Gwen Berry shares an open letter on the truth and reasoning behind protesting at major global championship stages.
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Gwen Berry shares an open letter on the truth and reasoning behind protesting at major global championship stages.
Johnny Gregorek’s blue jeans mile has the potential to mix things up, provide a great spectating experience and raise money for a good cause.
Johnny Gregorek will attempt to break Dillon Maggard’s 4:11.80 world record for the blue jeans mile on May 30.
The 2017 World Championship women’s 1,500m final is underappreciated.
With the Olympics looming, and therefore qualifying-standard-chasing upon us, as well as runners everywhere hoping for new PRs, well-paced races are a necessity.
Analyzing some data on the 34 men and 25 women US Olympic marathoners since the Trials system began in 1968.
Ivy League champion Erin Gregoire ran 2:42 at the Houston Marathon and was not accepted to the U.S. Olympic marathon trials.
A quick look at some stats shows sub-elites are getting quicker in the United States.
Peter Snell remains the only man in 99 years to have won the 800 and 1500 meters at the same Olympics. He died on Dec. 12. He was 80.
Why the IAAF is totally missing the mark in cutting events from the 2020 Diamond League circuit
Should the IAAF ban the shoes worn by Eliud Kipchoge in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge? What are the rules? What’s next for the GOAT?
Recognizing some of the brilliant and most talented female distance runners in history. Examing Mary Decker Slaney.
The Rambling Runner Podcast is launching a new show following eight runners on their respective journey to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
Stephen Kersh will be lining up at Western States for his first 100-mile race. Why? He’s still figuring out the answer.
The sport needs more athletes like Nikki Hiltz and Therese Haiss.
Gabe Grunewald proved that in the face of adversity you have a choice to be optimistic and make the most of your time.
We often get caught up in the times and the places and forget what really matters in this life. Gabe never forgot. I’ll never forget because of her.
Kyle Medina is one of the newer faces of Tinman Elite and this is his story.
A front-row look at the significance of Jim Walmsley breaking Barney Klecker’s American record for 50 miles, which stood for 39 years.
Meet the photographer responsible for many shots of the NN Running Team, Eliud Kipchoge and the world’s best runners.
61-year-old Joan Samuelson ran yesterday’s Boston Marathon in 3:04:00. That’s really fast. How fast? Age-grading calculators say that’s worth about 2:19 for a woman under age 35.
Her stated goal was to run within 40 minutes of the time she posted while winning the race 40 years ago. She did that and then some; she was less than 30 minutes behind the then-world record time of 2:35:16 she ran in 1979. That day she wore a Bowdoin College singlet and a backwards Red Sox cap, and she did the same yesterday.
Samuelson’s career accomplishments are unparalleled in distance running: Olympic marathon champion, multi-time world record holder, four-time Boston Marathon winner, and ageless wonder. There is only one athlete in any sport whose accomplishments are similar: Gordie Howe.
EDIT: Samuelson qualified to seven Olympic Trials marathons, but only ran in four.
What we thought of The Passion Paradox by Steve Magness and Brad Stulberg.
Alrighty, I’ll jump right in here with my four quick things from today’s final competition at the 2019 USATF Indoor National Championships.
Without further ado, here are a couple of thoughts from the racing today at the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships on Staten Island:
It was President’s Day in San Diego and a few of America’s best distance runners gathered to run a fast 10K.
Julien Wanders and Siffan Hassan absolutely smashed the road 5K world records in Monaco.
From Yomif Kejelcha’s near world record to Ajee Wilson’s American record…Breaking down the best moments from the 2019 Millrose Games in New York City.
Sam Prakel gives insight into adjusting into his first season as a professional and living/training in Seattle.
Editor’s Note: Eric is one of Jim Walmsley’s training partners with the Coconino Cowboys. OK. Now that we disclosed that, here are his thoughts.
Jim Walmsley has recently been the recipient of more vitriol than any other runner. The hatred spewed in places like LetsRun and Twitter would leave you to believe, if you didn’t know any better, that Walmsley had taken everyone’s mother out for a nice seafood dinner and never called her again. I’ve never seen a runner’s success create such giant geysers of boiling bile. The nay-sayers might say he deserves it and, granted, they might have a point. After all, he comes off as more confident than might be warranted—maybe so confident that it seems cocky. And sure, he’s outspoken about his goals—perhaps to a degree that borders on arrogance. Maybe some people just don’t like the guy, and so that’s why they want to mitigate the extent of his successes or reduce his achievements. (One of my favorite hot-takes from his 64-minute run in Houston? “That just shows that the Olympic “B” Standard is SOFT.” Such a great take.) I’m not here to tell you that you should like Jim Walmsley. You don’t have to like him. But I’m here to suggest that you should respect how he’s accomplished an Olympic Trials qualifier. Because he accomplished the feat in a way that has never been done before.
UltraRunning, the preeminent magazine for the sport of ultrarunning, started an award in 1981 called Ultrarunner of the Year (UROY). A panel of judges will survey ultrarunner performances from the year and then vote to determine who was the best ultrarunner, male and female in North America. It’s a points-based system. Whoever has the most points that year will win the award.
