Your Online Source for Running Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:03:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 5 Foods Full Of Nutrients That Are In Season This Spring Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:03:14 +0000 Get the freshest fruits and vegetables by knowing what is in season. Here are a few that you should be eating in the spring.

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You’ve probably heard the rule of the grocery store: Stick to the outer portion for the healthiest foods. If you’re looking for whole foods, why not focus on the produce section and pick up some fruits and vegetables that are in season? Whether your diet is plant-based or you regularly eat meat, you’ll get much-needed nutrients from these fresh choices. Eating seasonally is recommended, as you’ll get the highest quality and wider range of foods in your diet. Since these are all in season in the spring, you’ll get the best pickings to prepare.

RELATED: What Runners Should Know About Micronutrients

Beets Strawberries Artichokes Lemons Broccoli

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How to Eliminate Walk Breaks During Your Run Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:29:15 +0000 Here are a few ways to run longer and get faster.

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Photo: Shutterstock

For new runners, walk breaks are a common training tool used to help manage longer distances when first building fitness. They serve a helpful purpose. Just like during an interval workout, the walk break is a recovery period that accomplishes a few important goals:

  • Walk breaks reduce heart rate, preventing new runners from working too hard on what should otherwise be an easy run.
  • It allows beginners to finish longer distances than they could with just running alone.
  • The psychology of a walk break allows beginners to easily tackle longer runs from a mental perspective. It doesn’t seem as challenging when you can stop to walk!


Clearly, there are good reasons to stop and walk during a run. But should walk breaks be used indefinitely?

As a coach, my answer is no. Walk breaks soon stop serving their purpose once a runner reaches a certain fitness level Just like training wheels on a child’s bike are not used forever, neither are walk breaks.

The fitness needed to eliminate breaks is not too substantial. Beginner runners can complete all of their mileage much sooner than they realize!

How to transition away from walk breaks

First, it’s helpful to understand why many runners utilize walk breaks when they first start training. It’s a common belief that walking during a run prevents running injuries. However there is no evidence to support that idea. Taking several 1 to 2-minute walk breaks during a 30-minute run only reduces the volume of running by a mile or less. That’s not significant enough to provide any injury prevention benefit.

Instead, walk breaks should be viewed as a stepping stone to more sustained, consistent running. After 4 to 6 weeks of steady exercise, most runners will be ready to limit their walk breaks—and soon, completely eliminate them from their running.

The first thing you can do to eliminate breaks is to reduce the duration of the walking interval by 30 seconds or a minute. If you are used to walking for two minutes, try a 90-second or 1-minute walk break.

RELATED: The Benefits Of Running For Time

Once the walk break is reduced to a minute or less for 1 to 2 weeks, runners are ready to take less frequent walk breaks. If you typically run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute, then it can be extended to run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute. Keep repeating this pattern until you are soon running for 7 to 10 minutes before a short, 30-second walk break.

This progressive, gradual approach has multiple benefits:

  • It prevents the runner from running too much, too soon.
  • It’s mentally manageable so runners won’t get frustrated.
  • Running for longer stretches of 5 to 10 minutes builds self-confidence as fitness level increases.


Once you can run for 7 to 10 minutes before needing to stop for a brief walk period, it’s time to take the next step: a “walk only as needed” approach. Instead of eliminating walk breaks completely, an “as needed” philosophy gives the runner the chance to walk with no guilt, while still adapting to running for longer periods of time. Athletes should walk only when they feel like their heart rate is getting too high or their breath is labored. An easy run should be comfortable, controlled and conversational.

After 2 to 3 weeks of using the “as needed” approach to walking, the vast majority of runners will be able to successfully transition away from walking. They will soon be running the entirety of their weekly mileage without needing to stop and walk.

Of course, if you feel like you need to stop and walk, then you should! High temperatures, humidity, altitude and even wind are all obstacles that make running more difficult.

With fewer walking stops, runners will increase their confidence, be able to run higher weekly mileage and successfully improve their fitness. And the best part—you will also be a lot faster too!

RELATED: A 5K Training Plan For Beginners

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13.1 Things to Know About Running A Half Marathon Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:07:13 +0000 It’s time to focus on the essential tips you will need to know to run 13.1 miles, and, hopefully, have a blast while doing it!

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Photo: Shutterstock

If 5Ks and 10Ks are starting to lose their thrill, it just may be time to up your mileage, and make the jump to a half marathon. According to Running USA, the 13.1-mile distance had the second highest number of finishers in 2015. (5Ks were the most popular distance.) Last year nearly two million runners toed the line at 2,700 half marathons in the U.S., meaning more options than you can imagine. Want to run a half in every state, dressed in a costume, in a different country, in a big city, on a trail—you can lace up for all of this and more!

For the goal-oriented amongst us, there are already some wicked speedy half marathon world records in place. According to the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), the men’s record is 58:23, set by Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea in 2010. For women, Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya set a new record of 1:05:06 this past February.

Now that the pressure is off, it’s time to focus on what you need to know to run 13.1 miles, and, hopefully, have a blast!

1) Make sure you’re sure.

Event related Instagram posts usually show the adrenaline-drenched glory of crossing a finish line and the joy of the post-race celebration. They don’t necessarily portray the blisters, sweaty efforts and unforeseen challenges that go into training for a half. Because, here’s the thing—you have to train.

2) You may be able to go from the couch to the finish line without training, but it will hurt.

A lot. Training is essential to make the most of your goal, avoid injury and enjoy the experience. But it’s also not as simple as cobbling together a few interesting runs. Aim to have a decent base, in the range of 15-20 miles a week, and make sure you are willing to commit to the process. Then….

3) Pick a plan.

If you have a spring half on your calendar, you should be well into your training. If you are eyeing a summer race, now is the time to get busy and decide on a training program in line with your fitness level and race goals. There’s no need to compare your efforts or program with colleagues or friends. You do you!

RELATED: 12-Week Half Marathon Training Program

4) Ease into training.

Running lots of miles may sound fun at first. But you want to be smart about ramping up, especially if this is your first half or if you haven’t trained in a while. You want to reach your goal healthy and ready for more, not exhausted and injured. Success comes in consistency. You need more than just a couple of long or fast runs. Quality miles and cross training are your friends.

5) Speaking of cross training, now is the time to get serious about it.

Yes, you need to put in the miles to condition your legs, feet, lungs and heart for the rigors of running 13.1 miles. But your body will also benefit from switching up activities like mobility work (consider a weekly yoga class), weights, HIIT workouts or even a weekly swim or bike ride.

6) Sleep. Seriously.

Sleeping is some of the best recovery time because it’s passive rehabilitation. You don’t have to do a thing—no rolling, stretching or focus required. How much zzz’s your body needs varies from person to person, but experts suggest seven to nine hours nightly. Deena Kastor, the American record holder for the half marathon with a time of 1:07:34, likes to get 10 hours of sleep per night.

7) Eat Smart.

A 5-mile training run does not justify eating half of a pizza. If you’re around 150 pounds and running 12-minute miles, you’ll burn roughly 600 calories on your run. Aim for a slice or two, and a salad instead.

RELATED: Nutrition Tweaks for Half-Marathon Training

8) Get some new gear.

You don’t need a lot, but you want enough to run comfortably. Start with a visit to your local running store for new shoes. Be sure to let them size you. The extra effort just may save your toenails and make for more enjoyable running. Ladies, this is also the time to get fitted for a new running bra. Sports bras only last about a year and you should have three in rotation.

9) Join a running group.

While some people thrive on alone time, going the distance solo can get lonely for others. When you’re getting new gear, ask about local running groups or weekly runs. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people. The conversation and camaraderie helps miles to fly by. You may even be inspired to push your pace a bit!

10) Communicate with your family and friends.

You will need a good support system during training. Let your family and friends in on your goals and what it’s going to take to get there. The last thing you want is for them to write you off as a jerk because you stopped attending Thursday happy hour. Suggest meeting for brunch after your Sunday miles or ask them to join you on their bikes while you run. If that doesn’t work, including them in the post-race celebrations certainly will. However, too much communication can be a bad thing. Chances are they don’t want the TMI updates about your chafing or runner’s trots, and eyes will quickly glaze over when you begin relaying your latest splits. Save those details for the new friends you make in your running group.

