This final episode of the year is a “best of” compilation of highlights from 12 of the most meaningful and impactful conversations that I’ve had over the past 12 months. As I’ve written in years past, putting together this episode is equal parts exciting and impossible. It’s a real treat to revisit all of the amazing exchanges I’ve had over the past year but it’s a tough task to pull out twelve that stood out above the rest. The honest-to-God truth is that they’re all pretty special otherwise I wouldn’t have had them in the first place. Each and every person that has been gracious enough to give me an hour or two of their time for this podcast has taught me, inspired me, entertained me, moved me, or changed me in some way—and it’s my hope that they’ve done the same for anyone who has taken the time out of their day to listen in on our conversations. They are, in order of episode release date: Bolota Asmerom, Luis Grijalva, Amy Leedham, Phil Shin, Nell Rojas, Tommy Rivs, Jinghuan Liu Tervalon, Tommie Runz, Peter Gilmore, Alison Mariella Désir, Chris Mosier, and Marielle Hall.
Bolota Asmerom is an Eritrean-American who has called the United States home since the age of 10. The 43-year-old represented his home country of Eritrea in the 5000m at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. In 2004, he finished third in the 5000m at the U.S. Olympic Trials but couldn’t go to the Games because he didn’t have the Olympic A standard, and in 2008 he finished fourth in the 5000 at the Trials after some last lap contact. All these years later, running is still a huge part of Bolota’s life: he still trains and races locally in the Bay Area where lives, he coaches and advises a handful of athletes, and he’s also the co-founder and co-owner of Renegade Running, a specialty running shop and community hub in Oakland, California.