Fall Marathon Guide Interviews


Fall race Guide Header

Fall Marathons are back! For some runners, this will be the first marathon they’re running in at least 2 years. For others, this will be their very first marathon. Either way, we could all use a little refresher on what we need for the weeks leading up to the race vs. what we need for the big day.

So, we reached out to 3 runners of different levels of experience and asked them what gear they’re using for training, what they plan on using for race day, and what they think about their upcoming race.


Andrew L Fall Race Guide

Age? 27

Based in? New York, NY

Morning or evening runner? Evening (its so hard to get up early 😪)

Which fall race are you training for? Chicago AND New York

Will this be your first marathon? No, this will be my 6th and 7th!

Meal the night before? Italiano

Go-to hydration? Nuun

Go-to race day nutrition? GU ROCTANE BABYYY

Everyday shoe choice? ON Cloudstratus (2.0)

Race day shoe choice? Saucony Endorphin Pro 2.0

Something you can’t run without? MUSIC 🎶


Andrew is a 27 year old endurance athlete, living in New York City. Andrew works for our very own JackRabbit HQ, collaborating with his team on creating quality content for the Jackrabbit community about the latest and greatest endurance products from the top quality brands.

In his free time, Andrew enjoys all the unique opportunities the city has to offer, taking ferry rides at sunset on the Hudson River, going to museums, attending Broadway shows (he recommends Hadestown), picnics in Central Park, going to comedy shows in Greenwich village, and training with his track team (Brooklyn Track Club).

Andrew has run 5 marathons throughout his running career and will be running both Chicago and New York this fall. Andrew’s strategy this time around has been increasing his weekly average mileage throughout his training cycle. “At the peak of my cycle this time, I was running 70+ miles a week — totally changed my perspective on the importance of recovery and nutrition.”

Andrew’s reason for running is all about the mental health benefits that running provides. “It makes my day 10x better if I can get a run in. I feel more energetic, less stressed, and more willing to say yes to new opportunities if I feel I accomplished my running goal for the day.” Andrew also plans on eventually trying out ultramarathons and maybe a sprint IRONMAN at some point in his career.


Speed training shoe: Cloudflow 3.0
Long runs: Cloudstratus 3.0
What I never leave home without: Hydroflask 32oz 


Sarah Burgin

Age? 23

Based in? Denver, CO

Go-to hydration? Nuun

Go-to race day nutrition? Sour patch kids only!!!

Everyday shoe choice? New Balance 1080v11

Race day shoe choice? A newer pair of the New Balance 1080v11

Something you can’t run without? My Patagonia hat that I’ve had for years – also KT tape!!

Morning or evening runner? Morning always

Which fall race are you training for? Chicago AND New York

Will this be your first marathon? No, this will be my 3rd and 4th!

Meal the night before? Mexican ALWAYS!


Sarah is a 23 year old student, attending Denver University’s Sturm College of Law. Sarah is currently training for both NYC and Chicago. When she’s not buried deep in legal academia, she’s enjoying all the fantastic outdoor activities Colorado has to offer…running through Washington Park, competing in trail races, skiing down the world-class slopes in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, and attending Rockies games in Denver.

We had the chance to sit down with Sarah and pick her brain about her passion for running, the “why” behind her , her unique rituals, her favorite products she trains/races with, + more!

When we asked Sarah, why she runs, her answer was inspirational — “I’m running to create a world free of MS” — Sarah is currently raising money to help provide important services to people affected by MS and fund research projects looking to end MS for good. Sarah’s father has battled with MS for over 15 years, and she has seen how strong their community’s support has been, so she is taking up the torch to continue that support for the entire MS community. For anyone who would like to help her reach her fundraising goal, please visit her page on the National MS Society – here.


Race day shoes: New Balance 1080v11
Casual Gear: Nike Running Pants


Fall Race Guide Philip

Age: 37
Based in: Mackinac Island, Michigan
Which fall race are you training for: New York
Will this be your first marathon: YES
Your Goal Time?  My goal is 3 hr and 50min.   Ideally I would like to maintain a 9min/mile pace.
Go-to race day nutrition: Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel
Everyday shoe choice: Clifton 8
Race day shoe choice: Mach 4


Philip is a 37 year old endurance athlete & semi-retired nurse. Philip lives with his husband in Michigan on Mackinac Island, asmall island locate in Lake Huron. Philip and his husband own and operate a hotel on the island, where tourists come to enjoy over 70 miles of beautiful hiking trails trails. Mackinac is still a hidden gem, yet to be discovered by most, and has much to offer. The craziest part: there are NO cars allowed on the island. To get anywhere, you either walk or bike where you need to go, or take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage.

When Philip isn’t commuting by Ferry to the mainland for his nursing shifts, he is fully capitalizing on the opportunity to train for endurance races in what is arguable one of the most scene places in the entire Midwest.

Philip actually got into this year’s NYC Marathon through a bib giveaway contest Jackrabbit had in August. Philip, after accepting the prize and registering, Philip knew he had to get to work immediately on his training cycle. Luckily enough, he already had an Iron Man Race coming up in September, so his base was in good shape. Philip ran the Ironman 70.3 Michigan, located in Frankfort, MI. With that race, now under his belt, Philip turns to his first marathon this November with the confidence of having finished a race that very few have completed.

Philip’s passion for endurance sports comes form his desire to be a healthier, fitter version of his past self. Philip has already lost 35 pounds since his lifestyle change, and he is determined to keep improving and pushing forward. “Whenever I feel like giving up, I just remember the opportunities I was given and remember how I feel in that moment and to keep pushing.  I feel so good now and I don’t want to let that feeling go.”

Philip would also like to give a shoutout to his friend and coach, Jen Simons. She is an ultrarunner and has been a source of guidance and encouragement throughout the process for Philip.


Training Shoe: HOKA Mach 4
Go-to-Nutrition: Tailwind + Honey Stinger
Recovery Tool: Roll Recovery R8
Post-Race Footwear: Oofos Recovery Slide




hoka one one Interviews Uncategorized


Interview with Latoya Snell

We recently sat down with HOKA athlete Latoya Snell. We talked sport, the importance of authenticity, and breaking down the barriers of stereotyping and online criticism in the running space.


Interview with Latoya Snell

First and foremost, Latoya is an artist. Through the lens of art, she has been able to achieve recognition in a multitude of spaces. She is a trained chef, journalist, speaker, plus-size-athletes advocate, LGBTQIA community member, podcast host, ultrarunner, content creator, and multi-sport athlete.

Those spaces might seem very different from each other, but Latoya believes they all have one thing in common.

“All of this is just artistry. When I look at running…that’s all this is. When I look at food, that’s artistry. When I talk to people and I listen to their stories, that’s artistry. It doesn’t matter what space I tap into. I’m always looking for the art.”

