Podcast: Episode 62 with Scott Fauble

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Ryan Sterner

“I went to the lead, even over Heartbreak, with a purpose and with the goal of dropping people and injecting pace—and I think that’s maybe what surprised me the most, is that I was able to be an actual factor and be something that impacted the way the race played out, which is a new feeling for me in the marathon, particularly in World Marathon Majors. In New York, I was as far back as probably 20th pretty early in the race and was kind of doing my own thing, so that was the biggest surprise—being up front—and the way we got to the 2:09:09 here in Boston.”

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Stoked to welcome the morning shakeout’s first-ever guest, Scott Fauble of Hoka Northern Arizona Elite, back to the show to talk about his recent seventh-place finish at the Boston Marathon, where he ran a big personal best of 2:09:09.

We covered a lot of good stuff in this conversation: all things Boston, of course, but also training and recovery, what the next several months are going to look like heading into the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon, his greatest strengths as a marathoner (and where he has the most room to grow), how he keeps himself centered and grounded, where his extraordinary ability to push himself in races comes from, what’s exciting him in running right now, and a heck of a lot more. (more…)

A Few Thoughts on “Breaking 2: The Sequel”

By Mario Fraioli |
Eliud Kipchoge at the Iffley road track in London, site of Roger Bannister’s historic sub-4 minute mile. Photo: Tom Lovelock for INEOS 1:59 Challenge

The folks at Ineos probably won’t appreciate the title of this post, but that’s exactly what the Ineos 1:59 Challenge, starring Eliud Kipchoge, is shaping up to be this fall. The unsanctioned sub-2hour marathon attempt, which is being bankrolled by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, will take place sometime between late September and early October, at a yet-to-be determined venue, but preferably in London. This means Kipchoge will not defend his title at the Berlin Marathon, or branch out to run a different major, like New York or Chicago. He’ll instead be running another exhibition in an effort to break what Ineos is calling “the last great barrier of modern athletics.” (Note: Ineos must have recently changed their language here. Originally they were calling it “the last great milestone in athletics.”)

“It’s not about the IAAF, it’s about history,” Kipchoge explained. “I really want to leave a big legacy.” And while I’ll be the first to admit that I enjoyed Nike’s Breaking 2 event more than I thought I would, I’ve got a few issues with this upcoming attempt: (more…)

The Complicated Case of Caster Semenya

By Mario Fraioli |
Semenya celebrates after winning gold at the London Olympics in 2012. Photo: T. Abdelmoumen | Creative Commons

First, to catch everyone up to speed in case you haven’t been paying attention to the news this past week: Caster Semenya, the two-time reigning women’s Olympic 800m champion from South Africa, lost her case against the IAAF in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which concluded that “the DSD Regulations are discriminatory but that, on the basis of the evidence submitted by the parties, such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the legitimate objective of ensuring fair competition in female athletics in certain events and protecting the ‘protected class’ of female athletes in those events.” So, if Semenya, or any other athlete with differences in sex development (DSDs), wants to compete internationally at distances from 400m to the mile, she’ll have to take medication to reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L for at least six months prior to competition. Does Semenya plan to comply? “Hell no,” she said after winning what could have been her last international 800m race ever at the Diamond League meet in Qatar last Friday. And can you blame her for being defiant? Again, hell no. Semenya has done nothing wrong. She hasn’t doped, cheated, or otherwise done anything with malicious intent. Semenya was born the way she is and is being punished for it. On the flipside, some experts say that her naturally elevated testosterone levels give her an unfair performance advantage over other women who cannot produce the hormone in the same way, which is the basis on which the IAAF made their decision. In short: It’s a messy situation, with athletic, ethical, scientific, and legal implications. There is no easy answer to the question of how to handle but it’s possible to sympathize with Semenya, who, as letsrun.com‘s Jonathan Gault pointed out via Twitter, “has endured criticism, hatred, and an invasion of privacy for no other reason than choosing to be herself. Semenya has emerged as a role model and someone to be admired,” while also appreciating the frustrations many of her rivals, who feel they’re at a disadvantage no matter how hard they train, have voiced. (more…)

