Elite marathoners are in demand



Minute 1: A shot at Boston

We just received our first Pfizer shot and our upper left arm is in joyful pain right now. Here in Boston, the main vaccination clinic right now is in the Hynes Convention Center, the site of the Boston Marathon Expo every April. We would have rather been walking into a room full of running shoe vendors and energy bar samples yesterday, but we’ll settle for lots of nurses and thousands of vaccines on ice. The only disappointment of the week is that we learned that 2 stamps on our vaccination card will not be enough to clear screening for the Boston Marathon in October 2021. According to Running with Miles, the BAA will likely require 2 pre-race negative tests regardless of a runner’s vaccination status. As with most things during Covid, that’s not perfect, but we can live with it. Of course the BAA’s decision may evolve over time and it’s a good thing for overall public health to get a vaccination as soon as possible. If you don’t have your shots yet, you may want to check out the website Dr. B which maintains a national database of available vaccines, often last-minute appointments before shots expire at the end of the day. For the most part, Covid trend lines are headed in the right direction. As recently as February 26, the 7-day trailing average of daily Covid deaths in America exceeded 2,000. Yesterday, that number had dropped to 858. The improvement reflects the fact that more than 70% of Americans over the age of 65 have received one vaccination shot and 54% of that age group have now received both shots. The number of new cases also dropped dramatically during that time period, but has stubbornly plateaued at around 60,000 per day. We need the younger cohort to stay masked up if we are going to enjoy a fall race season. #ShotFun

Minute 2: On-sponsored runner uses Nike shoes to win UK Olympic marathon trials

Swiss shoemaker On is one of the hottest brands in the world right now. But things were a little off for the company’s PR machine last week when one of their top athletes, Chris Thompson, unexpectedly won the London Olympic marathon trials. Normally, a victory like that makes the social media intern’s job very easy. Not so this week. It turns out that Thompson doesn’t really like On’s current carbon-plated shoe, so he chose to break out a Sharpie and run in Nike’s Vaporfly Next% shoes instead. That’s kinda like when moms tell their kids to wear clean underwear in case they get in an accident. There’s a low likelihood of being exposed, but if you do, it’s embarrassing. It also reminds us of British tennis star Andy Murray who signed a huge contract with Under Armour, but kept wearing his Adidas shoes because he didn’t really like his new sponsor’s kicks. To their credit, On fessed up fully and explained that “While the prototype of our latest pioneering long-distance running shoe has been in development to give our athletes elevated performance, it has taken our research and development team a little longer than expected to perfect.” We expect that the controversy won’t diminish Thompson’s pride in his remarkable PR and a trip to the Olympics. #PaintItBlack

Minute 3: New options for compression recovery boots

While Normatec has grabbed most of the headlines in the market for recovery compression boots, we have taken note of a younger company, Speed Hound, that is nipping at Normatec’s heels. They were nice enough to let us demo a pair of their Pro-Performance Recovery boots for the past few weeks and we are impressed. Speed Hound’s compression boots help massage tight muscles and reduce swelling to keep your legs fresh during heavy training weeks. One nice touch is being able to alter the pressure and increase or decrease it mid-session with the touch of a button. The same rule applies for time duration and target, which provided some good flexibility to change our minds mid-session.They gave us a special discount code “SMM6” to share with our readers. If you’d like to try out a pair, they have a 45-day return policy so if you change your mind you can send them back for a full refund. They aren’t paying us for this promotion, but we were impressed so we wanted to share this offer with our readers. You can check out their sponsored athlete roster and the science behind Speed Hound here. #SpeedyRecovery

Minute 4: Elite marathoners are in demand

We have written several times about the jammed fall calendar for major marathons. While that creates some interesting opportunities for amateurs to run several world majors back to back, race directors are beginning to stress out about attracting world class athletes to their events. Normally those elites can race in the spring, recover and train over the summer, and then race again in the fall. With all races condensed into a small window, however, “The stars of the sport will be a harder get for this year’s Chicago Marathon” among other races. “I’m not going to say it’s not a challenge, but it gives us an opportunity to go a little deeper and find athletes who may have not had a chance in the last year or two and have them here where they may do something memorable,” said Carey Pinkowski, race director of the Chicago Marathon. So even if no one sets a new world record in Chicago this fall, as Brigid Kosgei did by running 2:14 in 2019, we will still see some very fast runners and a full field approaching 50,000 runners according to the Chicago Sun Times. #ShootingForStars

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • In addition to wearing clean undies, your mom probably also instructed you never to lie and almost never to exaggerate. Apparently, that message didn’t sink in for “5 people who showed why you shouldn’t lie on Strava.” Canadian Running found 5 unfortunate runners who thought they could get away with claiming segment wins and PRs by doctoring their results on Strava.

  • Our sister company, MarathonFoto just uploaded an additional 64,000,000 images of endurance athletes from their archives. Many of the new images are available to download for free. Because they love our readers almost as much as we do, they are also offering a special promotion for the photos that are for sale. Just enter code SMM30 at checkout to slice 30% off your shopping cart tab. The link to more than 200,000,000 MarathonFoto images is here and the newest batch of 64,000,000 images is here. And speaking of sister companies, our Six Minute Mile Professional Edition is on fire. This week’s edition was our best yet with lots of news on shoe releases, new venture capital rounds and the endurance race economy. Unlike Ben & Jerry’s, our finance department hates giving out free samples, but if you insist (politely) just email us and we will send you a few back issues to show you what you’ve been missing.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Last month's tribute to Dick Hoyt garnered some of the most touching reader responses since we began publishing Six Minute Mile. While reflecting on Dick’s passing, we were reminded how many lives Team Hoyt inspired and how he opened the world of endurance sports for those with disabilities. One reader’s response to our Dick Hoyt story was particularly moving. Sherrine Hayward wrote to us about her son Dayton Hayward, who was born with cerebral palsy. They have a story similar to Rick and Dick: a son looking to overcome his physical limitations and conquer major athletic feats and a parent who would do anything to make sure her son had every opportunity to reach his goals. Sherrine and Dayton have run countless races together and thank the Hoyts not only for inspiration, but also for providing Dayton with his racing wheelchair. Commenting on the Dave McGillivray piece we shared, Sherrine wrote: “I cannot tell you how so many pieces of what was written was written as if I were to write it. It was beautiful. I hope someday Dayton and Rick can meet one another. The Hoyts have been a part of our family for a long time. We love them. Thank you.” One remarkable chapter of Dayton’s story was his first triathlon which he completed with his friend, 13-year-old Eagle Scout Spencer Zimmerman. Grab the Kleenex box and check out their story below.