Art requires authenticity. Latoya understands the hard truth that authenticity requires vulnerability, which opens the door to criticism. In order to be true to herself, she has had to accept that criticism no matter the space she is in.


What makes Latoya such a dynamic, interesting, colorful, successful person is her daily choice to wade her way through all the criticism and stay true to her authentic self. She recognizes the value of the powerful connections you can make when you are your most authentic. And her ever-growing number of supporters are proof that her authenticity is powerful and valued by her community.


Latoya is no stranger to having to fight stereotyping. Since her emergence into the spotlight of the running world, she has had to deal with comments about her size. She has had to listen to comments about how her size does not conform to the stereotypical runners body. Comments like “It’s just not healthy being that size” & “It’s just not possible to be a runner when you are that size.” It is important to note that she has raced well over 200 races in her career, consisting of a large range of distances, and raced 35 of them in the year of 2019 alone.

Interview with Latoya Snell


Even though she has won international recognition in the running space, Latoya still understands the importance of providing authentic support to the online running community on even the smallest level. She has been approached by fans mid-race who have asked for her help getting them to the finish line.

“Listen, we will hold hands together if we have to. We are going to make it across the finish line” she told one athlete who approached her during a marathon.

She even offered up her own race fuel to the athlete. Those types of connections matter so much more than the online trolling she receives every week. All too often, she has experienced an array of praise from folks who are too quick to turn their backs on her as soon as she breaks the mold of who they think she needs to be.


There are still too many athletes out there who do not feel comfortable or accepted in the running space, whether it be due to their size, shape, sexual orientation, background, race, or anything else. To those who struggle with online criticism, the commentary is something you cannot control. You cannot control what people say about you, but you CAN control the narrative that it creates.

“People think that in order to be body positive you have to smile through all of the criticism. No. I think that people should be allowed to sit with that and think about it for a minute and recognize being hurt. And that is a part of the process. Be okay with being hurt and acknowledge how that made you feel. Think to yourself, is any of what they said true? I think we need that moment of honesty with ourselves. We grow up in America to be taught to brush it off and move on. When you do that you lose honesty with yourself and the ability to be vulnerable.” 

The more vulnerable you are, the more meaningful your connections with others will be. That is how you will find your community and sense of belonging in the running space–or any space for that matter.


Favorite Shoe — Hoka Arahi 5 and the Clifton Edge

Road or Trail — Road

Favorite Distance — Ultra’s

Favorite season — Fall

Next career goal — Triathlons

Book You’re Reading Right Now‘The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food: A Cookbook’ by Marcus Samuelsson

Favorite book‘The Color of Water’ by James McBride

Favorite Seasoning — Garlic

Current food obsession — Salmon


HOKA Clifton 8




Altra Interviews


Take Up Your Space by Laura Cortez

We sat down with Altra Ultra-Runner Ryan Montgomery, who holds many titles. We talked all things running, finding who you are and how to balance everyday life while still making time for yourself.


A 26-year-old full-time worker at Accenture, a 100-mile winner, 200-miler 2nd place finisher, Badwater 135 finisher, Wonderland Trail Fastest Known Time record holder. These accolades are just some of the things that fill up Ryan’s running extensive running resume. More than a decorated runner, Ryan is also taking up his space as one of the few openly gay athletes in the trail running world with a goal in 2021 being to continue creating more visibility and space for other LGTBQIA+ athletes to feel comfortable and ultimately, themselves.


“I want to create space and a feeling of belonging for other gay athletes in the community. I’ve gotten messages before from other gay runners who thought they were the only one, or where I’m one of the only other gay runners they know of.”

Reiterating his identity in not just the running world, but life as a whole as an openly gay man is a critical step toward continued diversification of the sport. Ryan knows this. One thing in particular he talked about is to take up your space and not to be afraid to do so. 

After growing up in a more conservative environment and culture, being 26 today, Ryan said, “it’s still uncomfortable sometimes to say I’m a gay person in public, it should be a normal thing. A lot of these feelings still exist with me today.”

“Take up your space you know, emotionally, physically, know your value.”

It can be scary, the concept of taking up space. Holding an identity that has historically not been truly accepted is exhausting. This is one of the many reasons Ryan wants to be upfront and visible through his continued action in sport and those he works with to support him. By creating space and room for a conversation to be had, he hopes to give others the support they need to feel comfortable being who they are. He’s been vocal, for example, to brands who he represents about who he is, the value he brings and even the value he wants to bring. 

“We do these sports because we want community we want ti find people who are like ourselves. So that’s why I think it’s important for me to continue to be visible, to be an advocate for other people like myself.”

It’s important to sit with yourself every once in a while and think about your value outside of a job or running environment. Jotting down on paper your values, the things you value about yourself the most and the things you stand for can actually be a very empowering exercise to find yourself.


From his first 100-mile race at the Wasatch 100 in Kaysville, Utah in 2017, learning how to navigate the emotional highs and lows ultrarunning brings you, to more confidently running 100 miles through the Alaskan wilderness in the middle of winter in 2018 to setting FKTs on some of the hardest routes, Ryan has certainly learned one thing “my body is so much more capable than I think it is,” he said. “All my experiences have allowed me to epxplore that state of being and to develop the confidence to compete.”

“You really need to have a lot of experiences, diverse experiences in various settings to really understand your body and your mind to see how deep you can go.”

So this brings us back to the “more miles means better performance” argument. When Ryan talks about ‘diverse experience,’ he means it. Living in the mountains of California at 7,000ft with the nearest trail being a half-mile from his door and plenty of snow in the winter, he is able to take advantage of the elements with skiing and snowshoeing. Embracing new elements is one of the many things that helps to contribute to athletic diversity. “Through a lot of diverse experience, you can really learn how to adjust the body and mindset to see how deep you can go.”

Though, knowing that not everyone has the ideal lifestyle to go ski for lunch every day, he still recommends that others find more ways to be active instead of just running. “The more you diversify your athleticism, the more you can push your limits.”

Much like life, trail running takes a lot of time and experience to learn how to do things better, rather than chasing perfection. You take learnings from training runs, racing, the way training load makes you feel and how it changes as you get older. Understanding that no day, no race, no week will be the same, but knowing how you can adjust to your ever-changing self.


“I’ve learned that communication is key, both with yourself and others. Knowing when to pull back training and work.”

We went on to talk about his balance between holding down a full-time job and a being professional athlete and all the moving parts those things encompass.

However, this all circled back to the concept of unapologetically taking up your space – not just when you need it, but all the time. Knowing your value and worth can help you stay on track to being your most authentic self. 

RAPID FIRE – I say, you say

  • Shoe – Altra
  • Nutrition – Pizza
  • Book – Humans
  • Season – Spring
  • Show – Schitt’s Creek
  • Dessert – Dark Chocolate


“I love the Torin Plush for the road, the Lone Peak for all-terrain running and the Olympus for trail…I actually wore the OG Olympus way back when I started competing!”




