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Author: Paul Snyder

Meme-disparager, avid jogger, MS Paint artist, friend of Scott Olberding, Citius Mag staff writer based in Flagstaff. Supplying baseless opinions, lukewarm takes, and vaguely running-related content. Once witnessed televison's Michael Rapaport cut a line of 30 people to get a slice of pizza at John's on Bleeker at 4am. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @DanielDingus.

May 19, 2017

How we got here: the Paul Ryan marathon lie, a slippery slope

We’ve reached a sort of News Singularity, where a major story breaks every hour. Paul Ryan’s marathon lie helped contribute to our current reality.

May 17, 2017

My good friend emailed me a list of funny, real track meet names so here they are

I got a funny email with a list of funny track meet names in it, so I copied and pasted it into this post. Hope you enjoy!

May 17, 2017

A magical alternative to host the 2020 Olympic Trials

If we’re to believe the veracity of various municipalities’ slogans, then we must accept the following to be true. Eugene, Oregon is “Track Town, USA.” Sacramento, California, is “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.” And slogan-less Walnut, California, has nothing redeeming about it.

These three cities are the prospective hosts for the 2020 Olympic Track & Field Trials. Each of them would make a fine host. Eugene’s slogan is perhaps most relevant. Sacramento’s ought to entice upper-crust track fans. And Walnut can basically morph into whatever is desired of it–say hello to Walnut, CA, “A Very Good City to Host a Track Meet.”

But ultimately, they all fall short for a variety of reasons, and there’s only one locale out there with a slogan so thoroughly convincing, so unrelentingly positive, and so dang self-assured in its ability to pull off the impossible, that you’d be a complete moron to not at least consider it as a possible front-runner for the 2020 Trials.

I’m talking of course, about Disney World — “The Most Magical Place On Earth.”

For reasons that aren’t immediately clear, Disney World has a track. It’s part of ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex. It’s also not at all clear why Disney owns ESPN, or why a sports TV station that mostly shows football, baseball, and basketball, would need a track. But it’s there. And it’s billed as “world class.”

So the biggest box is checked off the list. (Hey, you can’t have a track meet without a track.)

Moving onward, Orlando, Florida, is a splendid place for sports! With an average July high of almost 92°F, and average low of about 74°F, if you win a race in Orlando, you’re certifiably TOUGH. If you wilt under pressure or oppressive heat and humidity, the Olympics aren’t for you–Orlando weeds out the weaklings automatically. They may not be our fastest national team members but they would certainly be the strongest.

Other perks of Orlando hosting the Trials include:

  • Lots of fun off-day activities for athletes and fans alike, like a fake Harry Potter place, a make-believe castle, and a big old fountain
  • Walt Disney’s despicable legacy of sexism, racism, and antisemitism, all of which should serve as a constant reminder to spectators to not be sexist, racist, or antisemitic themselves.
  • Zesty local cuisine like Micky poppers, mayo-bread-dippers, taco shooters, and burger spheres (“the meat sandwich of the future)
  • awards being doled out by animatronic beasts and goblins
  • The issue with Eugene or some of the other cities is the lack of hotels for the deluge of people coming into town. Orlando has many of those.

So as you can see, the arguments for Disney hosting the Trials far outnumber the arguments against it (there are none). Case closed. We’ll see you in the funny pages.

 

May 12, 2017

USATF announces 2017 London World Champs marathon team, here’s what you need to know

USATF announced the six athletes that will represent the US in the 2017 London World Champs Marathon; we wrote Sparknotes about them.

May 11, 2017

The road to recovery: an exceedingly rare Debajo Dos update

Paul breaks his media silence for the first time since announcing his acute case of broken foot syndrome, to update the public on his recovery.

May 11, 2017

A silly cartoon: the fast boy explains how to run your first race!

In a potentially recurring web series, an unnamed protagonist offers helpful pointers on how to do better at running! Let us know what you think of what is likely the first ever running-focused internet cartoon!

[email protected] | [email protected]

 

May 10, 2017

The 2024 Olympics should be hosted on a man-made floating garbage island

The 2024 Olympics aren’t truly wanted in Paris or Los Angeles, so why force the issue? We offer an inciting alternative host locale.

May 9, 2017

The IC4A/ECAC meet: what the heck is it?

Folks, this one goes out to the kids from the Not East Coast who maybe have wound up on the East Coast for their continued education, and who are also pursuing collegiate distance running while there.

There will come a time–more than likely–where you’ll peep at your team’s tentative racing schedule and see the usual suspects: meets held in towns with strange names like Binghampton; duels against old-timey rivals that are no longer that fierce of rivals; and unusual and mysterious acronyms. These acronyms probably are scheduled for the weekend before, or of, your conference meet.

“What gives?” you probably are asking yourself. “I’m supposed to be winning conference or gearing up for Nationals!”

I’m here to tell you that there’s a good chance you’ll do neither of those things, and that it’s okay.


Every May for the past several years at Princeton University’s Weaver Stadium, just-shy-of-national-caliber track athletes from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic congregate to close out their seasons, or take one last stab at securing a regional-qualifying mark.

This meet is called either the IC4A or ECAC Championships, depending on your gender. For the men, it’s called IC4A (Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America), and for the women, ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference).

