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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

The lesser known Drake

Best known Drake: The Canadian recording artist. Self proclaimed world class lover. Former kid actor.

Less known Drake: The Drake Relays. A staple of American track and field contested between endless rows of Iowan corn. It’s where we watched Alan Webb run 3:51. It’s where they contested the 2013 USATF Outdoor Championships in 200 degree heat. It’s the home to the world famous Walking Taco.

Lesser Known Drake: UCLA’s Drake Stadium is tucked neatly on the north side of their Westwood campus. It holds 11,000 people and has been graced by just as many world class athletes (probably) as the more well-known Drake Stadium.

Least known drake: What bird folk call a male duck.

Though Iowa’s Drake University has taken the name “Drake” and run with it (at least in track and field), we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge another Drake, where many equally impressive performances have taken place.

How many Olympians UCLA has produced and called Drake home is a story for another article. For now let’s take a quick look at some performances from both Drakes, of which we should all be equally grateful.

 

April 26, 2017

Generations of memories at the Penn Relays for the Byrne family

Kevin Byrne grew up listening to stories from his grandfather and father about competing at the Penn Relays. Then he made his own. Now his sister will too.

April 25, 2017

13 Reasons Why: Kenenisa Bekele Failed to Break the Marathon World Record

The new Nike shoes could’ve been just one of many reasons why Kenenisa Bekele didn’t win the London Marathon or set the world record.

April 23, 2017

Mary Keitany breaks women’s-only marathon world record, proves us wrong

Days after we believed that no woman would come close to Paula Radcliffe’s marathon world record, Mary Keitany proved us wrong.

April 21, 2017

London’s been all-hype with women’s world record talk for years

The women’s world record marks will probably live another day after this weekend’s London Marathon. Why do we continue to get our hopes up for them to fall?

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 19, 2017

Could Bekele’s London performance overshadow Nike’s Breaking2 pipe dream?

Kenenisa Bekele could be poised for a fast race in London this weekend. And things could go awry for Eliud Kipchoge in Italy. What if both scenarios unfold?

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

PHOTOS: Boston Marathon 2017 – Scenes from Heartbreak Hill by Jason Suarez

Scenes from one of the toughest moments in the Boston Marathon – Heartbreak Hill. Run tough like the elites. Run with joy like the Black Roses.

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 16, 2017

Get to know Clarence DeMar, the most dominant American in the Boston Marathon’s history

One of the more decorated racers in Boston history, he ran 2:21 to win the Marathon in 1911, after being told by doctors his heart murmur would kill him.

April 14, 2017

A Washed-Up Former Marathoner Predicts the Men’s Elite Race at the 2017 Boston Marathon

The one-time champion of the New Brighton Mini Marathon, hampered by loneliness, debt, and hours wasted at family court, predicts the men’s race at Boston.

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 13, 2017

BQ or Bust? No thank you.

Not running the Boston Marathon? That’s totally fine. Don’t let an unrealized dream of qualifying prevent you from exploring other great races and memories to be made.

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 12, 2017

The Hot Boston: A look at some of the hottest Boston Marathons

There have been 11 instances in the history of the Boston Marathon where race day temps registered over 80 degrees. We examine those hot ones.

April 10, 2017

Q&A with Desi Linden on 2017 Boston Marathon, winning, nerves, booty shorts and more

Nicole Bush chats at length with two-time Olympian Desi Linden on her plan to become the first American woman to win Boston since 1985.

April 10, 2017

Welcome to Boston Marathon Week!

This week on the site, we’ll be dedicating our coverage to providing a look at the history, figures and iconic races from 121 years of the Boston Marathon.

April 9, 2017

Unfiltered thoughts: Consider the Running Skirt

I have been intrigued and enchanted by running skirts since my sophomore year running cross and track in college. I specifically remember stumbling across a neon lime green and white patterned skirt with a bright aqua blue waistband and the same blue spandex shorts underneath during the summer beforehand and snatching that ensemble up like it was going out of style (when in reality it was never in style to being with). I returned to school that year excited about my purchase and eager to wear it out and about along the banks of the Charles River, only to realize that I was alone on the island of running skirt enthusiasm. Teammates wrinkled their noses and squinched their eyebrows together. What is that? they asked, as if I’d shown up to practice with dog poop smeared across my legs. I don’t blame them for this reaction. They’d been programmed by society to look down their nose at running skirts, we’re all a product of the world around us. And I could and possibly should have stood tall and proud with my thighs be-skirted, but instead I eventually pushed that skirt to the bottom of my running drawer until I lost track of it, or gave it away. I no longer have it.

