Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Mon, 25 Jul 2016 22:38:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.2 Electrolytes: Are You Getting Enough? http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/photos/getting-enough-electrolytes_153616 Mon, 25 Jul 2016 22:38:38 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153616

Why electrolytes are essential for summer running and the six latest products that will keep you hydrated.

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Electrolytes are made up of four electrically charged minerals: sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium—which we lose through sweating. For endurance runners, excessive loss of electrolytes, primarily sodium, along with inadequate hydration could lead to muscle cramping—it’s the body’s first indication, along with salt streaks, that you’re low on these essential minerals.

“Electrolytes are essential for chemical reactions, muscle contraction and transport of fluid into the blood and cells to maintain  equilibrium of fluid balance in the body,” says Liz Broad, a USOC senior sports dietitian. “The amount of electrolytes an individual loses during exercise depends on their sweat rate and a range of other factors.”

Broad adds that most people don’t need to replenish their electrolytes if they’re working out for less than an hour. Otherwise it’s recommended to drink 500 to 750ml of water with 200 to 500mg of electrolytes per hour during exercise, especially in hot conditions and if you’re a particularly aggressive sweater. For this summer’s peak temps when you’re sweating buckets, drinking only water might not cut it, and these electrolyte supplements will do more than just quench your thirst.

Photos: Oliver Baker

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2016 Fall Road Running Shoe Buyer’s Guide http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/shoes-and-gear/2016-fall-road-running-shoe-buyers-guide_153579 Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:27:36 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153579

Photo: Oliver Baker

We offer wear-test insights from 15 of the latest and greatest cushioned training shoes.

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Photo: Oliver Baker


If there’s one thing we’ve learned in recent years, it’s that cushioning matters. While the minimalist shoe revolution served us well — with cues to better shoe design and lighter shoes and by reinstating the importance of good running form — it’s ample cushioning that matters most for the vast majority of runners. This fall’s crop of shoes takes cushioning to a new level, with new types of foam, new shoe construction techniques and, generally, smoother and more comfortable shoes for logging your miles than ever before. Browse through our reviews of these 15 great new models and then head to your local running shop and find the one that works best for you.

Shoe weights listed in this review are based on men’s size 9.0 and women’s size 7.0

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From Broke Gambler to Director of a Running Nonprofit http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/features/broke-gambler-director-running-nonprofit_153605 Fri, 22 Jul 2016 23:15:54 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153605

Terence Gerchberg went from losing everything he owned to changing his life and others’ through running.

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Terence Gerchberg says running saved his life.

“You put one foot in front of the other and repeat,” says Gerchberg, the executive director of the New York City chapter of Back on My Feet (BoMF), a nonprofit organization that helps the homeless partly by getting them involved in running. “There are highs and lows but you keep going, just like life.”

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Gerchberg, 44, played sports as a kid, but never ran. His first race was a 3.5-mile corporate challenge in 2002. But running wasn’t his focus, gambling was. At the time, Gerchberg worked on Wall Street and was still reeling from 9/11, using card games as his escape, an escape that caused him to lose everything. After hitting rock bottom, sleeping on his sister’s couch because he couldn’t afford to pay rent, Gerchberg entered a rehab program in Maryland—and he and a friend entered the lottery to run the New York City Marathon. While in treatment, a friend called to say he had been accepted.

“Running became my catalyst for change,” says Gerchberg, who has since run 13 consecutive New York City Marathons and is registered for his 14th this year. “Running gave me those endorphins and a second chance. I don’t know where I would be without it.”

While training for the 2002 marathon, Gerchberg says he became a “real” runner. “I logged my miles, read Alberto Salazar’s books, picked up magazines.” By 2003, he was coaching others, saying he sees his role as that of a motivator more than a coach.

“There is no ‘S’ on my chest. Anyone is capable of doing what I’ve done,” says Gerchberg, who has a marathon personal best of 2:57:59. “Maybe the next water station or finishing a marathon is your goal. Maybe it’s securing housing or finding a job, like those with Back on My Feet. Either way, you need the dedication and discipline to keep going.”

Gerchberg first became involved with BoMF in 2012, when he volunteered at one of its morning runs. He became a regular because he says the way it starts your day is perfect, and he enjoys giving back to the sport that has given him a renewed zeal for life.

He has declared 2016 as the year for “bigger and better things” both personally and professionally. In addition to running Leadville 100, his first 100-miler, in Colorado this August, Gerchberg wants more people from BoMF to have access to races and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from reaching a goal.

“Running is such a beautiful thing,” Gerchberg says. “My passion has become my profession. Every day, I think, ‘I get to do this.’”

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Coach Culpepper: Supplementing Running with Strength Training http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/training/coach-culpepper-supplementing-running-strength-training_153600 Fri, 22 Jul 2016 23:08:02 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153600

Coach Culpepper says there are two key things to think about when making strength training a part of your overall routine.

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I feel fortunate to have very few regrets when looking back at my competitive running career. One area of regret, though, is supplemental strength training. I was swept up in the mentality that any extra time and energy should go toward more mileage and I lost sight of being a well-rounded athlete.

Injury prevention and added power—which translates to better speed and additional muscular endurance—are two of the key benefits of strength training. Here are two things to think about when making strength training a part of your overall routine.

Integration

Like many athletes, I failed at integrating strength training into an overall routine. I was unwilling to compromise my running in any way and simply tried to add strength work on top of everything I was already doing. This only brought frustration, not to mention added fatigue.

