailrunner who had succumbed to cancer the year before. Only then would I be allowed to return to life on earth.

    The Audacity of 
Cavin Woodward

    Rob Hadgraft

    “Race as fast as you can for as long as you can.”

    You would think—in theory at least—that the key to being a top ultrarunner is to be single minded, well organized, and happy to toil for hours in your own company.

    But of course every sport throws up the occasional maverick, someone who achieves success while defying conventional wisdom. Ultrarunning is no exception, and one of its prime nonconformists was Cavin Woodward, a pint-sized office worker from Great Britain who smashed records galore in a sparkling career.

    Woodward, who died in 2010 aged just 62, had a distinctly cavalier approach to running, some of the sport’s old hands saying he smashed records despite his approach and not because of it! His finest hour came in 1975 when he obliterated the coveted 100-mile world record in a race that has since been labeled the greatest 100-mile contest of all time by ultra historian Andy Milroy.

    Something Gone, Something Gained

    David Paling

    We lust after an elusive equilibrium.

    I miss my old friend. When the hip pain brought on by synovitis (inflammation of the lining of the joint) became too much to bear, literally, I did as the orthopedic doctor advised and stopped running.

    It was not a decision I reached in an instant. I couldn’t go cold turkey on something I had pursued so steadfastly for so many years. In fact, I initially refused to accept the verdict and hobbled on, managing the pain in both hips as best I could. The discomfort worsened so I shortened my distances. I avoided asphalt, seeking wooded areas with a more forgiving surface underfoot. Glucosamine pills became a diet staple. I got new shoes and tried running only on alternate days. I searched for anything that would allow me to get the three- to five-mile fix I craved and had become so deeply accustomed to.

    Friends to the End

    Malcolm Gibson

    Reflections on the end of 25 years with a running partner.

    Morning runs are sacred. Mine cover a labyrinth of trails beneath a pine forest dry and warm without underbrush. I run alone but I’m never lonely. With me is always the memory of my best friend. He was my running partner for 25 years. We ran together every morning. I watched him go through a long divorce and fight a bout with cancer. He was a trooper. We were exactly the same height and weight so our bodies reacted the same on these training runs.

    As younger men we were of one mind as competitive runners, always scheming to better our race times by trying the latest shoes, clothing, and training techniques. But over the years, our ideas about running began to diverge. While he continued to be absorbed with his quest for faster times, I discovered that running let me stop being a slave to thinking at all. We remained virtual alter egos but each with different reasons for running. His was to achieve PRs, mine to unlock my inner self.

    Something to Run For

    Ray Charbonneau

    A not-so-short story.

    Tuesday evening, Steve was sitting on the couch after getting home from work, eating dinner, and watching the news on TV. His leftover turkey had cooled off, but Steve barely noticed. He was too busy talking back to the TV.

    Today it was the vote in Congress on the tax bill that set Steve off. “You can’t do that!” he exclaimed, shaking his fork at the screen. A forgotten slice of breast meat bounced off the anchor’s face. “Do you think we’re all stupid?”

    After the commercial break, a blond, blow-dried “lifestyle anchor” appeared on the screen to report that more than a third of American adults were overweight. “That’s awful,” Steve muttered, gnawing on a drumstick. He burped and then looked down at his own waistline, which reminded him that he was part of this particular problem. Taxes, war, unemployment—Steve couldn’t solve those problems, but he could do something about his weight.

    The Long Run

    Jason R. Karp, PhD

    The key component of marathon training. An excerpt from Running a Marathon For Dummies.

    The long run is, unsurprisingly, the key component of marathon training. Of all the different types of workouts you do, the long run most closely simulates the marathon. So runners tend to pay a lot of attention to the long run—and for good reason. Doing so goes a long way toward effecting the physical changes you need to go the distance.You can make the most out of long runs with the help of the guidelines in this article. Pacing, hydrating, fueling before and during, your mental approach, what you wear, and when and how often you take long runs are all things you need to address.

    Running, Racing, 
and Death

    Brian Burk

    If you’ve got to go, and we all ultimately do…

    It was a regular Wednesday night. It was another routine dinner after a regular day at work and a long, boring drive home. It was three days after the Rock ’n’ Roll Half-Marathon in Raleigh, North Carolina, where unfortunately two deaths occurred. It was three weeks since a teenage runner had died at the Shamrock Marathon. It was these tragic events that set off a chain of events that out of the blue had my cell phone ringing.My first response: who could be calling me? No one calls me, I thought, as I located my phone. On the illuminated screen, the incoming caller was identified as my father. It’s a long story, but I had not talked to my father in a month. Before that it had been three months, when I called for his birthday. But tonight he’s calling me. Answering the phone, I was glad to hear his voice. Within moments I could tell that he was genuinely stressed and worried about something. Over the next 15 minutes of uneasy conversations, I found out just how concerned.

    Night Runner

    Kevin Polin

    Necessity is the mother of strange running schedules.

    The familiar “clicking” sound my clock makes every day at midnight caused me to look over at my wife. She was still sound asleep. I put down my book on the bedside cabinet and turned off the lamp. Then, after slipping out of the bed as quietly as possible, I made my way through the darkened house to the kitchen where I could turn on the light without fear of waking my wife or three children. Next, on with my running shoes and jacket (having already worn my running shorts, socks, and shirt to bed), and I then made my way to the car where I had already stashed my kit: flashlight, spare batteries, banana, small disposable poncho, handheld water bottle, and a cap.

    The Ironman (and 
Woman) Comes to Cuba

    Kathy Smith

    You never know what might happen 
at a first-time triathlon event.

    I hoisted myself out of the pool to check the workout board a little better, rested on my ribcage, slipped a bit, and came down hard on what I later found was my 10th rib. I still don’t know, about a month later, if I heard or just felt the popping
/cracking, but I was in immediate pain and knew something had crumbled a bit inside. But who really wants to acknowledge that? I had a workout to finish and an impending triathlon I was worried I wasn’t trained for. I was running scared.Besides, I knew that broken ribs were incredibly painful, and once I managed to finish my workout, I figured the cracking noise/feeling I had was “normal” and everything was going to be fine. Heck, I even ran 10 kilometers later that day. But the next day it hurt worse. I still swam and ran but it really, really hurt. And I started to get a little scared. Each and every day it hurt worse and worse and worse, and I got more scared as time passed. I had just DNF’d my last triathlon, and I had no desire to continue that trend.

    My Most Unforgettable Pacing

    Zeke Zucker

    And the special friendship that ensued.

