Will Boston’s Solution Prove Problematic?

By Mario Fraioli |
The separation between the elite men and everyone else at this year’s Boston Marathon won’t look much different that it does here—but the dynamic won’t be quite the same once the starter’s gun goes off. Photo: Boston Marathon

I don’t know about you but it seems crazy to me that the Boston Marathon is a little less than three weeks away. I’m not running it this year but I’ve got four athletes competing so the race has been top of my mind for the past few months. Not to mention all the usual excitement around the men’s and women’s elite races, which, for the first time in history, will see the pro men start two minutes ahead of the open field. The pro women, as they have since 2004, will go off at 9:32, the pro men will leave at 10 AM, and Wave 1 of the open field at 10:02. In past years, the men’s pro field and Wave 1 of the open field have started at the same time (the pro men, however, were roped off at the front of the start line while Wave 1 stood a few meters back), technically meaning open men were eligible to compete for prize money because they started at the same time as the pro men, whereas open women who started nearly 30 minutes after the pro women were not. The race rules stated that to be eligible for prize money, a woman had to be a part of the pro field—more on why that’s significant in a bit. (more…)

A Midwinter’s Marathon Tease

By Mario Fraioli |

It’s too early in the year to be thinking all that hard about April marathons unless you’re racing one of them, but Boston recently released its international fields and London surprised no one by announcing that Eliud Kipchoge and Mo Farah will have at it for the second year in a row. Both fields are shaping up to look fairly similar to years past: Boston’s history attracts almost all the top American talent while London’s deep pockets once again bring in the sport’s two biggest (male) stars.

Here’s a short video of Kipchoge talking about taking on Farah again in London. Let there be no doubt who the defending champion thinks is the man to beat on April 28.

Podcast: Episode 40 with Des Linden

By Mario Fraioli |

“I talk about why I had success in Boston—it’s a 26.2-mile race that this year felt like 30, right? You add in the wind, and the conditions, and it suddenly feels longer, which is part of why I have this advantage in my mind. And so why not test that theory out in the actual distance? I think I can finish a marathon feeling like I can probably go another 10 miles, I just couldn’t go a lick faster, so let’s see how far we can extend that. I think those are all intriguing to me.”

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I’m super excited to welcome my first returning guest back to the show: 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden. Linden and I last spoke on Episode 3 in late January, a couple months before she won the race that changed her life. A lot has transpired since she broke the tape on Boylston Street in mid-April, including the launch of Linden & True Coffee, a coaching change, more media appearances than she can remember, and a sixth-place finish at the New York City Marathon a little over a month ago.

Linden and I caught up recently at The Running Event in Austin, Texas and talked about all of those things in great detail and then some, including where her scrappiness and competitiveness come from, why her win in Boston was so validating, the importance of having confidence, trust, and faith in yourself on race day, the advantages of training in a group versus training alone, how her training has changed since leaving the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, what the rest of her competitive marathon career looks like and why ultra-distance races appeal to her, what’s exciting her in running right now, why it’s important to tell your story, and a lot more.

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The 2020 Boston Marathon: A Little Bit Faster Now

By Mario Fraioli |
The start of the Boston Marathon takes place on a two-lane road in the tiny town center of Hopkinton, 26 miles west of the city. Photo: Boston Athletic Association

I’ve heard and seen quite a few grumbles about qualifying standards for the 2020 Boston Marathon getting 5 minutes faster across the board (after the cutoff for entry into next year’s race was revealed to be 4 minutes and 52 seconds faster than the current qualifying standards) and I’m not sure I completely understand the complaints. The reality is that the Boston Marathon simply cannot allow everyone who hits a qualifying mark into the race. There’s a few good reasons for this, which I’ll try to outline here:  (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.

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Podcast: Episode 3 with Des Linden

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Steve Godwin

“I’m comfortable saying I’m a marathoner and everything feeds into the next marathon and making sure that’s great. So if that means being a little out of shape for some summer racing or some off-season racing, that’s OK. I think you kind of check your ego when it comes to that stuff and know that it’s playing into the bigger picture.”

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Two-time Olympian Des Linden comes on the podcast and discusses a wide range of topics, including her pre-run coffee habits, how she pulled herself out of a slump last fall, what it’s like to live with a triathlete, how she’s approaching this year’s Boston Marathon, and the importance of being open and honest about her journey as an athlete. (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.