Hey, we could lead off with something cute this week but there was hella good racing over the weekend so forget it. Read more >>
Just want to point out that halfway through this week we’ll be halfway through February which means we’re close to March! I have noticed a marked difference in when the sun is up in the mornings, which brings me joy because this running-in-the-dark-everyday thing is wearing me down.
Meanwhile, the marathon scene is heating up in the southern states — quite literally. The 26.2 with Donna brought racers 71º temperatures, 13 mph winds, and 91% humidity on Sunday. (And our own Angelica still prevailed!)
I said not to count her out. You guys saw that, right? But still, when Shalane Flanagan flew down the final stretch of the New York City Marathon on Sunday, fist-bumping and F-bomb dropping, I could barely believe it, too.
Despite her storied marathon — and track — career, Shalane hadn’t captured a victory at a World Marathon Major. Now, she has, breaking a four-decade long drought of an American woman winning NYCM.
She was the engine on a freaking freight train of American women in the top 10 — Allie Kieffer (don’t worry, coming back to her), Kellyn Taylor, Stephanie Bruce, plus Diane Nukuri who just recently attained U.S. citizenship.
Sorry, did you catch that? FIVE AMERICAN WOMEN in the top 10 of the New York City Marathon.
It’s a hell of a way to wrap up an amazing freaking year for women’s distance running in the U.S.
Let me recap.
August: Amy Cragg earns a bronze medal in the World Championships marathon, following up on her 2016 Trials win and 9th place finish in the Rio Olympics. Meanwhile, on the track, Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs go 1-2 in the steeplechase for one of the most epic finishes EVER on the oval; Jenny Simpson charged down the stretch for silver in the 1500 meters.
October: Jordan Hasay runs the fastest time by an American woman at the Chicago Marathon, in 2:20:57, placing third. Her performance moves her to number 2 all time, just behind Deena Kastor’s 2:19:36 at the 2006 London Marathon. Gulp.
November: Shalane slays at NYC, winning by 61 seconds over race favorite Mary Keitany in 2:26:53.
It’s a damn good year for American women distance runners. U.S.A. women have never — never — had double-digit sub-2:30 performances in one year before.
Shalane made it 12. Allie Kieffer made it 13.
Still with me? That’s 13 times an American woman has run under the 2:30 marker in a marathon in 2017.
Historic. And that’s saying a lot because 2016 was not too shabby either. (All three American women in the top 10 at Rio, plus bronze medals for Emma and Jenny, for example.)
Shalane said before the race she wanted “one more big performance” before she retires from professional racing.
She got it.
Ironically, her victory came in the same week we quoted her talking about her mom — running pioneer Cheryl Bridges (now Treworgy) — in our #MeToo piece. Bridges once held the world record in the marathon, yet would have crap thrown at her by men driving by while she was out training.
Ain’t nobody throwing anything at Shalane this week except flowers. (Well, and a little shade.)
Now, let’s talk about Allie Kieffer. I’m not gonna sit here and act like I knew who she was going into this race, because I didn’t. In fact, I couldn’t find much about her. The race media guide listed her with a marathon personal best of 2:55:30, although she ran 2:44:44 to set a new indoor marathon world record last year as well. This year, she ran a 1:14:13 half-marathon, which is good but certainly not astounding.
On Sunday, Allie took 26 minutes off her marathon time in her second outdoor race at the distance, finishing in 2:29:39.
Allie didn’t have the smoothest road to the NYC starting line. She started running as a youth because her sister, Meghan, ran. But a few years later, her sister was killed in an 8-car collision during her junior year of college in 2007.
Allie went on to be a talented collegiate runner for Wake Forest. After college, she used money her sister bequeathed her to run professionally, qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 10k but not racing it. Soon after, she found herself injured and moved back to her home state of New York from Boulder, Co.
She joined the New York Athletic Club to make friends, and started making money on the road racing circuit.
She has no coach and had no major sponsorship heading into NYC, although breaking 2:30 will probably change that quickly.
And not too far behind were superstar running mamas Kellyn Taylor and Stephanie Bruce from NAZ Elite, with Diane Nukuri between them. Nukuri recently became a U.S. citizen, having previously competed for Burundi but having lived in Canada and the United States for most of her life.
Wow. Just wow.
What a day. The group messaging system we use for Salty Running was blowing up all morning, as people watched live and caught up on DVR.
I yelled at my television, I fist-bumped along with Shalane, I cried.
As Desi Linden put it, “Thank you, Shalane Flanagan, for giving us something to believe in.”
Anything is possible.
I wasn’t a kid that dreamed of running the Boston Marathon. I was the kid who cried when asked to run more than one lap of the track. Like many people, I decided to start running because I wanted to lose weight. My first goal was to run an entire 5k without stopping. That was hard, but I did it.