The most effective way to integrate strength training is by slightly altering your running routine. Two or three days a week—on either off days or recovery days—is the best approach even if this means cutting back some of your running. Substituting 10–15 minutes of running with a 25–35-minute strength routine is a good approach. Build the strength workout into your training plan from the onset and make slight adjustments to your running so that you can effectively integrate this important element.   

The key word: Supplement

The most important thing to remember with any sort of cross-training is to supplement and benefit your running—not take away from it. The great thing about strength work is that a little goes a long way. Strength work isn’t a replacement for running but rather an addition to the training already being done (just in a slightly modified way). Don’t just add more on top of what you are doing; rather, make slight adjustments and fold the strength training into your weekly routine.

It will take some time for your body to adapt both physically and mentally to the new stimulus, but you will be surprised at how much better you begin to feel even after  a few weeks. Be mindful of intensity: Remember, the key word is “supplement.” Strength workouts should be  done with moderate intensity, or just enough to get the desired adaptation. They should not hinder your next running session.

RELATED: Strength Training is Good for You, Runners—Here’s Proof

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Video: Lauren Fleshman—From Retiring to Rewiring http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/news/video-lauren-fleshman-retiring-rewiring_153566 Fri, 22 Jul 2016 19:22:49 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153566

Lauren Fleshman has had an incredible running career, winning five NCAA titles while at Stanford and twice winning the U.S. championships

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Lauren Fleshman has had an incredible running career, winning five NCAA titles while at Stanford and twice winning the U.S. championships in the 5,000-meter run as a pro. She also placed seventh in that event at the 2011 IAAF World Championships and posted competitive PRs from the 1,500m (4:05.62) to the 5,000m (14:58.58), not to mention adding a solid 2:37:23, 12th-place effort in the 2011 New York City Marathon. In the meantime, she’s also become one of the biggest personalities in running, an accomplished entrepreneur as one of the co-founders of Picky Bars and a successful writer as the co-author of the “Believe Training Journal” (VeloPress, 2014). (Fleshman and co-author Ro McGettigan-Dumas will be releasing the “Believe Logbook” and the “Compete Training Journal” this fall.) In this video posted by Oiselle, the 34-year-old Fleshman offers a heartfelt thank you to her supporters as she explains her decision to retire from competitive racing while offering thoughts as to what’s next.

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Shoe of the Week: Brooks Ghost 9 http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/shoes-and-gear/brooks-ghost-9_153557 Fri, 22 Jul 2016 16:58:10 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153557

The Ghost is one of the premier neutral shoes in the high-mileage everyday trainer category, but it doesn’t come with an inflated price

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The Ghost is one of the premier neutral shoes in the high-mileage everyday trainer category, but it doesn’t come with an inflated price tag like some of the “premium” shoes with more glitz and features. The first thing you notice about this shoe is its plush interior and cozy fit. Then it’s the cushioned yet responsive ride. The biggest upgrade to this year’s model is the slightly modified engineered mesh upper, which offers optimal support while also allowing it to fi t a wider range of foot shapes. The ride is softly cushioned and well-balanced and rolls smoothly from heel to toe, making it versatile enough to use as a do-everything shoe, from long runs to modest speed workouts and longer races. Although it’s not one of the lightest shoes out there, it was still one of the most liked by our testers. Several testers said the Ghost 9 felt lighter than they expected when pulling them out of the box for the first time. Although it’s a neutral shoe, a few wear-testers felt the foam undercarriage felt a tad bit too big and controlling.

This is the shoe for you if … You’re looking for a soft and thickly cushioned shoe geared for 10K, half marathon and marathon training.

Price: $120
Weights 10.6 oz. (men’s), 9.1 oz. (women’s)
Heel-to-Toe Offset: 12mm; 30mm (heel), 18mm (forefoot)
Info: BrooksRunning.com

RELATED: Shoe of the Week—Skechers Performance GoMeb Strada 2

 

 

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Video: 86-Year-Old Sprinter Don Cheek is Fast and Inspiring http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/news/video-86-year-old-sprinter-don-cheek-fast-inspiring_153543 Fri, 22 Jul 2016 16:44:22 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153543

You’re bound to be inspired by this video from the Fresno Bee about 86-year-old Don Cheek of Clovis, Calif. Not only is he one the

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You’re bound to be inspired by this video from the Fresno Bee about 86-year-old Don Cheek of Clovis, Calif. Not only is he one the nation’s fastest sprinters in the 85-89 age group, he’s also among the fastest in the world. At the Pasadena Senior Games in June, Cheek ran the 100 in 17.63 to win the event in his age group, and he also won the 50m (9.37) and 200m (41.33). Over the decades, Cheek, a retired psychology professor, has held many national records and earned numerous medals, including a gold in the 400m at the inaugural World Masters Athletics Championships in Toronto in 1975. He’s trying to raise money in a GoFundMe campaign to he can compete in the2016 World Masters Athletic Championships in Perth, Australia, in October.

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Flashback: Watch Alan Webb’s 3:46.91 American Record in the Mile http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/news/flashback-watch-alan-webbs-346-91-american-record-mile_153537 Fri, 22 Jul 2016 16:10:27 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153537

On July 21, 2007, Alan Webb broke Steve Scott’s 25-year-old American record in the mile, running a 3:46.91 with help from a few

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On July 21, 2007, Alan Webb broke Steve Scott’s 25-year-old American record in the mile, running a 3:46.91 with help from a few pacers at a small meet in Brasschaat, Belgium. As of 2016, Webb’s time is the eighth-fastest time in history while Scott’s 3:47.69 from 1982 remains the No. 13 time on the all-time list.