    The conditions for the 2006 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run were rather grim. After a particularly snowy winter there was still plenty of the white stuff around, making for challenging movement through the “mashed potatoes” for most of the first 30 miles. Added to this was the soaring temperature, which pushed up perilously close to the record of 80 degrees at the Squaw Valley start and 101 degrees at the 62-mile pacer-pickup point on Main Street in Foresthill.Jim Campiformio from Connecticut, a good friend and fellow ultramarathoner I had known for many years, had asked me to be his pacer at Western States. Until I could legally begin to pace him at the 62-mile mark, I was assisting his sister Rosemary with crewing support at designated, authorized aid stations. After having met him at several locations throughout the day, we were waiting for Jim to appear at mile 55, Michigan Bluff, in the very warm evening hours. By now he was way behind his intended sub-24-hour pace and barely clinging on to a finish within the 30-hour cutoff. Rosemary and I knew that it wasn’t going well for him.

    Ten Top Marathons in the United States

    Hal Higdon

    A biased look by a runner who has done 111.

    “What are your top 10 marathons to run in the United States?” That was a question asked of me recently on Facebook, one of nearly 400 questions asked over a one-day period, inspired by a contest featuring a giveaway book. There is almost no limit to the amount of response you can generate if you offer something free.It’s a tough question, since my last marathon was Disney World a dozen years ago. That marked my 111th marathon, and although I have not officially “retired” from 26.2-mile races, that seemed like a number worth savoring. Is it fair to nominate marathons for a top 10 list that I have not run? Probably not, so I offer this confessedly biased list from among my 111.

    Book Bonus: The Death Valley 300

    Rich Benyo

    The 1987 U.S. versus U.K. race nudged the course to a new level. Part 4.

    Chapter 2: The Long & Winding Road (conclusion)
    “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never 
regains its original dimensions.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes

    August 2, 1987, 7:15 a.m.
    Whitney Portal
    Whitney Portal, at eighty-three hundred and sixty-five feet altitude, is the highest point on the highest mountain in the contiguous United States to which a vehicle can be driven. Because of its notoriety as the highest peak, many people choose Mt. Whitney as the site of weekend camping and backpacking trips. Consequently, the Portal accommodates quite a number of vehicles. We have walked past more than a mile of parking lots before we spot the trailhead that leads still farther up the mountain.

    But just as we spot it a young woman sees us and begins applauding. “It’s them! It’s them!” she says to several weary-eyed passersby. The young woman, effervescent and enthusiastic, introduces herself as Dorie Cornell, Gill’s wife. “You’re doing great! You’re doing wonderfully!” she says. Then she takes a closer look at Jean Ennis. “You look like you stepped right off the cover of a fashion magazine,” she says, obviously fascinated by the fact that through more than two days and a hundred and thirty-nine miles of running, Jeannie is still wearing mascara and eye shadow.

    “It’s like running with Christie Brinkley,” Crawford says. “How’s Gill? Where is he? We heard a couple of days ago he was on the course.”

    Volume 19 | Number 3 | May/June 2015



    Rich Benyo

    A Medal for Your Memories

    As you’ll see from our annual Top 25 Marathon Medals feature in this issue, there is a two-pronged battle taking place on the fringes of our marathons.
    On one front is the battle to offer the most audacious medal possible. On the other front is the effort to turn marathon medals into works of art deserving of a gallery showing.

    One aspect of the first front is the attempt by certain race directors to give out the largest medal in history. That battle is being fought furiously between about a dozen races, to the point that the poor, spent runner can be seen staggering to his or her car afterward, being dragged earthward by the sheer weight of the medal.

    Instead of having massage therapists at the finish of races, race directors are going to have to assign a team of chiropractors to the parking lot to help finishers straighten up after they take off their medal and put it into their luggage. The medals have gone from the size of silver dollars to the size of dinner plates and are now approaching the size (and heft) of manhole covers (sorry: personhole covers).

    Guest Editorial

    Robert Rayder

    Focused on Medals

    My vision was blurred and my arms ached while I strained to hold up my camera for what seemed like the millionth time. The meager weight of the much-touted “ultra- lite” chassis and lens now seemed as heavy as a blacksmith’s anvil. Worst of all, it was now past midnight and officially Monday morning. I thought, Why in the world would I spend an entire weekend fighting fatigue, taking seemingly endless pictures of shiny, unforgiving metal slabs? Easy answer! It’s the very same reason we endure 26.2 miles: it’s all about the medals!

    On the Road with Chris Lotsbom

    A Bright Future Ahead for 
the World Marathon Majors

    The year 2015 has been one of change in the marathon community—or, shall we say, advancement. The upper echelon of marathon events has taken a great step forward in recent months, and I see a bright future ahead.

    Nearly a decade ago, five of the world’s most prestigious marathons came together. Uniting as one, these marathons had a vision: instead of existing as completely separate entities, why not come together to advance the sport of road racing and unite the marathon community?

    My Most Unforgettable Ultramarathon

    Devon Kelts

    2014 Dick Collins 50-Miler

    LAKE CHABOT, CALIFORNIA, October 11, 2014 — The first time you taste the incredible magic of breaking the 26.2-mile barrier, you feel like a child. A frontier, previously held and perceived as incredibly distant, becomes accessible—the impossible now made possible. Such newfound confidence makes you yearn for bigger challenges. It was these sentiments that influenced my decision to enter the Dick Collins 50-Miler, a race that I will never forget. Hot off my first 50K, I felt ready to take on the world. That race had undoubtedly been a push for me, and I wanted to reexperience that kind of joy once more.

    IMT Des Moines Marathon

    Extreme attention to detail.

    Des Moines, Iowa’s capital, has a population north of 200,000. In 1843 a military garrison was established at the fork of the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers, and was known as Fort Raccoon. The name Des Moines came from what the French voyageurs called the waterway: “La Riviere des Moines.” Most of the first settlers in the area were actually headed for the California gold fields but decided to stay in Des Moines instead. Originally located in Iowa City, the state capital was moved to Des Moines in 1847. Agriculture has always played a major role in the destiny of the city and surrounding areas. John Deere has a large manufacturing plant in nearby Ankeny, where, by appointment, you can take a tour and see how a Deere tractor is constructed.

    Biofile: Desiree Linden

    “Scoop” Malinowski

    Date of Birth: July 26, 1983, in Chula Vista, California

    First Running Memory: “I think it’s probably my parents going to the track to run laps (age 5). I thought: That’s awful; you’re not going anywhere. I didn’t quite get it. Then later on I realized you can time it, make it a challenge. So it wasn’t a great first memory. At first I thought it was boring, but then I learned to make it interesting.”

    Running Inspirations: “I gotta go with the Americans—Meb and Deena. And Joanie—pioneer for our sport, definitely for the Americans. They are the heroes, at this point.”

    On the Trail with Meghan Hicks

    I Want You Anyway

    The following will not come as any surprise to those of you who are from Texas, so please pardon my proclamations about your great state. With frequency in his music, famed Texas singer Lyle Lovett crows with pride about the Lone Star State. In one of his songs he says, “That’s right, you’re not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway.” I don’t know for sure if Texas actually wants me, but I sure want it.

