Inside Look: Q & A with District Vision Co-Founders Max Vallot and Tom Daly

By Mario Fraioli

Max Vallot, left, and Tom Daly, right, are committed to “making the best tools for runners and active souls, and bringing the worlds of sports and mindfulness closer together through product, research and programming.” Photo: Courtesy of Max Vallot

I wanted to satisfy some of my curiosities about the morning shakeout’s current partner, District Vision, so I threw a few questions to co-founders Max Vallot and Tom Daly, which they were happy to answer for me. You can check out that exchange below. 


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November Partner: District Vision

By Mario Fraioli

A hearty thank you to District Vision for partnering with me to bring you Issues 104 and 105 of the shakeout. DV’s performance-focused running sunglasses are made in Japan and are the most stylish, well-constructed frames you can put on your face. Period. District Vision makes more than just eyewear, however; they research and develop tools for mindful athletes, exploring the relationship between movement and meditation to promote physical and mental wellbeing. I’ve been a huge fan of the brand, the product and their vision (no pun intended) ever since meeting co-founders Max Vallot and Tom Daly a little over a year ago. DV had a pop-up shop and led pre-race meditation sessions at the Boston Marathon in April, and did the same in their backyard at this year’s New York City Marathon, bringing a message of mindfulness and movement—along with some sweet special edition frames—to runners from around the world. I’ve been rocking a pair of Kaishiros and they’re the only sunglasses I own that don’t weigh down my face or induce any undue pressure behind my ears. Have a look at DV’s impressive array of eyewear for yourself and take advantage of a generous 20 percent discount when you enter the code “supermario” at checkout.

Significance of Flanagan’s NYC Win Extends Far Beyond The Finish Line

By Mario Fraioli

Shalane Flanagan, realizing the enormity of what she’s just done. Photo: NYRR

Much has already been made of Shalane Flanagan’s victory at Sunday’s New York City Marathon: It was the first World Marathon Majors win of the 36-year-old’s career, the first WMM win by an American woman since Deena Kastor broke the tape in London in 2006, and the first win in The Big Apple by an American woman since 1977. But that’s not all.

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Out Of Competition

By Mario Fraioli

I was saddened to learn a few weeks ago that Competitor magazine, where I served as senior editor from 2010-2016, will cease to be published. The website, running.competitor.com, will continue to be operated by its new owners, Boulder-based Pocket Outdoor Media, although I’m not quite sure who will be responsible for that at this point given that the remaining full-time staff (of which there were three) was hurriedly let go last week. And while the shutting down of the magazine doesn’t necessarily come as a huge surprise (more on this in a bit), it’s still hard to see something that you poured so much energy into for so long go away for good. It was a fun run alongside some great people and I’ll forever be grateful for the opportunity to work alongside so many talented folks who helped transform Competitor from a regional multi-sport magazine into one of the country’s top running media brands.  (more…)

Pulling On A Poignant Thread

By Mario Fraioli

I don’t live in a real mountain town, I’m not a professional adventurer of any sort, and I didn’t know Hayden Kennedy or Inge Perkins, but this piece, “A Tragedy In The Mountains Highlights Pain Facing The Young,” hit pretty close to home and left a real mark. There are a lot of thought-provoking threads that writer Timothy Tate wove into this piece but this is the one of the most poignant—and relevant—ones that I pulled out of it:

“The craving to be noticed, to be validated, to hold prestige among peers swirls around prolifically in the psyches of our young,” Tate writes. “It isn’t new but here it takes a different form. Heroic greatness escapes most, but you don’t have to be “great” to matter or to register positively in the lives of others. Peace can be found in knowing that who you are is plenty good enough. …The real trial isn’t in ascending the peak or skiing a gnarly fall line; it’s dealing with the mundaneness of grinding out daily existence and doing it in a way that gives us meaning.

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Entering The Gray Zone

By Mario Fraioli

“But then you have these half-milers, and I don’t want to say names of the ones I’m thinking that are tainted until I know for sure, but they’ll talk crazy, they run crazy. The cadence don’t look right. Everything they just do stuff that doesn’t look right and you can tell,” American 800m record-holder Johnny Gray told letsrun.com recently. “And it sounds asinine if you were to listen to me because I don’t have no proof of what I say, but my experience throughout the years and knowing what it takes to do certain things when it comes to 800 meters, I can tell the ones who have cheated.”

I’m not totally sure what to make of this interview, but it’s a provoking read nonetheless and certainly generated some chatter around the interwebs last week. Gray, who set his still-standing record 32 years ago, talks candidly about cheating, front running, weight training (or lack thereof, rather), his own breakthroughs, and much more. I found his answers to the last two questions the most interesting, as he went out of his way to re-address the drug problem in the sport and specifically called out Agee Wilson and other athletes who have “weak excuses for why I failed this test.” Gray’s responses were somewhat inconsistent, however, given the excerpted quote above as well as the fact that he refused to name the names of his own competitors who “didn’t have no shame in letting me know they cheated.” I applaud Gray for his honesty and wish more athletes—former or current—would speak so openly about the doping problem in athletics, but if you’re going to name names, why not name them all? (more…)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mario Fraioli
Mario Fraioli is a writer and running coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area.