And at this point, it has a conciliatory air about it. If you run fast enough, jump high or far enough, or heave your implement with enough force to qualify for IC4As/ECACs, chances are you started the season with ambitions of qualifying for the regionals, or perhaps even nationals.

That’s not to say impressive marks aren’t posted annually at this Princeton, New Jersey, mainstay of a track meet. It’s just that for the bulk of its competitors, there’s some place they’d rather be, a meet of greater consequence they’d rather be training for.

But it hasn’t always been like this. The IC4A outdoor championship has been continually held since 1876, and at various points throughout its existence, was the preeminent collegiate championship meet in the United States.

The NCAA first held an outdoor track championship of its own in 1921, and the writing was slowly scribbled onto the wall for the IC4A. The two meets coexisted nicely for a bit, with many non-east coast schools opting for the IC4A meet over NCAAs until the Great Depression. (The 1932 IC4A outdoor meet was held in Berkeley, California!)

That said, as late as the 1970s, the IC4A meet still possessed the clout necessary to draw top-level athletes from the eastern U.S., often as a tune-up meet before NCAAs, but in some instances, in lieu of it.

Several IC4A meet records of note were set in the 1970s, most notably Sidney Maree of Villanova’s 3:37.41 and 13:27.07, and the 1:45.34 run by Tom McLean of Bucknell. But by the late 1970s and early 1980s, the cost of traveling to the NCAA championship–not guaranteed to be on the east coast–had no longer so prohibitive as to dissuade east coast schools from sending their qualifying athletes.

Unfortunately for east coast track women of the era, the first concurrent running of the ECAC championship was in 1984–well past the heyday of the once proud eastern seaboard championship meet.

So just because you’re not at the meet of your dreams this weekend, it doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of it. Princeton is a great place to run fast, and enjoy a decadent sandwich after made up of breakfast delectables, cured meats, and special sauces. Plus, if you score or win an event at IC4As you cement your place in a history that goes back to our nation’s Centennial, which is really cool.

Everything matters so long as you put personal weight and significance into it. So have some fun in the best state in the union–New Jersey–and create some fond memories while there.

May 9, 2017

Marathon participation has declined since 2013; here are some theories why

Since 2013, marathon participation has been on the decline. We took a deep dive into what happened in 2013, to sort out why that’s the case.

May 7, 2017

Latest Banksy provides hard-hitting commentary on Nike’s Breaking2 project

Prolific provocateur Banksy is at it again, and this time, Nike’s Breaking2 project is on the receiving end of his can of spray paint and mighty wit.

May 6, 2017

The Schrader Mile: No sponsors, no fanfare, no hype; just a no-frills sub-4 attempt in Austin tonight

Sub-4 has been done before, but not by the men vying for it tonight at the Schrader Mile. Watch a grassroots attempt at taking down a historic barrier.

May 5, 2017

Nike Breaking2 live stream with EXCLUSIVE live Citius Mag bozo Twitter commentary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvhSgxUdsdQ


Citius Mag @CitiusMag
RT @ChrisChavez: Contemplating taking a hard turn in life and pronouncing “Strava” the way my Canadian friends do
h J R
Citius Mag @CitiusMag
The latest edition of the CITIUS MAG Newsletter… – Mondo hits new heights – Minnesota track keeps fighting – Maybe… https://t.co/6F0BXhVCxc
h J R
Citius Mag @CitiusMag
RT @endorance1: Decided to leave my neighbor a little message this morning @realDonaldTrump @CitiusMag https://t.co/YkzHNHwhdz
h J R
Citius Mag @CitiusMag
For those who think LeBron can’t break five minutes for the mile due to his size... https://t.co/zlS0HXFZa1
h J R
May 5, 2017

IAAF measurement guru calls Breaking2 course “most accurate marathon”

IAAF and USATF course measurement extraordinaire David Katz explains just how accurate the Breaking2 course will be in a public Facebook post

May 3, 2017

The Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite will be a hit; meet its less celebrated distant cousin

Before there was the controversy surrounding Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly Elite, there was Spira, an upstart shoe brand attempting to stir up some of its own.

May 2, 2017

On Monza: An inside look at the course picked for Breaking 2

Paul Snyder once went to the race track in Italy where Nike will host the Breaking 2 attempt to break the two-hour marathon mark.

May 1, 2017

Evaluating Nike’s Breaking2 Project vs. other high-profile, pop-cultural promises

Nike’s Sub-2 Project: Managing the Hype

Some weather-dependent day this weekend, the triumvirate of Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese will line up in Monza, Italy, to complete just shy of 18 trips around the town’s 1.5 mile long Formula One track. Nike — the sponsor of the event — is pretending to rest its hopes on one of these three men traversing 26.2 miles in a time of 1:59:59 or faster.

But sub-two or not, Nike’s already won.

The company hasn’t come out and said as much, but it is nothing more than a marketing ruse, and a highly successful one at that. Just type “nike sub 2” into Google, and marvel at the number of gushing press clippings from countless highly reputable journalistic outlets (now including Citius Mag!). Once again, Nike has done what it does best: drum up hype at low-to-no cost.

