Of Runners and People Who Run

By Mario Fraioli

Runners across the internet got all up in arms a few days ago over this Bloomberg article and its click-baity headline, “Brooks Needs Runners Who Hate To Run.”

It’s a weird piece with some odd quotes from the company’s CEO, Jim Weber. “Running’s not really a sport,” Weber told Claire Suddath. Message board posters were calling for Weber’s head afterward, and Deadspin’s Dennis Young wrote that the company is “apparently on a quest to destroy itself.”

But is it? (more…)

Third Time’s The Charm?

By Mario Fraioli

As of this writing (January 1, 2018) I’m a little more than 12 hours removed from my weeklong social media sabbatical and I’m still processing—and implementing—the takeaways from this most recent experience. This was my third time going on such a break and it may end up being the most impactful. Time will tell, of course. (more…)

My 8 Recommended Reads of 2017

By Mario Fraioli

A whole lotta books ended up on my desk in 2017. Some of them got read cover-to-cover, dog-eared and marked up considerably, others were skimmed through and tagged for revisiting, and the rest, well, they’ll most likely get donated to Goodwill the next time I clean out my office. Here are a select few (in no particular order) that will have a permanent home on my bookshelf for years to come:

(more…)

Social Media Sabbatical 2017

By Mario Fraioli

Is spending time on social media bad for us? One former Facebook executive says it’s “ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” while Facebook itself is offering new features to “help support people’s well-being” rather than encouraging people to curb their use of the platform.

Of course, it’s not in Facebook’s (or any social media company’s) best business interests to tell its users to step away from the service for a while so they can reset and re-examine their relationship with it, but I’m happy to do so: Join me on weeklong social-media sabbatical beginning on Christmas Day, December 25, and lasting through the end of 2017. (more…)

Get In The Passenger’s Seat

By Mario Fraioli

Admittedly, I don’t pay much attention to collegiate cross-country and track all that much these days, but I’ve been following the career of Northern Arizona head coach (and fellow Central Massachusetts native) Mike Smith since the mid-1990s when he was a standout runner for Wachusett Regional High School, and NAU’s recent repeat victory at the NCAA Cross Country Championships caught my attention, sending me down a deep rabbit hole of podcasts and other interviews he’s taken part in of late. (more…)

Reports of Marathoning’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

By Mario Fraioli

Just a bunch of regular dudes helping one another run really fast at CIM this past Sunday.

I was in Sacramento this past weekend for the Cal International Marathon, which this year and next doubles as the national championship, and left on Sunday awed, impressed, and inspired by the performances I witnessed (so much so, in fact, that yesterday I forked over 100 bucks and registered for next year’s race). The fields, course and conditions were about as close to ideal as you can get for a marathon—incredible depth at nearly every pace, an honest layout that gives back whatever it takes, and a windless, dry morning with temps that didn’t exceed 54 degrees or so. Of course, this means that it will probably be wet, windy and miserably cold when I run it next year, but my stoke will be just as high. CIM is a well-organized event with good energy and an awesome vibe to it. (more…)

Time To Pay Up

By Mario Fraioli

He’s done it. Colin McCourt—the former world-class 1500m runner turned overweight couch potato turned athlete again—ran 15:38 for 5K two weekends ago, winning a bet he was forced into earlier this year by 17 of his friends: break 16 minutes for 5K  by December, or tattoo each of their names to his body. McCourt will take home £1,700 for winning the bet—£100 from each of his friends.  (more…)

Gold Digger: Gwen Jorgensen Aiming For Top of Olympic Marathon Podium

By Mario Fraioli

Reigning Olympic triathlon gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen announced a couple weeks back that she will be aiming for the top of the podium again—this time in the marathon—at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Wait, what? That seems like a bold statement to make, especially for an Olympic-distance triathlete with limited marathon experience—Jorgensen has run exactly one in her career—and a 2:41:01 personal best for the distance, set in her debut last year at New York. But this full-time transition to the marathon isn’t happening on a whim; she’s been thinking about it since before she won it all in Rio.

“For me it’s just something I’ve wanted to try since I had the first thoughts about doing it a few years ago,” Jorgensen told triathlete.com. “I know I’m going to have to take some big risks, but I really believe I’m capable of doing it. With that being said, I know how difficult it can be to perform for a one-day event when you have years to prepare. A lot can go wrong on that one day and a lot can go wrong in a marathon. I have a huge mountain to climb in front of me, but I also know that I have a great team around me to help me get to the top of that mountain.” (more…)

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…)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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