Mechelle Freeman is 2007 World Track and Field champion, and a 2008 Olympian in the 4×200-meter relay. She founded the organization TrackGirlz in 2015 as a way to provide exposure and access for girls to the track and field world that so often gets left behind after college.

She and her co-director, Jennifer Nash Forrester have developed this community to create sisterhood, provide empowerment and to equip girls with the resources necessary to pursue track and field at any level.

Mechelle Freeman - Olympian and Trackgirlz Founder


“Growing up, our mom always made sure we had access,” Mechelle said over a nice 9:00 am zoom call. “Whether it be dance, theatre, sports, she always made sure.”

Mechelle and her sister were dubbed “the fast twins” after becoming track athletes in high school. Have a record near and dear to your heart? If it was between 100-meters and 400-meters, you could have wished it farewell once they stepped onto the track.

“We broke records and got state records. When I went off to college at the University of South Carolina, we brought back the first National Championship the school has ever had,” she said.

When we think of track and field today, or have friends who participated in it growing up, there’s often a massive drop-off in participation after high school. The National College Athletics Association (NCAA) released their 2018-2019 “Estimated probability of competing in college athletics” report in which they found that of the 605k high school track and field athletes, just 4.8% go on to compete at the NCAA level.


After university, Mechelle found herself in New York City as an intern for VMLY&R (previously Y&R), a top ad agency where she placed her focus for a few years.

Being on a budget with the exorbitant prices in the NYC area, the cost of training, commuting, and gear, Mechelle knows first-hand just how difficult pursuing track can be when you’re on your own.

“I had a vision, though. I knew I was going to make the Olympic team. I became very intentional, everyday.” She later decided to quit her job and make a run at becoming an Olympian.

Coming in last in her first race, her support system was there to encourage her to keep going. “There were a lot of losses and uncertainty,” she says about the start of her time back on the track. “I was hustling, working odd jobs, traveling across town to practice, I relearned discipline.”


After finding her *stride* and gaining more consistency, she found herself in a race with Allyson Felix and others at the U.S track and field championship in the 100-meter sprint (aka the make-or-break race of her career).

“I was on the right side of the race that day. I looked up and saw I came in 3rd by 100th of a second.” For reference, the top runners then go on to make and compete on the World team. She showed up for herself that day and gained Nike, her old ad agency and a local gym as her sponsors.

And so the story goes.Mechelle gets a shiny new PR in the 100-meter sprint of 10.01-seconds and goes on to the Olympics to make the 4×100-meter relay team.


“It’s all about executing the battle. You can only control the controllables and that’s what I had to do.”

Mechelle and her team were watching the Men’s 4×1 relay team against Jamaica where they dropped the baton. An absolute nightmare, and the men’s team was disqualified. The women’s team was next and Mechelle was the second leg.

“I was just going and going on that straight. Passing people everywhere, you know? And I knew all I had to do was pass off the baton and we’d be good, I’d have done my job.”

She comes into the passing zone seeing her teammates hand, which to us would look just fine, but Mechelle could tell the hand was just a little bit lower than comfortable. Hand back, she reaches out to pass the baton and they nail the exchange. Her teammate is off in stellar position to run the final curve and hand-off to the anchor.

“It was all just happening so fast. I was trying to breathe and I looked up and, well, they dropped it in the same zone the men did.”


“People kept telling me track wasn’t relevant after a certain point. I just want to expose the dopeness,” Mechelle starts to tell me. “I want to provide a consistent platform for the community.”

TrackGirlz - strength in speed


Thus, TrackGirlz was born.

What started as a general platform to empower girls and women in the track and field space, turned into a non-profit organization in 2018 after she met her co-director, Jenniger. Since then, they’ve put on running camps both domestically and internationally as well as running and fitness workshops.

This past year in 2020 amid the start of COVID-19, they’ve started to work on making grants accessible to be able to support girls who want to have the chance to take running to the next level – whether it be in high school, college or after. Exposure and accessibility are two key things Mechelle had learned from her mother growing up. Exposure, accessibility and inclusion are all three key things that are also promoted in TrackGirlz.

“I want to get more Black, Indigenous and people of color involved to expand the conversation,” she says about the future of the organization. “I want to bridge the gap between track and the rest of the running community. I want to bring out all different body types to show just how inclusive this sport is.”

What’s Mechelle’s advice for getting more involved in the running community? “Find your local track club to create community, so you can have people lead you. Track and field has organic diversity, so you can always find something.”

As for future goals of TrackGirlz, Mechelle plans to be able to provide access to millions of girls for sport, to be able to provide direct mentorship opportunities to help them reach the next level, and to eventually develop a team that can be financially supported.

Want to learn more about TrackGirlz? Visit their website here for information about the organization, Mechelle and Jennifer.

Interviews Reviews Training


Virtual Boston is in the books for 2020. With in-person marathons out, runners all over the world have been encouraged and inspired to run their virtual marathon anyway.

This month we checked in with two runners from Colorado who chose to run their ‘Bostons’ in two very different places.

Meet Kara Diamond-Husmann, who ran her race up Vail Pass in Colorado (ok, she’s is also an ultrarunner!) and Jess Gillman, who ran a fast, flat race to celebrate what would have been her very first Boston.

Go forth on your own virtual marathons and races, and celebrate the journey. As theses ladies clearly demonstrate, 2020 is all about the journey.

Kara - Virtual Marathon in Vail
Running Vail Pass as the ‘Boston Marathon’


by Kara Diamond Husmann

Boston Marathon holds a special place in my heart! My first Boston Marathon was in 2007 during the infamous Noreasterner. I’m usually a one and done on race courses; I want to race so many places. But, after the Boston bombings I decided I’d run the Boston Marathon every year after and nothing has stopped me from running it even a tibial stress fracture one year. There was no way I was going to let Covid-19 stop me!

Planning for the virtual marathon I knew no PR’s were going to happen, so I designed my course in a town that holds a special place in my heart, Vail, Colorado.

I love the trails, but there was a 6 hour time limit to get a medal, so I knew I needed mostly road. But, I wanted to climb; I love hills! All my life I’ve passed the Vail pass bike route, so I thought this was the place to set my marathon route. Add to that I’ve always wanted to hike Shrine Trail Ridge at the top, so, because I was in charge, I incorporated that in my route too!

On the drive up to Vail, I actually started to get some pre-race jitters. As we drove by the virtual marathon course I mapped out, I was thinking, ‘What? This is steep!’ The elevation of the run starts at 8,700 feet and climbs to 11,900 feet. And, then I’d need to run it all the way back down and I know what downhill running does to the body.


The night before we pretended we were having dinner in the North End of Boston and made pizzas for authentic race preparation.

I packed all my nutrition GUs, Cliff Bar, Shot Blocks and 4 water bottles for the run since there would be no aid stations on this course. I’d also have to carry the clothes I start out with in the morning. Mountain morning air is chilly and there’s no throwing clothes on course when it’s your own route.

