Welcome to the first edition of CITIUS Chats. We figured that we could do more posts like these where we just hack Chris Chavez and Stephen Kersh’s Slack messages and publish a chunk of their exchanges from when they’re geeking out on track and field. They previously discussed what it would be like for the NCAA to add a half marathon. Got a fun topic for Chris and Stephen to debate? Email us an idea: [email protected]
CITIUS MAG NYC AND FLAGSTAFF OFFICES – JAN. 2 – 2 P.M.
Chris Chavez: Hello Stephen, happy new year!
Stephen Kersh: Christopher. Hello!
CC: How have the holidays been treating you? I see that Santa bestowed 1,000 Twitter followers upon you but you still lack that blue check!
SK: Yes. You did a nice job of coercing people into following me. Thanks for that.
CC: That wasn’t me but intern Robbie. He appears to be doing well in his two weeks since we let go of Intern Stefano. But enough about you and your Twitter page already! Let’s talk about track, baby.
SK: Track: What Makes the World Goes Around. Hit me.
CC: There’s no world championship or Olympics this year but we’re going to have to produce a lot of content anyway. We don’t take the year off here at CITIUS MAG dot com. What are you looking forward to the most this year?
SK: I gotta be honest with you Chris. I don’t really know what to look forward to! I recently heard a runner call this a “Baby Year”. Do you know what a Baby Year is?
CC: Runners having sex?!
SK: Precisely. Something that doesn’t happen enough. But yes – it’s a year where some women entertain the possibility of starting a family. I’m looking forward to seeing who does it! Running-wise, I hope the no outdoor championship thing encourages people to go out, find themselves a rabbit, and break some records. Kinda crazy we brushed past World Indoor Champs. That just doesn’t do it for ya, eh?
CC: I think we’ll see some fine performances at the World Indoor Championships, but without looking, can you name five gold medalists in 30 or even 60 seconds from the last ones? … Didn’t think so. As far as indoors goes, I will be hype for Millrose Games as a native New Yorker and will probably be more attentive to that than any World Indoors performances. I think indoors will be good to see some athletes coming back after a year of injury and maybe putting together some quick performances outdoors. Last year, we saw Shalane Flanagan miss Boston due to injury and then come back to win the New York City Marathon. So we’re already seeing someone like Cory McGee pop a fast mile so I’m excited for us to maybe witness something like an American record from the likes of Clayton Murphy or Matt Centrowitz during the outdoor season. As of right now, I’ll lean toward a Clayton Murphy 800m American record odds being better than a Centro 1,500m American record odds.
SK: I think Chelimo gets the 5K AR. It may cost him longevity in his career, but the man is on a damn mission and it’s fun to watch. CENTRO, CLAYTON, CHELIMO. CCC. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?! Probably nothing!
CC: If it means that people with names that begin in “C” will run fast this year, then I am excited for my own personal running. I will once again be going for the world record. This time, it will be at the London Marathon in April. I have fallen short – very far off my goal, actually – in my past six tries at the 26.2 distance. Real quick, since you mentioned Chelimo, I’d like to go somewhere for a second.
SK: Dive in.
CC: Let’s say Shadrack Kipchirchir also has a stellar race and breaks the 10,000m American record, which is a mark currently held by Galen Rupp. Chelimo breaks the 5,000m American record. Leonard Korir gives that half marathon race another shot, in an area that’s not as polluted as Delhi, and breaks the half marathon American record, which is currently held by Ryan Hall. Would this be the year that we see more vocal outrage from the crowd that isn’t a fan of Kenyan-born athletes competing for the U.S. Army? These guys are American but there will be cynics, who are ridiculous.
SK: Well, if outrage were to come to fruition, it would be from a bunch of nationalist, proud boys who are automatically disqualified from having a legitimate opinion since their ideas are based on complete bullshit. The cynics would be assholes, Chris. There are athletes out there who could be on drugs, which seems worse than OUR AMERICAN RECORD HOLDERS WERE BORN IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY BUT DECIDED TO JOIN OUR NATIONAL SERVICE.
CC: Totally agree with you. I do recall last year’s piece by our very own Ammar Moussa on the transfer of allegiances in recent years, which was very interesting. Before we discuss outdoor track, which of the two marathons are you looking forward to more? Boston or London?