11) Take care of yourself.

Get a massage, book maintenance visits to a physical therapist, foam roll, try cryotherapy or just stretch. This is the time to show your body some love. Simply thinking about foam rolling while it collects dust doesn’t count. Taking 5-10 minutes every day to address twinges before they become bigger problems is critical to long-term running success. Set a time and stick to it—first thing in the morning, after your run, while watching TV. Keeping yourself healthy is well worth the investment.

RELATED: Self-Message Tips For Runners

12) Familiarize yourself with the course.

Once you’ve prepped physically, be sure to strengthen your mental game. For home races, you may be able to train on parts of the course, ride the route on your bike or drive it. If you’re traveling to a race, you can still study the course and elevation profile, as well as figure out when and where you’ll take advantage of aid stations. Knowing what to expect makes you better able to handle race day challenges.

13) Save the celebrations for after your race.

Nerves can get the best of anyone, but the night or two before a race is best enjoyed with feet up, sleeping or catching up on your favorite shows. And hydrating with lots of water.

13.1) Enjoy the process!

Remember, you’re doing this as a personal challenge and to have fun. Do I need to point out that this is a hobby? Sure, it’s hard and it may hurt, but you trained and forked over good money for the experience—make the most of it!

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Costumes, Charity and Spring Cheer At Boston’s Hop 21 Training Run Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:39:43 +0000 The traditional training run from Hopkinton to Heart Break Hill (about 21.5 miles) has become a popular community day for Boston

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Cheery spring-themed costumes helped brighten the spirits of about 2,000 runners who were out for their last long run before the Boston Marathon at Saturday’s Charity Teams Hop 21. Created by Susan Hurley of Charity Runners, the traditional training run from Hopkinton to Heart Break Hill (about 21.5 miles) has also become a popular community day for charity runners and those training for the Boston Marathon. Hurley buses charity runners from Boston to Hopkinton for the event, organizes aid stations along the route and makes the final long run a cause of celebration, complete with a post-run party! Check out the scenes and costumes from this year’s edition held on March 25.

RELATED: Boston’s Hop 21 Is Making The Long Training Run Fun Again

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Boston Marathon Spectating Tips From TV Announcer Craig Masback Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:07:06 +0000 Whether you're in Boston or watching from home, here's how you can watch all of the action on race day—and what to look out for.

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Craig Masback (middle) at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Photo by: Paul Drinkwater, Courtesy of NBC Sports

Former American middle-distance runner Craig Masback has one of the best second careers around: He makes the call for all of NBC Sports’ coverage of track and field and road racing—including five Olympic Games. On April 17, aside Tim Hutchings, Masback will be the co-commentator for the 121st Boston Marathon. We asked him for his take on this year’s race.

What are you most excited about in this year’s Boston Marathon?

The fact that the Americans have a legitimate chance to win both the men’s and women’s races. All three members of last summer’s U.S. Olympic marathon team—Galen Rupp, Meb Keflezighi and Jared Ward—are running. Desiree Linden, who finished in the top 10 in Rio and has run well in Boston in the past, is running. Also, the men’s race has the current world record holder, Dennis Kimetto, and a former world record holder, Patrick Makau, both of Kenya, as well as the defending Boston winner, Lemi Berhanu Hayle of Ethiopia.

What advice do you have for the first-time Boston Marathon Viewer?

My best advice is patience, and, if possible, a commitment to watching the whole race. Boston is unique—there’s an unusual amount of action for a marathon because it’s so easy for runners to start the race at a fast clip due to the downhill nature of the first half of the race. However, running too fast too early inevitably leads to issues later in the race when the runners face a series of hills. If we do our job correctly, we’ll document the strategic elements of the race and the personal stories of the runners, which should give first-time viewers plenty to follow and several people to root for.

What’s the secret to making a three-hour race dramatic and watchable?

In addition to what I said earlier, some of the best ways to make it “dramatic” are to shut up and let the natural sound of the race tell the story. No marathon in the world has a better, more knowledgeable crowd than Boston, and the enthusiasm of the crowd is compelling. This will be especially true if an American is a serious contender for the win.

*The Boston Marathon airs live on Monday, April 17, at 8:30 a.m. EST on NBCSN, and will be live streamed on and the NBC Sports app.

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Salomon Launches Clean Sport and Athlete Transparency Initiative Mon, 27 Mar 2017 23:47:17 +0000 In an announcement of its sponsorship of five major global trail races, Salomon is also launching its Athlete Transparency Program.

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The announcement was made at the 2017 Salomon Ultra Academy in Moab, Utah. Photo: Sam Winebaum

The world of professional and even age-group endurance athletics has been plagued by performance enhancing drug (PED) scandals and suspicions to the point that many exceptional athletes and performances seem to come under automatic suspicions.

Trail and ultra-running is rapidly growing in popularity with athlete sponsorships and prize money, and it too is beginning to be wracked by PED rumors. In response to this, Salomon announced on March 22 its Athlete Transparency Program and race series sponsorship of five major trail races that will be related to the clean sport initiative.

Kilian Jornet, the preeminent star of the sport and a Salomon-sponsored athlete stated,“I trust that trail running is a clean sport and I can’t understand cheating in a sport that is more about a connection with nature. But since it is also a performance-driven sport with competition, it is important to be clear that we are clean.”

The Athlete Transparency Program will be one of the strictest and most transparent of any testing program by a sports brand or sports federation to date. In 2017, 16 top Salomon athletes, including Jornet, will be randomly tested up to 10 times per year by the totally independent Quartz program affiliated with Athletes for Transparency. Other testing conducted by official agencies such as the WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) will also be included in the review by Quartz. Athlete contracts will clearly state the requirements and the consequences of any violation.

RELATED: Athletes, Coaches, Advocates Support Launch of Clean Sport Collective

Further TUE’s (Therapeutic Use Exceptions), sometimes abused as “legitimate” prescriptions that can provide performance benefits, will not be allowed for Salomon athletes without specific approval by an independent physician affiliated with Quartz. If the athlete has TUE’s that have not been independently reviewed and approved they will be considered too sick to race. Athletes will be required to report their locations at all times, and list all supplements, prescriptions, and medications. This information will also provide a record keeping platform for responding to the formal anti-doping control protocols.

“As a leader in the sport of trail running, we feel it’s important to be at the forefront of efforts in the area of clean sport,” said Greg Vollet, Salomon’s Global Trail Running Sports and Community Marketing Manager. “We are initiating this program to create a tool for athletes to prove their integrity; to show that they are clean and to continue to uphold the honor and values of the sport we all love.”

Not just a testing program for PEDs, the program will seek to help athletes better manage their health, identify pathologies and other emerging health issues, including those potentially affecting performance.

RELATED: The Effects of Performance Enhancing Drugs On An Athlete

Salomon athlete, World Mountain Running champion and top ultra-runner, Max King has been subject to mandatory anti-doping controls for many years. Competitor interviewed him about the new program at Salomon’s Ultra Running Academy in Moab, Utah, this week and King said: “The program has the potential to change how anti-doping is analysed in our sport. My hope is that anything we do keeps the sport clean for future generations and keeps the playing field level.”

Salomon will also sponsor five major trail races in 2017. The five races on which the brand will focus its initial clean sport and athlete transparency efforts include the Maxi Race in Salomon’s hometown of Annecy, France; the Mont Blanc Marathon in Chamonix, France; the Swiss Alpine Marathon in Davos; the Glen Coe Skyline in Scotland; and the Ultra Pireneu in Spain.

The races will have extensive media and social media coverage, community and educational events and will help pay travel expenses for top-ranked athletes, from all brands, to compete for prize money.

