Podcast: Episode 22 with Deena Kastor

By Mario Fraioli
Photo: Jeremy Teicher

I really believe that running is such a great way to challenge us and to add that difficulty to our life in a very controlled way so that we can deal with challenge and adversity. And I love that. I love getting to the crux of a workout. I go out hard in races and workouts because I want to suffer early on so I can find ways to get through it. And to me it’s always been a game—just this playful pursuit of seeing how badly I can hurt and then what tools I can learn to get through it…When I can handle these challenges in running continuously, then when something shows up in life, I feel like it’s a breeze to get through it. 

Honored to welcome Deena Kastor to the podcast this week. The 45-year-old, who lives in Mammoth Lakes, California with her husband (and coach) Andrew and daughter Piper, is an Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon, multi-time national champion at various distances, and holds numerous American records, including the still-standing women’s marathon mark of 2:19:36. She also holds multiple Masters world and American records from 5K to the marathon. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 21 with Dean Karnazes

By Mario Fraioli

And I thought, “My god, I’ll never get to that level.” And if someone at that level can’t make a go of it in the sport, and you want to make a go of it in the sport, you’re going to have to do a lot more than win races, or just race. You’re going to have to figure out other revenue streams to make a go of it, especially if you want to commit your life to this, which I really did.

It was a treat to have Dean Karnazes join me on the podcast this week. The 55-year-old Bay Area resident remains one of the most recognizable figures in ultrarunning—if not all of running in general—for his accomplishments on and off the race course, which include multiple sub-24 hour Western States finishes, 10 Badwater finishes (including a win in 2004), 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, cross-country runs, a 350-mile run on no sleep, and countless more.

Karnazes’ achievements have inspired many, and angered some, but the breadth of Karnazes’ impact on the sport, and peoples’ lives, is inarguable. He’s authored four books, including the international best-seller Ultramarathon Man, which helped bring widespread notoriety to the sport of ultrarunning and led Time magazine to name him one of 100 most influential people in the world. Karnazes, who has sponsorship endorsements with The North Face and other brands, has also done a lot of work for charity, including Karno Kids, which has helped provide financial support for organizations and programs focused on improving health and wellness for children. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 20 with Kellyn Taylor

By Mario Fraioli

I’ve never been a person to think that just because someone has a better PR than me that they’re going to beat me. I think that it’s important to have belief in yourself and your capabilities. You have to believe that you’re going to do something great before it actually happens.

Thrilled to have Kellyn Taylor join me on the podcast this week. The 31-year-old mom, who trains in Flagstaff, Ariz., as a member of coach Ben Rosario’s HOKA Northern Arizona Elite squad, ran a 2:24:28 at Grandma’s Marathon on June 16. It was a four-minute personal best, two-minute course record, and the seventh-fastest marathon ever run by an American woman.

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Podcast: Episode 19 with Jason Ayr

By Mario Fraioli

I see it more as the type of runner, athlete, or individual who is looking for that experience and something that might change you a little bit. And that doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be super competitive as well. For me, what racing the Sun Chasers in Death Valley taught me is that those experiences can be happening at the same time—it could be the rawest form of competition but at the same time be this moment of self-discovery. And so all of them being bundled up into that same thing just labeled ‘experience’ and I think that’s the type of athlete, runner, or individual that is going to seek those things out—and I think there’s definitely an interest there.

Really excited to welcome Jason Ayr to the podcast this week. Ayr, who works as the controller at Tracksmith, finished 22nd at this year’s Boston Marathon, running 2:29:53. The 30-year-old Ayr also captained Tracksmith’s team to a second-place finish at The Speed Project 4.0—a 340-mile unsanctioned relay race running from Los Angeles to Las Vegas that’s primary source of information, promotion, and documentation is through Instagram—a couple weeks prior, running dozens of hard miles in just under 36 hours. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 18 with Jeff Dengate

By Mario Fraioli

What is a runner? To define it today, that’s a question we have to ask. There are a lot of people out there who say, ‘I’m not a runner’ but they probably run 3 or 4 days a week, they might run 25 miles a week, but they also might do other things. The day of that loneliness of the long-distance runner, the guy in short shorts out there pounding the miles and training for a marathon—while we saw that popularity of the standard distances and that traditional kind of runner grow, it’s plateaued, and even receding—if you look at races, they’re struggling to hit the numbers that they want and need. But then you have all these events, there are all sorts of non-traditional things…there are these events that are happening, and they’re challenging, and they’re every bit running.

Excited to welcome Runner’s World “Runner-in-Chief” Jeff Dengate to the podcast. Dengate, who is on his third tour of duty at RW after recently wrapping up a second stint at Men’s Journal, took over for Betty Wong-Ortiz in March and has been charged with leading the brand under its new owner, Hearst.

Dengate, who got his start in media as a senior editor for NBA.com before leaving to be the web editor at Runner’s World in 2007, is best known for his coverage of shoes and gear at both RW and Men’s Journal (where he worked from 2014-2016, and again from August of last year until this past March).

A runner for the past three decades—he ran his first 5K race while training for karate as a kid—Dengate has a current penchant for off-road races and low-key events. “It’s a place for me, personally, where I like to spend my race entry fees,” he told me.