Then a year later, I registered for a half marathon, and, again, my goal was to finish 21.1k of running, which I did in 2:00:01. I ran that same half marathon multiple years in a row. In between, I ran the same route almost everyday, at the same pace, and would get frustrated when my annual half marathon rolled around and my time didn’t change much from year to year. I chiseled my time down to 1:47:xx within the first five years of running, but my ultimate dream was to run a 1:45.
It wasn’t on purpose, but by becoming competitive with myself, I started taking more of an interest in running as a sport and made more of an effort to run more consistently throughout the year.
I started running 11 years ago, when I turned 19. This year, I turned 30. During the past 11 years, a lot has changed on the running front for me. And honestly, I never saw any of it coming. Read more >>
Maria Elena Calle, now an Olympian, was only nine years old when she started running at her elementary school in Cuenca, Ecuador. Although she usually finished first or second, Maria insists that the races were just for fun and she wasn’t thinking about winning. “At that age, it was just an after school activity mainly to spend time with friends,” she says.
Maria always loved running, which came naturally to her. At 17 she was selected to represent Ecuador in both the 1,500 and 3,000 meters at the Bolivian Games, which is like a mini-Olympics for South America, held every four years. Maria was one of the youngest competitors there and surprised everyone by finishing thid in both races (behind Janet Caizilitin who finished fourth in the 1992 World Cross Country Championships junior race and Martha Tenorio, a 2:27 marathoner). She recalls standing on the podium singing the Ecuadorian national anthem and realizing that, “maybe, just maybe, I could be good at running.”
Rachel Hannah’s love for running developed about an hour north of Toronto in Barrie, Ontario, where she grew up. It all began on a 200 meter gravel track in fourth grade, where she and her classmates counted laps with popsicle sticks they had decorated, until they had run the equivalent of a trip around the world.
Twenty years later, she’s a graduate of Georgia State where she ran D1 cross-country and track, a Canadian national champion, and a registered dietician. In 2015 she ran her marathon debut, finishing in 2:33:30. She’s settled into a new hometown, Toronto, where she trains with New Balance Canada to represent her country in races like Monday’s Boston Marathon. There, Rachel was the only Canadian running in the elite field and she finished in 2:41:22, 23rd woman overall.
Rachel is someone who’s long inspired me and I’m pretty sure she’ll inspire you too.
Elite Canadian distance runner Natasha Wodak is a badass. Not only is she an Olympian, she currently holds the Canadian record in the 10,000m (31:41.59, Palo Alto 2015). By all measures she is one of the top Canadian distance runners of all time, with a running resume to prove it.
I’ve long been a huge fan and admirer and I want to share what I find so inspiring about Natasha with you!
While she holds blazing fast PRs of 16:41 (5k), 34:50 (10k), 1:14:01 (half marathon), and 2:34:45 (marathon), you may know Hilary Dionne as the runner who held hands with Meb at the 2015 Boston Marathon. Needless to say, she’s so much more than that! She’s a Dartmouth grad and a Boston-based runner who competes for Craft Concept Racing, works full-time for Jobcase Inc., and competed in the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.
Hilary and I ran together back in 2011 through 2013 when we both ran for Boston Athletic Association. More than just a great runner, she’s also very driven in her career, and is someone who can inspire us all. I spoke with her shortly before and shortly after she competed in the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon where she finished 20th with a time of 2:45:31.
Nick Symmonds is a guy who knows how to get attention. If you don’t know him as the guy who auctioned off his skin as ad space twice, or the guy who passed on joining the U.S.’s World Championship track and field team because he wouldn’t sign the contract limiting his ability to promote his sponsors, then you might know him as that runner guy who dated Paris Hilton, that runner guy who was rumored to star on a season of The Bachelor, or that runner guy who was on American Ninja Warrior.
More importantly though, those stunts, as many people have called them, have helped make Nick Symmonds as close to a household name as any American 800 meter specialist could be. Despite his 2013 World Championship silver medal and making it to two Olympics, even placing 5th in 2012, Nick argues that corruption at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and U.S.A. Track and Field (USATF) make it almost impossible for many top-level track athletes to earn a subsistence living, let alone pay to train at the level necessary to compete with the best in the world.
Nick, himself, has made it his mission to clean up the sport he loves, but also to be personally successful whether on the track or off. As he approaches retirement from his own professional running career, he’s shifting his focus to the company he started with his former coach, Sam Lampray, Run Gum.
Behind the elite athletes on the front of the line of races like the 2016 U.S.A. Half Marathon Championship at the Cap City Half are sub-elites trying to chase them down.