In relation to Salomon’s new Transparency Program, all top non-Salomon invited athletes will be asked to optionally submit to testing three weeks before the race and the day before. All podium winners will be tested after the race as well. The testing will be mandatory for all top-ranked Salomon and non-Salomon athletes for 2018 races and will include a ban of any day-of-race TUE’s for corticosteroids, asthma medications, which can be abused for performance benefits.

Upholding the health education focus, these Salomon-sponsored races will also include, for all participants, educational conferences on anti-doping control that discuss causes of positive controls, the use of food supplements—which can sometimes contain un-labeled banned substances—and the dangers of over-indulgence of anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen.

RELATED: What Motivates Some Runners to Cheat?

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Two World Records Set In The Indoor Marathon This Weekend Mon, 27 Mar 2017 22:45:22 +0000 World and American records fell as runners completed 26.2 miles on an indoor track at the NYC Indoor Marathon this weekend.

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Photo: Myles Gaymon

This weekend, several runners ran record-setting marathons but at an unexpected venue—an indoor track.

The 2nd Annual NYC Indoor Marathon Presented by the New York Road Runners hosted the World Record Challenge, where participants raced 26.2 miles by completing 211 laps of the 200-meter indoor track.

Top male finisher Christopher Zablocki of Essex, CT, set a new world indoor marathon record, finishing in 2:21:48. Zablocki just came under the old mark of 2:21:56, set by Malcolm Richards.

Lauren Manninem, of Finland, trailed second place finisher Kate Pallardy for much of the race, moving into first place with 40 laps to go. Her time of 2:42:30 easily beat the previous world indoor marathon record of 2:44:44, set last year by Allie Kieffer.

Pallardy, a member of New Balance Central Park Track Club and mother of two, set a new American indoor marathon record, finishing the race in 2:44:11. “Unfortunately, to be very honest, it wasn’t what I was going after,” Pallardy said of her new race. “I wanted the world record so I must go back. I’ll take solace in the fact that I have the American record but really it is only because there are only few dumb enough to run 211 laps.”

While 26.2 miles on a track may seem daunting, Pallardy enjoyed the challenge. “I have raced everything from Ironmans, 50 and 100 milers, to every road distance imaginable so I was excited to line up for something new.”

In addition to the World Record Challenge, over 100 relay teams competed in the indoor marathon throughout the weekend. Proceeds from the race benefit the Armory College Prep program.

RELATED: The Winter Road Racing Alternative—Indoor Marathons

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This Act Of Kindness During A Half Marathon Is Going Viral Mon, 27 Mar 2017 20:26:52 +0000 Two men didn't think their actions during the Philadelphia Love Run Half marathon was a big deal, until everyone was talking about it.

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Bryan Crnkovic and Joseph McGinty didn’t think it was a big deal when they helped a fellow runner finish at the Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon this weekend. However their act of kindness is now going viral.

Crnkovic and McGinty, both from Pennsylvania, saw a woman struggling to make it to the finish line towards the end of the race. The men, along with another runner in blue, attempted to help her along until McGinty picked up the woman. He ran with her in his arms until right before the finish line, where they helped her to cross on her own.

The men told Fox 29 in Philadelphia that they never expected to get so much attention. “It’s just what we do. You see someone that needs help, and you just want to help.” The runners were nearing the finish line just under the 2-hour mark and wanted to help the woman reach her goal. “She trained hard,” they explained. “Why shouldn’t she hit it?”

The video, posed by Fox 29, quickly gained millions of views, prompting others to share their praise of the runners involved and their own inspiring stories. “This is why I run,” noted Facebook user Stephanie Kathleen. “This community is some of the best people I have met. It’s so inspiring. From the woman who will do anything to finish to the men who sacrificed their times for her. Incredible.”

Watch the video below and read more about the story here.

RELATED: ‘What Are Ya’ll Running From?’ Tennessee Half Marathon Hecklers Go Viral

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World Marathon Majors Introduces New Prize Structure and Charity Program Mon, 27 Mar 2017 19:13:15 +0000 The new prize money structure will go into effect with AbbottWMM Series XI, which begins at the London Marathon this April.

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The AbbottWMM Series XI begins at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, April 23, 2017. Photo: Courtesy of Abbott World Marathon Majors

(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

The Abbott World Marathon Majors announced last week that a new prize money structure would go into effect with AbbottWMM Series XI, which begins at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, April 23, 2017, and ends at the same race in 2018.

The series prize money has been restructured to recognize and reward the top-3 men’s and women’s finishers in both the open and wheelchair categories. Previously, only the individual champions received prize money ($500,000 each for the top men and women).

In addition, through a new charity program, a total donation of $280,000 will be made in the name of the race winners of the seven commercial races that make up Series XI, which include the 2017 Virgin Money London, BMW BERLIN, Bank of America Chicago and TCS New York City Marathons, and the 2018 Tokyo, Boston, and Virgin Money London Marathons. The 2017 IAAF World Championships marathon is also part of the series.

Each race winner in the open and wheelchair categories will be honored with an AbbottWMM $10,000 donation, in his or her name, to a charity of his or her choosing.

“The race directors of the Abbott World Marathon Majors want to acknowledge the top three athletes, rather than just the winners, and also to reflect the reason to run for so many of the hundreds of thousands who participate in our races,” said Tim Hadzima, AbbottWMM general manager, in a media statement. “Many of the runners who cross our iconic finish lines every year fundraise an incredible amount of money for charity.”

The current AbbottWMM cycle, Series X, concludes with the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17, 2017. The leader board positions of athletes contending for the titles can be viewed at

RELATED: 6 Fun Facts About the World Marathon Majors

Races For Series XI

  • April 23, 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon
  • August 6, 2017 IAAF World Championships Marathon
  • September 24, 2017 BMW BERLIN Marathon
  • October 8, 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
  • November 5, 2017 TCS New York City Marathon
  • February 25, 2018 Tokyo Marathon
  • April 16, 2018 Boston Marathon
  • April 22, 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon

Scoring System and Prize Money For Series XI

The three athletes in the open and wheelchair divisions with the highest amount of points will be awarded prize money. The scoring remains the same as in past series, with athletes earning points by placing among the top five in Qualifying Races:

1st place – 25 points
2nd place – 16 points
3rd place –  9 points
4th place –  4 points
5th place –  1 point

Prize money will be awarded as follows:

OPEN MEN & WOMEN: $250,000 – 50,000 – 25,000

WHEELCHAIR MEN & WOMEN: $50,000 – 25,000 – 10,000

Charity Program Details

Runners in the six AbbottWMM races raise approximately $150 million for charity every year through individual fundraising. In Series XI, AbbottWMM adds a charity program, donating a total of $280,000 to different charities during the year.

Beginning at the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, the men’s and women’s open and wheelchair champions will work with race organizers to choose a charity to receive $10,000 in their names, on behalf of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. This will be replicated at each of the Series XI races in Berlin, Chicago, New York City, Tokyo, Boston and London 2018 marathons to result in a total donation of $280,000 from AbbottWMM.

Each race organizer will decide the process for the selection of the charities for their race and full details will be announced by each during the build-up to the race.

RELATED: World Marathon Majors Debuts “Six Star” Finisher Medal

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United Airlines Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon San Francisco Photos Sun, 26 Mar 2017 23:14:15 +0000 More than 9,000 participants took flight at this morning’s United Airlines Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon San Francisco in an ideal day

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More than 9,000 participants took flight at this morning’s United Airlines Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon San Francisco in an ideal day for running with temperatures in the low-50s. David Urista from Daly City and Rachel Wood of Great Britain were the top finishers, breaking the tape in 1:14:36 and 1:25:34 respectively. The event’s first ever Running Panda took off with the elites and broke his own finish line tape in 1:36:33. Runners from all 50 states and 39 countries took part in today’s half marathon and in true Rock ‘n’ Roll fashion, local band Monophonics, rocked the finish line concert in Civic Center Plaza in a post-race celebration.

2017 Rock n Roll San Francisco Half Marathon

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Air Max Day Celebrates 30 Years Of Nike’s Iconic Running Shoe Fri, 24 Mar 2017 22:35:02 +0000 On Sunday, March 26, Nike and sneaker heads the world over will be celebrating Air Max Day.