The success of the attempt is irrelevant. In all likelihood, none of the selected, impossibly gifted athletes will dip below the two hour threshold this weekend, despite every advantage bestowed upon them by Nike. Controversial energy-preserving shoes, a closed and non-record-eligible course, fluids and fuel on demand, vehicular pacers, the like. It’s not enough to make it happen. We just aren’t there yet.

It doesn’t seem likely that almost three minutes will be lopped off of an already imposing world record. But in terms of undelivered upon promises, Nike’s probable failure to deliver the world’s first marathon time beginning with a “1,” just isn’t that big of a deal. So it seems pretty silly to get all worked up over a massive multinational corporation doing what it exists to do: sell shit.

Someday, somebody somewhere will run 1:59. And the world will keep spinning until then— and after.

No harm, no foul. And compared to other recent pop-cultural misleadings, it barely registers as anything other than an ambitious plan falling shy of its endgame. Let’s take a look at some of the others, on the below “Graph of Grift!”

The Graph of Grift

Large scale corporate fraud can be extremely damaging, extremely funny, worth acknowledging, and in some instances, not even requiring recognition.

Extremely Damaging Quadrant

When a claim is huge, and the failure to deliver on it qualifies as downright fraudulent, bad things happen. Things like worsening race relations, the loss of thousands of people’s life-savings, and misdiagnosing of major illness can occur. True catastrophes. These are the things that keep investigative journalism relevant, and deserve our fullest condemnation.

Assholes scamming senior citizens by calling and pretending to be their bail-seeking, imprisoned grandchildren are an everyday example.

Extremely Funny Quadrant

When the stakes are low, the extremely wealthy are targeted, and fraud occurs, the result is a sort of cathartic humor we plebeians can revel in. A bunch of millionaire Vine stars got swindled by Ja Rule into paying thousands of dollars to eat bread sandwiches and sleep in FEMA tents? That’s pretty funny. Some Gwyneth Paltrow fans purchased a purported cold juicing device that basically just squirts out the contents of expensive bags of liquidized fruit? High comedy.

Worth Acknowledging Quadrant

Nike’s sub-two attempt and accompanying hype falls into this third camp. It’s a bold claim, and not so far outside the realm of possibility that we can fully scoff at it. So instead, we pay attention to claims like these, express our skepticism, and then get to say “I told you so” when they bomb.

(Think: Jay-Z’s dumb streaming service, TIDAL, or Neil Young’s PonoPlayer.)

Not Requiring Recognition Quadrant

This is the type of unfulfilled hype that is so blatant, the lie is inextricable from the thing itself in a very public way. You know full well where your money is going— down the tubes— and you don’t care.

When you pull off of the interstate at the behest of a billboard reading “WORLD’S LARGEST CERAMIC GOBLIN,” you are willingly entering this space.

What does it all mean?

We are deceived from the moment we’re born. (“What a beautiful baby” is the first repeated lie we hear. Most babies are strange looking and don’t become cute until a few months of out-of-the-womb development.) We can all handle some more.

When Kipchoge is this weekend’s sole finisher, and runs 2:02:48, nobody has gotten hurt. The sport that we love will continue to be an afterthought  between Olympic cycles. And Nike will still make billions of dollars a year. There are greater atrocities out there more deserving of our attention.

And if I’m wrong? Then something pretty cool has succeeded in taking place.

April 27, 2017

Payton Jordan entries are out, and they’re full of intrigue and surprises

The 2017 Payton Jordan entries have formally been released, and they’re SOLID. Centro and Willis square off over 5,000m. And a slew of women could break 2.

April 26, 2017

Track & Food: the Drake & Penn Relays are best enjoyed with a side of gluttony

Penn Relays is known for many things, its phenomenal track food among them. But Drake is no slouch in the aggressive eating category either.

April 26, 2017

UTEP isn’t taking its middle distance squad to the Penn Relays, which sucks

When it comes to the DMR at Penn, there’s rarely a dull year. This one’s no exception, but without UTEP competing, we’re left wondering “what if?”

April 25, 2017

Everybody, please pay attention to the Drake Relays 1,500-meter races this weekend

Among the must-watch races of the weekend will be the men’s and women’s 1,500 races at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.

April 19, 2017

How far into the London Marathon would these famous Londoners make it?

David Bowie, Kate Middleton, Jack the Ripper, Margaret Thatcher. We evaluate these (and other) famous Londoners’ chances of completing a marathon.

April 18, 2017

This week on Citius: IAAF World Relays & the Virgin Money London Marathon

You thought we were done with weeks organized thematically? You thought wrong. This week we’ll focus on the IAAF World Relays and the 2017 London Marathon.

April 18, 2017

Press release regarding Paul Snyder and the Debajo Dos world record attempt

An important announcement regarding Paul Snyder’s attempt on the 800 meter world record and the future of the Debajo Dos project.

April 17, 2017

The 2017 Boston Marathon: What we think we learned

“I don’t know, fuck up some smart kids?”: Our Boston Recap

The 2017 Boston Marathon won’t be entombed in the annals of history as the fastest, most dramatic, or as a pithy title like “The Duel in the Sun.” But it was still a damn fine race on both the men’s and women’s sides. So with that in mind, here are a few quick takes before I turn things over to Kersh for the race recaps.

