Red-Letter Days

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There they are, prominent among countless undistinguished runs dutifully recorded within one’s physical or virtual training log, the workouts that tower above the rest like monuments. They are the long, long runs, or the special blocks, or the hardest track workouts you’ve ever done. They are the red-letter days in your own personal Running Book of Devotions. Continue reading

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Sharing Battle Road

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So here it is May, and in Southern New England spring is in full riot. Gardens have flowers again, and trees have green leaves. It finally feels like it’s OK to put the storm windows up and the screens down. It’s not going to jinx anything to bring out the lawn chairs and the backyard picnic table. Continue reading

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In Memoriam: Tom Fleming

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He was high energy, very empathetic, and had a remarkable ability to reach a wide range of kids, boys and girls. He didn’t run an easy classroom but it was a great classroom. Third graders who heard about him kept their fingers crossed that of our three sections of fourth grade, they’d end up in his.” – Tom Nammack, headmaster of Montclair Kimberly Academy, where Tom Fleming taught and coached

In this era of manufactured marathon heroes, I know the real ones. Tom [Fleming] was one.” – Bill Rodgers Continue reading

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Boston, be my shining star

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Some things should be obvious.

It should be obvious that the Boston Marathon is not like London or Berlin or Chicago. It should be understood that, above all, the Boston Marathon is a competition, not a time trial, a test of physical and spiritual fortitude that humbles you and — sometimes, if you’re lucky — exalts you. It should be self-evident that Boston’s unique combination of downhills, uphills, fickle winds, and unpredictable weather favor certain athletes and destroy others. It should be known by now that Boston doesn’t need an asterisk; Boston is what it is, and an asterisk doesn’t begin to capture its subtle and singular challenges. Continue reading

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Words to Run By

 

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Even as the constant cheers from a million spectators fill their ears and urge their tired bodies up and over the hills, runners in today’s marathon will be attending to other voices — the quiet but urgent voices inside their own heads that repeat the words that help focus their increasingly distracted brains on maintaining forward momentum, on finishing the damn race. Continue reading

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Another few words about Boston

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As I try to put down a few thoughts about the Boston Marathon, it’s hard to escape the feeling that everything has already been written, and by people much more dedicated and knowledgable than me. in fact, I had no specific intention of writing anything in advance of Monday’s race. I would simply take it in, as I usually do, from a spot along the course and whatever TV I could stream. If something interesting or unusual happened, well, sure, I might react to it in a post, but I wasn’t planning anything. Continue reading

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A Long Walk into History

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Walkers in the early stages of the 50K event at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Even as I write these words from Boston, home to world’s most storied footrace, across the Atlantic Ocean the IAAF is meeting in London and appears ready to recommend eliminating the ultimate test of endurance, the longest of pedestrian events, from the Olympic Games. Continue reading

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