USA Track & Field Can’t Get Out Of Its Own Way

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Thanos Pal | Unsplash

Erin Strout, writing for Runner’s World:

I’ve encountered a lot of knowledgeable people with the best intentions who are staff or volunteers at USATF. Unfortunately, their work is often overshadowed by a lot of nonsense at the top, and this is just the most recent example of an organization that can’t seem get out of its own way for the greater good of the sport.

My thoughts on the whole 2020 Olympic Trials ordeal haven’t changed from what I wrote last week (part of which ended up as letsrun.com‘s Quote of the Day on Wednesday) but veteran journalist Erin Strout shared some good ones of her own in this opinion piece for Runner’s World that further corroborates how sloppy of a situation this has become and just how much USA Track & Field’s leadership is paralyzing the growth of the sport in this country.

Putting Failure Into Perspective

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Max Vallot

Professional mountain biker Syd Schulz, writing for the CTS blog:

Meditation teaches you to fail and to put those failures into perspective. The even bigger failure, meditation teaches you, is to dwell on those failures and let them affect the present moment.

I’m back on the mindfulness train after falling off of it post-Boston in April. My routine is far from fancy: ten minutes of guided practice in the morning before I dive into whatever I’m going to do for the day. In Issue 113, I wrote that my word for this year is “awareness.” Ironically enough, I lost focus on keeping that stated objective front of mind for the past few months. On some level, you could say that I failed. But this this article from professional mountain biker Syd Schulz provided some good perspective on failure and was the kick in the butt I needed to get back on the pillow and practice being present.

Podcast: Episode 26 with Mauricio Díaz

By Mario Fraioli |

“And then at that same point, I was running and I found out that running was just the best vehicle and the best way and medium to know a place—and eventually, also [to] get to know yourself.”

Subscribe, listen, and review on: iTunes | Stitcher | Overcast | Google Play | Soundcloud

Really enjoyed sitting down with Mauricio Díaz this week for a conversation that had nothing to do with training, racing, or current issues that exist within the sport. Instead, we talked about running as it relates to adventure and exploration while serving as a cultural common denominator around the world.

Díaz is the VP of marketing for Aire Libre, a company out of Mexico City he accidentally co-founded with a couple of his friends that creates immersive weeklong running experiences that are partly athletic, but mostly cultural, extremely educational, and undoubtedly transformative.

In this episode, we talked about the importance of culture and storytelling, and how those two elements are at the center of everything Aire Libre does, from the content they create to the experiences they cultivate. Díaz describes the group’s initial adventure—56 miles through the Sonoran Desert in northwestern Mexico—along with some of the other culturally focused and socially conscious follow-ups he’s led, such as running along the Arizona-Mexico border to explore the land of the Tohono O’odham nation, and many other stories that I think will pique your interest and may even get you to view running through a slightly different lens. (more…)

2020 Olympic Trials: Eugene’s Gain is Track & Field’s Loss

By Mario Fraioli |
Hayward Field, shown here in 2015, is currently a construction zone. Photo: Mario Fraioli

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials are heading (back) to Hayward Field. In a move that should surprise exactly no one, USA Track & Field awarded the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in track and field to the University of Nike, I mean Oregon, after taking it away from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California.

“No domestic event is more important to athletes and fans than the Olympic Trials,” said USA Track & Field chairman of the board Steve Miller, a former director of global sports marketing for The Swoosh and former adjunct professor at the University of Oregon Warsaw School of Sports Marketing. “The 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials is even more critical because it will lead off an unprecedented opportunity to elevate track & field in this country.” (more…)

Podcast: Episode 25 with YiOu Wang

By Mario Fraioli |

“I think that if you maintain good relationships with people, if you act in a way that is helpful to others, that is kind, that is giving, and you just hold yourself to a high standard, then opportunities will appear before you—and [when they do], just say yes.”

Subscribe, listen, and review on: iTunes | Stitcher | Overcast | Google Play | Soundcloud

Super excited to welcome YiOu Wang to the podcast this week! YiOu is the reigning U.S. 50K trail champion, two-time winner of the Lake Sonoma 50, and an Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier with a personal best of 2:38:46, in addition to being an Under Armour and Camlebak-sponsored athlete. Full disclosure: I coach YiOu—we’ve been working together for the past 2-1/2 years—and this episode marks the first time I’ve interviewed one of my own athletes for the podcast.

We covered a lot of ground in this 90-minute conversation, including YiOu’s recent year-long trip around the world—she and her husband were working as teachers—where she visited (and ran in!) numerous countries, experienced many different cultures, and stuck to a training schedule despite being in a new place every few days. We also talked about immigrating to the U.S. as a young child, “almost failing P.E. because I couldn’t run the mile,” what inspired her to take up running in college, chopping nearly an hour off of her marathon personal best over the course of seven years, transitioning to (and training for) trail and ultra running, where her competitiveness comes from, and much, much more. (more…)

Blast From The Past: Bill Rodgers and The 1977 Boston Marathon

By Mario Fraioli |

If you like distance running, appreciate our sport’s history, and love the Boston Marathon as much as I do, here’s 20 minutes of awesomeness to brighten your day. Granted I was still a few years in the making when this was produced in 1977, the scene and people felt familiar to me and so much about it made me smile, especially Bill Squires’ accent and Bill Rodgers’ honest post-race interview. “There was no sense in me continuing any further,” Rodgers explains after dropping out of the race. “I’m sure I could have finished 200th, 300th, but that doesn’t inspire me. I want to run well or else—maybe some people will look on that poorly but that’s the way I am.” (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.