SK: I guess because I’m more interested in that big group of Americans running, I’d say Boston. But London is great for the times and the crumpets. Chris, what is a crumpet?
CC: We can’t spend too much time on crumpets, Stephen. I will say that they’re delicious. I would lean toward Boston as well because I won’t be able to watch London live. I am very curious whether we see Guye Adole run in London or Boston because if you remember, he came out of nowhere in 2017 to not only challenge Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin and then clocked a 2:03 for the fastest debut ever. I think he could break the world record if he’s put on a fast course and I’d love to see a rivalry between him and Kipchoge. If they put him in Boston, I think he beats Galen Rupp. If they put him in London, he goes head-to-head against Eliud for the world record and it’s a great Berlin rematch. Or he surprises us and runs Tokyo and breaks the world record there too to set the bar higher for Kipchoge. He’s going to be an even bigger name than we think in 2018. I’m still in the Eliud Kipchoge camp and would bet that he will have the world record under his belt by the end of 2018. Semi-related Kenenisa Bekele done or finished in the marathon?
SK: HOT TAKE: I think he’s finished. He’ll keep showing up and running fast through 30K, or what not, but I think his goose is cooked. It’s ridiculous to say that about someone who has done so much in the sport, but all of that running catches up to someone. Even the best runner ever.
CC: I think this is his last good year. Who do you smell a breakout for in 2018?
SK: I think Emily Infeld jumps in a fall marathon and does something special.
CC: Oooh. I like that and didn’t see that prediction coming. Based off her Instagram stories, it seems like she’s putting in some serious mileage for the fall.
SK: I like to surprise you from time to time.
CC: Let’s have some fun here. How many of these world records do you think fall in 2018? Women’s 800m (Caster Semenya); Women’s 5,000m (Several East African stars that can do it); Men’s Marathon World Record (Adole or Kipchoge?), Triple Jump World Record (Christian Taylor). You can add any others that you like.
SK: Women’s steeple!
CC: I can see that. It’s fallen a few times already. Why not keep the back-and-forth going? Also I’m very intrigued how hard those Kenyan steeplers are going to go on the Diamond League circuit to beat Emma Coburn. They were NOT happy after losing at Worlds. So I’ll pick just three of those five fall. I’ll go men’s marathon WR, men’s triple jump WR and women’s 800.
SK: After all the hype, I’d love to see the men’s marathon WR stick. I know nothing about the triple jump, but sounds like you know what you’re talking about. The women’s 800 is toast. ’ll stick with my gut and say the women’s steeple will go down
CC: So you’ll go with three as well? If you’re wrong then can we get a video of you attempting to triple jump for our social channels?
SK: It’s a deal.
CC: Now for the NCAA scene, it seems to me that Sidney McLaughlin is just going to take her red pen and make edits all over the NCAA record books. Karissa Schweizer is due for an NCAA 5,000 meter title but it’s not going to be easy given how deep that cross country championship. Ariana Washington is going to be the Oregon sprints star for the year because I forget that she’s still extremely talented and still in college despite the fact that she competed at the Olympics and Worlds last year. Just wanted to have our bases covered on the collegiate front there.
SK: Yeah I think Sidney McLaughlin is gonna be McLaughlin all over the NCAA competition this year! Ha!
CC: Any other bold declarations that you’d like to make?
SK: I think Ryan Sterner finally makes the big time this year.
CC: Sterner was inspired by his marathon trips so I think he pulls the trigger this year.
SK: Ryan has run 16 miles the past 3 months and is due for a marathon breakout.
CC: How about for yourself?
SK: My big goal this year will be to run the A standard in the marathon, Chris.
CC: I believe that you will be able to do that if that calcaneus of yours is fully healed. I dream of seeing you on that starting line for the 2020 Olympic Trials.
SK: I’m ready to go, baby.
CC: Stephen, I wish you all the best. Thanks for catching up with me after New Year’s. Let’s do this more often as the poor man’s version of those Nick Thompson and Malcolm Gladwell exchanges from The New Yorker or Wired.
SK: I hope Malcolm never stops following me on Twitter.