So when Nicole Bush and I planned to call each other one day while we were both running, I knew exactly what I wanted to chat with her about.

We decided to record the phone call for posterity, and so that we could later bring snippets of it to you, if it turned out that we were able to be the least bit coherent while running. She explained to me a technique she used in order to talk into the mic on her headphones while running, which basically consisted of holding the headphone wire between her teeth, and we were off. What follows is a shortened transcript of our conversation, in which we consider: is the running skirt dumb?

Jeanne: Hey Nicole we’re recording now.

Nicole: Is it a second call that comes in?

J: Yeah I had to merge them. I also really hope it works because I tried Google voice and that was great but then I couldn’t get the call out of google voice, like to download the recording or whatever.

N: Gotcha.

J: Ok I’m getting my shoes on. I’m also in a room with a parrot right now. Because I’m pet setting for a professor. The parrot’s name is Arnie.

N: That’s awesome. Much better than pet sitting a dog or a cat.

J: Yeah and there’s a tortoise too. Named Windsor. Hey Arnie, will you talk? I’ve learned that it’s really hard to get parrots to listen to you or do what you want. Alright, I’m ready to head out for a run. How far are you going today do you think?

N: Mmm. Undecided. I’ll see how I feel.

J: Yeah, same. Bye, Paul, wanna say hi to Nicole? She can hear you but you can’t hear her.

Paul: Hi Nicole. Just tell her I say hi.

N: Helloooo.

J: She says hello. And now I’m leaving.

N: Cool. Me too. I have my key on my little ratchety headband that I put on my wrist and tuck under my watch when I go running.

J: Nice. You don’t ever want to just leave it somewhere in the yard? Under a rock or something?

N: No I’ve been doing this for too long. Plus I live in an apartment, so it’d be like public space too which would be weird. I’m outside now and it’s actually a really nice day in Michigan.

J: Ok me too. Wooo! What’s the weather?

N: It’s about 40 but the sun is out which it doesn’t like to do a lot in the Winter. But also a couple of weeks ago it was 60. Are you running yet?

J: Well shoot Nicole, the wire in my mouth thing really backfired and I’m pretty sure it ended the call!

N: Did you hang up on me with your mouth?

J: Yep. Exactly. Hit some weird button or something.

N: Do you have the regular iPhone headphones.

J: Yeah the ones with the volume adjuster thing on one side.

N: Yeah, so I have the mouthpiece on the right side. Then I put the end of the wire past my lips and just kind of hold it there.

J: How do you talk while you do that? I have no idea how someone could do both!? You don’t need to open your mouth? You can talk with your mouth holding a wire?

N: No wait now. I don’t know. This doesn’t seem like it. I don’t know how I did this. Maybe I just got my friends to talk most of the time.

J: Yeah that’s the thing about calling people when you run, you need to find someone who can talk pretty much uninterrupted so you can just say like, “mm, mhm” and grunt and stuff. But anyway. Guess what I’m wearing right now Nicole.

N: Are you wearing shorts?

J: I’m not. Good guess. But I’m wearing a running skirt.

N: I didn’t see that coming.

J: I know! But you should’ve. Because I asked you pretty cryptically a few days ago, what do you think about running skirts?

N: It would’ve been great if I had been like, me too!!

J: Hah. Do you own any running skirts?

N: I got one for free once. I never wore it. I think it was like a size too big.

J: Yeah. It’s hard to roll the top.

N: I was just gonna say–I probably wouldn’t have been able to roll it. I have a shirt that looks–well, cause I have like no torso–so because of that I have a shirt that looks kind of like a tunic/skirt thing when I wear it. It was when I was at Furman and Jeff See was like you are probably the only person of your caliber who is running in a running skirt. And I was like I’m just kidding, it’s a tank top.

J: So basically it was a running dress. You started the running dress trend?

N: Yeah it went below my shorts. I could’ve belted that shit.