    Over the winter, I pointed my truck south from my home in Utah to make my way toward a week’s visit to west Texas. Some 15 bleary-eyed hours later, I made it to my destination: the remote Big Bend region. If you’ve ever looked at a map of Texas, you might have noticed that the Rio Grande forms the southern border of the state in west Texas. And there’s a spot where the river sweeps south, U-turns, and hooks north again. That’s the Big Bend region. Out there—which I mean to say is really, really out there—1.1 million acres of land are protected by the federal government and the state as Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, respectively.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions.

    What Kind of Speed? For the last several years, my marathon time has been stuck around 4:15. I’d like to break 4:00 at least one more time before they wheel me out to the old-folks’ farm. I know that to do it, I need to get off my butt and add some speed workouts to my program, which, admittedly, I have not been doing over the last several years. With my job, I’m kind of limited in how much time I can run but have consistently been getting around 50 miles per week. My question is which type of speed workouts do you feel would be most effective for me: run regular track speed workouts once a week; use fartlek during my regular workouts; enter more, shorter (5K, 10K) races on a regular basis and run them hard; or some combination? Thanks for taking the time to steer me toward the correct solution. – Frank Haggler via e-mail



    Passing the Torch 
to Central Park

    Paul Gentry

    The history behind the marathon medal.

    All roads begin in Athens. Most have heard about the Battle of Marathon in Greece, but what you may not know is that the first medal awarded to a marathoner was in the Olympics in Athens. The 1896 medal depicted Zeus holding the goddess Nike. Interestingly, the 2004 Athens medal used Nike on its face as well. “Nike” in Greek mythology means “victory,” and that tradition holds true to this very day as every finisher completing a marathon has achieved an individual victory.

    So when and where are covered, but what about who and how? Few would realize that European medal traditions and armed forces awards for participating in campaigns were contributing factors in shaping today’s finisher medals. Additionally, medals are not easily made; it takes high-pressure presses to make the better ones, and the only practical place to have them manufactured at the turn of the 20th century was in the mints.

    What marathon awarded the first medals to its finishers? History tends to get lost as marathons move from director to director, so we had to rely heavily on runners to provide us with a few potential answers. Logically, the place to start is the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) and its marathon when delving into the history of the marathon and its medals.

    Back to the Basics

    Cara McLaurin Esau

    Less was best in 2014.

    It’s funny how cell phones used to be big and bulky. Through the years, they got smaller, sleeker, and smaller still. The ones that were the coolest were so tiny that we could barely keep track of them. Then, all of a sudden, bigger was better. The phones got bigger and bigger—so much so that now my kids no longer laugh at the size of my original cell phone, which, yes, I still have. I guess the same could be said of fashion, too. For instance, bell bottoms were hip. Then, in the ’80s, we really couldn’t believe we wore those things. In fact, in that decade our jeans were so snug that we had to do bodily contortions just to put them on. Of course, the bell bottoms made a reappearance, and to date, I have no idea whether they are still “in.”

    Comparing the Great Wall Marathon and the Beijing Marathon

    Jeff Walsh

    The contrast is startling.

    I started running long distance back in high school. I joined the cross-country team and wore out my fair share of Nike Waffle Trainers, New Balance 320s, and Brooks Villanovas over the course of the next four years. My younger brother was also a runner. He continued running both cross-country and track at the University of Iowa while I decided to continue running on my own.

    I completed the Chicago Marathon during my freshman year in college. I joined the military not too long after my university years, and while other soldiers dreaded PT (physical training) in the morning, I had come to enjoy the 10-mile runs and the 20-mile road marches with a lot of weight on my back. These were fun endurance tests for me. I was a medic in the Army, stationed about 10 miles from the demilitarized zone in Korea. Our medical platoon would run twice a week up a mountain that we called “Schoolhouse Hill” because there was a little schoolhouse situated near the peak. We would run at a 45-degree incline in our flak jackets. Coming back down from the top was the hardest part. Heading downhill at ever-increasing speed, I felt like an 18-wheeler without brakes.

    Largest Marathons 
and Their Trends

    Peter Harvey

    Based on a six-year average using number of finishers.

    In 2014 at New York, a record for the most finishers in a marathon was set at 50,432. Thirty-nine years ago in 1976, the record was just 2,143 at the Schwarzwald Marathon in Bräunlingen, Germany. Prior to 1964 no marathon had more than 200 finishers except for the 1935 Japanese championship. Since the great running boom of the 1970s and early 1980s, the marathon has mushroomed in size. This study charts the rise in participation, showing which marathons took off when. We will identify not just trends for the largest marathons but also what is happening within nations, continents, and the world as a whole in the modern era. The largest marathons from the very beginning will be revealed. Observations about staging massive marathons and identifying the factors that encourage and stifle growth will also be made.

    When Watching Ultras Was All the Rage

    Matthew Algeo

    The ultimate spectator sport of its day.

    While the crowds attending most ultra events today are, as they say, small but enthusiastic, in the second half of the 19th century, long-distance footraces were all the rage in the United States. In the 1870s and 1880s, thousands of fans filled arenas to watch “pedestrians” race around tiny dirt tracks for as long as six days at a time.

    The sport was known as pedestrianism, and its roots dated back to 1861, when a door-to-door bookseller named Edward Payson Weston lost a bet that required him to walk from Boston to Washington in 10 days to witness Lincoln’s first inauguration. This made Weston so famous that, after the Civil War, he began touring the country, performing walking exhibitions inside roller rinks. He charged up to 50 cents for the pleasure of watching him circumambulate for hours—and thousands gladly paid. Weston usually walked against time, such as attempting to cover 100 miles in 24 hours.

    Don’t Let the 
Gift Stop Here

    Zoe Romano

    Across Texas, but never alone.

    Author’s note:
    In 2011, at the age of 23, I entered the world of ultrarunning. It was not in a race or competition but rather at an invisible border marking my passage from New Mexico into the goliath state of Texas. I was on a trip running across the country, and on one side of the line stood everything I had known and experienced so far: California, Arizona, New Mexico, the Southwest, support in the form of rotating family members, steady, 25-mile days. On the other side of that line stood Texas, not a place so much as a beckoning force, an unknown land where anything could happen and, a month later, everything had.

    How to Handle the Western States 100

    Gary Dudney

    A primer.

    Author’s note:
    Most ultrarunners at some point in their running lives dream of adding a cougar-encrusted belt buckle to their trophy shelf—that lusted-after symbol from the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. Western States is, after all, the Boston Marathon of ultrarunning, the most tradition-bound, most emblematic race in the sport. But about one-third of the runners who start at Western States end up scratching and making the long trip home without their buckle. It is not an “easy” hundred. It comes at you like a coyote trickster, ready to trip you up and steal your bacon if you are not well prepared, and the 30-hour cutoff at Western is not especially generous. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, so here are some pointers about getting to the finish line at Placer High School in Auburn.

