Podcast: Episode 29 with Mario Mendoza

By Mario Fraioli |

“To me that’s faith. To me that’s faith in running. So I think runners understand faith because a lot of times we don’t really see something and it might even take years, but then it’s like ‘Whoa! Where did that come from?’ But it was actually because you stuck with it—something in you believed.”

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Really excited to have Mario Mendoza join me on the podcast this week! Mendoza, a 32-year-old from Bend, Oregon, is a five-time national trail running champion, three-time USATF Trail Runner of the Year, and has represented the United States six times in international competition. He’s placed in the top-10 at the last two IAU Trail World Championships, finishing sixth in 2018 and ninth in 2017. We recorded this episode the day before his last race—a third-place finish at the Under Armour Mountain Running Series 50K at Mt. Bachelor this past Saturday—and two days before the birth of his son, Jair Giovanni Mendoza.

We covered a lot of ground over the course of this hour-long episode: the message he’ll give his newborn son upon entering the world, what it was like growing up in a Mexican family on an avocado ranch in Cambria, California and how that experience has shaped his perspective on life and running, his work as a pastor and what faith means to him, how he got into running and the various ways his career has progressed and evolved over the years, why he’s constantly reminding himself not to get caught up in outcomes when it comes to racing, why representing the United States at global championships is so important to him, and a whole lot more.


Podcast: Episode 28 with Sarah Sellers

By Mario Fraioli |

“My goal isn’t to garner more media attention or to shock the world or to even top Boston. My goal is to keep the love of the sport, to stay healthy, and to continue chipping away at times because ultimately I think [that] kind of like Des Linden has shown the world, if you are able to stay healthy and train consistently for a long period of time, that’s where you get really good.”

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Stoked to have Sarah Sellers on the podcast this week! The 27-year-old Sellers, who works as a nurse anesthetist in Arizona, was the surprise second-place finisher at April’s Boston Marathon, running a personal-best of 2:44:04 in cold, windy, wet conditions. Sellers, who took home $75,000 for her efforts, didn’t realize she was the runner-up until after she crossed the finish line.

In this conversation, we talked a bit about what’s changed for her since Boston while looking ahead to her next big race, the New York City Marathon on November 4.  We also discussed whether or not she’s felt an added layer of pressure after her breakthrough performance at Boston, how she’s learned to move on from bad races, where her mental toughness comes from, injuries and the changes she’s made to her training and lifestyle in order to stay healthy, defining herself as more than just a “runner,” balancing training at a high level with working a demanding hospital job, the importance of the support system she surrounds herself with, and a lot more.


Interview: Tim Soar of SOAR Running

By Mario Fraioli |

I recently had a chat with Tim Soar, founder and creative director of SOAR Running, to discuss the brand’s origins and points of differentiation, how his own background in both cycling and menswear influenced the brand’s aesthetic, what running “culture” means to him, how SOAR (as a brand) supports the sport, and much more. (more…)

Rob Krar Climbing Back Up The Mountain

By Mario Fraioli |

Here’s Rob Krar appreciating a fog-filled view from atop Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California about five weeks before winning the 2015 Western States Endurance Run. That race, his second-straight States victory, was the last time he completed 100 miles on foot.

That is until three days ago, when Krar, on somewhat of a whim, won the Leadville Trail 100 through the high mountains of Colorado in 15 hours, 51 minutes, and 57 seconds, the second-fastest time in the race’s 35-year history (and Krar’s second victory at the event). Oh yeah, he did that just a week after finishing 14th overall in Leadville’s 100-mile mountain bike contest, which he completed in a stout 7:08:27. It was an epic performance by any and all standards, one the 41-year-old Canadian—who struggled physically and emotionally last fall while sidelined with a knee injury—called his “most fulfilling race yet.” He sat down with podcaster Billy Yang between races and opened up about his most recent bout with depression, explained how he uses mountain biking and ski mountaineering in his training, and talked about how he’d eventually like to return to Western States, amongst other topics. Krar also recapped his Leadville race(s) with Ethan Newberry on last night’s Ginger Runner Live, which you can watch here. (And if you want to nerd out even more, go nuts crunching his ride data and run splits from Leadville on Strava, and then read this Q&A he did with one of his sponsors to learn how he went about recovering between the two races.)  (more…)

Podcast: Episode 27 with Kara Goucher

By Mario Fraioli |

“When you have things that are out of your control, that are weighing on you and really causing you angst on a daily basis, your running is not going to be what you want it to be. It can be a great escape, it can be a place you go to find calmness and peace in your heart and your mind, but you’re not going to perform at all what you’re capable of performing.”

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Thrilled to welcome Kara Goucher to the podcast this week! Goucher, who recently turned 40, hardly needs any introduction: She’s a two-time U.S. Olympian, world championships silver medalist in the 10,000m, sub-2:25 marathoner, and has finished on the podium at both the New York City and Boston marathons. Beyond her competitive accomplishments, Goucher serves as a role model to runners worldwide, particularly women and young women, who are inspired by her example.

We talked about a number of different topics over the course of 40 minutes, including how she’s dealt with racing anxiety throughout her career, the impetus behind her new book, Strong, what life’s been like for her since speaking up as a whistleblower in the Nike Oregon Project investigation three years ago, how she navigated the disappointment of finishing fourth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, what’s keeping her competitive fire fueled at the age of 40, the effect training with other world-class women like Shalane Flanagan, Jenny Simpson, and Emma Coburn has had on her career, the appeal of ultrarunning, what’s exciting her about the sport right now, and a lot more.


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.



Mario Fraioli
Mario Fraioli is a writer and running coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area.