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10 things runners absolutely should not do

Minute 1: The streak is over

Were the corporate big wigs in Beaverton nervous Sunday when Nike’s star athlete, Eliud Kipchoge, finished a disappointing eighth in the London Marathon? After all, Kipchoge was as close to a “bet-the-mortgage-money” sure thing as there’s ever been in the marathon. Prior to London, he had racked up 10 straight 26.2-mile wins. During that streak, he had lowered the world record to 2:01:39 in 2018 and became the first runner to break the 2-hour mark (1:59:40), albeit in an unofficial event. All of Kipchoge’s wins had come while wearing Nikes, including the controversial Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% used in his 1:59 effort. Nike execs and their 401ks had nothing to fear in London, however. Both the men’s winner, Ethiopian Shura Kitata (2:05:42), and the women’s winner, Kenyan Brigid Kosgei (2:18:58), wore the same carbon-plated Nikes as Kipchoge. The dominance of the Swoosh helped to add $2 billion in stock market value on Monday following the race.  The 40th London Marathon was run in 50-degree, rainy weather on a 19-loop course in a “secure biosphere” due to the coronavirus. Kipchoge said a blockage in his right ear along with leg and hip cramps caused him to fade over the final 10 miles. “I’m truly disappointed,” he said. “But, all in all, this is sport. Sport is run by today you are up, tomorrow you are down.” Among non-elite athletes, more than 45,000 runners, many in an array of colorful costumes, participated in the virtual London Marathon. The race, which was postponed from April, was held in heavy rain throughout the UK which produced more than 40 flood warnings. At least they didn’t have to endure the shin-deep flooding on the course that runners splashed through in the 2018 Venice Marathon. (Video here.) #LondonReignIsFallingDown

Minute 2: Survey says … you really like those running bumper stickers 

Is it humble-bragging or just showing love for your sport? When we polled readers about all those 26.2, 13.1 and 140.6 stickers dotting the backs of cars, it turns out runners really do like race accomplishment stickers  -- especially if they’re on someone else’s car. Nearly 9,000 people responded to our latest Six Minute Mile Survey, and here’s what we found:

  • 23% said they have one of those mileage stickers on their own car 

  • 21% said they are OK with them, but only for marathons, not half-marathons or 5Ks

  • 42% said that “Stickers aren’t for me, but I like seeing them on fellow runners’ cars.” 

  • 14% said: “I hate them, it makes you look like a showoff.” 

According to research, a lot of drivers in general like to read and react to bumper stickers on other vehicles and some have analyzed the psychology behind why people display bumper stickers in the first place. But bumper stickers aren’t for everyone, like this grumpy dude at Other back seat drivers have observed bumper stickers that make fun of runners. Some people hate them so much it gives them road rage. If you’re not in that camp, you may enjoy this list of the “15 Most Hilarious Bumper Stickers.” 

Minute 3: Errors & omissions

We have sore palms and a flat forehead from smacking ourselves in the noggin after a bad oversight last week. Many of you pointed out that we omitted Billy Mills from our list of accomplished Native American runners. Billy was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. After an All American career at the University of Kansas, Billy joined the Marine Corps and participated in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics as an active duty First Lieutenant. He was a virtual unknown in Tokyo where he faced Ron Clarke of Australia, the world record holder in the 10,000 meters. Mills ran a stunning final lap to surge past Clarke and take the gold medal with a PR that represented a nearly 50-second improvement over his previous best. Video of the remarkable final laps is here. #MillWork

Minute 4: Stuff runners really shouldn’t do

Are you the guy who talks about running all the time, even though your friends, family and co-workers may not share your enthusiasm for the sport? Do you begin too many sentences with “On my run this morning…?” Do you stretch and groan in the middle of conversations, so folks will know you just got back from a run? Do you take off your socks at work and scrub loose skin from the bottom of your feet? Do you clip your toenails at inappropriate moments? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may need to check out this new piece: “You shouldn’t do these 10 things on the road, or anywhere else.” After all, it wasn’t so long ago that people thought “running for exercise was for weirdos.” By following these 10 tips, you can help maintain our hard-earned social acceptability. Like not wearing your new compression tights in the office. Or making sure you shower right after a workout. And while you really should clip your toenails, that’s on the list of 30 things you should never do at work. Please keep in mind the intrinsic message from one of our favorite satirical videos of all time: “First Person to Run a Marathon Without Talking About It.” #RunningJoke