  • It seems the top three male and two of the top three female finishers (Rose Chelimo being the exception) all wore the new, slightly controversial Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, which was described by Citius founder Chris Chavez for Sports Illustrated.
  • And men’s champion Geoffrey Kirui slugged down that high-density carbohydrate drink, Maurten, that our own Chris Chavez also wrote about. (Luddite fans of running, this was not your day.)
  • The women’s race was way more interesting to follow than the men’s.
  • It was a great morning for Nike Oregon Project athletes making their marathon debuts.
  • And it was also a great morning for Meb, who is doing his version of a marathoner’s farewell tour, and doing it very well. He did not running slowly by any stretch of the imagination (he ran 2:17:00), and put himself in there from the gun, and stuck until he couldn’t (but still finished 13th). It’s refreshing to see; he clearly loves the sport and just wants a last hurrah, instead of the usual retirement path of stopping amidst consistent disappointment. And of course it was an emotional day for him, as he’s got a personal history at Boston that I’m sure will be made into a film soon.

Men’s Race

After a blazing fast opening kilometer (at 2:03 marathon pace), things quickly settled down, and a massive pack of more than twenty dudes remained within spitting distance of the leaders through 10K (30:27 or so). But shortly thereafter the heat began to play a factor and the herd was thinned.

Guys dropped off slowly but surely, without any major moves being made. It was just attrition for a while, despite the pace gradually growing slower.

Really, nothing that interesting happened until the guys neared the Newton hills. Abdi (now a masters runner!) made a bold push to the lead, swung to the side of the course, and gave his sunglasses to a troop clad in full military fatigues. Shortly thereafter Abdi dropped, which seemed to give Rupp the green light to press down on the gas a little bit.

And that was enough. Between the quickened pace (which had for a while been slowing) and aptly named Heartbreak Hill, eventual champ Geoffrey Kirui, Galen Rupp, and his training partner Suguru Osako broke away from the handful of guys still with it. Suguru quickly realized he wasn’t about that pace, and so we had a two man battle with about four miles to go.

For a few minutes it seemed Rupp might win. But ultimately, Kirui — on the strength of a 4:26 split for his 24th mile — made Galen Rupp look like he was walking over the closing stages of the race.

Kirui looked incredibly efficient over the late stages, when even Rupp-the-automaton showed signs of fatigue. So his victory really wasn’t a huge surprise.

Behind them, Suguru finished strong in third, running 2:10:28 for an impressive debut. Then Shadrack Biwott (4th; 2:12:08), Abdi Abdirahman (6th; 2:12:45), Luke Puskedra (9th; 2:14:45), and Jared Ward (10th; 2:15:28) all ran well, for a solid American situation in the top-10.

Top-Ten Men

1. Geoffrey Kirui Kenya 2:09:37
2. Galen Rupp USA 2:09:58
3. Suguru Osaka Japan 2:10:28
4. Shadrack Biwott USA 2:12:08
5. Wilson Chebet Kenya 2:12:35
6. Abdi Abdirahman USA 2:12:45
7. Augustus Mayo USA 2:13:16
8. Dino Sefir Ethiopia 2:14:26
9. Luke Puskedra USA 2:14:45
10. Jared Ward USA 2:15:28

Women’s Race

Coming into this race, the collective consciousness of the domestic distance-runner was a shared hope, and a strong belief that Desi Linden would not only be the first American female finisher, but the winner of the 2017 Boston Marathon.

Desi’s approach to her training and racing is full of truth, and lacks anything to the contrary. Her running career is not currently suspended in a bizarro gray area of “has-she-or-hasn’t-she,” and her consistency, especially on the world’s biggest stages, will be lauded for the foreseeable future.

She is, however, a robot. Her matching 1:12:33 half-marathon splits rewarded her with a 4th place finish. Watching Desi race was frustrating at times, though, because of how stubborn she was to stick to HER pace. No, she couldn’t cover the devastating move at 30K from eventual winner Edna Kiplagat, but the resolve and the trust Desi has in her training and what she needs to focus on in those decisive moments is continually agonizingly fun to watch.

As alluded to earlier, Edna Kiplagat torched the field over the last 12K when she starting clicking off low five-minute miles. In the midst of the firestorm she unleashed on her competitors, she experienced a now-hilarious-because-it-was-not-disastrous moment at one of the last fluid tables. Her bottle was not in the correct place so, instead of taking a competitor’s bottle and almost certainly having a hand in their dehydration, Kiplagat came to a complete stop for a few seconds to take account of her situation, collect her sense, and nab the correct bottle. It was silly.

Kiplagat ended up crossing the finish in 2:21:52 and looked strong as hell doing so, which should not be a surprise as she is — in addition to a world-class runner — a policewoman, a stalwart for proper waste removal practices in her native Kenya, and a mother to five children. She is a tough lady.

Jordan Hasay continued to cement herself as an American road-racing legend with a third-place finish in her marathon debut. I have not been around this sport long enough to make such bold claims, but I cannot remember an athlete who has responded so positively to road racing. Hasay’s last few track season left something to be desired from a talent like her but, since switching to the roads, she has won several U.S. Championships, scorched the Czech Republic earth with a 67:55 half marathon two weeks ago in Prague, and a podium finish at the Boston Marathon. Truly unbelievable performances, and we are now experiencing the rebirth of Jordan Hasay as the next Great American Distance Runner.