    Book Bonus: The Death Valley 300

    Rich Benyo

    The 1987 United States versus United Kingdom race nudged the course to a new level. Part 3.

    Chapter 2: The Long and Winding Road (cont.)
    “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea,never regains its original dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

    July 31, 1987, 9:27 a.m.
    Twenty miles northwest of Badwater
    As Crawford and Ennis and Adams are lining up out on the two-lane asphalt road, William “Uncle Billy” Owens, who is Nancy Crawford’s uncle and also one of the American support-team members, raises a .357 magnum in the air at precisely 6:31 a.m. The temperature is eighty-nine degrees. Kenneth Crutchlow, who has been talking to a journalist, is still in his business suit. David Bolling, who has decided to run the course with Crutchlow in order to get a better story on the race, is urging him to get changed into his running clothes.

    The crack from the .357 rents the air, and Crawford, Ennis, and Adams are off. Crutchlow waves to them encouragingly, watches them slowly disappear into the shadows down the road, and casually steps into the motor home to change.

    Volume 19 | Number 2 | March/April 2015



    Rich Benyo

    Olden Days

    It came as something of a shock this past September to go to my high school reunion in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, and realize that 50 years had passed since we 73 “scholars” were squirted out of the new field house and set free to despoil the world.

    What was shocking was not that 50 single years had passed since that June day in 1964 (they have a way of slithering away into the history books) but that you could also look at those 50 years as “five decades” and as “half a century.” Half a century! Now that’s a chunk of time.

    Of the 73 JTHS grads, 13 had died over the years. Of the 60 remaining, 35 of them showed up for the reunion. That’s a pretty good turnout for people who are now half a century old plus 18 years. The planning committee did an excellent job of putting together a weekend-long program, which included a train ride up through the Lehigh Gorge on a damp Saturday afternoon. As we sat looking out the steamed-up windows and occasionally blowing our complimentary wooden train whistles, it was revealing how many of the old gang had memories of hiking to or running along the Lehigh Valley Railroad tracks to Glen Onoco and the trestle over the river, from which we used to leap like a bunch of dumb lemmings, never worrying about submerged rocks or waterlogged tree trunks floating past, because we knew exactly where each submerged rock was and had lookouts watching for intruding waterlogged logs, especially after a storm.

    Guest Editorial

    Ross Hamilton

    Over My Running Shoulder

    It’s happened a number of times now: a much younger runner finishes a race in proximity to me, comes over and shakes my hand, and congratulates me on running so well “for my age.”

    At a marathon in Minot, North Dakota, near the air force base, a tall young man, obviously military, running beside me, says, “You’re keeping up a good pace, sir.” Say what you will of younger generations in general, the younger generation of runners is an exceedingly positive group, and I am pleased when they speak to me. I don’t feel any offence at being acknowledged as old. On the contrary, I am happy to be in a sport that does not denigrate old people but that elevates them, and I am glad that I kept up with the sport all through my middle-age years and now into old age. There may be old-timers’ hockey teams and old-timers’ baseball teams, but in the running sport, we all run together. Just being around these pleasant young people is a pleasure. I turned 69 in October 2014. My gray hair is thin, I have to wear a hearing aid, and my running posture always makes the first-aid workers on the race route take a second look at me to make sure I’m still functional, but I’m still a runner. And though far from fast, I still manage to get in under two hours in a half-marathon, and I don’t feel at all exhausted at the finish line. I guess it’s the sight of this wiry, little old man that apparently inspires young runners around me not to give up when they’re having a tough time at the race pace we’re keeping.

    On the Road with Chris Lotsbom

    The World’s Most Determined (and Dominant) Marathoner

    The most dominant force in marathoning right now isn’t a wiry Kenyan or Ethiopian. She hasn’t yet set a marathon world record, nor does she have a major shoe sponsor. As a matter of fact, her personal website lists two sponsors: Liberty Mutual Insurance and BP Oil. She not only specializes in the marathon but is also a world-class cross-country skier.

    The most dominant force in the marathon is only 25 years old and hails from the town of Clarksville, Maryland (pop. 56,239), some 30 minutes west of Baltimore. She is younger than her American marathon counterparts, Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher, and has excelled in sprinting events like the 100 meters and 400 meters, too.

    She spends her time at rehabilitation hospitals, is always smiling for selfies, and has met some of the biggest names in sports and pop culture. Glance at her Twitter account and you’ll see pictures with hurdler Lolo Jones, former football star and motivational speaker Eric LeGrand, and marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto. On Instagram, she has selfies with Prince Harry, LeBron James, Michael Sam, and Richard Sherman. She has been nominated for an ESPY Award (Best Female Athlete With a Disability) and is a four-time Olympian.

    My Most Unforgettable Ultramarathon

    Brian Burk

    2014 Worth the Hurt Ultramarathon

    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, July 26-27, 2014 — In the past year, I have run my fair share of races, all as part of a New Year’s resolution to start running again. At the start of 2014, it had been five years since my last race, four of which were spent wondering, When will I get back in gear? So as the New Year came roaring in like a freight train, I decided it was time to answer with a fierce set of goals.

    It seems that most people take resolutions with a grain of salt, and there is a slight chuckle as friends tell stories of their resolutions lasting only a week or two into January (or of never even starting them). For years on end, I was in the same boat, only I kept my failures to myself because, somewhere deep inside, I was ashamed. For whatever reason, 2014 was the year that I realized this and told myself I had no option other than to run. So with ample persistence, I saw my goals through to the bittersweet end, culminating in a 20:16:50 finish at the Rio Del Lago 100-mile on November 8. This was my first hundred and the ultimate arrival of the new me. After 10 short months, I went from not running at all to being in the best shape of my life.

    Eugene Marathon

    Running in the footsteps of legends.

    Many marathons can boast a flat course, beautiful scenery, enthusiastic spectators, and well-organized race support. But only one can claim that you’ll be competing in the birthplace of distance running, that you’ll be following in the footsteps of history, and that you’ll be alongside today’s elite runners as well as tomorrow’s up-and-coming youth athletes.

    That one marathon is the Eugene Marathon.

    This is why they say, “No matter where you live or how fast your pace, every runner is a citizen of TrackTown USA.”

    On July 26, 2014, the start line temperature was 54 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. Then, over the next 26 miles of the fast, picturesque course, runners passed through 10 parks, neighborhood streets, and riverside trails. As they approached the final two-tenths mile of the race, the presence of legends gave an added boost of energy: the finish inside historic Hayward Field, on the track where Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar, and most recently world record holder Ashton Eaton have crossed the finish line.

    Biofile: Nick Arciniaga

    “Scoop” Malinowski

    Date of Birth: June 30, 1983, in Orange County, California

    First Running Memory: “2006. I did the Chicago Marathon; that was my debut. I was hoping to get a US Trials B qualifier, which at the time was 2:22. And I ended up running 2:16 and change. And it kind of opened my eyes to the world of marathons. Basically, my entire life I’d been training for the marathon. I just had not realized it until that race.”

