Minute 1: Return to racing
When was the last time someone started a conversation with: “I have some good news for you?” Been awhile, right? Well if you’re a runner, today’s your day, since we have at least a little bit of good news to share. Some of the world’s largest race organizers are beginning to re-open their events. The New York Road Runners produced a race with 375 finishers as part of its Return to Racing Project on Sunday. Also last weekend, the Ironman triathlon series held a successful race in Arizona. One participant provides a favorable review in this piece: “Was the Ironman Arizona 70.3 Safe to Race?” And the Rock ‘n’ Roll series just told a Tennessee newspaper that its Nashville marathon and half marathon events will go off as scheduled on November 21, albeit with a reduced field size. They also expect their San Antonio events to take place on the first weekend in December. If you want to get back to racing in an Abbott World Marathon Major, however, you will need to be patient. We don’t expect to see any of the 6 majors take place for another 11 months. So far, the Tokyo Marathon, normally run in March, announced a pushback to October 17 in 2021. London has also postponed its 2021 race to October 3 from its traditional April date. Boston is still on the books for April 2021, but the BAA released ominous news in August that registration has been pushed back indefinitely. We expect Boston to move its date to fall, as race director Dave McGillivray hinted in our podcast interview with him recently. Other world majors will keep their normal fall dates in 2021, with Berlin on September 26, Chicago on October 10, and New York on November 7. These postponements are only good news for procrastinators and sadists. Procrastinators get more time to train, while sadists could enter a 10-week pain cave by running all 6 majors with very little rest in between. #MajorNews
Minute 2: Record results during the pandemic
World records are falling faster than the price of airline tickets. Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei smashed the 10,000m world record on October 7 with a 26:11.02, while Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey broke the women’s long-standing 5,000m record on the same day in 14:06.62. Yet another women’s world record fell last weekend when Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir ran a 1:05:16 half marathon. The first two records immediately created controversy as Cheptegei and Gidey were both wearing new Nike ZoomX Dragonfly spikes, which are carbon-plated and billed as the “fastest shoes ever.” Both records were also broken using new Wavelight technology that employs flashing lights to show the pace needed to break the record. Both technologies have sparked accusations that the new equipment is distorting world records, but World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said recently he is happy with the new pacemaking light technology. “You have to innovate,” he said. #PaceMakers
Minute 3: Virtual NYC Marathon as fun as the circus
We’ve missed a lot in the last 7 months. The races we’d planned to run were revamped as virtual marathons saw a major spike. Movie theaters are closed, possibly for good. Sports returned with no fans, which is just weird. Even the circus has been canceled, which means no rides, no clowns, and (gasp) no juggling. Not so fast. If you’re jonesing for some circus-like entertainment, catch Jack Hirschowitz’s act in the Virtual TCS New York City Marathon. Hirschowitz, 75, is no clown. Instead, he’s a runner and juggler, and he will run the NYC event while “joggling.” He is one of the New York Post’s wildest, most inspiring runners in this year’s race. Hirschowitz, who has run about 50 races while joggling, is just one of the “super awesome” participants in the virtual race, which started October 17 and runs through November 1. Fitness guru Devon Levesque will run the race while bear-crawling on all fours to raise awareness for mental health. He estimates his November 1 race will take about 24 hours and promises: “There’s zero chance I won’t finish.” While the 50th NYC Marathon will not be the same without 50,000 runners starting at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, George Hirsch, the 86-year-old chairman of the New York Road Runners, promises it will be “unique and kind of cool.” #JogglingAct
Minute 4: The best way to wear a face mask while running
New Zealand distance runner Lydia O’Donnell was supposed to compete in the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships last weekend, but was grounded due to travel restrictions. She had been placed in 2-week isolation at a New Zealand airport after flying from Melbourne, Australia, to New Zealand for a friend’s wedding. So O’Donnell, a running coach at Nike, just did it anyway by running 191 laps around an airport parking lot. That added up to a half marathon which she covered in 1:40 on the tiny loop. It was also the first time she’d run a significant distance while wearing a mask. “In Melbourne, the one time you didn’t have to wear a mask was when you were doing vigorous exercise, so I’d never run in a mask properly before,” she said. She described the experience as “pretty sweaty” and said the mask “definitely makes breathing a little harder.” “You do heat up a lot more with your face being covered, but we changed the mask out at halfway, so that was a nice little treat.” O’Donnell’s workout made us wonder about the pros and cons of wearing a face mask while running. Masks are still required at many gyms and outdoor spaces, and fortunately there are ways to get used to running with a mask. As mask technology improves, we have tried to keep up with the top product recommendations. New reviews in October include “The 24 Most Breathable Face Masks” from Men’s Health; The Best Face Masks for Running, Cycling and Working Out” from Rolling Stone; and “The Best Face Masks for Running Comfortably in 2020” from CNET. There’s even a virtual Face Mask Run marathon coming up, which offers some pretty sweet face masks just for signing up. #MaskingType
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
If endless Zoom calls and cancelled youth sports games have left your kids sluggish and out-of-shape, you may want to check out this new story in the Washington Post: “How to Keep Kids Active as the Weather Cools and the Pandemic Rolls On.” We like one of their suggestions in particular. Consider writing small exercises on slips of paper and dropping them into a jar -- 30 jumping jacks, 60-second plank, 20 burpees, etc. Then everyone in the family takes turns reaching into the jar to receive their exercise assignment. This is a good use of downtime between classes instead of turning to TikTok and the fridge.
Carrie Kelley was struggling in the Beaver Creek Marathon. After 4 miles, she was in so much pain she had dropped to the rear of the field. That’s when she heard footsteps and some encouraging words behind her. Fidel Ybarra, a prison inmate on work release, saw Kelley struggling and decided to run along with her for the last 22 miles. “Without Fidel’s help, I wouldn’t have been able to finish,” Kelley said. Ybarra, who was helping clean up around the event, ran in long pants and work boots. “I am not sure why I began running with her,” Ybarra said, “But I think maybe I saw a little bit of myself and other inmates in the situation.” After watching other runners cheer them on, race director Amy Albrecht was so touched she sent a marathon medal to Ybarra’s mother. “I don’t know his past mistakes, but what he did showed his true character,” she said.
If you can’t wait until the return of major marathons to get your fix of competition, we recommend the virtual version of the iconic Venice Marathon to be held this weekend on October 25th. Click here to sign up for either the 42k (marathon) or 10k race. Italian-designed t-shirts, finisher medals and virtual bragging rights await.
Thanks to your support, our Six Minute Mile podcast is now adding lots of new listeners every day. This is kinda wacky, but despite having no podcast experience whatsoever and launching only 7 weeks ago, we are now among the top 20% of podcasts in the U.S. across all categories, not just sports and fitness. That says much more about the quality of our guests than our chops as talk show hosts. (The women on the View have nothing to worry about from us!) We now have 9 episodes that represent diverse viewpoints in the endurance sports world. Our conversations range from a Hollywood fitness instructor telling us how to prevent running injuries to a witty English gentleman who is on track to break world records despite running on two artificial knees..
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
Makenna Myler, a 28-year-old runner from California, is now a surprise social media star. She’s an accomplished runner who