J: Ok. Well. Two things. I just found like the bottom half of a dollar bill on the road. Which is so weird, it was torn in half so now I have from George Washington’s chin down in my left hand.

N: Oh! Like the long way?

J: Yeah isn’t that so surprising? I’ve never seen it torn this way.

N: I’ve seen em, but they’re always like the short way.

J: I don’t know if this will even work. I’ve heard that you need like ⅔ of a dollar in order for it to count as anything.

N: No no no no. You rip it and then you just have two.

J: Ok. Well anyway. The second thing I was gonna say is that, we need to talk about this. What you just were saying about how Jeff said running skirts don’t go hand in hand with high caliber athletes.

N: Yeah! So I was thinking about it a little bit. And yeah, I understand that running skirts serve a purpose. But for me, I’m like, they’re dumb. I think they’re dumb.

J: Well wait. What is the purpose? I’m intrigued about whether there’s a purpose that’s not obviously apparent. Like I gotta tell you. I feel bouncy and buoyant. And maybe that doesn’t have anything to do with the skirt. But there’s some air getting in under the skirt part and it feels nice.

N: If it was like buns under the skirt, I wonder. I might like that but maybe not with the shorts.

J: I wonder if they make them like that. To be clear, this is probably just a tennis skirt. But Ok. Here’s the thing. Here’s the argument for running skirts. Why they’re not dumb:

I think it reminds me of what I would imagine the draw is for wearing kind of long shorts if you’re a guy. Like even if you’re still good, wearing longer shorts means: ok. I’m taking a step back and going to fully embody a runner dad and just really relax, maybe go 8:30ish pace. And that’s what it feels like, wearing a running skirt to me. Subversive.

N: Ok, so short shorts are for like, when you’re gonna go fast or hard you’re gonna fully step into the role. And then the longer inseam… is when you’re more relaxed…okay…

J: Yeah I think so, right?

N: I guess my big thing is maybe I think they’re stupid because I think it’s too feminine so it’s for like wimps who want to look nice. And that’s totally unfair. Like, I’m a feminist, why am I thinking that!

J: Oh no! Shit!

N: I know! I’m not perfect.

J: So I used to work for a company that would send me to the Disney half and 10k in Orlando, Florida. And I’d be at the expo and race registration and oh my god. There. That was the running skirt mecca. If you didn’t have a running skirt on, get the fuck out.

N: Like all ages?

J: Yeah I think so! Most of the women were a little older. But yeah you’re right, I didn’t see many girls. Or like women in their 20s wearing running skirts. But also tutus. Tons of tutus there, not just running skirts. And that’s kind of where I draw the line. I’m pro running skirt, but I don’t know about a tutu.

N: Ok. Now I’m rethinking this. I have run in a tutu.

J: Wow! For what?

N: It was for Halloween. I decided to be a ballerina. So I made one and then ran through the woods with my friends.

J: Were you the only one wearing a tutu?

N: Oh definitely, yes. Just me.

J: And maybe that’s some of the allure of the running skirt, too. Sure anyone can wear shorts, men, women, boys, girls. But it takes a certain kind of person to wear a running skirt.

N: What kind of person is that? I think there’s a demographic of people who want to be a little more covered up. And not be just in like straight up spandex short shorts.

J: True.

N: But then beyond that. Beyond that- what is the appeal? I guess you could feel really feminine while you’re running in a skirt. And I’m like no – I don’t want to.

J: Yeah that’s true. I think that’s part of it. I feel like yeah, running usually involves hocking loogies or maybe pooping in the woods. and I guess it can be hard to equate that with femininity. But it can be! And maybe that’s part of why people like them, to put together two parts of themselves that are usually seen as separate. Feminine and athletic.

N: Yeah I think for a while when my friends would put makeup on to race, I’d be like, what are you doing. I disapprove. But not that much. And now I think, you know what, people can do that and that’s cool. It’s like you get to step into a race persona.

J: Yeah! That’s the thing. It’s like the running skirt is a persona! Regardless of whether it’s for the purpose of a race–and granted I don’t see a lot of people doing that. But for an easy day, maybe it’s like–I want to be able to get into a different persona? Or embrace a different part of my persona that’s already there. I don’t know.

N: It isn’t necessarily just racing, like work out day, too. And also going out in public afterward, and you’re all gross and you can’t change, could be nice to cover up with a running skirt.

