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 I’m re-sharing a conversation that I had in 2018 with Deena Kastor, which we recorded at her kitchen table in Mammoth Lakes, California. I’m bringing this one back not only because I was in Mammoth Lakes this past weekend but because Deena just ran 2:45:12 at the Berlin Marathon—at the age of 49, no less!—to earn the Abbott World Marathon Majors Six Star Medal for completing all six Major marathons: Berlin, London, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Tokyo. I look back fondly at this chat from a few years ago, in which we covered a lot of topics, from the importance of surrounding yourself with a great team, both in running and in life, to using disappointment as a means to fuel the next big breakthrough. We also discussed how coach Joe Vigil influenced her and helped shape her life philosophy, how training for and racing cross-country “feeds her soul” and helps her become a better racer on the track and on the roads, and so much more.
I’m traveling this week and don’t have a new episode of the podcast for you but I want to take this opportunity to re-run one of my favorite conversations that I’ve ever had for the show. It’s with Diljeet Taylor, who is the head women’s cross-country coach and the Associate Director of Track and Field and field at BYU, which is one of the top collegiate programs in the country. We recorded this episode nearly two years ago when we were in the thick of the pandemic and it’s a great one to revisit or maybe check out for the first time. In this conversation, which is really a masterclass is coaching and team building, Coach Taylor talked to me about the culture she’s helped build at BYU, why gratitude is so important to the strength of that culture, the importance of investing in people and not performances, and so, so much more.
Ruben Sanca represented his home country of Cape Verde in the marathon at the 2011 World Championships in South Korea and the following year he competed in the 5000m at the Olympic Games in London. In fact, it was during those Olympics that I first spent some meaningful time with Ruben and got know him a little bit. Ruben has also finished in the top-25 of the Boston Marathon twice and still competes regularly on the New England road racing scene. In August, he and his five-year-old son Greyson broke the Guinness World Record for running a mile with a stroller, clocking a 4:32.2 at the High Street Mile in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Brendan Leonard is an ultrarunner, writer, award-winning filmmaker, speaker, and creator of one of my favorite websites on the internet, Semi-Rad.com. On top of all that, he’s also a new dad, which we talked quite a bit about in this conversation. Brendan is someone whose work I’ve admired for quite a while now. He’s got an unmatched ability to tell stories, use humor, and share drawings that convey many of the things we all feel and experience as runners, and as human beings in general. In this conversation, we bounced all over the place, covering topics like ultrarunning, creativity, storytelling, self-employment, parenthood, where and how all these things overlap and intersect, and a lot more.
I’m excited to bring you the 7th installment of Common Ground, a monthly podcast co-hosted by me and Dinée Dorame of the Grounded Podcast. In this episode, we catch up on what we’ve both been up to of late personally, professionally, and athletically, we talk marathons, discuss music, and a whole lot more.
This week, I’m bringing back an incredible conversation I had a little over three years ago with Katie Arnold. Katie is mom, a heck of an ultrarunner, and a great writer, whose memoir, Running Home, really spoke to me on a number of levels. In it, we talked about “smile” and “flow” and why those words are important to her when she races, reverse goal-setting and how this strategy sets her up for success, and balancing competitive running with the rest of her life. We also discussed the importance of observation and paying attention, how death can wake us up to the powerful realization that everything is changing all the time, and how her book came to be and what she hopes readers take away from it.
This week’s re-run episode is an incredibly special one to me. It’s with my college cross country and track coach, Karen Boen, who is someone that’s had a profound and lasting impact on my life. Coach saw qualities and abilities in me 20 years ago that I didn’t know I had, and she helped me to not only become a better runner, but she taught me a lot about hard work, leadership, caring for other people, and what it means to be a good teammate and human being. A lot of how I think about training, and coaching, and life in general is due to her influence and I am incredibly grateful to have run for her during my time at Stonehill College.
I do not have a new conversation to share with you this week but I am going to re-run a previous episode of the podcast with Lindsay Flanagan that was recorded in early 2020, just a few weeks before the Olympic Trials Marathon, where she ended up finishing 12th. Since that day in Atlanta, Lindsay has made some huge breakthroughs in the marathon and as a fan, it’s been super fun to watch. This past April she was 11th at the Paris Marathon in a personal best 2:26:54, and then, just a few months later in July, she won the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia, breaking the tape in a new course record, and another personal best, 2:24:43. It was fun to revisit this conversation and hear Lindsay’s thoughts on the marathon and what she’s learned from it over the years, dealing with injuries throughout her career and navigating periods of time when she couldn’t run, what she’s learned as a coach of age-group athletes, and a lot more.
This week’s episode is a long one but it’s a pretty special conversation with one of my first post-collegiate running heroes, Peter Gilmore—who, incredibly and ironically enough, is now my teammate on the West Valley Track Club Masters racing team. In this conversation, we talked about all of that but what I was really interested in was his path back to the competitive side of the sport a few years ago after an 8-year break from serious training and racing. We got into how and why he came back in 2018, as well as why he retired in 2010 in the first place, and that part of the conversation went in a direction I didn’t expect it to go. We also talked about what’s different for him now as a Masters athlete now versus when he was younger, what it was like spending six weeks training in Kenya right after college and what he learned from that experience, and a whole lot more.
In the sixth installment of Common Ground, a monthly podcast co-hosted by me and Dinée Dorame of the Grounded Podcast, we shared our respective personal updates before geeking out on all things World Athletics Championships, which just wrapped up over the weekend.