In the morning, I ate breakfast and gathered my gear and some signs I made for myself to carry. With my Bib number in hand, I drove off to my unofficial ‘Boston’ start line! The beauty of my start was an empty Porta-Potty line, I went to the bathroom and visualized being in Hopkinton walking to the start from Athletes Village.

I set my watch and off I went. No fanfare, just a beep.

The first mile I was uncomfortable and my breathing was off from being at 8,700 feet and a steep climb right away. I imagined myself at mile 1 in Boston and pretended to see the crowds lining Hopkinton and running down that steep hill instead of the climb. The miles ticked away and I fueled exactly like I do in real marathons and drank at miles I stop at aid stations.

At mile 9 I reached the top of Vail Pass at 10,600ft. I felt good. But mile 10 I started to feel the altitude and thought I have 1,300 feet more climbing to do before I reach the ‘WELLSLEY girls.’

I took my mind off the climb and looked around thinking how lucky I am to be in this beautiful place. Once I hit a two-mile single track I started seeing people out on a short hike. It gave me energy seeing people. They’d say nice things and I’d think to myself, do they know I ran from Vail Village up here!

Kara - Boston Marathon in Vail
Kara with the ‘Wellesley Girls’ on the top of Vail Pass

Being a self-supported race seeing people was a huge mental boost. By mile 13.1 I was running along Shrine Ridge and it was absolutely beautiful, I could almost hear the WELLSLEY girls offering their support.

The turn around was here and it was all down hill. Ouch! I took in a Cliff Bar; my stomach was churning from the GUs and needing some solid food. The run down was a mental game and I kept putting myself on Boston’s course to keep me running. Bikers would fly by and cheer me on; it gave me a motivational boost!

With one mile to go, I saw the Citgo sign in my head and could hear the crowds cheering as I ran in. Visualizing turning on Boylston and hearing the cheers I kicked it up a notch and sprinted to my car and stopped my watch!

I was on cloud nine!

I felt good and drove back to my condo where my daughters decorated the place. We celebrated the day pretending we were in back in Boston. I even put on my celebratory jacket and walked around Vail Village. A few people stopped to congratulate me and even a couple said they heard about me running on the pass earlier in the day running 26.2 miles and thought it was a CRAZY RUN!

I loved the day and another – albeit solo – Boston Marathon in the books.

Every Boston Marathon really does have a special story, and this one will stay with me forever.

Jess - Highline Canal
Jess with her ‘rabbits’


I think what pushed me to do a marathon on my own steam was the fact that I had essentially been training for the Boston Marathon since November of last year.  I’d put in so many long runs, hill repeats, strength training days to help me take on Boston in April of 2020 and the thought of letting all the preparation go to waste made me really sad to think about. 

As we all know, marathon training is no easy thing. It takes time and dedication in order to run a successful marathon and I for one was not going to let it being cancelled stop me from seeing what I could do on virtual race day!

Being from Colorado, we are really lucky that we have a ton of amazing paths we can run for miles and miles! I had several options leading up to my race day but ultimately decided to run a route where I knew other people would be on that morning.  Because we had to start so early (5:00 am) I wanted a route that would be pretty popular in case of an emergency.  Sadly, being a female runner we always have to think about our safety when we are running in the dark and also being in Colorado, we have to worry about the possibility of wildlife chasing us – which incidentally did happen on the ‘race’ at mile 9!

There was an awesome group putting on a small race called “Boston not Boston” so we used their course for the most part which made it easier because they mapped out where the restrooms were on the route in case they were needed and also trouble spots where traffic may be crossing.  I am very appreciative of this group for doing a lot of the dirty work for me! 

Jess Boston Marathon in Colorado
A ‘Boston’ race day jacket is just as sweet


Did I have to dig deep for this virtual marathon?

For the race itself, no! For the training leading up to the race 100% yes. 

I remember being on some long runs in the summer heat thinking to myself, “Why are you doing this? You could be sleeping in or heading to the pool versus running 19 miles”. This is when I had to dig and really think about what I wanted and why I wanted to do this race. 

For the actual race, it was such a build up to that point for myself that I was ready. I had no goals in mind for time, no thoughts on outcome only that I wanted to be with my friends, talk, laugh and hopefully sit on a pace that felt comfortable so that I could run and coach my sons 3 year old soccer practice immediately after. 

I think when you have been working up to something for so long as an athlete, when it comes to game day you know you are prepared because you trained, you know you can run that race because mentally I had run that race over and over again! 

Mentally I was beyond prepared for this day, that moment!


My run crew came and ran with me! Holly and Emerald had been with me from the start of this road to Boston.  Both are former Boston Marathoners themselves (2007 and 2009) so they knew how magical this race is suppose to be. They wanted to do everything in their power to make this special for me even though we were not in Boston. 

Holly had planned to run the first half with me and Emerald was going to run the last half. Holly being Holly decided at about half way that she felt good and was going to keep going, she ended up running all 26.2 miles with me. 

Emerald is the gazelle in the group and she met us half way with nutrition and Advil! She kept us on pace and even doubled back because I was having an issue with my hydration pack rubbing my shoulder raw!

Both of these girls selflessly helped me achieve my goal and they did it with a smile on their face! To them I am immensely grateful and I hope others have such an amazing community of friends that can help support them. 

Additionally, a group called Run to Change Lives had set up small cheer zones along the route and so every now and then we would here a shout from someone saying, “Strong ladies, you’ve got this!”

It was small gesture, but felt oh so mighty!

BOSTON 2021?

I plan on applying for the Boston Marathon for 2021 when that application opens.  Until then, I am just running to run and have fun. 

I have unfinished business with Boston Marathon, and so I am determined to run that course and celebrate with 30,000+ runners when it is safe to do so. 

Until then, I am just going to keep on running. 

Best shoes for a virtual mararthon


Brian Metzler rounds up the best of the best for your virtual race months.

There still aren’t many races in the U.S. this fall. However, you can still create your own opportunities to run fast on your own — either through virtual races, personal time trials or simulated race efforts with your running pals.

To run your fastest, you’ll need a lightweight, speedy pair of shoes. Here are five of the best shoes in a variety of price categories that will keep you on pace for fast times and inspiring new goals for 2021.

Brooks Launch 7 - womens


A $100 running shoe? For racing a half marathon or marathon? Is that a mistake? Heck no! The Brooks Launch 7 is an energetic and well-cushioned shoe that also comes with an affordable price tag. With a relatively light and snappy demeanor, the Launch is somewhat of a unique ‘tweener. It falls between the category of performance trainers and the wide range of high-mileage trainers that are about a full ounce lighter. But if your race goals are modest or just want to complete a 10K, half marathon or marathon at your own goal pace, this can be an ideal shoe is for you.