J: Yeah. I wonder if anyone has ever raced a pretty fast time in a running skirt. Definitely something I should research.

N: Except for the fact that there’s no “ran 2:50 in a running skirt” asterisk in race results.

J: True. You’re right, there’s no way we’d ever know. We’d have to get on some of that Derek Murphy internet detective shit, where he cross references pictures from the race and stuff.

N: I guess you could find finish line footage from Chicago or Boston and watch until you saw someone cross in a running skirt and see what their time was.

J: I could. Maybe I will. Would you ever consider racing in running skirt, personally?

N: I think I would consider it. I don’t know if I would actually do it. I’d have to be like either really killing it at running for a while, or just be like: uhh, this is basically my last race ever. It’s interesting though, I just keep coming back to thinking, being in a running skirt just doesn’t feel like or seem like you’re tough. And that’s so stupid.

J: Yeah. That is stupid! I don’t think it should be that way. That’s why, part of me thinks I really want to race in a running skirt. But I also wonder if it’s just that the only reason I want to race in a running skirt is to be able to say: I raced in a running skirt. Which seems backwards.

N: Yeah. Maybe if it was a running skirt that you really liked and you would wear it anyway, like if it was a cool material. And you liked that look and you would wear it running or not running. That might be the answer.

J: Yeah I’ll have to think about it.

N: What color is your running skirt?

J: It’s navy blue! and I was also just checking around for a pocket to put this half of a dollar bill in and unfortunately, I don’t think this skirt has a pocket. Which really makes me think it’s not a running skirt at all and instead is probably for tennis.
When we hung up a while later because my phone’s deformed battery was on the verge of dying, whether or not my skirt was intended for running or for tennis, I was happy to be wearing it. I’ll be the first to admit that I at times have enjoyed doing something different just for the sake of being different. But, with running skirts, it’s about bucking the trend in a larger way. It’s about defying expectations of what it means to wear a running skirt, and doing my best to free this pigeon-holed item of clothing from the category of only being meant for not quite super competitive or maybe not even serious runners. Free the Running Skirt.

April 6, 2017

The Origin Story of Gail Devers’ Nails

She was not born by natural means, rather she emerged from the brackish waters of the Puget Sound in 1966. This is the story of Gail Devers’ nails.

April 6, 2017

Feast your eyes on the best male athlete portraits in track and field (Part II)

Picture day is something to look forward to every year. These runners surely made the most out of their respective roster portraits.

April 4, 2017

We’re celebrating Running Fashion Week

Fashion and style aren’t normally associated with running or track and field, but we’re here to finally tackle these intersections for running fashion week.

April 3, 2017

Record-setting and stunning performances in Prague, Austin, Kingston, Stanford and more

All the action from a record-setting weekend at the Prague Half and Texas Relays, Fast times and personal bests at Champs, Florida Relays & Stanford Invite.

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

The Unbreakables for 2017: American records that will hold up this year

FloJo, Michael Johnson, Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp should have no problem holding onto their respective American records in 2017.

March 30, 2017

Former Eastern Michigan runner Erik Reichenbach takes us through his ‘Survivor’ experience

In the last couple weeks, I’ve gone public with my hopes of one day going on the show “Survivor.” I’ve watched maybe 475 of the 504 episodes that have aired and at 23 years old with some relative fitness at the moment, I believe I’m ready. I had the pleasure recently of picking the brain of a former collegiate runner that has lived out one of my dreams twice.

Erik Reichenbach ran for Eastern Michigan from 2006 to 2009 and his bio on the Eagles’ website boasts that he “was a competitor on the reality-television show Survivor: Micronesia-Fans vs. Favorites.” He broke 50 seconds for the 400 in high school and then focused on middle distance in college and set a 1:52.89 personal best for 800 meters in his freshman year. He made his debut in Season 16 of the show and as he mentions in our interview, running after being on an island for 39 days is not easy to come back from.

Reichenbach was voted off in grand fashion. He handed his individual immunity to another person and was blindsided in the vote. He finished fifth overall. He returned 10 seasons later for the second installment of Fans vs. Favorites and made it to the top five again. He was in position to possibly go for the win but fell ill after a tribal council and doctors said his blood pressure was too low. Reichenbach was medically evacuated and finished fifth again.