Top-Ten Women

1. Edna Kiplagat Keya 2:21:52
2. Rose Chelimo Bahrain 2:22:51
3. Jordan Hasay USA 2:23:00
4. Desi Linden USA 2:25:06
5. Gladys Cherono Kenya 2:27:20
6. Valentine Kipketer Kenya 2:29:35
7. Buzunesh Deba Ethiopia 2:30:58
8. Brigid Kosgei Kenya 2:31:48
9. Diane Nukuri Burundi 2:32:24
10. Ruti Aga Ethiopia 2:33:26

What will you remember about the 2017 race?

Well, those dumb Nike shoes sure seem to work. Paul, what about you?

How quickly Kiplagat’s big move gapped the rest of the remaining contenders, and how early in the race it took place. At the point in the course where Rupp and Kirui began dueling in a two-man contest, Kiplagat had already been running solo for miles. Her surge was early enough too, to seem possibly ill-fated, so it was especially intriguing to follow. Did anybody really surprise you or let you down, there, Stephen?

Nice insight, Paul. I’d say the gaggle of American men in the top-10 (with USA’er Sean Quigley at 11th overall) was a surprise, albeit a good one. Aside from Galen who I was sure would do well, Biwott and Abdi built on their strong NYC Marathon performances, Maiyo came outta nowhere for 7th, and Puskedra and Ward really put on strong performances. I’ll take this opportunity to end on a positive note and stop blogging for the day!

Way to blog, baby. Way to blog.

 

April 16, 2017

How to keep tabs on the 2017 Boston Marathon, in real time

We tell you how to follow the action from Boston, and how to do so like a local through recipes, twitter feeds, and even local vernacular!

April 14, 2017

Fearless Forecasting: idiot blogger Paul Snyder predicts the top 18 female finishers of the Boston Marathon

In the field of running punditry, there are those who maintain a strict journalistic ethos, and then there are the bloggers who use phrases like “fearless forecasting.” The former’s race previews will be full of nuance and a “let’s look at both sides” mentality. These folks are into things like citing statistics and drawing from a hard-earned bank of personal knowledge; their takes are lukewarm, their commentary impartial. You turn to these people to inform yourself about a situation, so that you may draw your own conclusions based on fact. The world needs these people.

But I’m a blogger, man. And the world needs us too, for we are fearless, stupid champions of internet-induced boldness. (To paraphrase The Boss, “tramps like us, baby we were born to blog.”)

So you’ll get none of the aforementioned removed sense of professionalism here. Instead, this preview of the women’s race will be loaded with bias and ignorance, as I attempt to accurately predict the finishing order of the 18 women in the Boston Marathon’s elite field. To do so, I will activate the most powerful of blogger tools, the Blogger’s Gut.