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Nike Air Max

On Sunday, March 26, Nike and sneaker heads the world over will be celebrating a holiday largely unknown outside the shoe world: Air Max Day. It’s to commemorate the launch of the original Air Max 30 years ago, in 1987.

Although the Nike Air Max has stopped being considered a serious running shoe years ago (more on that later), it’s hard to dispute that it’s the most influential running shoe ever to crossover into athletic style and pop culture. Nike still sells thousands and thousands of them every year—we’re talking styles that are 20 to 30 years old. Needless to say, the designs have held up well, with successive generations coveting them just as much as people did in the ’80s and ’90s.

Never one to miss a marketing or sales opportunity, Nike is rolling out a lot of exclusive shoes in incredible colorways to celebrate (more on that later as well)—including an all-new Air Max that once again aims for performance. But Nike is also releasing a few sexy iterations of the very first version of them all: the Air Max 1.

The Beginning

Nike had been putting sealed air units in shoes since 1979, starting with the Nike Air Tailwind. The idea behind putting air in a midsole, proposed by a NASA engineer named Frank Rudy, was that it would be theoretically lighter than midsole foam, and would not wear out or break down like foam either. For the next eight years, as Nike grew, it expanded and promoted this easy-to-understand technology. But all that time, the “air” was buried inside the midsole. Nike’s designers, including the legendary Tinker Hatfield, who created the Air Max 1, wanted the technology to be visible. Plus, the thought went, the more midsole foam you replace with “air,” the better.

Nike Air Max 1Nike Air Max 1, Photo: Courtesy of Nike

Hatfield, who, along with other Nike designers, takes inspiration from a fascinating array of sources, claimed to be inspired by the inside-out architecture of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. By moving the seams around on the air bag, they were able to create a “window” in the midsole, with the Air Sole on display, in the original Air Max.

The shoe was audacious looking—and an instant hit in a time when running biomechanics were less popularized and polarized than now (just look at the heel strike in this ad!).

Other iconic designs included the Air Max 90, the Air Max 95 (with a visible forefoot Air Sole, for the first time) and Air Max 97 (with a full-length—and fully visible—Air Sole).

RELATED: Nike Unveils Shoes Designed to Run a Sub-2-Hour Marathon

30 Years Later

As running shoes have evolved and followed various design trends, the raison d’etre of the Air Max—the pursuit of a strictly air-filled, foam-free midsole—eventually found its performance limitations.

However, Nike is aiming to change that with the release of the all-new Air VaporMax on … Air Max Day. At $190, the shoe is blessed with Nike’s beloved Flyknit upper, and a full-length, segmented Air Sole solves some flexibility issues. It’s also unexpectedly light, at 8.5 ounces. We haven’t run in it yet, but it’s already gotten good reviews elsewhere from Swoosh-covered testers.

Nike Air VaporMaxNike Air VaporMax, Photo: Courtesy of Nike

Also dropping throughout the month of March are special-edition versions of those special old iterations of the Air Max. They’re happening online, at specialty sneaker shops, and at Nike’s Sneakeasy locations in several cities—New York, Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles—which will also feature historical Air Max exhibits, bus rides, musical performances and more. You can follow each of Nike’s city handles on Twitter to learn more or get limited tickets to these events, or download Nike’s SNKRS app.

Everyone else on Air Max Day can create and order customized NIKEiD versions of the VaporMax and a Flyknit version of the Air Max 1 online. Choices include uppers in OG red and white, or an array of colors; midsoles/Air Soles in white, clear or bright yellow volt; and side graphics in a choice of heritage designs.

But even if you manage to live through Sunday without recognizing Air Max Day or swooping up a brand-new pair, they’ll still be available. Nike restyles them every season—and they obviously never go out of style.

RELATED: A Behind-The-Scenes Glimpse Inside Nike’s World Headquarters

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David Roche’s Coaching Philosophy For Trail Runners Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:53:38 +0000 We sat down with David to learn more about his coaching philosophy, personal performance goals and what it's like to train with his wife.

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David Roche at the 2017 USA 50K Trail Championships where he won 3rd place. Photo: Megan Roche

As coaches and accomplished trail runners, David and Megan Roche could easily be called the “first couple of trail running.” David, coached by Megan, recently took 3rd at the USA 50K Trail Championships, and he has two previous USA Trail 10K titles under his belt. Meanwhile, David also coaches Megan, and just helped her attain recognition as USATF Trail Runner of the Year in both ultra and sub-ultra distances. She is a four-time national trail champion, six-time member of Team USA, and if that’s not enough, she’s also a fourth year medical student at Stanford where she is researching running, injuries, and biomechanics.

In 2013, David, who lives in the Bay Area, started Some Work All Play (SWAP), a community of 100 runners all personally coached by him. In this group are dozens of elite athletes, including Megan, 2016 Leadville 100 winner Clare Gallagher, and International Skyrunning Champion Hillary Allen. We sat down with David to learn more about his coaching philosophy.

How did you get into running and coaching?

“I went to college to play football at Columbia, and considered myself a sprinter and weightlifter. I didn’t even last through my entire freshman year—I found myself as a 200-pound ex-football player at 18 or 19 in New York City after growing up in a farming area of Maryland. I felt lost in geographic place. Running started right after that as a means to find dirt and escape the concrete and rush of humanity that you get in New York City. I thought 5 miles was excruciatingly far at the time. The really cool thing is that the experience of coming into running later in life and having no coach as a kid to tell me what to do is shared with a lot of trail runners. That experience gave me unique insight into what runners face and laid the groundwork for getting into coaching.”

What’s your coaching philosophy?

 Whenever you make a decision about running, it should be about what will make you a better runner in three years. Everyone loves running not because of results, but because of the process and life. We still want to be running when we are 60. I try to create a community that is centered around ‘everyone is an elite’. If you run, you are an elite runner to me. There’s no difference between the pros who win World Championships and people who running 10-15 miles per week with a crazy busy job. If you’re out there doing it every day, then you’ve met all the prerequisites in my mind of being an elite runner, and anything that comes after is either due to people’s decisions or a mistake of genetics—we shouldn’t put someone on a pedestal because certain people are just good naturally. I try to create an environment through the team I coach in which what matters is the grind, not the results of the grind.”

Who are your mentors?

 “Megan is my mentor when it comes to running and life. She coaches me, and I’m very lucky to have that. So much of this philosophy comes from the philosophy of learning about love through her—the sappy answer that people probably don’t want to hear! My favorite coach is Steve Magness because of the way that he is so intellectually flexible and willing to adapt for each athlete. And the trail running community as a whole—people here are truly accepting and all that matters is community.”

You coach over 100 athletes, including your wife Megan. How do you balance your own performance goals with your coaching duties?

 If I found out that I couldn’t race again, I wouldn’t be sad about it because I invest about 1 percent of my energy in my own running and the other 99 percent in my athlete’s performance and fulfillment. 1 percent of me would be a little bit sad though.”

Congrats on your recent 3rd place finish at the USA 50K Championships. Can you tell us how that race went down?

“It was a fun way to start the year. The race had a lot of obstacles embedded within it. At mile 8, I was in the lead with Max King when I got to a mud bog for which the race director warned us to tie our shoes tight. The mud bog swallowed my shoe, and I needed help from two guys on the course to find it. I had to recalibrate my expectations, goals, thoughts and just finish. What trail and ultra-running does is that you find out more about yourself when stuff hits the fan. I always tell my athletes that when you go into a race, you don’t think about results, but you expect that your body will give you breakthroughs, then you take it as it comes and always be joyous.”

What are your personal running goals over the next few years?

“Just staying on Megan’s feet and sticking with her has led me to all the fun and great things I get to experience now. I think I can get faster and faster, and compete internationally in shorter distance ultras, but Megan has so much potential if she chooses to explore it. I find that my performances are pretty weak if Megan’s not there. I derive so much strength from her, so I’ll probably just tag along.”