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How Running Surfaces and Speed Influences Your Risk of Injury http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/injury-prevention/how-running-surface-and-speed-influence-injury-risk_153528 Fri, 22 Jul 2016 00:53:23 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153528

Both speed and running surfaces play a part in causing injuries, but it's not what you might commonly think is creating the problem.

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The next time you’re at the starting line of a race, look around and consider that the majority of nearby runners will likely experience an injury in the following year. It’s a scary thought, isn’t it?

Despite innovations in shoe cushioning, training and sports science, the rate of running injuries hasn’t budged since shoes were being made in waffle irons. One of the reasons for this unchanging rate is likely that each runner is their own laboratory, with a specific set of injury do’s and don’ts that depend on gender, genetics and a whole host of other factors.

Part of that runner-specific individuality is the speed you run and surfaces you choose. Some love trails and some pound the concrete in dense urban jungles. But what surface is best, and how fast should you run to stay healthy? The answer to those questions isn’t as obvious as one would think, largely due to the fact that many of the commonly held notions about the causes of running injury don’t actually make the scientific cut.

Take running surface, for instance. Though popular belief holds that running on trails or softer surfaces is easier on the joints, well-established scientific evidence says otherwise. It turns out that the brain has its own version of a car’s road sensing suspension—something termed “muscle tuning.” While running, the brain constantly anticipates the stiffness of the surface—using data from past experience and information from the previous stride—and “tunes” how strongly the leg muscles contract before the foot hits the ground.

So when the trail gets softer, the leg becomes stiffer, leaving the net impact to the leg roughly the same. It’s how the body maintains the overall stiffness of the surface/shoe/leg combination and it’s the reason why running on softer surfaces doesn’t necessarily result in a lower rate of injury. The overall impact to the leg remains virtually the same whether running on trails, a beach or concrete.

But there’s an asterisk. “We know how the body adjusts to different surfaces in the short term, but what we don’t know are the long term consequences of running on a particular surface,” says Dr. Brian Heiderscheit, Director of the University of Wisconsin’s Runners’ Clinic.

Of course, the cushioning of the shoe impacts the equation as well, and could be part of the reason why ultra-cushioned shoes haven’t solved the injury conundrum. Just like a softer surface, the legs will adjust to a softer cushioned shoe by increasing leg stiffness. In fact, one of the few studies to evaluate shoe cushioning and impact forces found evidence to support the soft shoe, stiff landing theory.

What about the treadmill? The dampened surface of a treadmill has long been believed to be beneficial to the joints. But impact represents only one of the stresses to the body with running; also important is the stress to soft tissue structures like tendons and muscles. An example of this is running uphill—though it imposes less impact to the joints, the muscles of the calf, hamstring and hip have to work harder, increasing the stress to the hamstring and Achilles tendons.

In fact, in a recent study comparing loads to the kneecap and Achilles tendon during treadmill and overground running, researchers found a 14 percent greater overall stress to the Achilles tendon as compared to overground running (load to the kneecap was roughly equal during both). While the results of the study shouldn’t spur wholesale abandonment of treadmills, it should serve as a note of caution for those that use them regularly, especially those with a history of Achilles injury.

To minimize the risk of injury, Heiderscheit believes that runners should vary running surface, much like they vary their training plans. “Just like a runner would try runs of different intensities—tempo and interval training for instance—my advice is to incorporate a little bit of all the different surfaces into training,” Heiderscheit says.

RELATED: The Importance of Varying Your Running Surfaces

Just as the finer points of running style and foot landing have been scrutinized by experts, so too has the question of optimal running speed. With the link of speed work to overuse injury, many would assume that running faster equals a greater risk of injury.

But, again, every runner is different, and slower may not always be better. “The majority of forces generally scale up with increasing speed, but running faster isn’t necessarily uniformly more demanding to the entire body,” says Heiderscheit. The structures that face the greatest increase in demand are the muscles and tendons tasked to supplying that extra speed—hamstrings, calf and glutes—with other structures realizing a less pronounced demand.

Several recent studies illustrate that point. A 2015 article in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy sheds a little light on the role running speed plays in the amount of impact the knee experiences when running. Researchers from the Department of Public Health at Denmark’s Aarhus University asked a group of runners to run 1 kilometer at three different speeds: 5 mph, 7.3 mph and 9.8 mph.

Although the impact stress to the knee with every stride increased with faster running, the total stress to the knee was 30 percent less at the faster speed because of the lower number of strides needed to cover the same distance. On the basis of these findings, running longer distances at slower speeds, especially when fatigued, may contribute to overuse injuries of the knee.

Before you push the accelerator, consider again that injury risk can’t simply be boiled down to impact. Other research—conducted by the same Danish group and presented in Clinical Biomechanics—determined that the extra energy supplied by the muscles of the calf and foot with an increase in speed predisposes the Achilles and plantar fascia to injury.

The bottom line is: There isn’t one surface or speed that is right for everyone. For runners looking to avoid injury, cross-training shouldn’t just involve the elliptical or bike, but also running on different surfaces and at varied speeds.

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Speed Goggles: Alexi Pappas Makes New Running Video Series http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/news/speed-goggles-alexi-pappas-new-running-film-series_153515 Thu, 21 Jul 2016 19:43:40 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153515

Olympic-bound distance runner Alexi Pappas creates releases new five-part video series about the unique lives of runners.

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Alexi Pappas has other talents besides running. She’s also a writer, a filmmaker and an actress who frequently sports a messy bun with a personality of its own. Her latest project, “Speed Goggles,” is a five-part video series about runners released on The New York Times website.