    Running Inspirations: “A lot of my inspirations come from just my background, with my dad; he used to encourage me with running, challenge me to races, just getting me out there on the roads. Eventually it got to high school, running with friends, having that social interaction with everybody.”

    On the Trail with Meghan Hicks

    Until Death Do We Part

    It is the spring of 2006 and I am 27 years old. I wake from sleeping inside my Toyota 4Runner on the outskirts of Missoula, Montana. With the backseats of my SUV down, I create a comfortable, enclosed bed that allows me to snooze wherever I park. Road tripping doesn’t get much more plush, sly, or economical.

    I live several hours away but have traveled to Missoula to run the Riverbank Trifecta, a popular series of three road races, a 10K, 5K, and one mile held in succession, with a little bit of recovery time in between. I park my car on a downtown Missoula street, empty on this weekend morning, and walk through cool, dry mountain air to register at the starting line. I see a couple of running-community acquaintances and we engage in a conversation of sandbaggery, quintessential starting-line chatter.

    I return to my car feeling lighthearted. Because I have extra time until the first race, I power up my cell phone. The phone is brand new—and my first cell phone, ever—but it doesn’t work very well. The battery holds a charge for about 30 minutes, and since this is my only experience with one of these devices, I don’t yet know that this isn’t normal. As such, I have to power off my cell phone whenever it’s not attached to a charger.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions.

    Pacing and Racing. I watch major league marathons and see the supposed winner being paced by a coterie of runners both setting the pace and breaking the wind. I see some races prominently advertising that they employ pacing groups so regular runners can hook up with these groups in hopes of being pulled to a good time. I find myself increasingly hostile to such tactics. I think runners should be experienced and mature enough to set their own pace. I also understand that in championship events sanctioned by certain bodies, pacing is not allowed. What is the feeling of your very experienced, long-running experts on this subject? Am I being too strict in my take on this? – Joel Hessel, via e-mail



    Less Than Four

    Ken Frick

    The lucky one!

    First, I’m old, and I don’t want to be. All my adult life I’ve been told I look younger than my years. If that’s what people tell me, I guess it must be true, or so I want to believe. But I know what I see in the mirror: thinning hair, lines, spots. It’s all proof that at 65 I’ve been around.Some will tell you there’s not much you can do unless you prefer the doctors who prey upon us, adding hair and taking away those lines and the spots. Most of us who are runners do so to stay fit and to beat the odds, and maybe in our own minds to avoid getting old. Others of us run to stay away from the other doctors, the ones who deal with cholesterol and high blood pressure and who make their living from those afflicted with diabetes and heart problems.Every day I think of how fortunate I am. When my mother passed away over a decade ago, she had been slowed significantly with muscular dystrophy. And that terrible disease has been passed on to two of my brothers, Bill and Chuck. My third brother, Larry, suffers with arthritis, which our mother also lived with.

    Boston Through a Lens

    Kevin Frick

    Keeping the journey in focus.

    Legs aching, sweat glistening, dehydration setting in, yet smiling ear to ear: a perfect illustration of my body and mind after a second journey along the legendary route from Hopkinton to Boston. There was nothing that day at the historic 118th running of the Boston Marathon that was going to keep me or any of the other 32,000 runners from completing every step of the 26.2 miles. There was simply too much support, motivation, and desire to retake the finish line to allow us to stop.

    Wreathed in Glory

    Paul Clerici

    A history of the olive wreath as a symbol of victory.

    The crowning of an olive-branch wreath atop the winner’s head at the Boston Marathon is far from a cliché. There is a deep, soulful connection and meaning between the wreath, Boston, and the ancient Olympics. The history of that thread—through Greece, the Olympic Games, the marathon, and the Hub—is intertwined over thousands of years and miles. The bestowal of the wreath is a symbol of peace, competition, and unity.

    “I have a good friend, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and for three years she’s told me to run my own race,” Olympic medalist Shalane Flanagan said about the 2014 Boston Marathon. “I wanted to go out and do just that. I wanted to see if it was good enough to win the olive wreath.”

    Collapse of a 
30-Year Hoax

    Julia Chase-Brand, MD, PhD

    And the pioneers who first challenged the AAU ban on women’s distance running.

    The passage of the suffrage amendment in 1920 raised American women’s aspirations, but it also unleashed a powerful backlash among conservatives. In the United States, this conflict played out strikingly in the world of women’s track: after gaining the right to compete in the 1928 Olympics, American women suddenly found themselves banned for 30 years from all track events except the sprints.

    The struggle between the women runners and the American sports authorities was not a clean fight. It was precipitated by a deliberate media hoax in 1928, followed by a nationwide ban on women competing at any distance beyond 220 yards. The Amateur Athletic Union upheld this ban for three decades by threatening lifetime suspension for those who would attempt the longer runs. Their coaches and supporters were threatened as well. Ken Foreman was even arrested twice for training Doris Heritage on a university track. It took the International Olympic Committee, the 1960 Olympics, and a decade of escalating challenges by a spirited group of women to force the AAU to back down step by step until by 1974, even the marathon was officially sanctioned for women—a political victory that was capped 10 years later by Joan Benoit’s inspiring athletic victory in that first women’s Olympic marathon in 1984.

    Hats Off to Larry!

    Chuck Savage

    Larry Macon gobbles up all the superlatives.

    Champ of what? Well, champion of what this magazine is all about, that’s what! Richard Laurence (“Larry”) Macon has undisputedly run more marathons (with some ultras) than any other American ever. Even more remarkably, he did this in a span of only 19 years.

    Larry was born on December 31, 1944, in Dallas to a drugstore manager and a mother who was a legal secretary. A brilliant student, he went to Yale on a scholarship. (He was at Yale at the same time as Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, both of whom he knows.) After graduation from Yale, he went to the University of Texas law school and is now a partner in one of the most respected law firms in the United States. Larry and his wife, Jane, also a lawyer, have been married for 45 years.

    Although he played football in high school, he says he did not excel. Larry’s coach at Yale wanted him to play football, too (perhaps because Ivy League teams are weak), but he didn’t play, not wanting to risk falling behind academically and perhaps losing his scholarship. So there is nothing really outstanding athletically in his background.

    What to Keep Packed

    Marsha White

    For heading off to a marathon 
at the drop of a hat.

    Many of Florida’s skyscrapers are taller than its highest peak.Traveling to races is fun. Packing for them is not. In fact, packing can be a chore almost as stressful as running a marathon—without the medal at the finish line. As a veteran traveler who has completed marathons in 10 countries and every U.S. state, I admit to making plenty of mistakes in packing. I have forgotten a number of critical items and experienced much anxiety as a result. After these frustrating experiences, I have finally devised a solution to the packing conundrum. Now I can easily “pack and go” for a weekend or longer without suffering too much angst. After all, the whole point of travel is to have fun, enjoy the change of scenery, and revel in the completion of another good race.