Plus, it can also double as an affordable, do-everything trainer shoe that’s versatile enough to endure long runs and also quick enough to run faster, shorter workouts like tempo runs, fartlek runs and track intervals.

Weights: 9.2 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 7.5 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm (26mm heel, 16mm forefoot)

Hoka Rincon 2 mens


$115 While Hoka One One’s Carbon X is an exceptional long-distance racing shoe, we’ve chosen to focus on the fast and light Rincon model for this roundup of racing shoes instead.

Why? First, it’s a great shoe for running fast over all distances from 5K to the marathon. It’s also because it’s much more affordable too. The Rincon 2 is unfettered and fast, but it still has a lot of cushioning in every stride thanks to the full-compression EVA midsole.

The Rincon doesn’t feel like a stripped-down racing flat, but the soft, smooth and energetic demeanor allows it to perform like one when you want it to. It’s light and fast enough to be an energetic performance trainer for fast workouts. It also enough cushion and protection to be a long-run shoe or even an everyday trainer.

Weights: 7.7 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 6.8 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 5mm (men: 29mm heel, 24mm forefoot; women: 26mm heel, 21mm forefoot)

New Balance 860v8


$120: New Balance has several racing shoes with carbon-fiber plates embedded in their midsoles. But the 890 is the brand’s tried and true featherweight performance-oriented trainer/racer. It has always been known for its light, agile and very energetic vibe.

The New Balance 890 has been overhauled in recent years. It now includes a high-rebound FuelCell midsole, a supportive yet comfortable knit upper and a gusseted tongue for a snug, race-day fit. It has a semi-firm feel and a slightly lower to the ground geometry. This gives it excellent feel-for-the-ground proprioception and a lively feel in every stride. The 890 is fast, light, versatile and capable of taking you race-day goals. Even if your race is a virtual event or your own personal time trial!

Weights: 8.4 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 7.2 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 6mm (25mm heel, 19mm forefoot)

Saucony Endorphin Pro - Men's Style


$200: The Saucony Endorphin Pro is a top-tier long-distance racing shoe. It features a carbon-fiber plate embedded in a soft, very resilient midsole foam. It debuted on the feet of Saucony pros at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in February in Atlanta, including women’s second-place finisher Molly Seidel. It represents the best of Saucony’s engineering and design efforts. It’s built on SpeedRoll technology, a forward-leaning geometry that propels you forward. It has a feeling of continuous momentum, so you can run faster and more efficiently without running harder. It feels light, firm, energetic, efficient and smooth, especially at faster speeds.

Weights: 7.5 oz. (men’s size 9.0); 6.3 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm (35.5mm heel, 27.5mm forefoot)

Nike Tempo Next %


$200: The Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% mixes durability with a design that helps push to a personal best. The result is a shoe built like a racer, but made for your everyday training routine.

Nike ZoomX foam in the footbed delivers energy return as you move forward. A visible Zoom Air unit provides responsive cushioning, giving you an additional spring with your stride.

The rubber outsole features a design created using data from hundreds of runners. That information helps place traction where your foot needs it most, giving you grip on multiple surfaces.

Weights: 9.8 ounces (men’s size 9.0); 7.9 oz. (women’s size 7.0)

Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm (46mm heel, 36mm forefoot)

Diversity Interviews Trail Running



By Tiona Eversole

I begin to walk up the rough road on the edge of the Sangre de Cristo mountains through the darkness. A few faint lights from the nearby town Alamosa, Colorado, are visible below in the vast San Luis Valley. I look down at my watch — the time is 3:23 a.m. I’m not typically this early of a riser, but I want to reach the summit of Sisnaajiní, or Blanca Peak, by sunrise. With a few friends by my side, I quicken the pace as the minutes move toward dawn.

Sacred Spaces: Dibé Nitsaa or Hesperus Peak 13er in the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado near Sharkstooth trailhead
Summer views from the summit of Dibé Nitsaa, or Hesperus Peak. The author plans to return to this summit in a few weeks as long as the snow holds off. Photo by Matt Yeoman


Sisnaajiní, also known as the Dawn or White Shell Mountain, is one of the four sacred mountains of the Diné, or Navajo people. This impressive, 14,345-foot mountain signifies the eastern boundary of Diné Bikéyah, the traditional homelands of the Navajo.

I have chosen to begin my journey across Diné Bikeyah with Sisnaajiní because of the reverence my people hold for the dawn, signifying the beginning of a new day. It was the first mountain created by the Diyin Dine’é, or Holy People. The Diyin Dine’é stir in the early hours of the dawn, which is why our hogans — traditional houses — are built with the door facing east. It is why I always try to start my morning runs heading east. 

I reach the summit of Sisnaajiní, and facing towards the sunrise, offer a prayer to the Diyin Dine’é with corn pollen from my medicine pouch. I am in a sacred space, so I tread lightly and do not overstay my welcome. The wind carries the chill of late September. We take each gust as a word of caution, and begin our retreat to the basin below.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will travel across Diné Bikeyah to summit the three other sacred mountains, which include Tsoodził (Mount Taylor) to the south, Dook’oosłííd (San Francisco Peaks) to the west, and Dibé Nitsaa (Hesperus Peak) to the north. 

Tsoodził, also known as Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain, is next. This is the mountain that watched over me as I lived out my adolescent years in the tiny New Mexico town of Bluewater Village. Despite growing up a short distance away, I have never stood on the top of Tsoodził.

Next is Dook’oosłííd, or Abalone Shell Mountain, an area that I am unfamiliar with. I’ve traveled through Flagstaff, Arizona, but have not spent much time in these prominent peaks easily seen from town. I plan to summit Dook’oosłííd close to the same time as Tsoodził, as the snows of the coming winter will soon arrive (one storm already has this year), which could put my mission in jeopardy.

The fourth and final summit of Dibé Nitsaa, or Big Sheep Mountain, is the summit I’m most concerned about. In my current home of Durango, Colorado, Dibé Nitsaa is, debatably, the tallest peak in the La Plata Mountains at 13,232 feet (some argue that nearby Lavender Peak is slightly taller). This mountain is also known as the Jet Stone Mountain for the dark, heavy rain clouds that reside among the peak. This late in the season, snowfall has the potential to make this ascent tricky. Only time will tell.

Sacred Spaces: Summit of Dibé Nitsaa or Hesperus Peak 13er in the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado
Looking at Dibé Nitsaa from the trail. Photo by Tiona Eversole


Many of our creation stories are tied to the four sacred mountains and the land within their boundaries as well. The mountains are home to the Diyin Diné’e, and demand the most respect when one visits these spaces. Tread lightly through these breathtaking landscapes, respecting the plants and animals that call this place home while also practicing leave no trace ethics. 

Prominent landmarks such as Tsé Bit’a’í (Shiprock in northern New Mexico) and Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii (Monument Valley on the Arizona/Utah border) tell their own unique stories of monsters and warriors, with the rock monoliths serving as reminders of the slain monsters that once walked the earth. 