The 26-year-old elite runner from Eugene, Ore., created the series with partner Jeremy Teicher who also co-wrote and co-directed Pappas’ most recent film “Tracktown” that debuted at the L.A. Film Festival in June. The first video introduces elite runners Pappas and two-time Olympian Andrew Wheating in a style best described as a parody on old nature documentaries with detailed descriptions of the runners’ day. Two other videos have been released, titled “Nightmares Mean You Care” and “Normal People.”

When asked by The New York Times, what Pappas wants people to gain from these videos, she said, “I hope people identify with these films in some way and also see a world they may not always see. It’s the life of an elite runner outside the track. I think runners will appreciate the elements of it, and hopefully laugh along with us.”

In August, Pappas, a Greek-American, will also be representing Greece at the Rio Olympics in the 10,000-meter event.

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U.S. Olympians to Compete in New TrackTown Summer Series Meet http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/news/u-s-olympians-compete-new-tracktown-summer-series-meet_153506 Wed, 20 Jul 2016 22:08:11 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153506

Matthew Centrowitz won the 1,500-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Trials on July 10 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Photo: Jeff Cohen

Seventeen American track and field athletes going to the Rio Olympics will also be racing one another at the first TrackTown Summer Series.

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Matthew Centrowitz won the 1,500-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Trials on July 10 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Photo: Jeff Cohen

Seventeen American athletes who punched their ticket to the Rio Olympics at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials plan to return to Hayward Field next week to compete in the inaugural TrackTown Summer Series.

The TrackTown Summer Series, presented by Beynon Sports Surfaces, is designed to provide top American track and field athletes with a unique opportunity to compete on U.S. soil during the summer months.

The meet will be held at Hayward Field at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 29. It will be televised live on ESPN.

The scored competition features four teams of 36 athletes each, split evenly between men and women, representing the cities of Portland, Ore., New York City, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Competitors will battle for prize money and additional benefits in excess of a half-million dollars.

“We’re excited that Hayward Field will be the stage for many of these athletes before they embark on their Olympic journey to Rio,” said TrackTown USA CEO Michael Reilly. “We believe the team-scoring aspect will provide a tremendous opportunity for both fans and athletes to engage in a great competition.”

Several Olympic athletes scheduled to compete in the TrackTown Summer Series were chosen in an historic eight-round draft on June 25. The four teams are in the process of finalizing rosters this week with the addition of 20 athletes per squad.

One of the U.S. athletes who will compete in both the TrackTown Summer Series and Rio Olympics is University of Oregon alum Matthew Centrowitz, a 2012 Olympian and reigning world indoor champion in the 1,500 meters. Centrowitz won the 1,500m at the Trials with a meet record of 3 minutes, 34.09 seconds. He plans to run the 800m at the TrackTown Summer Series against a stacked field.

“First of all, I’m thrilled, obviously to make the Olympic team,” said Centrowitz, who competes for Portland-based Nike Oregon Project. “As a former Duck, I noticed a huge boost in special ovations at the Trials, and I’m expecting that same support when I return to Hayward for the TrackTown Summer Series.”

Centrowitz and Brittney Reese, the reigning 2012 Olympic gold medalist and six-time World Champion in the long jump, were the top overall picks of the athlete draft by Team New York City.

“That was really cool,” Centrowitz said. “I got a text from a friend even before I noticed it on Twitter. To be the first pick in the first draft ever, and to go to a team representing one of my favorite cities, it couldn’t have gone down any better.”

2016 Olympians entered in the inaugural TrackTown Summer Series are:

  • PHILADELPHIA – Phyllis Francis (400m), Brenda Martinez (800m), Ben Blankenship (1,500m), Michelle Lee Ahye (100m, Trinidad & Tobago)
  • PORTLAND – Kate Grace (1,500m), Ricky Robertson (high jump), Will Claye (triple jump)
  • SAN FRANCISCO – Erik Kynard (high jump), Shannon Rowbury (1,500m), Robby Andrews (1,500m), Melissa Bishop (800m, Canada)
  • NEW YORK CITY – Matthew Centrowitz (800m), Brittney Reese (long jump), Donn Cabral (3,000m steeplechase), Emma Coburn (1,500m), Jeff Porter (110m hurdles), Felisha Johnson (shot put)

The meet promises a handsome cash payout for the participating athletes. In each of the 20 scheduled men’s and women’s events, prize money will be awarded to the top six finishers, including $4,000 to the winners and down to $500 for the sixth-place finishers.

An additional $1,000 will go to each member of the winning team. The TrackTown Summer Series features scored competition between four teams of 36 athletes each, split evenly between men and women, representing the cities of Portland, San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia. The events will be scored 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.

Also, athletes selected in the June 25 draft will receive an incremental bonus based on which round they were chosen, starting with $3,000 for the first round and going down to $750 for rounds five through eight.

Athletes not chosen in the draft but who were selected to compete in the TrackTown Summer Series will each receive $500 in addition to any prize money they win based on their performance at the meet. Finally, each of the participating athletes will receive a travel stipend, plus complimentary housing, meals and transportation to and from the meet.

In all, the combined prize money and additional benefits provided to participants is in excess of $500,000.

 

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Out There: Just Read the Damn Article http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/out-there/just-read-the-damn-article_153500 Wed, 20 Jul 2016 21:39:45 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153500

Susan Lacke looks at which running headlines are the most misleading and has a few suggestions herself.

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“It’s all about the headline.”

When I first started writing, my handlers hammered this notion into my head repeatedly. Sure, the content of an article is important, they said, but it doesn’t matter much if it doesn’t have a shocking, droll, or otherwise attention-grabbing headline to get readers to open the magazine or click on the link.

