The Millennium Runner: Substance & Style

  • By Mario Fraioli
  • Published Jun. 28, 2011
  • Updated Mar. 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM UTC

Click on the image to view more photos of Ann Wessling, our Millennium Runner.


The 1970s was not only the decade of the first running boom, but also was the first indicator that technology would happily go along for the ride. Although Chris McDougall’s book, “Born to Run,” makes a compelling case that running shoe technology might have done more harm than good to the American runner, the last year of reporting on the subject has generated more questions. Do we blame running shoe technology or a society in which we spend most of our time, childhood and on, wearing shoes and sitting at desks?

One thing is for sure: Thanks to technology a runner can be a lot more comfortable now than in the old days.

The late Ron Daws, author of the “Self-Made Olympian,” was considered a runner of average talent who used cunning and hard work to make the 1968 USA Olympic team as a marathoner. From Minneapolis, Daws trained through the winter in sub-zero temperatures and snow, and it surely had a positive effect on his mental toughness. If Daws was a runner in 2011, would he have been seduced by the indoor treadmill? Hard to say, but there’s little doubt that the modern-day runner has thoroughly embraced everything from high-tech treadmills to online coaching wizardry.

Photo: JayBird Sportsband Bluetooth Headphones,$99·Reebok Vibram Statem Top,$50·Running Funky Capri Tights,$39.99·Newton Running Gravity Neutral Performance Trainers,$175·adidas miCoach Pacer,$139·Precor 9.35 Premium Series Treadmill,$4,999

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FILED UNDER: Features / Injury Prevention / Inside The Magazine TAGS: / / / / / / / /

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli is a senior editor at Competitor magazine. A cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in 2003, he now coaches the Prado Women's Racing Team in San Diego and was the men's marathon coach for Costa Rica's 2012 Olympic team. His first book, The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) is available in bookstores, running shops and online.

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