Other places such as Tséyiʼ (Canyon de Chelly in Arizona) are the settings for stories that include key deities such as Spider Woman, who is known as a protector and advisor to the Diné, and gave them the gift of weaving. Her home is Spider Rock in Tséyiʼ.

These stories tell of who we are, of where we came from and how to live our lives in hózhó, in beauty and harmony. This is why we are meant to stay within the boundaries of the four sacred mountains. Everything we need is right here: water, food, herbs for medicinal purposes and ceremony, shelter and our people.

Sacred Spaces: The Mittens of Monument Valley Tribal Park on the Arizona/Utah border at sunrise
The first glimpse of sunrise at Monument Valley. Photo by Tiona Eversole


The Diné are a people of oral tradition, with many of the creation stories passed down from one generation to the next. Our songs reverberate through our traditional ceremonies, and are tied to the creation stories that help to remind us of our existence in this world. The stories of our ancestors live in the voices of our elders. However, our elders need our help.

While the land within the four sacred mountains is beautiful, abundant and diverse, the living conditions for Diné living on the reservation are similar to those of a third world country — and it’s happening right in our backyard. Many families do not have access to running water, healthy food options and immediate medical care.

My journey to the top of the four sacred mountains across my homelands is not only for myself and to deepen my understanding of the land — it is also a means to raise money for Navajo elders ahead of the winter. Pre-COVID, Our elders were already struggling to make ends meet. Now, COVID-19 has added another threat to their overall health and well-being, and has wrecked the entire Navajo Nation. I have teamed up with nonprofit, Adopt a Native Elder, to help bring supplies to elders in need.


The Diné stories of these lands are nizhóní, beautiful. So are the elders that keep these stories tucked away in their hearts, waiting to share them with those who will listen. These tales and folklore are deeply embedded not only in their memories and traditional upbringing, but in the rivers, canyons and night skies of the Southwest as well.

Many areas of Diné Bikeyah are now considered public lands. Public lands are defined as “land owned by a government.” I urge you to gain a new understanding of what public lands are, and to learn about the history and creation of public lands. Spoiler alert: It’s not pretty. Many of these public lands we know today came into existence through wars, displacement of tribes from their homelands and broken promises. These lands weren’t “saved” by the government; they were stolen.

On this National Public Lands Day, I encourage you to reevaluate your perception of the lands that you recreate on. Who lived here before the government stepped in? What stories are tied to common landmarks and popular destinations you visit in the Southwest? The Diné were not the only ones who inhabited this area. Many other tribes such as the Ute, Pueblo, Hopi and Zuni all roamed these lands, and have their own stories to tell.

Listen, and you will find that these lands are rich with culture and history.


Ya’ah’teh’ shi’ keh’ do shi’ Dine’. Chishi’ nishli. Bilighaana bashichchiin. Tl’aaschi’i’ da shi’ cheii’. Bilighanna da shi’ naali’.

Hello my relatives and my people. I am Apache born for Anglo. My maternal grandmother clan is Red-Cheeked People. My paternal grandmother clan is Anglo.

Ti lives in Durango, Colorado, and spends her time romping around the Southwest. She is an avid runner, mountain biker, rafter, hiker and snowboarder. Follow her adventures on Instagram at @run.wander.ride.

Interviews Saucony Training



By Brian Metzler

Saucony athlete Laura Thweatt ran the fiercest, gutsiest race of her life on Feb. 29 at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon in Atlanta, finishing fifth place in 2:29:08 but missing a berth on the U.S. Olympic Team by a mere 18 seconds. Despite the disappointment of narrowly missing the team, that effort galvanized her resolve to return to the elite marathon scene after years of injury. (Prior to being hurt for part of 2018 and 2019, Thweatt ran a 2:25:38 personal best at the 2017 London Marathon, the sixth-fastest time in U.S. history.) But when COVID-19 swept across the world and changed everything, the 31-year-old marathoner had to reconfigure her approach to running and training like everyone else.

We caught up with Laura near her home in Boulder, Colorado, recently to talk about how she’s maintained her training, her favorite new shoes and how she’s looking forward to 2021.

Laura Thweatt - Running

Well, 2020 was going to be a new chapter in your running career anyway, right?

“Yeah, I started training with a new coach, Joe Bosshard, and a new training group, Boss Lady, after several years of great success under Lee Troop and honestly there was a lot of unknown going into the year. I trusted Joe’s coaching, but it took me a while to feel comfortable in training. Anytime you change coaches, you wind up doing things differently, doing different workouts, learning different ways to get fit and approach a race build-up. So that was hard. I was running the miles and getting fit, but it was a big change. Also, I was the only marathoner in the group.

The other women in the group are amazing — Emma Coburn, Cory McGee, Aisha Praught-Leer, Dominque Scott-Efrud —  but they’re all track athletes who run shorter, faster events. But it all worked out in the end and about a month before the Olympic Trials Marathon, I felt really good about my training and how it was working out.”

How did you approach the Olympic Trials?

“I was still nervous and a bit worried going into the race. I knew I was running a lot fewer miles than most of the women there. I was running about 80 miles per week and there were plenty of women running 100 to 110 miles per week, but ultimately I couldn’t worry about that. I did a great 27-mile run in my build-up and that gave me a lot of confidence to know that I was fit and that I had to trust my own training.

When I got to Atlanta, I knew that the race was going to come down to how well I could compete and how determined I was. And that’s what I did. Midway through the race, I felt really good, really strong and I kept fighting. I knew I was running a good race and, despite the ultimate disappointment of not finishing in the top three, I was really happy with how well I competed and the final results.”

What is your take away looking back on your result now?

“It was one of those things I wasn’t sure how to feel. On the one hand, I was really proud of the race that I ran and felt like it was the first race since London in 2017 that I was really able to get out there and race with confidence and strength and have the belief that I could do it. So that was really great, but it was also super heartbreaking to come so close and put it all out there on race day and realize it just wasn’t quite good enough.

But overall, I walked away feeling like there were a lot of positives to take away from it.”

What advice can you give to everyday runners who are dealing with the massive changes in the world because of COVID-19?

“Well, we’re all in this together. No matter if it’s elite athletes or recreational runners, we all have to find a way to make things work. I know it’s been a sad year because so many people have gotten sick and died and many more have lost their jobs.

Fortunately, we all have running that can keep us healthy and keep us focused. Running has always been my favorite form of exercise and my daily therapy too, a great time to think and figure things out. So my best advice is to tell people to stay after it, keep lacing up their shoes, keep showing up and keep running.

A daily run can go a long way in making everything else work out smoothly.”

The Saucony Endorphin Collection

Even amid the crazy year, Saucony released three great new shoes in 2020. How are you using each one?