What does one of your training weeks look like?

“I need to be at the computer most days during work hours and don’t love running in the evenings. I do 85 to 100 miles per week on six days with a full rest day each week, longer singles in the morning, and weekends running with Megan. I do one workout per week focused on shorter intervals with shorter rest to emphasize running economy. I try to do this year-round and I’m still progressing.”

Between your own running, coaching, and being married to a runner, do you ever need a break?

“I actually don’t. I tell my athletes that when you make a decision in life and you are sure of it, write it on a post-it note and put it on the fridge…and the time you don’t want to (run) is the time you need it most.”

RELATED: Why You Should Know This 26-Year-Old Breakout Ultrarunner

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A Rundown Of The Year’s Speediest Track Spikes Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:10:47 +0000 This season's track spikes are lighter than ever for smoother and speedier rides around the oval.

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Today’s spikes are sexier than ever. Uppers are ultra-light and form-fitting, and soles are sculpted from high-tech materials to produce smooth, speedy toe-offs. New companies like Hoka One One, Altra and Under Armour have entered the field, driving innovation in cushioning, fit and quality, while established players keep raising the bar for lightweight comfort and ride. Never has there been more choices and more excellence waiting for you to lace up and go tear up the track.

RELATED: 2017 Running Gear Guide—Road Shoes

Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Middle-Distance/Distance Spikes Sprint Spikes Sprint Spikes Sprint Spikes Sprint Spikes Sprint Spikes Sprint Spikes

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Why The Boston Marathon Is So Special Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:40:00 +0000 A look at the race's—and Boston's—rich history and the achievement that qualifying for the world’s grandest marathon bestows on its

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Boston Special 1
Photo: Courtesy of Boston Athletic Association

In times like these, races like the Boston Marathon bring people together. How? It’s a combination of not only the race’s rich history, but the area’s too. Plus the screaming locals, and the achievement that qualifying—and running—the world’s grandest marathon bestows on its runners.

All marathons may be 26.2 miles in length, but there is more contained within the 26.2 going from the small bedroom community of Hopkinton, Mass., to the big city of Boston each spring than in any other marathon in the world. The history of the sport runs this way, as does the founding of the nation and its freedoms itself.

This year Boston will celebrate its 121st running, and as throughout its century-plus time frame, regardless of what woes the nation is wrestling with, for that one day, Patriot’s Day, the marathon in Boston will illuminate the best in the human spirit as thousands of disparate impulses flow into close harmony along its historic route.

Patriot’s Day in Boston doesn’t just celebrate the finest runners in the world, it also commemorates the 1775 Battles of LexingtonConcord, the opening salvos in the U.S. War of Independence against Great Britain.

This overlay of historic reverence casts a special aura around the classic Patriots’ Day footrace. You hear it amid the nervous prerace patter on the Hopkinton town green with the cadence of the drum and fife corps before the start. You see it in the red, white and blue bunting draped along the starter’s podium on Main Street, and in the inward gaze of competitors zeroing in on a major effort beneath the World War I doughboy statue adjacent to the start line.

“This is the Mecca,” affirms official Boston Marathon greeter Tommy Leonard, founder of the Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod, and former bartender at the legendary Eliot Lounge, the one-time Boston runner’s bar that stood on the corner of Mass and Comm avenues, a half-mile from the marathon finish line until the marathon’s 100th birthday in 1996. “There is nothing like the heartbeat in old Beantown on marathon day.”

C08AHA Runners at the finish of the 1981 Boston Marathon.
C08AHA Runners at the finish of the 1981 Boston Marathon. Photo: Courtesy of Alamy

First proclaimed a holiday in Massachusetts in 1894 by Governor Frederic T. Greenhalge, Patriots’ Day was originally celebrated on April 19, the actual anniversary of the Minutemen battles. Since 1969, the holiday has been marked on the third Monday of April, which coincides with the first day of a vacation week for public schools and a school holiday for many local public and private colleges and universities, too. The release of students adds to the boisterous nature of the marathon throngs lining both sides of the marathon route, most notably in Wellesley at halfway—where coeds from Wellesley College create a Tunnel of Screams that urge the racers on, but at times compel them to stay and absorb the affection.

The marathon, begun as connection between Athenian and American struggles for liberty, has woven its own historic tapestry as the race threads through eight cities and towns, drawing competitors and spectators alike into a unity of purpose.

“Boston isn’t the course. It’s not the people who run the race. I am thoroughly convinced it’s the people who line the course,” recalled Minnesota native Garry Bjorklund after leading the 1979 Boston Marathon until the hills of Newton before eventually finishing fifth. “It’s a feeling that makes you dizzy, knowing you are leading the Boston Marathon. You don’t have people like you have in Boston anywhere else.”

“And they don’t care if you win,” said threetime Boston women’s division runner-up and Quincy, Mass., native Patti Dillon. “They just want you to do good. They don’t want you to quit; they don’t like quitters. And it helps when you know they are rooting for you. I don’t know, it just gives you something extra.”

Boston Special 2
Photo: Courtesy of Boston Athletic Association

There are bigger marathons in the world; faster ones, too. But there remains something seminal about Boston. Perhaps it is the long, hard winter that precedes it, and the promise of the coming rebirth that it heralds.

“The celebration of the Boston Marathon? Really, the rite of spring, right there,” was how former Brookline resident and marathon fan Paul Marshall always thinks of Patriots’ Day.

When the Boston Athletic Association instituted time qualifying standards in 1970 to control the size of the field after the race grew to more than 1,000 entrants, it unwittingly created a special “people’s Olympics” quality to the old race, a standard for runners to achieve. Today, runners from around the world dream of posting a Boston qualifier, knowing that only a special few will have earned the honor of pinning on a Boston number. And the people of Boston and the surrounding area feel just the same about the runners.

“It’s overwhelming. It’s the marathoner’s experience of a lifetime,” said 1968 Boston champion Amby Burfoot.

“There is a tremendous amount of energy floating around Boston on marathon weekend,” said Burfoot’s former Wesleyan University roommate and four-time Boston champion Bill Rodgers. “It’s the epitome of a true sporting event, in the classical sense.”

RELATED: Kathrine Switzer On Her Return to the Boston Marathon

From its humble start in 1897 when 15 runners toed the scratch line in Ashland, Mass.—back when the race was still measured at 24.5 miles (39.4 km)—the Boston Marathon has sheltered the flame of marathoning that first took form in the inaugural Olympic Games of the modern era a year earlier in Athens, in 1896. There, to commemorate the mythical run of army messenger Pheidippides bringing word of a great military victory over an invading Persian force to the capital in 492 B.C., Olympic fathers instituted a distance run of 40 kilometers from the plains of Marathon to the city of Athens. With 60,000 cheering Greeks in attendance, including their king, Greek shepherd Spyridon Louis arrived in the Olympic stadium as the first Olympic Marathon champion.

So moved were members of the U.S. team by that new event that members of the Boston Athletic Association in attendance decided on the boat ride home across the Atlantic to create just such a race back home the following spring.

“It has such deep roots, such tradition, it’s the race everyone wants to do,” said Californian Bob Molinatti, multiple-time wheelchair competitor. “You can run any other marathon and people will be impressed. But when you run Boston, it’s making a statement. When you look at the front row at Boston, you are looking at the cream of the crop.”

Boston Special 4

Boston College track coach Randy Thomas finished fifth in Boston in 1978. The Fitchburg, Mass., native says it this way: “It’s a day that belongs to the runners, and a day that belongs to the spectators, the whole million of them. It’s the premier race in everyone’s mind, a great day for the city, one that gives it its reputation throughout the world.”

It took until the mid-1970s before distance running caught fire and became the social movement that continues to this day. In the decades before it was more of a quirky pastime practiced by young men with wiry frames and faraway gazes in out-of-the-way places. Yet there was something about its hard, flinty nature that appealed to the people in and around Boston. What is that old line—“If the Pilgrims had landed in California, New England would still be uninhabited”?