Over the years, however, the function of a headline has changed from getting people in the door to becoming the main attraction itself. In today’s scroll-through-Twitter society, most people don’t read past the headline. Sometimes they read the one-sentence summary below the headline (known in the biz as a lede), but rarely do they click on the link or read the article itself.

Lest you think I’m exaggerating, a new study has discovered that 59 percent of links shared on social media have never been clicked: In other words, most people appear to share news without actually reading it. We take a summary-of-a-summary glimpsed on Twitter or Facebook as fact, and we’re all the dumber for it.

Take my husband, for example. A few months ago, he saw a story in his Facebook feed titled “Dark Chocolate Boosts Exercise Performance.”

“Look at this, babe,” he said with glee. “Chocolate will make me faster!”

This explains why Neil is currently on his third brownie of the day. He has yet to set a PR this season. (Imagine that!)

Had he actually read the story, he’d know that a British study on chocolate consumption was conducted on nine cyclists. Nine. That’s hardly enough data to make the sweeping generalization of “Chocolate Boosts Exercise Performance.” Yet that’s the headline, because a world where chocolate is an ergogenic aid is a world we all want to live in, dammit.

And so it goes for almost every headline these days. “Running Will Kill You,” the headlines blare, justifying your Uncle Mel’s decision to remain firmly on the couch, smugly anticipating your impending demise. “Red Wine Is a Health Food,” we cite as we pour ourselves a second (okay, fine, fourth) glass. “Pasta is an Evil Gluten Monster,” unless a pasta company sponsors a study this week, in which case “Athletes Should Eat Pasta Every Day.” “Beer Aids Marathon Recovery,” people say smartly as they order a pint, oblivious to the caveat that it’s non-alcoholic beer that’s proven to have regenerative properties.

Don’t be that guy. Read the damn article. Follow the sources. Get the full story.

But if we insist on continuing down this path of sharing without reading, I’d like to propose a few headlines and ledes that I think will really take off on social media:

 Beet Industry Admits Product Tastes Disgusting
“We targeted runners because they’ll eat anything if you tell them it’s ‘performance-enhancing,’ industry insider confesses.”

Pokemon GO Tricks Millions Into Running Marathon
“People who ‘hate running’ and ‘have bad knees’ will sprint nonstop between strategically placed Pikachus; public health officials declare covert intervention for obesity a success.”

 National Park Service to Outlaw Horse Poop on Trails
“Move comes after runners begin dropping deuces mid-trail in protest.”

 New iPhone Detects, Averts Post-Race Humblebragging
“App sends small taser shocks to runners who backdoor brag, preventing millions of annoyed eye rolls worldwide.”

White Spandex Shorts Sap Male Athletes Of Strength
“Experts say men should not wear garment–not during races, not to yoga, not ever.”

Kenyan Athletes Warm Up By Jogging to Rio Olympics
“Team foregoes private jet from Africa, claiming flight would be ‘too slow.'”

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About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). Susan lives and trains in Salt Lake City, Utah with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete husband. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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Video: Watch Joe Gray Fly Down Pikes Peak’s Barr Trail http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/news/video-watch-joe-gray-fly-pikes-peak_153487 Wed, 20 Jul 2016 19:31:09 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153487

Joe Gray, one of America’s top trail runners for much of the past decade, decisively won the 12.6-mile Barr Trail Mountain Race along

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Joe Gray, one of America’s top trail runners for much of the past decade, decisively won the 12.6-mile Barr Trail Mountain Race along the lower flanks of Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs, Colo., on July 17. In this video, shot by Mark Tatum of the trail running site MUTWild.com, Gray, a Merrell-sponsored athlete, flies down Barr Trail on the switchbacks just above No Name Creek. Gray, a 10-time U.S. champion with many top-10 international race finishes, won the Barr Trail Mountain Race in 1:30:0, running roughly 7:09/mile pace (which is quite fast for running downhill on singletrack trails). Tatum was shooting with a GoPro Hero Silver mounted to a Feiyu hand-held gimbal device.

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Video: Condom Company Develops Experimental Athletic Apparel http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/news/condom-company-develops-experimental-athletic-apparel_153476 Wed, 20 Jul 2016 17:17:46 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153476

Ansell, a global leader in protection solutions and the makers of SKYN® Condoms, an innovative brand of premium condoms and lubricants, has developed SkynFeel Apparel.

Skyn Condoms is experimenting with condom material for designing new and barely there athletic wear.

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Ansell, a global leader in protection solutions and the makers of SKYN® Condoms, an innovative brand of premium condoms and lubricants, has developed SkynFeel Apparel.

In what can only fall into the category of “you have to see this to believe it,”—the parent company of Skyn Condoms has been working on experimental athletic apparel. Ansell, a global leader in protection solutions and the makers of Skyn Condoms, says its new one-of-a-kind long-jump suit for track athletes is inspired by “biomimicry” utilizes thin, ultra-soft condom material. “Like a second skin with inspiration from the dragonfly’s wings, the SkynFeel Apparel is design to minimize body limitation and give extra airtime to the athlete,” the company says in a release.

“The Skyn brand has innovation woven into its DNA,” says Jeyan Heper, president and general manager of the Sexual Wellness Global Business Unit at Ansell. “In the world of competitive sports, athletes look for every advantage, and we knew our SkynFeel condom material was revolutionary in our own industry, therefore we turned to the world of performance athletics and decided to conduct an experiment in apparel. We wanted to allow ourselves to think differently, outside of our own condom box.”