Last week I explained who sub-elite runners are, but now it’s time to tell you what is available for those of you who are currently in that group and those of you with the goal of making it into that group. As you get faster and as your goals become more lofty, you will likely need more and more support to reach them. That support can come in many shapes, such as family, friends, training partners, and flexible jobs, but today I want to explain what some races offer in the way of support for sub-elites like current or future you. From major marathons to shorter road races to national championships, there are many races looking to help you reach your dreams. Read more >>
Would you like to grab a burger and shake with Alana Hadley? Have your kid tutored by Olivia Mickle? Shoot the breeze with Esther Atkins? Maybe even receive a home-brewed ale from Camille Heron? There’s a website for that!
Have you heard of AthleteBiz? It’s an online platform dedicated to introducing U.S. world-class track and field athletes to fans and potential fans. Each athlete can craft her brand on her own AthleteBiz page, offering merchandise, services, blog posts, and more. In the way of services, athletes can offer everything from a personalized video message of encouragement, public speaking engagements, guest appearances, or even personalized coaching. The options don’t stop there. Athletes and fans are encouraged to get creative; all you have to do is ask for custom engagement (like that home-brew from Camille).
While we know running is the best sport around, AthleteBiz has its work cut out for it. Running is a minor sport in the United States compared to baseball, basketball, hockey, and, of course, football. AthleteBiz seeks to change that, while providing world-class American runners an opportunity to financially support their training and connect with fans like us. Read more >>
Here at Salty Running we take running very very seriously. Elite runners are also people who take running very very seriously. Put Salty Running and elite runners together and surely such an event would be of the utmost in seriousness, with conversations about lactate thresholds and glycogen depletion and …
real talk: whether men should race in briefs too.
Of all those things we only discussed one of them. Guess which one.
Yep, while we take running seriously and we bring the focus when necessary, we’re usually about as serious as the last time someone suggested you wear your Crocs out.
Enough chit-chat! Let’s get to the 5:
Read more >>
So we went to Jacksonville and now you know our reasons, but perhaps you are left wondering why a back or middle of the pack runner would care about Jacksonville. About elite runners. How are these fast women connected to you? Why should you care?
To dispel any myths here: my first race had a mile pace of 15 minutes and my last race had a pace of 7:45. I’ve been the slowest woman on my team many times, and it’s pretty rare that I can hang with the fast crowd. I’m happy with my progress, but really over four years of writing for SR I’ve gone from solidly average to just a hair above average. As for Jacksonville, a week ago I was essentially in the same boat as most other mid-packers. I’ll likely never compete with these elite women or at their level, so before this weekend I didn’t think that I fit into any discussion about them.
I knew Jacksonville would be fun, and was excited to spend time with my sister there, but throughout the experience I wasn’t quite certain what our role was. Salty tried to explain her ideas to me, but it didn’t really amount to much out of context. Obviously we had taken on a job, providing media coverage of women at the biggest elite field a small scale half marathon had ever seen, but … why? Salty Running isn’t the Gawker of running, or even the New York Times, but something was nonetheless compelling me to do this exhausting work. Something bigger.
Something that affects you.
Read more >>
The plan was even 5:41 splits for 13.1 miles, delivering her pack as close to 1:14:30 as she could. If anyone could do it, it was Brianne Nelson, aka “the human metronome,” a woman reknowned for her even pacing. She’s also one of the few women for whom 5:41 pace is relatively pedestrian.
Brianne is also not someone who runs for glory; for her, it’s all about the pursuit of excellence. Today it wasn’t even about the pursuit of her own, although getting in a good pre-trials half-marathon effort definitely helps her in that, today she braved chilly temperatures on the rainy streets of Jacksonville to lead others to excellence. Today it was about harnessing the Power of the Pack to help the 21 women who travelled to Jacksonville in hopes of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials.
Did it work? Read more >>
This weekend, Olympic Trials qualifiers and hopefuls will converge in Jacksonville, Florida for the JAX Bank Half Marathon. Noted race director and running super fan Richard Clark Fannin hatched up a plan to bring some of the country’s fastest runners, runners who have already secured their spot at February’s Olympic Trials Marathon, to pace those who have yet to qualify. On January 3, 2016, this crazy idea will come to fruition.
So, remember when I told you we had big news? Well, Cinnamon and I are traveling to Florida!
Why, do you ask, is it news that a Clevelander and a New Yorker are hopping on a plane for sunny Florida on January 1st? Because we are going there to cover women’s running history take place at the JAX Bank Half for you!
When others in sport, even our sport, are solely focused on their own achievements, some of the country’s best runners, like two-time Olympian Anthony Famiglietti for the men and 1:10:16 half marathoner Brianne Nelson for the women, offered to pace other runners to breakthrough performances in Jacksonville, we knew we had to be there. Read more >>
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