Minute 1: Social distancing for runners
Running is hot again. After 10 years of spectacular growth, running participation peaked in 2013 and had dipped slightly since then. Until an unlikely world event – Coronavirus – seems to have reversed that trend. With gyms, group exercise and team sports shut down, folks in search of sweat have returned to the roads and trails. A boom in the making, many have predicted.
We are lucky in North America, that running is still available to us. Running has been completely banned in Italy, and French citizens aren’t allowed to venture more than a kilometer from their homes. There have even been reports out of Great Britain of neighbors (or is it neighbours?) snitching on runners who are going on more than one run a day and trying to get them arrested. Just last week, Kenyan star and former world record holder Wilson Kipsang was arrested after failing to comply with orders to stay home. (OK, the fact that Kipsang holed up in a bar with 20 friends probably had something to do with his arrest, but…)
So far, medical experts are telling us that running is still reasonably safe if you apply some common sense. Strava recently provided a helpful guide on How to Approach Being Active During the Covid 19 Crisis based on expert advice. For the sake of safety and political support of running, it may be wise to run alone. We may think we can 6 feet apart from our running buddies, but (a) it’s probably not really going to work that way, and (b) it may be a bad visual to the rest of the community and law enforcement. If you need some inspiration to head out alone, we liked this essay on the joys of solitary miles from a physician/runner based in Ottawa. #BestThingsInLifeAreFree
Minute 2: Our favorite new food company
A friend who is an avid CrossFitter recently recommended a healthy food company called New Primal. Because he can do about 20 more pull-ups and 30 more box jumps per minute than we can, we plunked down our credit card to taste test their stuff. That was on a Friday and by Sunday afternoon a box filled with $48.84 worth of their products hit our doorstep. And that was the free shipping delivery speed option. (Sorry, New Primal, we know we just wildly misset expectations.) More importantly, their stuff was very tasty according to our test group aged 12-55. New Primal specializes in turkey, chicken and beef-based products with ingredients you can spell. The sea salt and pepper beef jerky received high rankings, but their “Snack Mates” were the biggest hits. All age groups loved these small chicken and turkey sticks that pack 8 grams of protein into a 50-calorie serving. New Primal’s products fit modern nutritional programs like Paleo, Whole 30, Keto and Gluten Free. We loved their Classic BBQ sauce on chicken and steak and were happy to learn that it contains only a fraction of the sugar of a traditional sauce. The brand is a big hit at Whole Foods. Check out full nutritional info and healthy recipes on their website. #PrimalInstinct
Minute 3: Gear round-up
One of the world’s largest providers of endurance events apparel, Leslie Jordan, just released a line of face masks for athletes who want some protection while they are running. When racing comes back, expect to see race directors order these with their race logos to match their t-shirts. Leslie Jordan also built a creative how-to tutorial for converting head wraps into face masks. (Shape magazine recently answered the question: “What are the best face masks for running?”) Wirecutter, one of the most respected online review sites in the world, just refreshed its list of The Best Running Gear across 6 categories including shoes, recovery devices and GPS trackers. As many retailers await help from the Small Business Administration and the Treasury, they are cutting prices to keep their credit card processors from rusting. Our friends at JackRabbit continue to offer some remarkable bargains and free rush shipping on full price footwear. Backcountry.com is serving up an “Epic Price Drop” on name brand gear like Patagonia and Salomon. Ordinarily, April marks the kick-off of bike purchase season in North America. With retail locations shuttered, nervous bike shops and e-tailers are pedaling big savings. Check out this list of The 18 Best Online Bike Stores in the USA. #TopGear
Minute 4: Run for good and help out charitable causes
We’re not all supermen like David Kilgore, capable of running 100 miles to raise money for charity, but that doesn’t mean our daily mileage can’t be used for good during the coronavirus outbreak. The leading app for turning fitness into charity is Atlas Run, which allows users to select a cause of their choosing. Just turn on the app to log your run and the donations from corporate sponsors will start piling up. Atlas integrates seamlessly with tracking apps like Strava to make it even easier to turn your runs into charitable contributions. Charity Miles is similar to Atlas, with the added twist of allowing users to receive donations from friends. If apps and technology aren’t really your thing, but you’d still like to use your running to help charitable causes, consider supporting outdoor brands that pledge to give back a portion of their profits. Outside Magazine has a comprehensive list of all the outdoor gear companies who have stepped up with an extra pledge to donate to COVID-19 related causes during the pandemic. #TogetherWeMove
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
The Boston Marathon will offer refunds for the first time ever this year after the race was moved from April to September due to the coronavirus. Runners will not, however, be able to defer their entry to the 2021 or 2022 race. Runners have until May 29 to decide if they will accept the offer for a refund according to the BAA’s website. Sidenote: this feels like a good a time to remind athletes that race directors whose events were cancelled probably aren’t pocketing massive profits. Most have already had to pay timing services, file permits with traffic control, and order race swag from vendors. So if your cash reserves haven’t dipped into the desperate zone, please consider cutting a little slack to your local race director.
Big brands stayed away from their typical April Fools’ shenanigans this year, and that was probably for the best. Ultrarunner Kilian Jornet and his sponsor Salomon decided to give it a go anyway. Their video announcing Jornet’s transition away from professional running to fishing was well done, complete with mock-ups of an official Kilian-inspired fishing rod. Of course, it was all a prank. Jornet will continue dominating the mountain running scene and raised over $25,000 last weekend for the World Health Organization.
To show his appreciation for the hard work of life-saving health workers, Florida runner Chris Wauben logged a 7-mile run along busy roads carrying a giant American flag. Wauben is known locally as the “Running Man” and has done these patriotic runs before. Check out the video of his exploits here.
We note with sadness the passing of Arnold Obey, a New York educator and athlete who had enjoyed a streak of 38 consecutive New York Marathons. A pillar of the Staten Island African American community, Obey enjoyed a career as a teacher, coach and principal. Sports Illustrated ran a touching tribute.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
At Six Minute Mile, our staff is really missing televised sports. Like, really, really missing sports. Has it actually only been three weeks since we watched a live sporting event on TV? And no, virtual Nascar and downhill marble racing aren’t going to cut it. We decided a great way to help our fellow runners who are also in ESPN withdrawal would be to share videos of some of the more epic race finishes in running history. There’s no better place to start than American Billy Mills’ come-from-nowhere victory over world record holder Ron Clarke in the 10,000 meters at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.