“At times the noise was deafening,” said Alberto Salazar of his 1982 Duel in the Sun victory over Beardsley.

“When you have a crowd that big, it’s almost physically impossible to control them if they don’t want to be controlled,” explained former longtime race director Will Cloney.

“This is the Kentucky Derby for all marathon runners,” said Jock Semple in his Scottish brogue. Semple finished seventh in 1930, but for decades after that, he handled all entries for the marathon from his physical therapy office in the Boston Garden where he worked on the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. His boss, Walter Brown, didn’t just own the Garden and the two Boston pro sports teams, he was a member of the founding family of the Boston Marathon as well.

RELATED: Galen Rupp Makes His Boston Marathon Debut Amid A Storm

The importance of the Boston Marathon beyond the sporting realm revealed itself anew in 2014. Coming one year after the savage bombings along the Boylston Street finish by two radicalized Chechnyan brothers, Meb Keflezighi’s front-running, then hanging-on victory, the first by an American male since 1983, redeemed the hallowed ground not only for all runners, but in the name of all immigrants who had come to this country for the open-hearted welcome it has always represented.

In a country currently rife with division, this annual coming together is a reminder of those qualities that link us in a common bond and transcend those that separate us. The message of Boston is clear and unassailable: When thousands of runners from around the nation and world take on a daunting distance while being encouraged by huge, welcoming throngs on roads where history has been formed, the world becomes a better place.

RELATED: Boston’s Hop 21 Is Making The Long Training Run Fun Again

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5 New Faces Making Their Boston Marathon Debut Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:18:02 +0000 This year, 30,000 participants will toe the start line of the Boston Marathon. Here are the stories of five newcomers to the race.

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Credit: Graham Macindoe

For many runners, qualifying for the Boston Marathon is a triumphant achievement in which the years of training and logging the miles all culminates on race day. This year, 30,000 official participants have been accepted to toe the start line of this most coveted race. For more than 2,400 of them, it will be their first Boston Marathon. We asked some of our readers who are running Boston for the first time this year to share in their own words how they qualified—and what motivated them to chase a BQ. Their stories may vary, from the 60-year-old who is battling cancer to the mom of two who wants to set a good example for her sons, but they share a common spirit of perseverance and determination that, come race day, will forever define them as Boston Marathoners.

Erin Ryder, 36, Jersey City, N.J.

Credit: Graham Macindoe
Credit: Graham Macindoe

Qualifying race: 2016 New Jersey Marathon

“Boston this April will be my 10th marathon. I ran my first in New York City in 2011 after losing my father to cancer in 2009, and was compelled to run with the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team. My goal for Boston is to run feeling strong and hopefully requalify. I grew up in a running family—both my sister and I ran cross country and track, and it’s an anchor in my life. This race coming up is so meaningful—it’s a race that has to be earned. It allows me to reflect on the past several years, the hard work put in, and the growth as a result. My full family will also be there for the first time since my first marathon, this time with one additional niece and nephew, along with their big sister.”

Brooke Magni, 34, Lancaster, Pa.

Brooke Magni 1

Qualifying race: 2015 Harrisburg Marathon

“I wanted to run Boston more than anything in the world. After two disaster marathons I started training with a girlfriend, and not only qualified but also placed second female overall in my BQ race! I am a mom of two boys and I think it’s so important to set a good example that hard work pays off. I also wanted to show myself that there was nothing I could not accomplish. No matter how hard life can be or how bad your mistakes may seem, there can always be redemption. Boston 2017 will have a much deeper meaning to me than any other race ever has or ever will, and I am very excited to share it with my family.”

Fernando De Samaniego Steta, 32, San Francisco

Fernando 1

Qualifying race: 2016 Oakland Marathon

“When I got into long-distance running I heard about Boston, like any other marathoner, and always thought about running it. Then my life changed and I moved to San Francisco. At the time I read Christopher McDougall’s famous book Born to Run. The combination of that book and meeting the ultra running community in the Bay Area motivated me to transition into longer races on trails and mountains. Since 2013 I’ve finished numerous 50-milers, 100Ks and 100-mile races on trails and on the mountains. However, the desire to run Boston reemerged through the same ultra community. Alex Varner, a well-known distance runner in the area and one of my best friends, always talked wonders about Boston. For the last three years, a big group from the San Francisco Running Company (who I run with) has gone to Boston and I’ve missed that every single year. The FOMO was so big last year that I decided to train for a BQ and join my friends in Boston.”

Stephen Liegghio, 47, Mount Clemens, Mich.

Stephen 3

Qualifying race: 2016 Myrtle Beach Marathon

“I used to be a martial arts instructor. Then in 2006 I had a severe injury (compound tib/ fib fracture) that forced me to stop teaching. Over the next two years I wasn’t able to walk, and had four surgeries to repair the damage. When I got remarried in July of 2009, I saw pictures from my honeymoon and realized that I had gotten fat. That motivated me to start walking three hours a day, and I lost 70 pounds by the end of that year. In 2010, I ran my first half marathon and I continued with my running over the next couple of years until August of 2012, when I donated a kidney to a complete stranger and had to take a break. A couple years later I ran the Chicago Marathon because that’s where my donor recipient lives and I wanted him to be at the finish. After Chicago I had no intention of running another marathon. Then I watched the 2015 Boston Marathon on TV and felt maybe it was something I could do—it soon went from being something I would like to do to something that I had to do. What I’m most excited about this year is that my recipient will once again be waiting at the finish line when I get there.”

Pat Staveley, 60, Calgary, Canada

Pat Staveley 1

Qualifying race: 2015 Portland Marathon

“I started running at about age 52. I also started weight training with an amazing trainer named Janice, who helped me learn to run, become strong, lose weight and eat healthy. She got me through four major abdominal surgeries and I was able to run half marathons 11 weeks after the surgeries. After doing several marathons and some ultra marathons, including the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim, I wanted to see if I could do a speedier run, and qualifying for Boston seemed like a great goal. Janice trained me to pick up speed, and in October 2015 I qualified for Boston in Portland, Ore. So excited to be going! September 2016 I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, but I am still working out, kickboxing and getting back to running. With my friends, including Janice, traveling to Boston with me in April, I will show up and run/walk this amazing race!”

RELATED: Why The Boston Marathon Is So Special

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Memorable Scenes From the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:11:32 +0000 On Sunday, nearly 20,000 runners took to the streets of the City of Angels in the 32nd edition of the Skechers Performance LA Marathon.

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2017 Skechers Los Angeles Marathon March 19, 2017 ©2017 Rich Cruse LA Marathon

On Sunday, nearly 20,000 runners took to the streets of the City of Angels in the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon. As the fourth largest marathon in the U.S. (10th largest worldwide), the “Stadium to Sea” course features a landmark every mile, more than 50 bands, 4 entertainment centers and 90 cheer zones, and 40 Snapchat Geofilters specially-designed for the race.

Among the 20,000 finishers, eight athletes set official Guinness World Records for recording the fastest-ever times running a marathon dressed in costumes ranging from a boxer, a tennis player, a swimmer and a three-dimensional bird. A Guinness World Records adjudicator was on-site to provide record-breakers with on-the-day verification.

“Congratulations to all finishers of the 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon,” said Tracey Russell, Chief Executive of race organizer Conqur Endurance Group. “It’s amazing to see the Los Angeles community come together every year to celebrate this vibrant event. Through new and innovative partnerships, including Snapchat and Guinness World Records, the energy this year was felt across all four cities from the Stadium to the Sea and globally on social media.”

As for the winners of the race, Kenyans swept both the men’s and women’s podiums. Elisha Barno broke the tape with a time of 2:11:52 and Hellen Jepkurgat comfortably led the women’s pack throughout the majority of the race, ultimately breaking away at mile 13 and finishing in 2:34:23.

The first American man to finish was local Angeleno John Pickhaver, who placed tenth.

