On a weekly basis, host Mario Fraioli gleans unique insights and inspiration from a wide range of athletes, coaches, and personalities in the sport of running through compelling longform conversations you won’t hear anywhere else.
This week's episode is with my friend and sometimes training partner, Alex Varner, and we recently sat down at his kitchen table to continue a conversation that started a few months ago on some runs together about moving on from the sport of running, or at least reevaluating our relationship with it. Alex has been running competitively since high school and has done some pretty amazing things in the sport: he’s won a national title in the 50K, he’s been top 10 at Western States, he’s won and broke the course record at Lake Sonoma, he’s put up the fastest time at the Dipsea Race a record 9 times, he’s run a 2:21 marathon, and he’s also won the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh, NC. After 20+ years of being a competitive athlete, Alex’s relationship to the sport is in an interesting place and we spent this entire episode talking about identity, motivation, letting go, and a lot more.
This week’s episode is with J.M. Thompson. He’s an ultrarunner, a clinical psychologist, and author of the new book, Running Is A Kind of Dreaming, a powerful, mind-bending memoir about how running saved him from a life of depression, drug addiction, and suicide attempts. This conversation was fascinating and one of my favorites that I’ve had for the podcast to date. In it, we discuss J.M.’s book, how it’s structured, and how it came to be, but also what it’s been like for him, as a mental health professional, to open about his own issues so publicly. We talked about ultrarunning, his evolving relationship to it, and the types of personalities the sport tends to attract. Jason told me about what he called the “waking dream state” that he experiences in long races, the process of reorganizing our past experiences with trauma so that we can move forward, the importance of learning to ask for help, and a lot more.
This week’s episode is with Jenny Maxwell. She’s the founder and CEO of JAMBAR, an energy bar for promoting community and eating healthy organic nutrition. This isn’t Jenny’s first foray into the energy bar market: she and her late husband Brian practically created it in the mid-1980s when they launched Powerbar, which they worked on together for 15 years until it was acquired by Nestle in 2000. Jenny is also a runner, a drummer, a nutritionist, and a mom of six kids. In this conversation, we talk about launching JAMBAR after 20 years away from the energy bar industry, how the space has evolved and grown over the past two decades, and what she’s doing to make her new company and product different from the rest. Jenny and I also discuss playing the long game and taking a patient, sustainable approach to both business and life, aligning yourself with the right people, the similarities in how athletes and musicians approach their respective crafts, and a lot more.
This week’s conversation is with Leidy Klotz, a professor at the University of Virginia who studies how we transform things from how they are to how we want them to be. He’s the author of the book Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less and he’s also a runner himself. In this episode, we talked about Leidy’s relationship to running and the place it holds in his life before getting into a discussion about subtraction and why it often gets neglected in favor of addition in so many aspects of our lives, including running. We talked about subtraction as it relates to coaching, writing training programs, and even running shoes, how to overcome our instinct to add to things all the time, looking at life through an editor’s lens, and a lot more.
This conversation with New York Road Runners chairman George Hirsch was a real treat for me. We spent half of it talking about the New York City Marathon, its history, its stories, its allure, and more. We also discussed how all of those things went into a new book called The New York City Marathon: 50 Years Running, which is a coffee table keepsake that I’m really enjoying right now. I also got George to tell me more about himself, his legendary career in publishing, which included a stint at Runner’s World during its heyday, how he got his start in running back in the 1960s, what keeps him running six days a week at the age of 87, how his relationship to it has evolved over the decades, and a lot more.
My conversation this week is with Dana Giordano. She’s a top middle distance runner on the track who competed in the 5000m at this summer’s Olympic Trials. She also hosts the popular podcast More than Running with Dana, where she sits down and talks with some of the most inspirational and insightful women in running from athletes and coaches to insiders and advocates.
This week on the podcast I’m excited to share a wide-ranging conversation I had this past Saturday with the legendary Bill Rodgers at Tracksmith’s Trackhouse in Boston. Bill is a hero of mine and I’ve long wanted to have him on the show and Boston Marathon weekend turned out to be the perfect opportunity for it. In this conversation, we talk all things Boston, of course, but also get Bill’s thoughts on his career, talent, training, how his own relationship with running has evolved over the course of his lifetime, and a lot more.
This week on the podcast I’m answering listener questions in the third Ask Mario Anything episode of 2021. (You can check out the first two here and here.) On the other side of the mic for this one—once again—is sponsorship director, Chris Douglas. We talked about my training for this year's Boston Marathon, how to know whether or not you’ve got too much left in the tank at the end of a race, training while on vacation, warming up for workouts, diversity and inclusivity in my work, and a lot more.
Peter Bromka, a 2:19 marathoner who also writes about running, joins me on the show this week to talk all things 2021 Boston Marathon. We spent the entirety of this episode talking about Boston, how we’re feeling in the final couple weeks of training leading up to the race, what we’re most looking forward to—and anxious about—at this year’s event, the return of major marathons in general, Boston being held in the fall for the first time, and a lot more.
Sanjay Rawal is a New York City-based runner and filmmaker. At the time of this conversation in 2018 he had just released a film called 3100: Run and Become, which takes an intimate look at one of the most unique foot races on the planet, The Sri Chinmoy 3100-Mile Self-Transcendence Race. In this episode, we talked about the 3100 film, of course, but also about the idea of running as a spiritual practice throughout history, the connection between competition and spirituality, running as a cultural connector, and a lot more. Whether you’re a competitive athlete or recreational runner, a miler or an ultramarathoner, this conversation will change the way you look at running and the role it plays in your life.