Good news is that he’s doing great now. Reichenbach draws up cartoons for People Magazine’s recaps written by a fellow Survivor contestant and he’s happily married now. I caught up with him to discuss some of his running ties and also to see if he can maybe help me pull some strings to get on the show.


Chris Chavez: So the first time that you went on “Survivor” was Season 16 and you were still in college. How did you manage to take time away from the team to go on the show?
erik reichenbach

Erik Reichenbach: When I first applied in 2006, I put in the application and it was pretty quick and painless. I didn’t think anything of it. I really didn’t think that I had a shot. Then, they called me back two or three months later and they said that they finally got around to seeing my video. They were excited but I had to apply for the next season. I went ahead and made another video while I was training over the summer for the upcoming cross country season. It was easy to do since I was back home and away from school. By the time that classes started, I was so far along in the process that I kind of knew I was headed out. I talked to my coach at the time and told him that it was lined up and could be a good opportunity.

I was a junior going into my senior year, I think. I hadn’t accomplished as much as I would’ve liked to in the sport because it’s really competitive at Eastern. It was different to make the record board. I was in my high school record board for a few distances but to make it at Eastern, you had to be Olympic caliber. We’ve had a few Olympians come through and put up some times that were crazy. My career was in a flux at the time and my coach said that if I needed time away for a bit, this could be good PR for the university. I had his blessing and it turned out to workout. It lined up with me getting burnt out and it happened at a good time.

CC: Technically it’s 39 days on the island for the show, if you go the distance. But how long did the shoot take and did you go back to running after show?

ER: There’s a week and half before the show for travel and press stuff. After I came back, my weight was terrible. It’s a combination of things. I was preparing to run really fast and long distances while I was out there. That helped in terms of having great cardio but the islands are so small that there’s not much to run. There’s lots to swim but not to run. Following the show, my legs muscles were kind of destroyed because all I was doing was walking, swimming and sitting. You also have poor nutrition and getting in as much to build muscle. You’re just eating for nourishment. I basically had to start over with my running and actually I gained a lot of weight. Following the re-entry into society, you eat a lot of saturated fats and processed foods. My body was gaining weight fast. The heaviest I’ve ever been was the week after Survivor wrapped up because you’re introduced to all these terrible foods. On top of that, I had no muscle.

CC: That’s why everyone looks chunkier at the reunion show for the finale!

ER: That’s why everyone looks different. The second time was a lot worse than the first time. The second time I went on the show, I was prepared for that. The first time, it was awful. I broke out and had a lot of bad physical reactions with a re-introduction into society.

CC: What’s the extent of your running career ? How far did you want to take it and how much do you do now?

ER: Now, I run on my own for pleasure or to calm my nerves if I’m stressed out. In college, I was a mid-distance guy. We had a couple guys who were running 100 miles a week consistently and I thought that was a bit much. I was lighter on the mileage. The most I ever ran in one training run, I did a 22-miler once. Bare minimum, I was running at least five miles a day.

CC: Maybe like 70-80 miles a week?

ER: That’s probably right. They wanted me higher but that’s accurate.

CC: How does Survivor even out the playing field between athletes and non-athletes. Some people go into it with the illusion that someone like Brad Culpepper, who was a former defensive tackle in the NFL, is going to dominate physically in challenges. Then you have someone like Cirie, who is a self-proclaimed couch potato, and she could beat him at challenges. What is it about the game?

ER: It’s pretty strange and it’s something you notice when you come from a background in sports. Something that I noticed right away was that in sports, you’re used to a process of exerting energy, recovering and refueling. With Survivor, you don’t have that recovery and refueling period, which really takes a toll on people. You work hard. You play hard. You rest and regain that. A lot of times, people with a lot of muscle mass end up hurting themselves because they have to feed all those muscles and over time that can get tiring. Some of the bigger guys develop, what I call “angry dad syndrome.” That’s when you’re about three days in without food and you get really grumpy. Your social game takes a dive because you’re so malnourished and your brain isn’t processing things as it should. People don’t think about that. That’s where people like Cirie benefit.

CC: How much attention did you pay to the pro and Olympic scene in track?