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Even though the Chicago Marathon is virtual this year, event organizers have put together an engaging online race expo. The virtual booths offer lots of bargains and new product info, while their speaker line-up is top notch, featuring names like Deena Kastor, Galen Rupp, Khalid Khannouchi and Tatyana McFadden.

  • We launched our Six Minute Mile Podcast last weekend and based on the download numbers, it seems that many of you brought us along for company on your Sunday long run. As we suspected, our interview with Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially complete the Boston Marathon, was the most popular episode among our 6 initial releases. Please let us know what you think of version 1.0 of the SMM Podcast and feel free to suggest topics for future episodes. 

  • If you are a runner and movie buff, one of your all-time favorite scenes has to be when Forrest Gump decides to “go for a little run.” Gump, Tom Hanks’ most famous role, runs clear across the country because “I just felt like running.” That’s basically Marisa Lizak, who just ran farther than any American woman. The ultra runner from Marina Del Rey, Calif. completed runs of 24, 48 and 144 hours in the Three Days at the Fair ultra event in Augusta, N.J. Lizak, who set 100-mile and 24-hour records last year, ran a total of 391.87K, breaking the record of 390K. She also won the overall 48-hour race, beating fellow Californian Bob Hearn, the men’s champion.  

  • Dan Ganzer had dreamed of finally running the Boston Marathon, but when it was turned into a virtual event, his enthusiasm waned. So Ganzer took a different approach, turning the race into a fun event. His friends in Lemont, Ill. helped make it a race he will never forget. Not only did family and friends run a portion of the 26.2 miles with him, they created some special props and treats to make it as much like the Boston Marathon as possible. They even provided an inflatable finish line arch for him. Their efforts made the event a memorable one for Ganzer. “Should I ever get to participate in the Boston Marathon, I truly doubt that it will measure up to this virtual version.” 

  • Last week we humbly asked readers to support Six Minute Mile by buying us a coffee. It was a way to generate a little pocket change for the writers and editors of a free publication. The smart money in the office pool projected that readers would pour us 30 or 40 cups of coffee. We were happily surprised to see y’all spring for more than 400 cups of coffee. Wow. Thank you! For those considering whether to join the fun, you should know that we are still in no danger of generating real profits.  We pay more than most people’s mortgages just for our monthly MailChimp bills, so if you’re feeling generous, please consider “buying us a coffee” today. The rewards extend beyond just good karma. Anyone contributing $25 gets a Six Minute Mile water bottle and everyone contributing $50 or more receives a sweet SMM t-shirt.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Back in February, Sara Hall faced heartbreak in Atlanta when she dropped out of the Olympic Trials marathon after 22 miles. The challenging Atlanta course tripped up the American, but didn’t cause her to break up with the sport she loves.

“Nothing injured I don’t think, but my heart will be broken from this one for a while,” Hall wrote on Instagram. “I really believed today would be the day. And yet, even with how many times this sport has broken my heart, I still love it. And I love the running community. Your love, support, and belief in me before and after the race had me in tears multiple times.”

Less than 8 months later, Hall fulfilled the faith of her followers at last Sunday’s London Marathon. In the closing stretch of the marathon, Hall produced one of the most dramatic finishes since this epic video of the 1981 men’s race. She caught Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich in London’s final stretch in London to clock a PR of 2:22, good for second place. Although she trailed race winner Brigid Kosgei by 3 minutes, Hall’s race represented a remarkable bounceback from her Atlanta disappointment. 

Check out the video of her spine-tingling London finish below.


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