“It’s been a great year for Saucony with the new line of Endorphin shoes. Each one of them is so different, but so good! The Endorphin Pro is what I wore in the Olympic Trials and it’s an amazing shoe — so smooth, so fast and so easy to run in. The carbon-fiber plate embedded in the midsole makes every strides so smooth and so efficient that you barely feel the shoe when you’re running.

I love the Endorphin Pro for racing and long, fast training efforts, but I think the Endorphin Speed is my favorite. It’s also very fast, but it’s very versatile too. You can run long runs, you run fast intervals and you can run easy runs in that shoe. It has amazing cushioning that feels soft and bouncy, but it’s resilient and quick and not soft and mushy like some shoes.

And then the Endorphin Shift is just a really good all-around training shoe for a marathon, ideal for long runs, recovery runs and even tempo runs.

They’re all really amazing shoes that have really changed the game and helped me train better every day of the week.”

How have changed your outlook since the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down?

“It’s been a crazy year since the Olympic Trials. I am so glad I had that opportunity to race because it was only about a week or two later that everything got shut down and races were postponed or canceled. I was going to take a break and then get ready for the spring track season, but once everything got shut down, I took about a month off from running to recover and also work on my strength.

I had hoped to come back and run the New York City Marathon in November and started training for that, but eventually that was canceled too so really I spent a lot of my summer training and being healthy without a real racing goal ahead of me. That was hard but we all have to make the best of it and keep looking forward to 2021 when things will return to some sense of being normal again.”

Have you been training this year?

“Everyone has really approached this year from so many different angles. Some athletes have taken a step back and shut things down. Other people have been trying to stay in some kind of competitive shape and have been jumping into racing opportunities as they’ve come up. And others have just taken the opportunity to train and get ready for next year. There’s no one way to approach it. It’s just all based on what’s best for the individual. And nothing really counts for much, but I know a lot of athletes want to stay sharp and have the experience of racing.

For me, I’ve been training pretty well, but I’m a big planner so it’s been hard for me to approach some of the races that have popped up, only because I like to map things out well in advance of a race. But that’s been hard to do this year.

It’s exciting that the London Marathon is still doing an elite race, but for my first thoughts were ‘Can I plan for that?’ and ‘Can I get over there?’ So it’s been a really strange year for all of us.”

Have you been doing anything differently?

“I think the biggest thing I’ve done differently is that I spent a lot of time at home making my own food and cooking more than ever. I haven’t really changed my diet, but I’ve experimented with a lot of things and tried new things and that’s given me a greater appreciation for the food I eat but also for the time and effort that goes into it. I haven’t made sourdough bread or anything, but I’ve enjoyed learning how to cook more foods and use more ingredients.

And like everyone else, I’ve watched a lot of Netflix but I’ve also read a few books too. It’s amazing how you pass time when everything seems to change.

Fortunately, I still have running to keep me sane.”

Laura Thweatt - Saucony Endorphin Speed


What’s your best advice to recreational runners training for a half marathon or marathon?

“My best advice is to train as best that you can and go into a race with confidence to run as well as you can, but also make sure you enjoy it and that it’s a happy experience. I see so many runners who dread running or are overly worried about a race experience and that’s not good.

We all get injured or sidetrack and sometimes don’t train as well as we could have, but there is no perfect training buildup. You can only do what you can do, but you should rely on that and trust your training.

Also, running should bring you joy, no matter if you’re an elite runner or a new runner just starting out. Make it the one thing in your day that is full of positive energy and you’ll be able to feed on that throughout the rest of your daily life.”

How are you looking forward in 2021?

“The pandemic has changed my outlook for next year, if only because I want to get a qualifier for the 10,000-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in June. So I’ll focus my first part of the winter on running a fast 10K and see how that goes and hopefully get into the Trials. [Laura was fifth in the 10,000m at the 2016 U.S. Track and Field Trials.]

After that, I’ll switch to marathon training and then hopefully run the New York City Marathon in the fall.”

How do you think running will rebound in 2021?

“Next year will be a huge year for running once things start coming back. I think we’ll have to wait and see, but it’s going to get better and things will return to normal and races will come back, even if it’s different.

It’s an Olympic year, so that will be exciting and just in general to have races come back that you can plan for and train for will be so refreshing after this year. Thinking about training for four months and then running through the streets of New York City is super inspiring right now; I think it must be for a lot of people who don’t have race goals.

If we can all keep that in the back of our mind as we go out for our daily run now, things will be OK.”

Follow Laura Thweatt’s adventures in Colorado and beyond on Instagram.








By Brian Metzler

The Boston Marathon postponed? Running stores closed? No Olympics this year? Statewide orders to stay at home? Trailheads and running tracks off limits? Yikes!

Yeah, the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic is real and it’s even affected our ability to run and exercise. First things first, our personal exercise habits are far less of a priority than the thousands of people who are ailing from the coronavirus. 

To do our part, we must continue to follow social distance guidelines and be respectful about how we interact with other people in public places. We can and should keep running, but we need to do our part to help reduce the spread of the virus. 

Eventually, things will be somewhat normal again, even if it’s a decidedly new normal. Here are some ways running might change as that new normal emerges in the second half of 2020 and beyond.

1) Running Resurgence
For now, we should all embrace running in any way we can, even if it’s just for a 20- to 30-minute daily jaunt around our neighborhood as a daily dose of therapy or affirmation that life is good.With gyms, yoga studios and swimming pools mostly off-limits, running is all we have, and it’s going to lead to a big boom in participation by the time summer rolls around.Sports Illustrated wrote about “running as the outlet” to escape the quarantines and awkwardness of social-distancing recommendations while The New York Times called it “A Back-To-Basics Exercise Boom,” and Running USA has suggested we need to get ready for the Third Running Boom

2) Running Shoe Revival
Having been cooped up because of necessary quarantines and stay-at-home orders,  we’ll all likely appreciate the simplicity of running. All you really need is a pair of shoes, right? Regardless of when races return, expect everyone you know to be buying a new pair of running shoes soon. It will be the new currency of cool, just as it was during the original running boom of the 1970s. Some new models might be late arriving because factories and the production supply chain have been greatly impacted, but there are lots of great shoes debuting this summer and fall. Fast runners, slower runners, new runners and savvy veteran runners will all be able to embrace the notion that, “Happiness is a New Pair of Running Shoes.”

3) The Race is On
This fall could bring about a renewed marathon mania, if — fingers crossed! —big-city races are held as planned. With Boston (Sept. 14) and London (Oct. 4) rescheduled for the fall and Berlin (Sept. 27), Chicago (Oct. 11) and New York (Nov. 1), there could be five Marathon Majors in a six-week period, not to mention many other enticing races from 5K to half marathon. With new runners and veteran runners eager to participate after months of training, it could bring about a huge surge of participation and excitement. But let’s be real and realize that there’s no guarantee those races will actually happen this fall, so maybe we’ll have to wait until next year.