The Fearless Forecast

  1. Gladys Cherono, Kenya; Cherono boasts the field’s fastest PB (2:19:25), and though she ran that in 2015, she’s indicated similar fitness this year, winning the Osita-Roma Half Marathon in 67:01 last month. And perhaps most importantly, Cherono’s proven herself as someone more than capable of winning big races against stacked fields. Sorry folks, this dumbass blogger doesn’t see an American woman winning this year. But that doesn’t mean the women’s race won’t be extremely exciting, and way better than the men’s.
  2. Brigid Kosgei, Kenya; I’m a big fan of two things, which is why Kosgei gets the nod for silver ahead of a slew of very deserving athletes: momentum and inexperience. She’s coming off a 67:35 half marathon which she won by over 90 seconds, she’s young and relatively untested. She’s used to winning low-key races, and athletes like that are dangerous, because they don’t know to be afraid of the top dogs.
  3. Atsede Baysa, Ethiopia; A third contradictory attribute I value is experience. Give me a savvy veteran almost any day of the week, and I’ll tell you they’ll finish top three. Baysa is the reigning champ, and though her PRs are pretty weak compared to many of her peers, and she hasn’t looked great since her victory at last year’s slow race, I’m still calling a podium finish on the basis of her intangibles, which are THROUGH THE ROOF.
  4. Desi Linden, USA; I’m gonna catch some flack for this (and every other prediction here) but before you crucify this humble blogger online, hear me out. Fourth place is very good. And notice how I didn’t mention any times in my preview? Let’s just assume the top six or so runners will all be close, at least through mile 23. If that’s the case, you gotta err on the side of women with superior wheels, ammiright? On a different course, in a different race, Linden may not even place this high in this field, but American runners tend to get amped up for what might as well be called America’s Marathon.
  5. Diane Nukuri, Burundi; Though her best marathon’s just a 2:27:50, I won’t be surprised to see Nukuri mixing it up near the front for much of the race. She’s coming off of a third place finish at this year’s NYC Half Marathon, behind only Molly Huddle and Emily Sisson, both of whom would be in discussions for a top three finish were they in this Boston field. Plus Nukuri beat a couple of serious contenders who are racing Boston, and she’s in the habit of securing top-10 placings at some pretty legitimate international marathons.
  6. Edna Kiplagat, Kenya; Kiplagat is one of the aforementioned serious contenders displaced by Nukuri in NYC in March. And though her performance there shouldn’t inspire much confidence in her winning in Boston, it indicates she’s in at least decent shape. That’s where that savvy veteran bullshit I love so much comes in. She’s 37, has run 16 major marathons, and holds a PB of 2:19:50. At this point, her career’s likely on the decline, but expect her to employ tactics like running the tangents and elbowing competitors in the kidneys to her advantage; the sort of move elder NBA players use to make a fool of younger, more able bodied defenders.
  7. Jordan Hasay, USA; Yeah I know Hasay ran a really great half marathon in Prague not too long ago,and I also know that she’s being touted as the next great American marathoner. She very well may be, but it’s one thing to place highly and run fast in a debut marathon. It’s another entirely to win a race that has a tendency to be weird and wacky, and rarely a barn-burner. The more surges and mind games in a race, the more opportunities for rookie mistakes. Hasay will make a few.
  8. Caroline Rotitch, Kenya; Rotitch had a pretty bad race (by her standards) at the NYC Half, and that’s all we’ve seen of her in 2017. She won this race back in 2015, so I’ll go ahead and say she’ll beat some women she realistically shouldn’t, based on her proven ability to race the course.
  9. Valentine Kipketer, Kenya; Last year’s 5th place finisher on paper seems like a longshot to duplicate her performance, so I’ll slot her here at 8th. She’s got solid PBs (68:21 & 2:23:02) but so does everybody else.
  10. Lindsay Flanagan, USA; The former University of Washington standout has for a few years now quietly enjoyed a solid and steadily improving standing in the American women’s marathoning hierarchy. Her last attempt at 26.2 saw her placing fourth in Frankfurt running 2:29:29, a nearly four minute personal best.
  11. Rose Chelimo, Bahrain; Chelimo’s coming off a solid showing at the World XC Championships in Uganda, which I’d argue stupidly actually hurts her chances in Boston. Having spent a winter training for a shorter distance, I’d say she goes out with the leaders but fades painfully over the back six miles.
  12. Joyce Chepkirui, Kenya; Chepkirui’s run 66:19 and 2:24:11, but on any given day, not every good athlete can be “on.” This esteemed blogger just guessed that Boston will not be Chepkirui’s day, although she’ll hold on and finish, which is more than can be said for all 18 of these women, I’m afraid. More on that after we discuss the 13th through 16th place predictions.
  13. Liz Costello, USA; If Hasay weren’t also making her marathon debut in Boston, Costello’s first attempt at the distance would likely generate more fanfare. She got 6th at the Trials last summer in the 10,000m, and holds a personal best of 31:43.79 over the distance, plus, she trains locally in Boston. She hasn’t really run any road races indicating she should get top 10 on Monday, but she’s a smart racer with hometown ties, so I’ll give her a slot on the outside looking in.
  14. Esther Atkins, USA; Atkins’s best marathon ever was in Boston in 2014, where she ran 2:33:15 for 18th place. That same year she ran 74:46 for the half. This year she’s run faster than that for 13.1, so why not expect a superior showing for the full thing?
  15. Rachel Hannah, Canada; Hannah’s a 72:25 woman who hasn’t raced anything major this year. I have little in the way of blogging intuition surrounding this placement, but I sense she will finish, and beat at least one other elite woman who does not DNF.
  16. Blake Russell, USA; Russell’s fastest days are likely behind her, but she can still work her way up the master’s all-time American marathon rankings with a good showing in Boston.
  • DNFs: Ruti Aga, Ethiopia; Buzunesh Deba, Ethiopia; Both Aga and Deba have run incredible times, and there is no denying that. But their recent performances indicate a high probability of blowing up. Deba won (thanks Rita Jeptoo!) the 2014 Boston Marathon in 2:19:59. But since then her marathon performances have been 2:33 or slower, or DNFs. Aga ran a solid half last month (70:02) but her last marathon was in Dubai and she ran 2:46:16. If your last marathon was awful, you don’t forget it easily; you were out there struggling for nearly three hours. Snyder’s Razor says: an athlete can only stomach so many let downs in a row before getting discouraged to the point of realizing that dropping out is easier than sticking in a race they’ll run poorly. I don’t fault them. Marathons seem hard and if you’re a pro but won’t see any cash from finishing, why finish?
April 14, 2017

Attention elite athletes: Want to win the Boston Marathon? Read up.

Elite athletes become elite by leaving no stone unturned in their preparations. But what if there was one glaring omission from professional runners’ plans?

April 13, 2017

The silly story of the first ever Boston Marathon, as told by the journalists who watched it

We read through an 1897 newspaper article about the first ever Boston Marathon (and added our own thoughts to it) so you don’t have to.

April 6, 2017

♫ Release your inhibitions, run with jeans on your skin ♫

Take a walk in my shoes.

My shoes are beat-to-shit HOKA Clifton 2s, and they are taking you down the steps of the Nostrand Avenue stop for the A and C trains in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In my shoes you walk hurriedly, finding a spot to stand and wait, slightly concealed behind a supportive beam. My shoes are standing in a puddle of what might be piss, but you don’t care. They don’t care. It’s better than being seen.

Because atop my shoes, and around your legs, is a pair of slim-fitting, reasonably fashionable (in almost any other scenario) black jeans. What covers your torso is irrelevant. Because as you board the crowded train toward the Hoyt-Schermerhorn stop, earbuds blaring something you’re not even paying attention to, your eyes are glued down at what’s going on at the confluence of foot and leg.