In this conversation, we talk about his new role at Runner’s World, what brought him back to the brand for the third time, how its content focus has evolved in the short time he’s had the reigns, and a lot more, including: (more…)

Podcast: Episode 17 with Tina Muir

By Mario Fraioli

[Putting pressure on myself] is one thing that I found that I did a lot of and I think most runners tend to feel this huge expectation of having to perform. Whereas now, having a daughter, I can say to myself: “You know what? At the end of the day, if I don’t run well today, she’s not going to care whatsoever. If I run a world record, she doesn’t really care; to her, me crossing the finish line is the same whether I run 2:20 in a marathon or 3:50.” So I think it’s just kind of keeping that reminder that I run because I enjoy it, not because I need to do it to get the reward, or the satisfaction of people complimenting me.

It’s a pleasure to welcome Tina Muir to the podcast. Muir, a 2:36 marathoner who represented Great Britain at the world half-marathon championships in 2016, gained notoriety last year after announcing that she was going to put her running career on hold after a 9-year battle with amenorrhea. Her story was picked up by Runner’s World, ESPNW, and even People magazine, and sparked a conversation—and heightened awareness—around the condition, especially amongst female athletes. In the time since her story broke, Muir has launched a business, Running For Real, and given birth to a baby girl named Bailey. The 29-year-old is eyeing a return to competitive running in the near future. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 16 with Brandon Hudgins

By Mario Fraioli

I don’t wanna just be someone who qualified for the Olympic Trials once and made a semifinal or whatever. I want to be someone who’s name is in contention for teams. And that’s my goal these last three years and I’m going to be doing everything I can to get there. But I want to be known as someone who basically made running cool again.

Stoked to welcome sub-4:00 miler Brandon Hudgins to the podcast! Not only is Brandon fast—he’s also an Olympic Trials qualifier in the 1,500m—but he’s got one of the most inspiring, and untold, stories in professional running today, and I’m excited to share it with all of you. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 15 with Aliphine Tuliamuk

By Mario Fraioli

When I’m dealing with pressure from racing and stuff, I just tell myself, “This is an opportunity of a lifetime.” When I was growing up, or I started running, I never thought that I would be the person that I am today. I never thought that I would be living in America, that I would be an independent woman doing my own thing. I have an opportunity that not a lot of people have—like not even my role models when I was in Kenya, they don’t have the opportunities that I have here. And so when I have that pressure, I just tell myself that I am in a better place and I don’t want to complain because this is not going to last forever and so I try to just enjoy the process.

All she does is win, win, win, no matter what. Super excited to welcome nine-time U.S. national champion Aliphine Tuliamuk to the podcast. Tuliamuk went wire-to-wire to win the U.S. half-marathon championship in Pittsburgh on May 6 and followed that up less than a week later with her third-straight U.S. 25K title in Grand Rapids on May 12.

The 29-year-old Tuliamuk, a native of Kenya who became a U.S. citizen in 2016, lives in Flagstaff, Arizona and trains with coach Ben Rosario’s HOKA Northern Arizona Elite squad. She’s a graduate of Wichita State University, where she was 14-time All-American and earned a degree in public health.

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Podcast: Episode 14 with Dylan Bowman

By Mario Fraioli
Photo: Justin Sund/Red Bull Content Pool

For a lot of these races, at least for me, the key limiting factor to success is oftentimes how excited I am to bury myself. And I’ve just found that when I emphasize the rest, and lean on my experience, that I can get as fit as I’m gonna get in six, eight weeks of training and there’s really no need for me to continue to bang my head against the wall for 12 or 16 weeks, even for the most important races. And I think that’s something a lot of people have to learn for themselves and I’m really happy that I have, because yeah, it is very easy to jump at all these cool opportunities that we have in the sport now.

Pumped to welcome professional ultrarunner Dylan Bowman to the podcast. I caught up with the “perpetuator of stoke” just a few days after his most recent victory at the Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji. The 32-year-old Bowman, who passed leader Pau Capell of Spain with a little over 3 miles to go in the 105-mile race, takes us through his win and explains why it was the best race he’s ever run.

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Podcast: Episode 13 with Simon Freeman

By Mario Fraioli

I think a degree of paranoia is a good thing—again, whether it’s running or business, it keeps you on your toes. Julie and I literally couldn’t work out why this magazine that we were imagining didn’t exist. Because we didn’t think that we could possibly have come up with something that no one else had thought of, so we just assumed that the reason it didn’t exist is that people had sort of tried it and figured out that it would never work, and we were going to find out ourselves that it wasn’t going to work. The reality is that there’s been quite a few moments when we thought ‘this is utter madness’…but the last 4 to 5 issues we’ve hit a sort of form and it feels like it’s gaining momentum so the hard work is starting to pay off.

Thrilled to welcome Simon Freeman to the podcast this week. He is the co-founder and editor of Like the Wind, a quarterly UK-based running magazine that ships to 32 countries worldwide. LTW, which just published its 15th issue, explores why we run—not how we run—through modern design, stunning photography and illustrations, and diverse storytelling that celebrates the spirit of running: road, trail, track, or wherever interesting things are happening in the sport. (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.