Check out the sights and crowds from race day:

Photos: Courtesy of Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon

2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon 

March 19, 2017

©2017 Rich Cruse  LA Marathon 2017 Skechers Los Angeles Marathon 

March 19, 2017

©2017 Rich Cruse  LA Marathon 2017 Skechers Los Angeles Marathon 

March 19, 2017

©2017 Rich Cruse  LA Marathon 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon Elisha Barno - Kenya- 
 Winner 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon

March 19, 2017

©2017 Rich Cruse  LA Marathon Hellen Jepkurgat of Kenya Wins the 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon - Elite Womens Division

March 19, 2017

©2017 Rich Cruse  LA Marathon

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Boston’s Hop 21 Is Making the Long Training Run Fun Again Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:48:20 +0000 The Hop 21 is a 21.5-mile training run that's been a fun tradition for Boston Marathoners in the area before race day.

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Photo: Courtesy of Charity Teams
Photo: Courtesy of Charity Teams

The long training run, a time-honored milestone on the way to running a marathon, can be a slog—a lonely one at that. When training for a spring marathon like Boston, add in the fickle weather, and it makes it all the more challenging to find the inspiration to lace up and get out the door. For those Boston Marathoners who live in the Boston area, they have the benefit of being able to run parts of the course during training, including the traditional long run segment from Hopkinton to Heartbreak Hill.

This sparked an idea for Susan Hurley, who through her business, Charity Teams, manages training and fundraising for nonprofits promoting philanthropy through athletics. The Boston Marathon has a significant number of charity runners, and many are running Boston or a marathon for the first time. Which means pre-race nerves may begin to edge out the fun component of the process. Hurley created the Hop 21 to bring the fun and camaraderie back to training by making the final long run (the Hop 21 is a 21.5-mile run) a group endeavor.

“This started as a small, hokey thing seven years ago,” says Hurley who knows her runners take the training seriously, but wants the experience to be about participating and having fun too. “Word of mouth has taken over because people are pumped about their last big training run. We’ve added costumes, aid stations and a post-run party!”

Unknown-1Photo: Courtesy of Charity Teams

Hurley, who buses runners from Boston to Hopkinton for the Hop 21, usually has 300 to 400 runners show up. But other runners and charities have taken to the idea as well, and some estimates predict upwards of 1,000 runners for this year’s Hop 21 on March 25. The Boston Athletic Association is aware of the run, but the event is not officially sanctioned. It’s a run, not a race. However it is well organized—some communities along the route provide police support, there are aid stations staffed by charity partners, brand involvement, and people cheering along the route. Hurley sees it as a welcoming of spring, celebration of the last long run and an all around positive day of running.

Costumes are a key component of the experience. Given the season, bunny and spring themed costumes are popular, as are other riffs on “hop.” Think hip-hop artists or even running while dressed as a stack of IHOP pancakes, with a sign that reads, “Carbo-loading for Boston” like Alan Seymour of Natick, Mass., did one year.

“As far as costumes go, I think a bit outside the box, and then try to tailor it to the fact that I have to run a very far distance wearing it,” says Seymour, 53, who is running with the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. “Part of the appeal of a costume run, for me, is that mental fortitude training that comes with it. If I can run this many miles dressed up in a ridiculous, often cumbersome costume, then the marathon will be a breeze!”

Unknown-2Photo: Courtesy of Charity Teams

For all the fun of the day, the Hop 21 is also a valuable run to do before the Boston Marathon. “It helps to bridge that gap between charity runners and qualified runners training wise,” Hurley adds.

Mark Zurlo is training for his fifth Boston Marathon as a charity runner and wouldn’t miss the Hop 21.

“For a training run, it really is great prep for the race, not only because you’re on the course, but because it so closely replicates a lot of what you’ll go through on race day. From the early morning wake-up call, to the nerves you feel as you take the bus from Boston to Hopkinton, to the excitement of the first few steps off the starting line, to the camaraderie, and all the way to the finish where you’re elated and exhausted, but you know you need to keep moving so you can get a warm change of clothes,” says the 30-year-old from Brighton, Mass., who is running as a guide for Greg Schwartz, a Paralympian. “A traditional 21-mile training run doesn’t do justice to the entire marathon experience.”

This year Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon as a registered entrant and the founder of 261 Fearless, is running Hop 21 alongside others running the 2017 Boston Marathon with 261 Fearless.

“I’ll never forget the Boston Marathon route, but this is a wonderful opportunity to refresh my memory,” says Switzer who is also running to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her 1967 run. “I ran Heartbreak Hill last October, and it did seem more significant than I recalled!”

If you’ve never run for a charity, something Hurley recommends everyone try at least once, spectating the Hop 21 will give you a sense of what to expect when the Boston Marathon, community outreach and spirit of running all come together.

RELATED: Boston-Bound: One Month To Go Until Race Day!

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Kathrine Switzer On Her Return To The Boston Marathon Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:35:18 +0000 Fifty years after she became the first woman to run the race as a registered entrant, Kathrine Switzer returns to the start line.

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Kathrine Switzer poses with a replica of her first Boston Marathon bib number 261. Photo: Hagen Hopkins.

In April, Kathrine Switzer—athlete, activist, author, Emmy award-winning television commentator and founder of the nonprofit 261 Fearless—will run the Boston Marathon again. In 1967 the now 70-year-old runner was the first woman to run the race as a registered entrant (in 1966 Bobbi Gibb was the first female to run the Boston Marathon, but she was denied a registration). The course of Switzer’s life crystallized the moment race director Jock Semple tried to rip off her race bib, number 261. That’s when Switzer realized she wanted to empower other women through running. From starting the Avon International Running Circuit for women in the ’70s to lobbying to have the women’s marathon included in the Olympics in the ’80s, any woman who toes the line at a race today does so because of Switzer’s efforts.

What does the Boston Marathon mean to you?

The race, in a funny way, has given me everything—my inspiration, my feistiness, a career path. After that first race, I had a whole life plan about creating opportunities and becoming a better athlete.

How does the renewed activism today remind you of what you experienced during the women’s running revolution?

Since the turn of the century, I’ve been shaking my head a little bit because young women today don’t understand that all the rights and freedoms they enjoy were hard-fought. And now some of them may be taken away. What if someone came along today and said, “Women can’t run more than 800 meters, there’s been a mistake”?

How’s your Boston training going?

My training has been going well. I did a hard, hard 30K recently. So, I’m over the hump. I always see 30K as the breaking point for marathon training. I’ll be in Boston for a few days in March to work on the staging for the 261 Fearless runners. It’s at the same time as the Hop 21 (an unofficial run from Hopkinton to Heartbreak Hill, organized by many of the charity runners as their last long run), and I’m going to run it to help give me a sense of the course again.

261 Fearless has a big team for the Boston Marathon. What’s next for the program?

We have 121 people running with 261 Fearless, 114 women and seven men. Some are charity bibs the B.A.A. has given us and others are people who’ve qualified already but want to be part of the team and are raising money as well. I still see 261 Fearless as being in its infancy. The Boston Marathon is going to put it on the world map. 261 Fearless Clubs are about having a non-judgmental community of women and running correctly so you can run all your life injury-free. Whatever level these women run is up to them, but we want them to stay happy and healthy their entire lives. It’s a tremendous opportunity for women, but it’s not just “show up and run.” The thought is, if you want to do this, let’s do this correctly.

What will be on your mind during the race on April 17?

The 50th anniversary is about celebration and gratitude. Because I’m really lucky to even be considering running 26 miles at age 70, 50 years later! I’ll be thankful to the city of Boston, to the race, and even to Jock Semple because he radicalized me and created a great photo. And then I’m going to be thinking of the future, as I always do: of other women in the world who still live in fear and how they deserve opportunities; how easy and cheap and accessible running is; and how hopefully with 261 Fearless we can create community clubs and online portals all over the world, even in isolated places.

Thinking back to race day 50 years ago, at what point did you and Bobbi Gibb become aware of each other on the course?