To create the unusual concept garment, Skyn Condoms partnered with fashion designer Pauline Van Dongen, whose wearable technology creations have won wide acclaim. “Experiments like this can point the way to the future,” Van Dongen says. “For me, SkynFeel Apparel is about challenging the status quo, trying something totally new, daring to innovate, imagine and inspire.”

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4 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/photos/bodyweight-exercises-can-anywhere_153468 Tue, 19 Jul 2016 23:39:50 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153468

Strength train without weights or any equipment with these four simple bodyweight exercises.

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Runners are adept at making excuses for why they can’t strength train: There’s either not enough time in the day, no gym access, or they’re afraid to put on bulk. All of these excuses are weak! In as little as 10–15 minutes, three to four times a week, you can become a stronger, more balanced athlete, improve your muscle tone and also decrease the likelihood of annoying overuse injuries.

The following four bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere, and the only equipment you’ll need to invest in is a stability ball. Perform this routine three to four times a week. Start with one to two sets and build up to three to four over the course of a month. Move through the exercises quickly but take two to three minutes of recovery between sets. The key is consistency: Pick the days you plan to strength train and stick to it. No excuses!

Photos: Oliver Baker

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Discovering Los Angeles Street Art on the Run http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/features/discovering-los-angeles-street-art-run_153458 Tue, 19 Jul 2016 23:07:47 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153458

Street art is the destination as well as the scenery along the way on BlacklistLA's runs. Photo: Erik Valiente

BlacklistLA combines late-night running with urban art in the heart of Los Angeles.

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Street art is the destination as well as the scenery along the way on BlacklistLA's runs. Photo: Erik Valiente


Out on the impeccably neat plaza of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, home to one of the world’s finest orchestras, hip-hop is booming out of a nearby speaker. A few runners are here, doing those things runners do while they wait: stretch, sip water, sit around, adjust their phone holders. It’s about the only thing going on as far as you can see—by 9:30 p.m., this corner of downtown in this famously car-choked city is dead still. But every minute, dozens of more runners keep materializing like a flash mob: sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs or groups.

Soon there will be hundreds here on this warm spring Monday night, all here to run together through a sleeping city.

This is not a race, but there is a destination: a very, very large mural a couple miles away. It’s the two things this running group that calls itself BlacklistLA was founded upon—running and street art—and it’s caught fire.

Two years ago, there were 11 people on the group’s first run. Tonight there are easily 200. Some of the weekly Monday evening runs draw more than 300. It’s not hard to see why: This urban running adventure gives people a reason to look forward to Mondays, to meet other people, and to explore the many hidden corners of this massive city on foot.

“We always say that they show up for the art, but they stay and continue to show up for the community,” says Erik Valiente, the friendly, cherubic-faced founder of BlacklistLA, who rides up on a 10-speed with a messenger backpack from which hangs a big camera with a giant flash. In addition to the thrill of running together at night, it’s the evening timing—with less traffic and many people off of work—that makes such a large gathering possible.

As group running with a social bent continues to grow around all kinds of lifestyle pursuits—beer, tourism, dating—art may at first seem like an unlikely pairing. But it’s not. “It’s part of the experience of an urban runner,” says renowned art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, an avid runner himself, about street art. “Often, this is people’s first experience with ambitious artwork.”

And as running groups go, BlacklistLA seems to do everything right to cater to a 21st century runner’s needs and desires: It turns exercise into a shared experience; offers a chance to explore the city, with great Instagram opportunities; plus Valiente posts a bunch of ready-to-share photos of runners by the time they wake up on Tuesday. It seems to touch on many of the Millennial generation’s stereotypes.

But the hundreds that show up aren’t all in their 20s. There are people of all colors, males and females (though far more guys), newbie runners and chiseled marathoners. Even the dogs, maybe 10 or so brought along by their owners, are diverse—from silky-furred lap dogs to eager-looking pit bulls. And while Valiente and his co-founders are Los Angeles natives, I meet a guy from Canada who just moved to the city today. He’s out here tonight to meet people.

In fact, for Valiente, this is the entire point of BlacklistLA: A chance for Angelenos to better know their city, as well as each other.

Valiente used to drive to his job as a teller at a Chase bank. While it paid the bills, he was left unsatisfied with the experience—at least the thought of doing it for the rest of his life. He was already running, having signed up for and completing the LA Marathon in 2007 for the first time on a bet (he’s run it every year since then). He tried to start a running club in his neighborhood of Harvard Heights, just west of downtown, but without some kind of hook beyond exercise to draw people out every week, it didn’t last long. But he had the desire to build a community. “The only way I knew how to do that was through running,” he says.

And so he landed a job at Nike’s running store at The Grove, where he spent some of that time as a coordinator for the Swoosh’s nascent Nike+ Run Club program.

“Erik was really successful at that,” says Jerome Rideaux, Valiente’s former co-worker at Nike. “He had so many ideas and wanted to do so many different things. But when you’re under Nike you’ve got to get it past them, and he just wanted to do his own thing.”

Rideaux remembers having dinner with his Nike store co-workers when Valiente unveiled his plan for a new running group. By then Valiente had ditched his car and was getting around the city on bike, and with this freedom he started taking a bigger interest in all the street art around L.A.—and now he could freely take photos of it all. People who followed him on Instagram always wanted to know where all this artwork was. He didn’t want to just tell them where to go, because where’s the fun in that? So his initial plan was to show people around via bike tours, but that quickly fizzled out when he realized that many of his friends didn’t have bicycles.

“Then a light bulb popped into my head,” Valiente says. “I thought, why don’t we just run?”