ER: When I was in college, the Olympics were pretty close in our circle. We had Boaz Cheboiywo and he had just finished up at Eastern when I got there. He was working with coach John Goodridge. It was very real that we had to have an Olympian from our group because of Eastern’s legacy and what we have there. A lot of people don’t realize that from Eastern because we’re in the shadow of Michigan, which is just down the street in Ann Arbor. We recently had Eric Alejandro hurdle for Puerto Rico in the Rio Olympics. They always talk about tradition. They have this past and there’s a lot of literature about it. Going to Eastern, I thought about one day maybe running in the Olympics and how I’d like to do that. There’s a big difference between wishing to do it and actually doing it.

CC: So were you ever one of the guys who would hop on LetsRun and obsess over the sport?

ER: I was turned off from LetsRun from what I saw from some of my teammates on it. It just seemed like there was a lot of trolling and frustration. It was funny to hear their stories and what would be on there. For a long time in college, I actually didn’t do anything online. I didn’t have social media. I didn’t have a smartphone until about two or theee years ago. I was really off-line for most of my life.

CC: But now there’s a ton of information out there and an easier way to connect with the audience through social media. Back when it was Survivor All-Stars, there were no message boards or online communities, Without the internet, we would have never known that Rupert from Survivor: All-Stars once ran for Indiana governor against our current vice president Mike Pence. I see you’re doing some online work weekly with comic recaps of episodes.

ER: I’ve talked to Stephen Fisbach (Survivor: Tocantins and Survivor: Cambodia) because he’s got a blog for People. I knew him from different Survivor charity events that different cast members go to. I went out to New York once and he lives in Rhode Island. He does the blog for fun. I do comics. It made sense to team up with him. It’s interesting how powerful the Survivor community is and have been able to keep it alive for so long. Every year, you hear people that don’t watch the show say ‘This is still on TV? I can’t believe it.’ and then there’s a camp that says ‘Of course this is on TV! This is a really great show!’ There’s a fanbase that says, “This is like an American sport because it involves social interaction, sportsmanship and other factors. It’s got fantasy leagues tied into it as well.’

CC: Could an Ashton Eaton or Nick Symmonds do fairly well on Survivor?

ER: I think any runner is in a position to do really well. That’s from the cardio and physical aspect. It takes a lot of gauging your time. Everyone who goes into survivor thinking that it’s a sprint is out before the merge. They get anxious or nervous and break down. Someone with the mindset of a long distance runner has a much better shot.

CC: You sign-off on being recorded 24/7 for the show. In those times that you would try and get on runs, did you have someone alongside you at all times?

ER: There’s a camera crew that follows you around and you’re not supposed to interact with them. If you do something memorable, they need to be there. If you really don’t want to deal with them, you can run away from them. They have to haul all this equipment through the forest and there’s nothing they can do about it. I did that a few times. I don’t know if they were ready for that or if they knew what I was doing.

CC: The other thing I notice is that when someone is searching for an immunity idol, shouldn’t they just look at where the cameras are pointing for a cue?

ER: It’s funny because it works both ways. Some people read into it too much. You’ll see veterans of the show look for clues in the cameramen. They’re pretty slick about it sometimes. There’s a lot of non-verbal communication that takes place.

CC: How do you feel about the way your edit came out? With reality TV, you always hear horror stories about the Bachelor or Bachelorette contestants.

ER: I think Survivor is one of the better shows in terms of editing. That’s because they do a better job of characterizing people for who they are.. Editing is something people need to understand happens and can go either way. My first season I was happy with how it came out. I was a little bit of a hero or favorite. The second time I was pretty removed from the show because I didn’t fit the narrative or whatever they had going on. At the time, I was angry about it because I know how much else was left on the cutting room floor. I’ve come to terms with it because I understand they didn’t want to go in a particular route and it’s OK. Some people take it very personally. My advice in general is don’t go on a dating show. Sometimes people’s careers get ruined. They don’t pay good money and they can ruin your reputation.

CC: On “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”, those rose ceremonies can take forever to film. How long does tribal council take to film?

ER: We had one that was maybe a half hour and then we’ve had other ones that have been two hours. I think that’s the max.

CC: Just sitting there or is (host) Jeff Probst talking and asking questions the entire time?

ER: It’s just a really long conversation and what’s happening is they’re compiling and what they need to edit. If there’s something that the producers need, Jeff will start digging into it and conversation gets going.