We didn’t. In 1966, I heard that a woman named Roberta Gibb ran the Boston Marathon. And she was part of the argument with my coach for running a marathon. He told me Boston Marathon stories every day on our training runs. I finally told him I wanted to run the Boston Marathon. He said it wasn’t possible, “No dame ever ran no marathon.” I said it was possible, and had even seen it in Sports Illustrated. My focus was on my race. It wasn’t until I saw the newspapers that I realized she ran as well. We finally met in 1978. PBS did the first broadcast of a marathon in the US outside of the Olympics. I was asked to be a commentator, and I interviewed Roberta before the race.

How has running changed since you started training for your first marathon in 1966?

Running has become a social revolution! When I finished Boston in 1967, a journalist asked me what I was trying to prove. I said I wasn’t trying to prove anything, I just wanted to run. I also told him that one day women’s running would become as popular as men’s running. What’s changed hugely is women have become empowered from running. I submit the reason women run at all is because of that sense of accomplishment, self-esteem and confidence running gives them. Once you start running, you question other things in your life that don’t make you happy. I often say, “If you’ve run a marathon, you can do anything!”

RELATED: Why The Boston Marathon Is So Special

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Get A Sneak Peek At 7 Special-Edition Boston Marathon Shoes Mon, 20 Mar 2017 18:18:36 +0000 Some of 2017's special-edition releases that you'll be able to buy to commemorate your Boston Marathon experience.

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Runners love to commemorate their racing accomplishments. (Can you think of a group of people that takes the cliché “been there, done that, got the T-shirt” more literally than runners do?) Shoe companies eventually caught on, and have increasingly started memorializing big races on shoes, as well—often with fun and wildly creative designs on these limited-edition treatments of their current lines.

The trend appears to have started way back in 1996, when adidas, which has sponsored the Boston Marathon since 1992, released the SL96 shoe with a Boston Athletic Association logo and a blue and gold colorway. Other companies eventually followed suit, and these days you can find them for sale at marathon expos and online ahead of the race for the Boston, New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles marathons. Only a race’s official sponsors can display the race’s logo, but that doesn’t stop every other shoe brand from getting truly creative and reflecting the spirit of the race, the city or the region on the insides, outsides and outsoles of its shoes.

Here’s a sampling of 2017’s special-edition releases ahead of the Boston Marathon.

Nike Free RN Distance 2 BSTN, $120 Nike Free RN Distance 2 BSTN $120 Nike Free RN Distance 2 BSTN $120 Brooks Boston Launch 4, $110 Brooks Boston Launch 4, $110 Brooks Boston Launch 4, $110 Brooks Boston Launch 4, $110 New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 Boston, $115 New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 Boston, $115 New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 Boston, $115 New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 Boston, $115 New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 Boston, $115 Saucony Boston Freedom ISO, $160 Saucony Boston Freedom ISO, $160 Skechers Performance GOrun 5 Boston 2017, $130 Skechers Performance GOrun Forza 2, $140 Nike Air Zoom Vomero 12 BSTN, $140 Nike Air Zoom Vomero 12 BSTN, $140 Nike Air Zoom Vomero 12 BSTN, $140 Altra Boston Escalante, $140

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Molly Huddle Claims Historic Three-Peat Win at the 2017 United Airlines NYC Half Mon, 20 Mar 2017 17:45:56 +0000 Molly Huddle is the first runner to claim three consecutive wins in the race's history.

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Molly Huddle is the first runner to claim three consecutive wins in the race's history. Photo:

(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

After 13 miles of racing, a pair of sprint finishes decided both the men’s and women’s champions at the 12th annual United Airlines NYC Half, as Molly Huddle and Feyisa Lilesa prevailed victorious on March 19.

Racing side-by-side with training partner Emily Sisson the entire race, Huddle took the final turn for the finish and simply out-sprinted her close friend, winning by two steps at 1:08:19. Minutes later, Lilesa edged Scotsman Callum Hawkins in the same manner, crossing the line in 1:00:04 with his wrists crossed to protest the treatment of the Oromo people in Ethiopia.

Though the temperature read 34 degrees Fahrenheit here in Manhattan, both Huddle and Sisson felt like they were running back in sunny Arizona as they covered Central Park’s roadway in the early miles. Step for step, stride for stride, the pair distanced themselves from the field as the miles clicked by and Lower Manhattan came into view.

Huddle entered today’s race knowing it would be a war of friends. As if connected by a tether, Huddle and Sisson led the opening 5K (16:59), as a strong pack formed behind them, including two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat, 2016 USA Olympic Trials Marathon champion Amy Cragg, Burundi Olympian Diane Nukuri, and Swedish Olympian Sarah Lahti, who was making her half-marathon debut.

In the days leading up to the race, both Huddle and Sisson told Race Results Weekly that the podium, in essence, would be decided by the 10K mark: If you leave Central Park feeling comfortable, the second half will be a breeze. If you’re struggling, good luck getting to the Water Street finish line. Though Cragg and Kiplagat looked poised, Huddle and Sisson appeared driven and bound for a battle down the stretch. After all, they had done this dozens of times in practice.

“I knew that Emily and I would be step-for-step for a long time because we had practices that were similar and our coach told us to do that. It felt kind of like a practice tempo run, a very hard one. But I was just thinking back to Arizona when we were out on the canal for miles and miles,” Huddle said. “Until we turned [for the finish] it didn’t feel like a race, until then. But we were working hard!”

To get to the finish together, Huddle and Sisson kept the pace honest; they subtly created distance between themselves and Nukuri, Kiplagat and Cragg, running through the heart of Times Square where hundreds of children were participating in youth races. Though the 15K checkpoint data said Kiplagat and Nukuri were only two seconds adrift (and Cragg an additional eight seconds back), the gap soon seemed like an eternity.

Unbeknownst to Sisson, Huddle was beginning to hurt along the West Side Highway. Running a half step ahead of her mentor, Sisson cruised with the same form she’s always shown on the track. In her half-marathon debut, she appeared completely comfortable.

“I was starting to get tired so I was hoping that if she couldn’t see me she’d slow down a bit,” Huddle said, laughing. “I felt controlled, just my legs were feeling a little tired. I was just trying to take a break.”

Huddle knew it’d come down to a kick, just like last year when she edged Joyce Chepkirui by a fraction of a second. Leaving the Battery Park Underpass with 400 meters to go, Huddle surged ahead, giving her an edge in the race. Slingshotting around the final corners and hitting the homestretch, she was in sprint mode. Sisson, finally feeling fatigue in her quads, had no response.

Breaking the tape in 1:08:19, Huddle didn’t have time to celebrate before Sisson crossed two seconds later, giving her a congratulatory hug at the finish. Sisson’s time was the fastest women’s half-marathon debut ever by an American.

“It’s really cool. I never would have thought I could come back here and win three times. I remember the first one was such a surprise for me, and last year we ran so fast. I just feel really lucky to win for a third time,” said Huddle, reflecting on becoming the first runner to complete a three-peat in United NYC Half history (Ernst van Dyk completed the same feat earlier this morning in the wheelchair competition). “It just contributes to my enthusiasm for New York.”

PHOTOS: Molly Huddle Triumphs in Close Finish at 2016 NYC Half Marathon

Sisson was surprised to find out that she’d broken the American debut record, and moved to No. 5 on the all-time USA list. “It’s pretty special. I didn’t even know what [the record] was coming into today, but I’m pretty happy. Especially to do it here, a tough course.” The Providence College grad credited confidence gained from training with Huddle for the strong showing.

Behind Huddle and Sisson, Nukuri finished third for the second straight year in a near personal best of 1:09:13.  It was her third time making the podium here. She’s gearing up for April’s Boston Marathon, and was thrilled with the performance.

“I was really jealous of them, thinking they probably train like that and have so much speed,” she said with a laugh, speaking of Huddle and Sisson. “It was fun to mix it up with them.”

Kiplagat was fourth in 1:09:37, a second up on Cragg. Lahti, in her debut, ran 1:09:59 for sixth, breaking Isabella Andersson’s Swedish record. American Des Linden, who is also running the Boston Marathon this year, was seventh in 1:11:05, the approximate pace she hopes to run in the marathon.

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