Deep down, you know you’re just being practical. That you’re even being considerate by not bringing a bulky backpack with a change of running clothes on the subway. But you also know that nobody else knows this, and since you are in my shoes, you live life in a state of perpetual self-consciousness. The fact that when you get to your buddy’s place in Greenpoint, you’ll shake off your jeans to reveal a modestly-cut pair of running shorts, then head out the door for a perfectly reasonable jog, means nothing to you right now.

You survive the five or so minutes (you got lucky and at least caught the express train) until you transfer over to the G. Then you have a another 20 minute ride in a car full of teens who might—but almost definitely won’t—make fun of my shoes (which you’re wearing, remember), and by extension, you.

Are you a bit of a narcissist in assuming that your not-that-weird-especially-in-this-city look is worthy of being mocked by the cruel masses? Absolutely. But your feelings are no less valid for your character flaw. And need I remind you, you are wearing extremely tattered and filthy, jogging shoes, ample in cushioning, along with the jeans you wore to work (at that point still paired with Vans or something cooler)?

You get off at the Manhattan Avenue stop having avoided any run-ins with hecklers, and walk up the steps to street level. My shoes feel good on your feet as you walk in them, so good in fact, that they hasten their pace. You’re jogging now. You don’t have far to go to your pal’s apartment. So you pick it up even more, in full flight in your be-jeaned splendor. And you cease to care.

Maybe the precious minutes saved by social-commute-jogging will enable you and your buddy to catch the last bit of happy hour or secure a half-priced burrito after your run. Or maybe it’s less tangible than that. Maybe for a moment you are free. Just a grown ass man running in jeans in a neighborhood where presentation matters. That’s liberating.

And while my shoes know (and probably hope) that you won’t be wearing them every time you leave the house. They’re ready to be taken for a spin when you’re ready to lean into your inner-schlub and favor function over form for a change.

April 4, 2017

The Rupp Mask: a look at running’s doofiest accessory and what it signifies

The Rupp Mask: something to mock, or a source of doubt, causing us all to call into question just how committed we are to the sport we supposedly love?

April 3, 2017

Debajo Dos: The wheels are falling off for Paul

This was a rough week of training for our own Paul Snyder, who continues his quest to break the 800 meter world record in his Debajo Dos attempt.

April 3, 2017

What are the takeaways from today’s doping news? Citius Mag unpacks it for you.

The latest doping news out of Germany alleges the IOC and WADA were complicit in ignoring potential PED use by Jamaica’s male sprinters in Beijing.

April 1, 2017

Field events: we did not forget about them, and three in particular will be very good this year

If you enjoy humans hefting spheres, vaulting over bars, and leaping over similar bars, then boy do we have some good news for you!

March 31, 2017

Someone please break the hour run American Record

The hour run American Record is the softest of records. We implore any able bodied athlete to please, please break this record.

March 29, 2017

From the headlines: Denver-area jogger brings attention to the sport through unconventional means

Rarely do runners find themselves in the headlines of non-running-centric journalistic outlets. That’s just the way it is, and unless you discover a dead body during your morning run, help a wobbly-kneed competitor across the finish line at a local 5K, or get steamrolled by a deer during a cross country meet, that’s probably the way it’s going to stay.

But an unidentified jogging Denver man found a way to make a splash, and stir up some buzz among the local press this week, utilizing an unprecedented methodology: by assaulting a cyclist.

Yesterday, News 9 (Colorado’s NBC affiliate), reported the incident, which took place on the trails of North Table Mesa in Golden, a town best known for as the headquarters of Coors. The cyclist’s account of the attack went a little something like this:

He was cycling up a hill on the mesa trails near his suburban Denver home, when he came up on a headphone-wearing jogger. He rang his bike’s bell a couple of times to no avail, at which point a second mountain-biker crested the hill, and began descending toward the inadvertently stand-off-ing duo. The second cyclist yielded the right of way to the jogger, but motioned to him that a biker was trying to pass from behind. The jogger then pulled off to the side, and the victim cycled on past, shaking his head at the jogger’s headphone-induced lack of spatial awareness. And boy, did this ever set him off! The jogger then purportedly shouted “shake your head at me again, and I’ll beat your motherfucking ass!” Thinking little of the regular-aggressive response to his passive-aggression, the cyclist continued on his ride.

Twenty minutes later he cross paths again with the enraged jogger, but pulled off to the side to let him pass. But the jogger didn’t jog past as expected. Instead he grabbed the cyclist by the throat, punched him in the helmet repeatedly, and chucked his bike off a cliff.

The jogger jogged off after finishing his attack, then our cyclist plucked himself up, hobbled down to his bike, and walked the wreckage back to the trailhead after calling the cops and his wife.

The cyclist, going only as Andrew, gave no last name, but wrote about the encounter on a popular recreational cycling blog, drunkcyclist.com, under the pseudonym “40 Hands.”