4) Let’s Hit the Trails
Trail Running has been growing for years, but it could grow exponentially through the rest of 2020 given the concerns about overcrowded city parks and mass participation events. If you consider that thousands of people have been hitting the trails since mid-March and the notion that many cooped-up runners are thinking about big, life-changing goals, there’s a good bet that trail running and ultrarunning will get a huge boost through 2021 and beyond.

5) The Rise Inexpensive and Virtual Events
Virtual races have always been a bit quirky, but they suddenly mean a lot more now because we don’t have any other platform to go all out and enjoy the spoils of our efforts. If you haven’t tried Zwift, you should! The virtual running platform is growing by leaps and bounds. Look for more free and inexpensive community-based events to thrive in the second half of 2020 and into 2021. And expect expensive, top-tier events to fall off from previous participation because of the new wave of frugality sweeping the U.S.




Brian Metzler is the author of “Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes” (2019, VeloPress). He has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher and occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado. 

He's the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He's the author of “Running Colorado's Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian's Approach for Every Runner.”



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By Brian Metzler

Along the Merrimack River in Lawrence, Mass., there are dozens of former factory buildings that are being converted to condos and shops and modern office buildings.

But there is one particular old factory that’s still a factory. And for most of the past four decades, it has produced New Balance running shoes.

The Boston-based shoe brand has always taken great pride in being the only sporting goods brand to manufacture running shoes in the U.S. Now it’s pivoting some of its domestic factories into production facilities for personal protective gear necessary in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

When every other brand sent its shoe manufacturing overseas in the late 1970s and early 1980s to reduce costs, New Balance went the opposite direction and restored a 19th century textile factory building in Lawrence and started making its 990 series running shoes there. 

Since its re-opened in 1982, American workers have produced 15 million pairs of shoes from that factory. It’s a testament to the brand’s commitment to domestic jobs, but it has always allowed the Boston-based company to speed up innovation or pivot production in time of need. They can produce prototypes, custom footwear or one-off models for an athlete or a promotion in a pinch.

As of last week, New Balance was using that facility to produce prototypes of face masks for doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers caring for the rush of patients suffering from the coronavirus. The company says it will scale its process and adapt its other domestic factories accordingly beginning this week.

“The global COVID-19 health crisis has called on individuals and organizations to bring their expertise and resources to solve new and extraordinary challenges,” New Balance announced on its website recently. “We are coordinating our efforts with our government officials and local medical institutions as well other U.S. consortiums and testing facilities.”

The brand has also committed $2 million in non-profit grants through the New Balance Foundation to support local, regional and global communities as the world battles the COVID-19 virus. 
It’s another sign of the running community coming together in a time of need.

“We firmly believe it is our civic duty to support our communities in need around the world,” said Anne Davis, managing trustee New Balance Foundation. “As we witness the growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are inspired by the acts of humanity, kindness and compassion that have emerged in support of one another during this health crisis. Guided by our values, NB Foundation will remain generous, flexible and responsive recognizing the uncertainty created by these challenging times.”


Face Masks for the Front Line - Covid 19


Several other brands in the running and endurance sports industry are doing their part, too. Nike and Superfeet are also making mask and face shields for healthcare workers, while Nike, Under Armour and Brooks have pledged money for coronavirus response efforts. Plenty of other brands are donating in-line product to first responders and healthcare workers.

“Companies like Nike need to do our part,’ Nike CEO John Donahoe said during a Q3 conference call. “Based on needs identified by the teams and health professionals at Oregon Health & Science University, our teammates are working right now about how to best help, including prototyping face shields of OHSU and others.”



Brian Metzler is the author of “Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes” (2019, VeloPress). He has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher and occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado. 

He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He’s the author of “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”



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By Brian Metzler

Admittedly, this spring is a tough time to be thinking about our own personal running goals. With the dangerous and debilitating COVID-19 pandemic, there are more important concerns around the world and around the block.

For the time being, we can be grateful for our health and that we can still go running smartly and safely, even though limited by shelter-in-place regulations and social distancing practices. With races big and small being canceled or postponed, it might be hard to stay focused. But if you look at it from a glass-half-full perspective, you can actually train better because of the extended approach to your next race, says Boulder, Colo., coach David Roche.

Roche believes recreational athletes who adapt to the current situations and find ways to refocus on training could experience big breakthroughs by the fall. Developing consistency, doing regular core strength workouts, eating better, getting more sleep, and figuring out a way to maintain a work/life/family balance are some of the touchpoints that can be improved during this unique and trying time in the world.

“It’s not like you go run the most miles you ever have or anything like that,” Roche says. “But it is a time to do the training to where you want to go. That doesn’t mean you even know where you’re going. It’s just the idea of self-belief. If we don’t have races to train for, what are we training for? We’re training to find out what we’re capable of, and that’s independent of a race in the next few months.”

Don’t worry about specific training for a race, but instead focus on being consistent and thinking about long-term development and what kind of runner you want to be a year or two down the road.

“The way I like athletes to think about this is in a framework of long-term training without interruptions,” Roche says. “It’s not that much different in some ways than the period from December when you’re restarting your season. Every single breakthrough I have ever seen — and by breakthrough I mean people reaching a new level of performance — is preceded by one of these long, uninterrupted stretches of focused training. Yes, this is a very difficult time in the world and we should take caution and be safe with training, but this can be breakthrough season, too.

It’s not just the millions of recreational runners who are going through this, but elite, professional runners, too. The International Olympic Committee announced on March 24 that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo would be postponed to 2021 and later USA Track & Field announced the U.S. Olympic Trials track and field championships would suffer the same fate. 

“We’re all in this together,” says Lee Troop, the Boulder, Colo.-based coach of a dozen elite runners, including newly minted U.S. Olympic marathoner Jake Riley. “We all have to make the best of a bad situation.”

First and foremost, Troop says, it’s all about having a proper perspective and realizing that a lot people are losing their jobs and getting sick and dying. Take care of yourself and your family and those around you the best you can, he says, but know that running can be part of the way you do that.

Understanding the proper time and focus on training is something that’s always important when training for a race, but it’s especially crucial now as we get through this challenging time. Being mindful and soaking in the benefits of a daily workout can make everything else in your life go more smoothly.

“We will eventually get out of this, but trying to remain positive is extremely difficult at best,” he adds. “But if you can get outdoors and do a run, the adrenaline you can get from doing a hard tempo run or the endorphin release you can get from doing a hard hill workout are still there. There might be no racing options at the moment, but the join and the thrill of being able to get out and run — providing that they’re social distancing — isn’t lost.” 

David Roche and Laura Cortez

Coach David Roche and JackRabbit Runner Laura Cortez in closer and happier times!




Brian Metzler is the author of “Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes” (2019, VeloPress). He has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher and occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado. 

He's the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He's the author of “Running Colorado's Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian's Approach for Every Runner.”



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