Toughest trail runner, sunscreen, and body facts



Minute 1: World's Toughest Trail Runner


Joseph Oldendorf is a lot tougher than we are. He was 10 miles into a long trail run in a remote area of Washington state last week when he slipped on some ice and badly broke his ankle. Unable to muster a cell signal, he saved his own life by crawling on his hands and knees wearing shorts in freezing temps. He took his shoes off at one point and tied them around his knees because they were getting bloody from crawling on the rocky trail. The thought that kept him going: “I don’t want my family to hear I died in the wilderness.” Here’s a Sunday group run debate topic: Who is tougher, Oldendorf or the Colorado trail runner who fought a mountain lion with his bare hands almost exactly one year earlier? The video below gives the full story and even includes footage of his remote helicopter airlift. #Runner’sKnee





Minute 2: Is sunscreen hurting our health?


Even winter sports fiends grudgingly appreciate the calendar flipping into March. While that signals “last call” for skiing, snowshoeing and quiet winter hikes, it also brings hat-free running and goggle tans. Speaking of tans, new research underscores the benefits of sun exposure. Outside magazine details the new study and its thesis that sun exposure can lower your blood pressure. The piece is a follow-up to last year’s provocative story entitled “Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?”  Yes, skin cancer is still a risk, but Vitamin D brings so many benefits that we shouldn’t be ashamed of our tan lines. Folks who lack this wonder vitamin are at a higher risk for cancer, heart disease and depression. The Skin Cancer Foundation offers advice for how you can continue to use sunscreen and still take in Vitamin D. For some extra credit, Harvard Health offers “6 Things You Should Know About Vitamin D.” #DStudentsRuleTheWorld


Minute 3: Which marathons will survive the Coronavirus?


The coronavirus just claimed its biggest victims in the running world when the Rome Marathon was canceled and the Paris Marathon was just postponed from April to October. The Tokyo Marathon was forced to effectively shut down to all but a small field of elite runners. Nearly 40,000 runners were sidelined during their taper period. The LA Marathon is planning to run as scheduled on Sunday, although they are deferring runners from China and other hard-hit countries until next year. London is saying the race must go on. Organizers there fear that if the race is canceled, athletes will go rogue and run the course anyway, creating a safety and logistics nightmare. FWIW, our view is that canceling marathons seems to an overreaction. Potential compromises include limiting overseas participants, curtailing indoor expos and adding extra precautions to water stations. More than 5 million people ride the NYC subway system every day. It doesn’t seem as if having 50,000 runners in an outdoor event poses a greater risk. #CoughInYourSleeve


Minute 4: Body Exploration


Did you know that when you run, the pressure on your feet is about 267% of your body weight? Neither did we … until we read this piece: “7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Body” which details how your body responds to physical activity. We cringed, but appreciated, the reasons why we lose about 1% of body strength per year after age 40. Fact #6 informed us that it takes about 2 hours of standing still to burn the same calories as walking for 30 minutes. #FactsOfLife


Minute 5: Quick Intervals


  • Strava just released an excellent survey of 25,000 runners who log their workouts on the app. Their goal was to answer the existential question of Why We Run. The analysis explored the psyches of runners and came away with four core motivators: Health, Routine, Community and Aspiration. Freud would have had a field day with some of the data, such as the 15% of runners who use guilt as a prime motivator to get out the door. Full survey results are here.  

  • File this away in ALARMING – According to a team of medical researchers, nearly 50 percent of American adults will be obese by the year 2030. The U.S. rate of obesity has doubled since 1990 and shows no signs of slowing down. Sugary treats, soda and the overall ease of acquiring unhealthy processed snack foods have led to the unhealthy surge. Michael Bloomberg didn’t just spend millions on his presidential campaign, he has been writing huge checks to encourage soda taxes throughout the country. Sales of sugary drinks fell 38% in Philadelphia after a Bloomberg-backed soda tax was imposed there in 2017. 

  • Two running worlds collided on February 29th in Atlanta when Jim Walmsley, arguably the greatest ultrarunner in American history (if not the world), took on the best U.S. road runners in the 2020 Olympic Trials marathon. Walmsley’s resume on the trails and in ultra races is incredible – he has won the JFK 50 Miler three times, Western States 100 twice and holds the course record in both. Walmsley is also the unofficial world record holder in the 50-mile distance with a time of 4:50:07 and won the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship in 2019. In his marathon debut last week, Walmsley clocked an impressive 2:15. Not quite good enough to make the Olympic team, but fast enough to bring Walmsley back to the roads again. He describes his training, his race, and how he dealt with social media critics who didn’t think a trail runner could compete with the roadies in this interview.


Minute 6: Daily Inspiration


One of the best parts of our job is hearing from readers about their passions and goals. Many of you are hitting peaks that athletes half your age can’t touch. If our U60 teammates are looking for a new challenge, they may need a couple of training years to equal the record just set by 62-year-old George Hood. The former Marine held a plank for 8 hours 15 minutes 15 seconds to set a new Guinness record. He logged more than 600,000 sit-ups during his training regime that you can find details on here.



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