Now for a few quick takes:

  • Assaulting people is bad, except for maybe in a handful of instances, and we don’t encourage it.
  • This is going to give the anti-headphone camp a lot of ammunition, but as a proponent of jogging to music, let me get my two cents in. If you’re going to listen to a dumb podcast while exercising, please avoid trails. Hell, avoid trails regardless because they are rocky, often steep, and can contain snakes.
  • It’s really hard for me to sympathize with a cyclist-blogger named “40 Hands,” but color me sympathetic this time.
  • Just going to speculate here, but those investigating this incident need to post up at the nearest CrossFit gym because I’d bet $50 this “jogger” flips a mean tire.
  • I’m all for runners doing stupid things to get attention. However you wanna validate yourself is fine by me, except when it gets in the way of somebody else’s living. So please, Citius readers, unless it’s in self-defense or something similar, please refrain from attacking other recreational exercisers to get your 15-minutes of fame.

No arrests have been made at this point, but if you might have information on the jogging assailant, here’s some information from Andrew “40 Hands” on what to do and what to look for:

Basic description is white male, somewhere in his 30s-40s, 6 feet tall, and somewhere between 180-190 pounds.  On that day he was wearing black shorts, wrap around headphones, and a black or dark blue shirt with either “COM” or “COR” on it.  Given that he was able to duck into a local neighborhood and wasn’t found, it seems likely that he lives in Golden and will be back out on North Table Mountain.  If you encounter someone that fits that description please reach out to either the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (303) 271-0211, or the Jefferson County Open Space (303) 271-5925.  Also, if you have any information you think might be helpful you can email me at [email protected].

And if you, dear reader, were the jogging assailant, turn yourself in, you fucking doofus.

 

March 29, 2017

Some thoughts on the just-released Stanford Invite heat sheets

Allie Ostrander in the steeple? King Ches in the second heat of the 10,000m? Is German Fernandez in 5,000m shape? We ask the tough questions but answer few.

March 29, 2017

Can Galen Rupp, Jordan Hasay break the men’s and women’s half marathon American Records?

Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay head to Prague this weekend, to compete in a traditionally very quick half marathon, and try to each break a decade old AR.

March 28, 2017

The 400m hurdle American Record seems poised to fall, but who breaks it?

In an event headlined by Olympic medalists like Dalilah Muhammad, Ashley Spencer + Shamier Little and Sydney McLaughlin, the record is in jeopardy.

March 28, 2017

Will Molly Huddle lower her own American Record in the 10,000m this year?

As part of a Citius Mag series examining which American records might fall this outdoor season, we zero in on Molly Huddle’s odds over 10,000 meters.

March 27, 2017

Debajo Dos: Paul’s fitness is lurking

Aesop once wrote of a farmer, whose goose laid a golden egg daily. He grew rich off of his fowl’s cloacal output. But one day, his greed drove him to slaughter the golden goose, hoping to harvest all of its golden contents at once. It was empty, and the farmer extracted no more gold. This parable keeps me up at night. I am the farmer. I am the goose. And my fitness is the egg. Am I getting too greedy? Is my task too ambitious?

Monday, March 20th

It’s a wild world when six miles no longer feels like a milestone.

Tuesday, March 21st

Hopped on the treadmill to bolster my aerobic fitness metrics. A five mile tempo later (at 5:40 pace) I walked out of the gym and straight to a neighborhood pizzeria a better version of my old self.

Wednesday, March 22nd

Woke up debilitatingly fatigued. Yesterday’s marathon session really zapped me of any vigor I once possessed. Went for a jog with Jeanne in a bullheaded attempt to plow through the wall of physical degradation.

Thursday, March 23rd

With my body still failing, I opted to play it safe — something I once vowed to never do — and gave my overworked mitochondria a rest.

Friday, March 24th

Apparently rest is occasionally what the doctor ought to order. I went for a nice jog with my friend and filmmaker RJ McNichols. I was shocked RJ didn’t ask to make a documentary about my efforts, but can’t fault him for being nervous around an athlete of my caliber. I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable asking me that same question. No worries, RJ, if you’re reading this, I have a 90-page script typed up and ready for production as a Lifetime original film. I of course, demand to be played by Moby. (You thought that was it for today, but you’re plum wrong. Fitness doesn’t rest, except for yesterday when it did. And I ran twice(!) today, with my second run featuring some sprints on the track.

Saturday, March 25th

A storm rolled down from the mountains as another was looming on the track… me. I did eight 200m intervals, starting around 32 seconds, and working down to 27 for the last one. Hurricane Paul took no human casualties but did burp up a little vomit at the end of this session.

Sunday, March 26th

Really threw caution to the wind by going for a long run the day after a brutal speed session, but that’s the cost of greatness. Nine miles on the day.

Fatigue was the name of the game this week, which saw me run nearly 37 miles. Two workouts? Strides? A long run? Do I have a death wish? No. I have a SUCCESS WISH. Next week should be a little lighter, as there are only about 20 days to go in my training cycle. Only god can judge me.


This is the eighth post in a series by Paul chronicling his journey to break the two-minute barrier in the 800 meters. Check out his previous post below:

Introducing Debajo Dos and one boy’s quest to run fast as heck 

Inside Paul’s first week of training

Paul has an acute gout flare up scare

Paul’s biggest week of mileage yet

Paul suffers from Runner’s Amnesia in New York

Paul braves the elements and Albuquerque

Paul addresses the critics and doubters of his world record attempt

Debajo Dos: One month left of work

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