And so they did. There were 11 people. “We all fit in the photo,” Rideaux says with a laugh. Valiente called this group “Blacklist” in honor of street artists, because their work is often blacklisted and eventually painted over. In fact, the art’s impermanence also gave the group’s runs an immediacy. But the true genius was Valiente’s photo duties: He would take photos of everyone on the run then send everyone a Dropbox link to these photos later that night. Word about BlacklistLA soon spread through social media.

Before Valiente knew it, he started arriving each week to several hundred people, as there are tonight, all amped up on music for a collective run through the city. The group’s Instagram feed now has more than 16,000 followers.

“It’s growing so quickly and so fast that, you know when they say be careful what you wish for?” Valiente says, half joking. “Now it’s like, oh shit, OK … we’re doing this! That keeps me up at night, but these are good problems.”

He quickly realized the need for help in keeping even a cheerful crowd lawful and under control, and so BlacklistLA cultivated a small volunteer army of pacers. They’re known as PulseKeepers, and each is outfitted with a glowing wrist or ankle bracelet and a handheld boom box to identify themselves and add a bit of ambiance.

Several minutes before 10 p.m., as the big stereo keeps on playing and everyone else is stretching or talking inside this now full plaza, Valiente is in a corner, huddling in a circle with the PulseKeepers, going over the route and any dangerous sections, sharing info about the artist in case runners ask, congratulating certain volunteers for particular jobs well done and going over BlacklistLA’s other events for the week.

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Could Pokémon Go Be The Future of Running? http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/news/pokemon-go-future-running_153446 Tue, 19 Jul 2016 22:17:43 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153446

Photo: Shutterstock.com

The crazy popularity of Pokemon Go could mean new and different opportunities for running.

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

A new craze has hit the running world and, believe it or not, it doesn’t involve getting a race T-shirt, a finisher’s medal or even paying an entry fee.

Yes, Pokémon Go might seem like the latest smartphone app game craze due to its ’90s kid nostalgia of the original collectible trading cards and TV series—and it definitely is—but it’s also much more than that. It’s arguably the first virtual creation that transcends the digital domain and brings a next-level, fitness-enhanced gamification to the great outdoors—namely roads, bike paths, trails and parks—especially if you’re a runner.

Currently, it is only available throughout North America and Europe, but on July 20 the app will launch in Japan, the birthplace of Pokémon, and spark the start of a worldwide takeover.

If you haven’t played it yet, Pokémon Go is a free app-based augmented reality game from Niantic (available on Android and iOS devices) that entails finding, capturing, training and battling a variety of virtual geo-targeted Pokémon critters against a backdrop of real-life scenery. In other words, you can only see the cartoonish creatures through the app on your smartphone or tablet screen, but with use of your device’s camera lens and GPS coordinates, the app makes Pokémon seemingly come to life wherever you go.

Here’s the thing, though: If you’re a runner, you can advance through the levels of the game faster—basically you can cover more ground with your Pokémon avatar and get to PokéStops (notable real-world features like a statue, park bench or a waterfall) and collect Pokémon more quickly by running instead of walking—although there is a distinct danger when running while mostly looking down at your phone. (If you’re playing the game out on the run—or even walking—by all means, be careful! And We highly discourage playing while riding a bike or driving!)

Seriously, though, you could go for a two-hour run and play the game the entire time, so long as you could stay off traffic and avoid bikes and pedestrians. There are numerous crowd-sourced web-based maps that point out where the rare Pokémon are located, and those can be a helpful resource when planning a Pokémon-infused long training run.

For better or for worse, think of what could emerge by integrating Pokémon Go into running:

  • Races that not only encourage runners to play the game during a run, but actually design courses based on where eggs, balls and Pokémon are located.
  • KOMs on Strava leaderboards based on Poké points.
  • Virtual trail running adventures that create newfangled FKTs (Fastest Known Times) on some of the world’s iconic mountains and trails.
  • A Pokémon-enhanced rim-to-rim-to-rim run of the Grand Canyon.
  • New track & field events that require running, jumping, hurdling and throwing while also capturing virtual critters.
  • The opportunity to get young kids involved in running with fun, game-oriented fitness intervals

Whether or not it’s the future of running, it certainly seems to be at the tipping point of what’s next in the ever-blending realms of wearable technology, GPS data, augmented reality gaming and fitness, recreation and adventure.

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Video: Time-Lapse Glimpse of Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/video/video-time-lapse-video-rock-n-roll-las-vegas_153436 Tue, 19 Jul 2016 20:45:52 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153436

Every year, Las Vegas Boulevard, aka, the Las Vegas Strip, is closed to vehicle traffic for only two occasions: 1) The city’s epic

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Every year, Las Vegas Boulevard, aka, the Las Vegas Strip, is closed to vehicle traffic for only two occasions: 1) The city’s epic New Year’s Eve celebration, and 2) The Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 10K, half marathon and marathon races. Check out this 26-second time-lapse video from last year’s event that shows heavy traffic at 11 a.m., road closures and finish line set-up starting at noon, more than 35,000 runners crossing the finish line between 4:45 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and, finally, The Strip re-opening just before midnight after everything is packed up and put away while all the runners are out celebrating their success. This year’s race weekend is scheduled for Nov. 12-13 with a new out-of-this world finisher’s medal for every runner who reaches the finish line.

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Team USA Minnesota Searching for New Head Coach http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/news/team-usa-minnesota_153426 Tue, 19 Jul 2016 14:17:00 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153426

Outgoing team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker has helped guide numerous athletes to national and world championships during the past 15 years, including Heather Kampf. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Team USA Minnesota has some big shoes to fill. The post-collegiate training group for professional distance runners based in

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Outgoing team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker has helped guide numerous athletes to national and world championships during the past 15 years, including Heather Kampf. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Team USA Minnesota has some big shoes to fill.