    Let It Snow

    Clint Cherepa

    Seven reasons to get out and run.

    The early-morning symphony of snowplow blades scraping the city streets doesn’t have to bury your planned run. After a fresh drop of the white stuff, hit the trails or the roads for a physical and mental boost. As poet Wallace Stevens wrote, “One must have a mind for winter.”

    Here’s how to view the winter season with all its facets as a training opportunity.

    Into the Woods

    Gretchen Stahlman

    Among the trees, there is solace.

    When I was a child, I walked in the woods with my father. He worked in the city where skyscrapers stood in for trees and then came home to the suburbs where identical houses lined the parallel streets that were once a meadow. On Saturday mornings, he led us—my mother, sister, and me—on trails through the woods. He pointed out plants: skunk cabbage poking up through the mud in spring, May Apple with its tiny flower under wide leaves, hepatica that turned scarlet in the fall. We waded the creeks in our Keds, minnows darting around our ankles. I knew the difference between a frog and a toad, a butterfly and a moth, and a newt and a salamander. Dad dabbed sugar water on our fingertips that attracted butterflies to us, their tiny feet tickling like fairies as they lit and batted their wings. We walked, we looked, we learned.

    Running Around the Menstrual Cycle

    Jason R. Karp, PhD

    Considerations for female distance runners.

    The menstrual cycle, which occurs monthly from menarche (age 11-14) until menopause (age 45-50), is the defining physiological characteristic of females. The levels of the four hormonal markers of the menstrual cycle—estrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone—change continuously throughout the cycle as a complex interaction of positive and negative feedback mechanisms regulates the timing and amount of hormone secretion. With the large fluctuations in the concentrations of these hormones, the phase of the menstrual cycle significantly affects the female runner’s hormonal environment and therefore her physiology. Indeed, many physiological aspects are affected by the phase of the menstrual cycle, including oxygen consumption, body temperature, hydration, and metabolism, as the sex hormones rise and fall, suggesting that the menstrual cycle affects how women will respond and adapt to training.

    Distance Running—and Racing—in the Ancient World

    Pam Nourse

    For ultras, we need to go to ancient Egypt.

    When Baron Pierre de Coubertin and Michel Breal included a race from Marathon to Athens in the first modern Olympic Games of 1896, they were drawing on the romantic legends of ancient Greek history, as filtered through the lens of the 19th-century Romantic poets. Unfortunately, there was a great deal more romance and legend than actual history involved.

    In 490 BCE, the Persian army (the military superpower of its day) landed at Marathon in its bid to conquer Athens. According to the account written by Herodotus some 50 years or so later, the Athenian generals, worried about the superiority of the Persian forces, sent a running messenger (or hemerodromos) named Pheidippides to Sparta, about 150 miles away, to ask for aid. The Spartans, however, were in the midst of a religious festival and not available to help until the next full moon. Pheidippides ran back to Athens with Sparta’s answer, and the Athenians had no choice but to send their outnumbered and unsupported army to Marathon, where they— surprisingly!—dealt the much larger Persian force a resounding defeat. They then marched back to Athens “with all possible speed” because of fears that the routed Persians would next target the undefended city. And there the earliest history of the Battle of Marathon ended.

    Book Bonus: The Death Valley 300

    Rich Benyo

    The 1987 United States versus United Kingdom race nudged the course to a new level. Part 2.

    On July 31, 1988, Tom Crawford threw a picnic at his home in the hills above Santa Rosa, California. The guest list was composed entirely of people who had been involved with the American team in the 1987 first-ever race on the Death Valley-to-Mt.-Whitney course. Tom and his wife Nancy hosted. Jean and Jeff Ennis were there; John Hollander and his wife Robin were there; Hollander is the Santa Rosa podiatrist who went along to take care of the runners’ feet. I was there with Rhonda Provost; I had covered the race for the San Francisco Chronicle and had then convinced Bob Gottlieb at The New Yorker that the subject was worthy of a place in their Sporting Scene department; I had been in the process of writing an eighteen-thousand-word piece on the subject since April.I was using the occasion—before, in typical Crawford fashion, the picnic got too out of hand—to run some tape on year-old memories of the race that might fill in blank spots in my notes. At some point, it occurred to me that this was the one-year anniversary of the start of the 1987 race. I offered a toast. That was very much the wrong thing to do. One toast followed another until the context of the toasts went from silly to incoherently sublime.

    Volume 19 | Number 1 | January/February 2015



    Rich Benyo

    Dream Runner

    Do you ever dream about running?

    I don’t mean dreams where you are running away from something horrible or someone dreadful or you have someplace you urgently need to be and you seem to be running through tar or molasses. I’m instead referring to that other kind of dream running—running with precision, abandon, and verve. Almost everyone I asked confirmed that, yes, they’ve had those dreams, more often than they’d like, at least the bad kind. They can’t seem to get away from that running-in-molasses nightmare, even though that’s not the kind of dream running I asked them about. They go so far as to cite both extremes, even though I wanted to talk about only the latter: running away from something or someone and not being able to make significant progress because although you’re working hard at it, your legs are heavy and sluggish and you just don’t seem to be able to move well no matter how hard you try. The “thing” pursuing them never seems to quite catch them. (Some of the folks who wanted to discuss this negative dream running have the theory that if “the thing” does catch you, it heralds your death. Ugh. Run faster, faster. Come on, you can make it!)

    On the Road with Chris Lotsbom

    So Long 2014, Hello 2015

    Well, it’s that time of year again. The temperature is in free fall and the crisp autumn air has come and is long gone, replaced by wind that nips at your nose as you pound the pavement. Ah, how great the winter months are.

    During the winter, when the calendar hits December and runs become that much harder, I look for all sorts of added motivation. Point blank, it’s tough to get out the door when you know bone-chilling cold or blinding snow will be your companion for the next four, six, 10, or 15 miles, let alone the next two or three months.

    To me, December and January are some of the best running months of the year. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I eagerly await the day where I can pause with a nice cup of cocoa, lift my feet up, look back, and tally up the total miles covered over the past 12 months. When there are only one or two days left in the calendar year, or when January 1 comes around, I take time to add up the miles from each month. Covering thousands of miles, I measure to see just how far I’ve come in 365 days: sometimes it’s a trip across the United States, from Boston to San Francisco. Other years it has been half that much, the injury bug taking its toll.

    The long winter days of January and February give you time to ponder the next 12 months, when you can put pen to paper and jot down all the goals you have for the upcoming year. There really is no better feeling than finding that little piece of paper 12 months later and going down the checklist, crossing out the accomplished tasks and circling the yet-to-be-achieved to do’s.