May 2019 Sponsor: The Rambling Runner Podcast

By Mario Fraioli |

Thank you to Matt Chittim and The Rambling Runner Podcast for sponsoring the newsletter this month. I’d also like to encourage you to subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify, if you’re interested in inspiring stories from amateur runners who are working hard to improve while balancing running with the rest of their lives. Matt started the show in July of 2017—“I didn’t have any demographic in mind when I started the show,” he admitted to me. “In fact, I didn’t expect anyone to listen.”—but it really took off in 2018, surpassing a million downloads, and is now frequently ranked as one of the top-200 sports podcasts by Apple Podcasts, while also having been featured in ShapeMen’s Health, and Inc. I started listening to the show last year after recognizing a name I knew (Tyler Underwood, who runs with my former club in San Diego) and have been subscribed ever since. A couple other episodes I’ve enjoyed include Brigitte Bradford, which I ended up going back and listening to after meeting her on the plane to Boston a few weeks ago, Natalie Mitchell, who I’ve interacted with via social media, and Nick Klastava, whose name I recognized because I’ve seen it appear close to mine in race results. I was also a recent guest on the show, which furthered my appreciation for Matt’s easygoing interview style and love of sharing runners’ stories. Check it out if you’re looking for inspiring conversations with amateur runners who are making it happen day in and day out.

Podcast: Episode 61 with Katy Sherratt

By Mario Fraioli |

“Homelessness is a label, it is not who they are. It is a point in time, it is something they are struggling through, it is not something that should be used to put a label on them and define them as a human—and that’s what we try to change on those morning runs. When you’re running with one of our members, who may be suffering from homelessness at that point in time, it’s just a human to human conversation.”

Subscribe, listen, and review on: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Overcast | Google Podcasts | Soundcloud | Spotify

I had a great conversation for this week’s episode of the podcast with Katy Sherratt, the CEO of Back on My Feet, an organization that uses running and community support to help combat homelessness and provide essential employment opportunities and housing resources for people who need it.

We talked about Back on my Feet’s origins, how the organization has grown since it launched in 2007, and where it’s heading in the coming years. We discussed running as a universal language, the evolving role that running has had in Sherratt’s life, how she first got involved with BoMF, and what she’s learned during her tenure. Sherratt also explains how the program works, shares some member success stories, knocks down some of the biggest misconceptions people have about homelessness, and a lot more. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 60 with Terrence Mahon

By Mario Fraioli |

“Watching from an athlete perspective, where all of a sudden he gets it, or she gets it, and you see that just click, and then it’s game time, I think that’s the biggest thing I get from an athlete. All these things you see as a coach, like ‘this athlete should be able to do this, or should be able hit these times, or do this performance,’ but it’s all nothing because it’s just you and me talking here and we know the science of it, and method, but the athlete is the one who has to believe in it and believe in themselves. It doesn’t matter how much you tell them how great they are, or whatever, until they get it. And watching that process happen, and how it happens differently with each athlete, is probably the most exciting part of coaching.”

Subscribe, listen, and review on: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Overcast | Google Podcasts | Soundcloud | Spotify

Really enjoyed sitting down with Terrence Mahon for this week’s episode of the podcast. Mahon, one of the best middle and long distance running coaches in the world, is currently the director and coach of the Mission Athletics Club in San Diego, which he co-founded last year with his wife, three-time Olympian Jen Rhines. Mahon was previously the coach of the BAA High Performance team in Boston, he was the distance coach for U.K. Athletics before that, and he was also the coach of Team Running USA/the Mammoth Track Club from 2004 to 2013, where he guided Deena Kastor to an American record of 2:19:36 in the marathon, Ryan Hall to his 59:43 AR in the half marathon, and developed eight Olympians during his tenure.

This was one of my favorite conversations. We talked about Mahon’s career as both an athlete and a coach. I learned more about Mission Athletics Club and what his objectives are with his new group. We discussed the trajectory of his coaching career, from his humble beginnings working with age-group runners at a running shop in Pennsylvania to becoming one of the most highly sought after coaches in the world. He also told me about his coaching influences and mentors, including the legendary Joe Vigil, Dan Pfaff, and others.

We got into the weeds of Mahon’s coaching philosophy and there are a ton of great takeaways: like the importance of really getting to know your athletes, being brutally honest with them, and being adaptable when it comes to setting goals. We talked about what he sees as his main responsibilities as a coach, how he keeps sharp and stays excited about the craft, what he learns from the athletes he works with, the idea of “coaching mastery” and what that means to him, and a heck of a lot more. (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.