The post-collegiate training group for professional distance runners based in Minneapolis/St. Paul has begun a search for a new head coach. The position is available given the resignation this month of its long-time coach, Dennis Barker.

Since 2001, the group has developed an Olympian and 24 national champions in distances that include the 1500m, 3000m, and 10,000m on the track; mile, 10K, 15K, half marathon, 25K and marathon on the roads; and 4K, 8K and 10K cross country. It has also achieved 74 top three finishes in U.S. Championship events and placed athletes on 28 world teams.

“We appreciate all that Coach Barker has done for our distance runners over the past 15 years and four Olympic cycles,” said Pat Goodwin, founder and president of Team USA Minnesota.  “We certainly wish him well with the next stage of his career.”

The team’s head coach recruits, develops and manages 10 to 12 male and female elite distance runners on the track, cross country and roads. The group’s focus is to prepare athletes to compete at national and international championships and competitions, along with major races and sponsorship events.

“This is the perfect timing for a new coach to come on board and further develop a roster that will be even more competitive in this next Olympic cycle,” Goodwin said. “It is a great opportunity in an amazing training environment.”

Team USA Minnesota has a 14-member Board of Directors who have extensive ties in the running community. The team also has a network of health care resources, a number of supportive sponsors and contributors, and access to a range of training facilities, tracks, trails and running paths. In addition, the group has an active community involvement program.  Team USA Minnesota has twice received the Running USA Allan Steinfeld Development Award (2010 and 2015) as one of the best developmental training groups in the country.

The deadline to apply for the head coach position is July 29 with a start date of Sept. 1. To request a job description or to obtain more information, contact Pat Goodwin at 952-454-8876 or e-mail pfgoodwin@teamusaminnesota.org.

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Karl Meltzer Once Again Sets Sights on Appalachian Trail FKT http://running.competitor.com/2016/07/news/karl-meltzer-sets-sights-appalachian-trail-fkt_153381 Mon, 18 Jul 2016 16:59:01 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=153381

In August and September, Karl Meltzer will attempt to cover the 2,189 miles of the Appalachian Trail in less than 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes. Photo: Josh Campbell/Red Bull Content Pool

Few runners have endured long miles the way Karl Meltzer has. The winningest 100-mile runner in history—he’s won 38 of ‘em—the

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In August and September, Karl Meltzer will attempt to cover the 2,189 miles of the Appalachian Trail in less than 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes. Photo: Josh Campbell/Red Bull Content Pool

Few runners have endured long miles the way Karl Meltzer has. The winningest 100-mile runner in history—he’s won 38 of ‘em—the resident of Sandy, Utah, has earned plenty of hardware and battle scars in his 20 years in the sport.

As a runner, coach and race director, Meltzer, whose nickname is “Speedgoat,” has achieved an enormous bounty of success. He’s won 57 ultra-distance races, including the daunting Hardrock 100 in Colorado a record five times. He’s also played a world record 230 holes of golf in 12 hours and covered the entire Pony Express Trail  (2,064 miles) on foot in 2010.

Now the 48-year-old trail running legend is going after one of the few things he’s been unsuccessful at twice—achieving the fastest known time (FKT) on the Appalachian Trail. In early August, Meltzer will begin his quest on the 2,189-mile trail from Mt. Katahdin, Maine, and run, trek, hike and walk all the way to Springer Mountain, Georgia.

His goal will be to break Scott Jurek’s 2015 record of 46 days, 8 hours, 7 minutes. It’s a record he helped Jurek achieve as a support runner last summer, and Jurek will do the same for Meltzer this summer. (Jurek covered the trail from south to north between late May and early July last year.)

RELATED: Scott Jurek Sets New FKT for Appalachian Trail

Meltzer, a Red Bull and Hoka One One athlete, will have to average more than 50 miles per day to achieve the record. (Red Bull has created a multimedia page that will monitor his progress.) But he knows first-hand what it will take. In addition to being on the trail last year with Jurek,  Meltzer first attempted to break the record in 2008 but came up just short—finishing in 54 days, 21 hours, 12 minutes. (At the time, the record was 47 days, 13 hours, and 31 minutes.) He also attempted it in 2014 but stopped after about 1,500 miles when he fell off pace and wasn’t doing well physically or mentally.

“I’m going to give it one more try. Hopefully the third time will be a charm,” Meltzer told Competitor.com. “I was planning to go back this year before Scott did it last year. I’ve done all my homework and recon and hopefully the stars will align this time around.”

RELATED: Inside the FKT (Fastest Known Time) Trend

Meltzer was part of Jurek’s small crew of supporters last year. In addition to Scott and Jenny Jurek, Meltzer will be supported at various points on the trail by his 74-year-old dad, Karl Meltzer, his wife, Cheryl, and friends Eric Belz and Mike Mason. Meltzer will be taking 15 pairs of Hoka Speedgoat shoes with him (it’s the sticky rubber mountain running shoe built especially for him), plus a few pairs of Hoka Challenger ATR 2.

“I think what makes the Appalachian Trail unique is that there is a certain vibe on it,” Meltzer said. “When you walk on the AT or go for a long run on it, it’s like you’re in a long green tunnel. You can just feel the aura when you’re out there.

“What Scott went through was very inspirational,” Meltzer said. “Hopefully I can bring some of that energy into my attempt.”

RELATED: Summer of Speed—2015’s Top Trail Running FKT Marks

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