Walmsley has now won the award three straight years (2016-2018). This is not unprecedented: he’s the third male to win three-straight times.
The International Trail-Running Association (ITRA) has a Performance Index that ranks runners, also on a point-based system, on the basis of their performances. For every trail race you run, an algorithm determines how many points your result was worth. Your best results determine your overall ranking in the ITRA Performance Index. It’s a worldwide ranking system.
Walmsley is currently ranked #1 in the world on the ITRA Performance Index. This is not unprecedented: other people, like Kilian Jornet, have owned the #1 world ranking at times.
Walmsley ran at the Air Force Academy and he graduated in 2012. He stopped racing on the track and road after college. Upon leaving college, and before he began racing ultramarathons in 2014, he owned personal bests of 13:52 in the 5K and 29:08 in the 10K. This is not unprecedented. Max King, the current 100K American record holder, has a 5K personal best of 13:56. There are countless other examples in the sport of ultrarunning: people have run very fast times at shorter distances on the track or road before stepping up to the ultramarathon distance. And there, too, are countless examples of people who have straddled both worlds, running very competitive times in both road marathons and trail ultramarathons in the same calendar year, or even the very same month.
For example, Max King had also run a 2:14 marathon years before he set the American 100K record. King ran in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and also won ultramarathons that same year. Magdalena Boulet, a 2008 Olympian with a marathon best of 2:26:22, eventually turned her talents to ultrarunning and won UROY in 2015—the same year she won the Western States 100. Again, there are countless examples over the last several decades, on both the men’s and women’s side, of runners moving on from fast marathons and road times to ultramarathons and trails or continuing their road marathon careers while also running competitive times on the trails. But the opposite is not true.
No one has successfully dominated the sport of ultrarunning and then—and this is the important part—run competitive times on the road. There is no example of that sequence of events in the sport of running, save for one.
Let me be clear about what is being said here. There are many examples of men and women who have raced very, very competitively, and at a very, very high level on the roads or track, at distances from the 3k to the marathon, and then gone on to run very, very competitively and at a very, very high level in ultramarathons and on the trails. The converse is not true.
No one—with one exception—has raced very, very competitively, and at a very, very high level in ultramarathons and on the trails, and then gone on to run very, very competitively and at a very, very high level on the roads. No one has fully dominated the sport of ultrarunning—to the tune of three consecutive UROY awards, a #1 ITRA ranking and a course record at the prestigious Western States 100—and then run 64 minutes flat for the half marathon. Except for Jim Walmsley. (For context, during the last Olympic cycle, there were only 41 men who qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials by running 64 minutes or faster for a half marathon. That’s only about 20 guys, on average, each year.)
This is not to say that Walmsley is on the cusp of making a U.S. Olympic team. He has simply qualified himself for the Olympic Trials. He did so by running the slowest possible half marathon qualifying time. If Vegas were placing odds, his would be abysmal.
There’s no reason to think that Walmsley’s speed or talent have never been seen in the sport of ultrarunning. There’s no reason to think he has the speed or talent to make an Olympic team. But there is very good reason to give him a great deal of respect, for he has accomplished an order of events that the running world had never before seen. Keep in mind that prior to Sunday in Houston, Walmsley hadn’t raced a road half marathon since high school. He hadn’t raced on the track since 2012. He’s still never raced a road marathon. Instead, he terrorized the sport of ultrarunning with complete dominance from the 50K to 100-mile distances. Only then, after he was one of the best ultrarunners in the world, if not the best, for years, did he race a shorter distance on the road and run a competitive time.
To paraphrase a recent tweet from one of my favorite Twitter trolls: You don’t have to cheer on Walmsley for his successes, but if you’re actively cheering against him, you might be a douchebag. To make the point slightly differently in my own words: you don’t have to be impressed by Walmsley’s 64-minute half marathon, but you should care about the way he did it, and you should respect him for it, because it was groundbreaking.
UPDATE: Since publishing the piece on Tuesday, our informed readers have noted at least one person – Ann Trason. The legend’s trajectory in the sport is similar to Walmsley’s. She won Western States 14 times in her career and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on three occasions. The author’s point remains that Jim’s trajectory is very rare, if not unique on the men’s side of the sport. The author welcomes further feedback on Twitter: @goodsenseruns or email us at [email protected].
Breaking down all the top results and storylines from the 2019 Houston Marathon and Half Marathon.
David Elliott may be the best runner in America without support of any kind. Who is he and what does he want from the sport?
Eliud Kipchoge has been selected as the inaugural CITIUS MAG Male Athlete of the Year after his record-setting run at the Berlin Marathon.
Des Linden inspired us in 2018 with her win at the 2018 Boston Marathon so she’s the 2018 CITIUS MAG Female Athlete of the Year.
Noah Lyles was a must-watch show in 2018.
Christian Coleman had one heck of a 2018 season full of ups and downs that make him worthy of not just an athlete of the year nomination, but also a nod for comeback athlete of the year.
2018 was the year Shelby Houlihan kicked the door down, smacked us in the face, and demanded our attention for the next 10 years.
Kilian Jornet is not only a world-class runner, but a world-class ski mountaineer.
Des Linden’s Boston Marathon win was more than the sum of its parts – this was a victory for grinders everywhere.