CC: What’s it like watching this season? Your face flashes on the screen occasionally when they show Cirie’s game-changing move from Micronesia and she was one of the people that helped vote you off?

ER: Any season with returning players is interesting because they’ve been there before and they know what they’re doing. In my mind, I have less of an opinion about watching favorites but instead I like to see people with egos get smushed. All-star seasons have contestants with very large egos that think ‘This is my chance to show everybody how awesome I am.’ and people just get made into buffoons. I enjoy seeing personalities that are very strong and aggressive kind of get thrown for a loop. In my mind, if you’re cast a second time and you’re winning, what more is there to do? You’ve already done it once before. I’m not looking for ‘Oh I think this person is doing well.’ I’m more for ‘This guy thinks he’s all that but he’s not.’ It’s a little cynical but that’s how I see it.

CC: Last thing, but we could probably go on for hours, personally I’m 23 years old. I feel like I’m in good shape. I think I have a good grip on the game and how it operates. What advice do you have for someone like me trying to on the show?

(Editor’s Note: I’ve redacted his advice and I’m keeping it to myself until I hopefully can land on the show)

ER: Now, aside from Survivor, I would love to see a running reality show across the U.S. – and this is something that I’ve mentioned to my old cross-country buddies about this. I’d love to see a team of maybe 10 runners. They run to different cities in the U.S. and when you get to a new town, you take a break and there’s a run-off who will be added to the team from this town that you’re in. It would be some sort of road-rally from California to Maine. Each time that you get to a new city, there’s a chance of joining the team so others can come in. There’s running and there’s partly challenges as well. It would be pretty physically tough and then they have a run-off to see who joins the team and a situation to join the tea,.

CC: That’s awesome!

ER: My runner friends have been over-the-moon about it. We can call it something like Run for Your Life. I’ve also run the idea by Dathan Ritzenhein. I’d love to see some kind of show like that just grabbing people up across the country.

March 30, 2017

Can Jenny Simpson break the 1500m American Record?

The US women’s 1500m has been the Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury show for a very long time. How much longer will it last?

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

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

Real talk from female track and field reporters on their experience covering the sport

Female track and field reporters share their experiences, challenges and hopes of covering the sport in a male-dominated setting.

March 26, 2017

Charting team scoring at the 2017 World Cross Country Championships

With the World Cross Country Championships wrapping up mid-day on Sunday in the U.S., we decided to take a closer look at how the team Senior Men’s and Women’s scoring played out. Okay, here we go!

Starting with the men’s race, it was essentially a battle between five teams: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, and USA.

The following chart outlines each 2K split within the 10K race, by team position:

(mobile link)

 

 

Ethiopia did a wild job of hammering the last 4,000 meters, moving from 3rd place to 1st over the course of that distance. The US was in 3rd at 6K and spent the rest of the race battling with Uganda and Eritrea, ultimately finish 5th in a VERY tight 3rd, 4th, and 5th placing:

(mobile link)

 

 

For the women’s race, it’s hard to understate how hard Kenya rolled. For instance, there was only one split in the entire race where they did now have the top four spots secured. That’s pretty good! The US also did a great job of cutting down the last 2K, picking up about 30 points over the distance. about Here are the women’s team scores by split for the women’s 10K:

(mobile link)

 

To really drive it home, here are the team positions by split. It was a little more spread out, with a lot more of the jockeying action occurring in the middle of the pack. Fun fact – Uganda was in fifth place the whole race!

(mobile link)

 

Some of our overall takeaways: the East African countries fared very well, which was likely helped by the race being held in hot and humid conditions.  The Kenyan Women were dominant. The American teams beat who they should have, coming in at fifth place in both Senior races.

Lastly, for accountability, here are my predictions based on my Power Ranking model, compared against the final results (for the men’s race that had at least four racers finish):

March 26, 2017

Going long with breakout U.S. distance runner Noah Droddy

Chatting with Noah Droddy about his 61:48 mark at the NYC Half Marathon, how he’s spent his last few years and the state of American distance running.

March 24, 2017

How Eric Jenkins became Ricky Rocksford

How professional distance runner Eric Jenkins once doubled as a rapper named Ricky Rocksford and whether he would ever make music again.