    My Most Unforgettable Marathon

    Brian Burk

    2012 Shamrock Marathon

    VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA, March 18, 2012 — A woman in the 55-to-59 age group wearing bib number 4001 completed her first marathon. The crowd saw just one of the nearly 4,000 official runners who finished the Shamrock Marathon that day. What I was witness to was a runner beating cancer, beating a crippling disease, and beating all of her own self-doubt. I saw a friend redefine herself and inspire others to reach higher than they ever thought possible. Surprisingly, it all started with a simple conversation.

    One Sunday morning at church, I was in the center of a conversation about an upcoming marathon. During this conversation a friendly lady with a big smile joined in. She was very pleasant and introduced herself as Susan. After some introductions she asked, “Have you guys run a marathon?” I explained that I had run a few marathons and that I was helping my friend with some advice on long runs. I also mentioned that for some reason or another, I was in a running slump. She said she would love to run a marathon one day but that she hated to run long distances alone. Susan also explained that she did not know where to start.

    Windermere Marathon

    Small-town charm in a midsized environment.

    Ask a dozen marathoners to name their favorite race and you will probably get a dozen different answers. Some will prefer big-city races with lots of music, throngs of bystanders, and well-stocked aid stations that appear at every mile. Others will vote for smaller, more intimate, track club-sponsored events that attract serious runners who desire only a flat course with a minimum of extras. For these runners, the race is paramount—never mind entertainment, scenery, or vocal spectators. Somewhere in between these two extremes are those who enjoy medium-sized races with 300 to 2,000 people that have a distinctive flavor or singular aspect to them. The Windermere Marathon is such a gem. It is a small but captivating race set in a beautiful locale.

    Biofile: Daniele Meucci

    “Scoop” Malinowski

    Date of Birth: October 7, 1985, in Pisa, Italy

    First Running Memory: “I like running. I enjoy when I’m running. Running is a big part of my life.”

    Running Inspirations: “Enjoy. Be free.”

    On the Trail with Meghan Hicks

    Ferocity, Atrocity, Philosophy: The Muddy Line Between Trail Running and the Rest of the World

    When you see a photo from Utah bearing orange or red rocks that form goosenecking canyons, gravity-defying arches, or improbable rock towers, the photo is most likely coming from one of four national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, or Canyonlands. These parks are, collectively, a spectacle of nature’s aesthetic and topographic capacity and places that, in my humble opinion, every American should see. They are places that have captured my heart in ways that leave me breathless, silenced, in love with the earth.

    Zion National Park has lofty, vertical sandstone walls of fiery orange, like sunset manifested as stone. In the park’s high country, these walls yield to rock formations called—quite obviously, once you see them—haystacks. They are pale yellow, the color of a baby blanket.

    Bryce Canyon National Park is the land of weirdly shaped rocks that take on the profiles of hammers, toadstools, chimneys, totally creepy fingers, fish fins, and, ahem, phalli. The rock formations are coral colored, and when you walk among them, the sun blocked by their towering figures, they seem to glow, as if lit from within: a fairytale land, for sure.

    On the Mark

    Experts answer readers’ training and competition questions.

    Is it possible to run a marathon every two months and still expect a PR at some point? – Patrick Germain, via Facebook



    The Third Olympian

    Hal Higdon

    At the 1976 Olympic Marathon, Don Kardong would come into his own.

    Editor’s note: During the 1970s, the United States dominated the marathon, especially when it came to international competition. During that era, the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan served as the unofficial world championship. Frank Shorter won Fukuoka every year from 1971 to 1974; Bill Rodgers won it in 1977. On the Olympic front, Frank Shorter won the gold in 1972 at Munich; Kenny Moore took fourth and Jack Bachelor took ninth. In 1976 in Montreal, Frank Shorter took second and Don Kardong took fourth. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was discovered that the 1976 gold medal winner, Waldemar Cierpinski, was on performance-enhancing drugs and should have been disqualified, which would have moved Shorter to first and Kardong to third. Closer to home, Bill Rodgers repeatedly won Boston and New York, and Don Kardong won Honolulu in 1978.Kardong, a graduate of Stanford, also developed as a humorous writer and was a frequent contributor to Runner’s World. On several occasions he collected his writings into book form, the most famous of those Thirty Phone Booths to Boston. But perhaps his most lasting legacy was the founding of the Bloomsday 12K in Spokane, regularly one of the largest road races in the world, and the linchpin of Spokane’s annual sporting calendar.

    Keep it Simple

    Bree Lambert

    Rob Krar on racing, training, nutrition, and life.

    I first spoke to Rob on the Friday before the “big” race. It was a brief encounter. He was leaving the prerace briefing and I yelled out to him as he was making his way across the parking lot in Squaw Valley. He was very cordial and politely declined my invitation to interview him. Instead he agreed to speak with me after the race, at the finish line. I understood his need to block out all distractions and focus on what he was about to do. The next day, I saw Rob at the start and later at Foresthill, mile 62. He came through Foresthill less than two minutes behind Max King and was followed by Seth Swanson and then by Dylan Bowman. All four men were running a solid race and seemed to move through the aid station without any obvious sign of fatigue. The race was about to heat up, and Rob was ready to make his move. On that day Rob Krar ran the race he intended, one year after he had placed second to Tim Olson. The 2013 Western was Rob’s first 100-mile experience. He went into the race with little preparation and said, “I just winged it. I didn’t even attend the training weekend.”

    That was last year; this year was different. He went into Western States with a different plan. For the past year he dreamed of the moment when he would be back at this, the most distinguished of 100-mile events. He knew it would be important to run his own race. His strategy was to use his fellow runners as markers. His plan was to follow comfortably behind Max King until Foresthill and then, at the right time, surge ahead and hold his lead position with confidence, paying close attention to the rhythm of his body. Rob said the low point during his race came at miles 80 to 90, where he felt tired. Then came miles 90 to 100, and it was all about survival. He was in the zone. He said, “I assessed my body at Robie Point and was able to relax that three-quarters of a mile heading into the finish. It was a magical moment as I made my way around the track. So much was going through my mind, all the struggles of the past year.” For Rob, it was a dream that became reality as he ran the second-fastest race in the history of an event that began in 1974.

    The day of my interview, I asked Rob several questions about his training for Western States, his fueling plan, his diet, and his personal life. The common theme that played out in nearly every aspect was “keep it simple.”

    The Pacer

    Michael Green

    A story about delusions of coachhood.

    “You should train for a marathon. Philly is in November,” I said.

    “I’ll do it if you promise to train and pace me,” she said.

    And before I realized what I was saying, and before I knew what I was committing myself to, I was committed. Funny how things work: you pretty much can change the dynamics of your hopes, your dreams, your plans, and your life in the matter of a few short conversations.

    “Sure, I’d love to pace you. It’ll be fun,” I told her.

    I’m pretty sure this is how a lot of bad things start . . . “I’ve got tickets for the play, Mary.”

    “Sounds great, Abe. Hope you got the presidential box.”

    Maybe a little background would help. First thing is, I’m not a pacer. I’m one of those people who does something once or a few times and thinks he’s an authority. It’s not beyond me, for instance, to tell the doctor what to write the prescription for based on the fact that I’ve had a few sore throats. Seriously, we can both save a lot of time if you write me up for the Z-Pak.


    Gail Kislevitz

    Every great runner needs a statue.

    The ancient Greeks showed their love and loyalty to their gods, heroes, and teachers by immortalizing them with statues. Their aim was to show men moving, striding, leaping, and running as the gods themselves might move. Alexander Eliot, a noted art critic and sportsman, stated that: “The sculptures of Greece more than any other art form are the pure expression of freedom, self-consciousness and self-determination.” He goes on to say: “The statue was intended not only as an object of worship but also as an inspiration to men. The god resembles a man, who resembles a god. Here dissolves the difference of power in everything that separates men from the gods.”

    Since the ancient Greeks, athletes have been striving for that perfection, and a few reach that pinnacle whether it be winning an Olympic gold medal or having a statue sculpted in their likeness. As the Greek poet Pindar wrote in a victory ode: “Single is the race, single of men and of gods; from a single mother we both draw breath. But a difference in power keeps us apart . . . Yet we can in greatness of mind or of body be like the immortals.”

    Fitsense and the 
Pretty-Girl Fartlek

    Lou D’Alessandris

    A brand new training program.

    Fartlek: a running workout that involves random changes in pace over varying distance.

    A few years back, prior to meeting my wife, Eileen, I purchased a Christmas present for myself: a Fitsense system that gives you feedback on distance covered and current pace per mile. As I said, I bought this before I was married, when I spent money on enjoyable running things instead of on pillow shams and duvet covers.

    How to Do Hill Work 
in Florida

    Cathy Tibbetts

    It’s a challenge, but it can be done. Really.

    Many of Florida’s skyscrapers are taller than its highest peak.Britton Hill, boasting a summit of 345 feet, is the lowest highest point of any of the 50 states. The running world knows Floridians do their hill training on bridges and overpasses and that they refer to elevation in terms of inches. Yet they show up by the busload for the Pikes Peak Marathon every August and their names always highlight finishers’ lists for such races as the Leadville Trail 100.

    Under Two Hours—and Beyond

    P. J. Christman

    Is the sub-2:00 marathon possible?

    The marathon: a magic distance and event, one that requires ambition, planning, determination, courage, persistence, stamina, and endurance, all traits the Greek messenger Pheidippides was required to possess for his clarion journey.

    For it was Pheidippides’s feat of running from Marathon to exhaustion and death in Athens, in order to announce nothing more than victory, that inspired the subsequent formal Olympic event. At the end of the 19th century, a modern-day race was designed to commemorate the approximate 25-mile distance he was thought to have run.

    We can thank King Edward VII of England for the event’s current 26.2-mile or 42.195-kilometer Olympic distance. For when His Majesty gave permission for the start of the 1908 Olympic Marathon to be upon the East Lawn of Windsor Castle, the race to finish with one lap inside London’s White City Stadium, the Olympic marathon distance was increased from 24.85 miles to its present distance.

    These popular contests on foot are thought to be among the planet’s more testing endeavors. For those of all abilities up to the challenge, it takes somewhere between two and six hours to complete. Many fail to finish. Others end up hitting “the Wall” where glycogen has run out and the muscles can no longer sustain pedestrian movement of even the most awkward or staggering nature.

    Natural Fuels

    Naomi Mead

    The simple foods remain the best.

    As a marathon runner, you are likely to have experimented with an array of energy gels, sports drinks, and protein bars. They are both convenient and efficient, but could real food, free from all the added unpronounceable chemicals that are often packed into these processed products, be just as beneficial?

    Running Reykjavik

    Jeff Knapp

    “They come from the land of the ice and snow, 
of the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.”

    August 2013 marked the 30th anniversary of the Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon, and it was celebrated in style by a record number of 14,272 participants in all the day’s events with more than 1,600 runners from abroad.

    It’s no wonder this AIMS International Marathon keeps on growing. Competitors breathe some of the freshest air on Earth and drink pure glacier water while running on smooth roads and bicycle paths along the ocean in a unique, picturesque, and charming small city.

    And if that’s not enough, the marathon coincides with Reykjavik’s “Culture Night,” the country’s famous music and arts festival. It attracts 100,000 people from Iceland and abroad to Reykjavik to enjoy outdoor concerts, art exhibits, Icelandic dance, guided tours, food, and fireworks. The excitement and celebration start early in the day and go on until the wee hours of the morning.

    The Path to 42K

    Paul Clerici

    Why do talented people pick something crazy like the marathon as a goal?

    Why run the marathon? However simple that question may be, the answer can vary as much as the field itself on race day. Whether the runner is a professional or not, the path to the 42K can be a byproduct of another sport or distance, a long-term goal, a way out of poverty, or a test of the waters.

    For those who run the marathon as an occupation, the stakes increase tremendously. Whatever it is that propels elite athletes to embrace that distance for a living, the process by which they commit can emerge at any time, as shown by a sampling of some of the top American talent.

    My High-Altitude 

    Jack McDermott

    Sometimes getting high can bring you low.

    After years of therapy, I now have the courage to write about a challenging marathon held in 2002 in the Western Rockies. It was a double-loop marathon course at 9,000 feet of altitude on trails at the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch. The race was ominously called the “Snow Mountain Trail Challenge”—which are four words you never want to see in a race title.

    Book Bonus: The Death Valley 300

    Rich Benyo

    The hottest place on Earth and the highest peak 
in the Lower 48 within the same California county. 
What connects them? Summer running. Part 1.

    Preface: Into the Valley of Death
    Death Valley has always been fascinating. It was once under water, a wrinkle in the great inland sea. If someone with a lot of money and a lot of time and a lot of steam shovels and trucks began digging the debris out of the bottom of the valley that has washed down over the eons, a trench nearly 10,000 feet deep would be exposed, making it much deeper than the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on Earth. As it is, Badwater in the middle of Death Valley is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, at minus 282 feet.Death Valley also has the distinction of having recorded the hottest temperature in the shade of any place on Earth; a century ago the temperature at Furnace Creek reached 134 degrees Fahrenheit.About 90 miles as the crow flies from Badwater, Mount Whitney is the tallest peak in the lower 48 states, reaching an altitude of 14,494 feet; it is still growing, thrusting up (in slow motion, of course) about an inch every century.In the 1960s some runners decided that it would be a swell challenge to run from Badwater to the peak of Mount Whitney: lowest point in the Western Hemisphere (and hottest spot on Earth) to the highest peak in the lower 48, a distance by hot asphalt and then granite trail of nearly 150 miles. Many tried; many failed.

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