March 24, 2017

A Numerical Guide to the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships

With the 2017 World Cross Country Championships slated to pop off mid-day Sunday (East Africa Time Zone), the Citius Mag Stats Department scoured the internet for the finest publicly available XC figures, data and numbers, in order to prepare the following statistical dossier.

First off, we would like to thank the good folks at the IAAF for sending some excel files our way. The following charts could not have been made without them. Also, many thanks to Isaac Wood of BYU coaching fame for providing a lot of help with data collection. More on Isaac to come.

Let’s jump right in. The first chart we have showcases the average age of each team (with at least four racers) for the Senior Women’s 10,000m contest.  There is a pretty wild range, from twenty-one years-old for the Japanese women’s team, all the way up to thirty-one years-old for the Spanish team.

(mobile link)

 

 

For the Senior Men’s race, we a see a similar spread, although it is slightly more compressed. Burundi comes in as the youngest, with an average age of twenty-one years-old, and Kuwait rounding up the top-end of the range, with an average age of twenty-nine years-old.

(mobile link)

 

 

Interestingly, both American teams are near the older end of the spectrum, with the Women’s team at an average age of twenty-seven, and the Men averaging twenty-eight.

Here is the same data, displayed geographically.

Senior women’s race, average age by country (mobile link):

 

 

Senior men’s race, average age by country (mobile link):

 

 

One interesting trend – it appears that the East Africa countries are younger than average, while the American and European teams appear slightly older.

Now to get into the meat of our analysis. The following two charts involve a lot of tables and aggregation in the background. Along with the help of Isaac and Justin Britton, we identified a 5,000m, 10,000m, half marathon and/or marathon time that they have run recently. From there, we indexed their time to the IAAF scoring tables, which approximate the strength of each performance, making it possible to draw comparisons across different events. Now, you may point out that this may not be the most precise way to calculate the final result. I would agree. But what this approach brings in is a objective approach that is applied evenly to the entire population. Which is better than blindly guessing.

Unsurprisingly, Kenya has the strongest team, based on past performances. They have multiple athletes who have run under 13:00 for 5,000m and under 27:00 for 10,000m. The following chart shows the rest of the field benchmarked against the Kenyan team. So, for example, Kenya’s top 5 athletes average 1,209 points on the IAAF tables.  That is equivalent to 13:00 in the 5,000m, 27:11 in the 10,000m and 2:07:23 in the marathon. Pretty good! By comparison, the U.S. has an average score of 1,138, which is 94% of Kenya’s score. 1,138 points gets you 13:19 in the 5,000m, 27: 56 in the 10,000m and 2:11:21 in the marathon. Also pretty good!

(mobile link)

 

For those asking what the heck is going on with Nigeria, they have several athletes with marathon PBs north of 2:40. It is possible that some of these athletes have run times slightly more commensurate with the rest of the field but I have yet to find anything on the world wide web that would indicate that. It could be a rough day for the Nigerian team.

Here are those same data points, displayed geographically:

(mobile link)

It’s a little tough to discern the differences in Africa, so here is a zoomed view of the region:

(mobile link)

As you can tell, it is going to be pretty tight up front, with 10 teams in the 90%-100% range. It’s sports. Anything could happen. That’s why we are racing.

For posterity, here are Isaac’s selections, based on a blended statistical/judgemental approach:

And here are mine, based on a pure Power Score approach:

March 23, 2017

Q&A with New York Times best-selling author Shea Serrano of The Rap Year Book

As he finishes up work on his second book, Basketball (and Other Things), Shea Serrano took a few minutes to chat about his running, Olympics, San Antonio

March 22, 2017

The top 50 songs with “Running” or “Run” in the title

As part of Music Week on Citius Mag, we ranked and compiled the definitive list of the best songs with “run” or “running” in the title.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5
March 21, 2017

Here’s what happened when I scored Bruce Springsteen’s first seven albums like a track meet

Bruce Springsteen is the best but what’s the best album. Using the scoring system of a track meet, Paul Snyder examines The Boss’ greatest hits and albums.

March 20, 2017

Re-visiting Carl Lewis’ National Anthem mishap

Carl Lewis is an legend but others just know him as one of the worst national anthem performers in history. Look back at the performance and what happened.

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