Page 1


Our favorite gear made in the USA p.32

Nutrition secrets of Olympians p.36


Click here to see photos, videos and more from our cover shoot!

MOUNT TAM UNDERGROUND The next big scene in running P. 50

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WHY MAXIMALIST SHOES ARE ALL THE RAGE How to find the right shoe for you!

p. 60

PLUS Stay Fit Through the Holidays— Free Training Plan

MARATHON NUTRITION 101: What to Eat and Drink for Your Next Race


Our favorite gear made in the USA p.32

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Habits of Passionate Runners Newton Kismet+ other quirky traits that define us

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MOUNT TAM UNDERGROUND The next big scene in running P. 50

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ica’s #1 Running Resource Run a Half Marathon With Our FREE Training Plan! Page 24


Nutrition secrets of Olympians p.36


Click here to see photos, videos and more from our cover shoot!

Cross-Training For Runners:


TRAIL SHOES Key Workouts You Should Be Doing


THE FINISH LINE A farewell to the champion of the slower-running movement

How to Nail Your Fall Race Goals tapering tips tune-up workouts fueling & more

Click here to see more photos from our cover shoot!

Pre-race Get Fit for Fall! Follow Our Training Plans superstitions AMERICA’S #1 RUNNING RESOURCE

Page 18


Page 34

How many running shoes do you need? competitor


Page 22

Roberto Mandje trains on the trails in Boulder, Colo.

Local The pioneers Ru nners, and key innovators difference in Traimaking ls &a Ra our sport. ces

INSIDE! Page 31



Page 60


to see a photo gallery of this cover shoot.


13 coaches prepare 13 women for their first marathon and share how to prevent injuries.

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Danielle Shaffo, Dunedin, Fla.

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One Hundred Miles High 11/18/14 5:39 PM

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Behind the scenes of America's hardest running race ............................ over mountain passes, through rivers—an 8/20/14 11:06 AM

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contents december 2014


40 features

50 on the cover DECEMBER 2014



Come along as top ultrarunners Stephanie Howe and Sage Canaday explore the Nā Pali Coast of Kauai—one of America’s greatest running trails.

How a mountain, a running store and an abundance of local talent have elevated the San Francisco Bay Area community to become the hottest underground scene in trail running.

Photography by Scott Draper


Crowd Sourced

Running’s social subculture is exploding in popularity, and the November Project and other tribes are turning out top athletes in the process. The result? Running is being entirely redefined. By Erin Beresini


Higher Ground

Nutrition secrets of Olympians p.36


By Mario Fraioli


The 50 Best Running Stores of 2014

We highlight the 50 best running shops in the U.S. and put a spotlight on the four shops being considered for the Best Running Store in America designation for 2014. By Mark Sullivan

MOUNT TAM UNDERGROUND The next big scene in running P. 50

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American trail running stars Sage Canaday and Stephanie Howe run along the Kalalau Trail on the island of Kauai.

Photo by Scott Draper

Scott Draper; Jeff Clark

Paradise Found

Our favorite gear made in the USA p.32

Competitor | december 2014

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Introducing Fitbit Charge,™ an advanced activity wristband designed to energize your day. With 24/7 fitness stats and Caller ID on display, Charge keeps you motivated whether you’re at work or working out. Add run tracking, route mapping and faster food logging from the Fitbit app, and you have everything you need to find your fit.


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contents december 2014

Click here to find a race in our online calendar!

in the back Destination

We run the trails of Santa Fe, N.M., and explain what makes it a great running getaway.


Editor’s Letter

There are great places to run all over the U.S.



Last month’s New York City Marathon was the largest marathon in history.


Starting Lines • Warm Up

We go inside the upcoming movie “Unbroken” and see how Hollywood portrays running; We


go on a beer run with middledistance star Nick Symmonds as he adds the titles of “author” and “entrepreneur” to his resume and get his tips for running a beer mile; And we serve up the results of our 2014 Best of Competitor awards.

top coaches. Also: two-time U.S. Olympian Alan Culpepper shows how to achieve your goals for 2015, coach Mario Fraioli explains how to get hill workouts in flat places, while the 26 Strong team shares advice on a stress-free race week.

• Marathon Meb

• Gear

America’s best marathoner (and our resident columnist) explains how it feels to wear a USA singlet.

We share our favorite gear that’s born in the U.S.A., plus reveal the brand-new totally amazing Ampla Fly running shoe.

• Training

Your base-building program begins now: Check out our eight-week training plan, plus advice from four of the nation’s

• Fuel

U.S. Olympic team nutritionist Alicia Kendig reveals the fueling secrets of the elites and shares

advice on what the rest of us can learn from them.

In the back Calendar

Search dozens of event listings from your region to find your next race.

back page

I’m a Competitor

Human resrouces executive Burton Goldfield shares why he gave fitness trackers to his entire staff and why he turned his corner office into an employee gym.

Eric O’Connell


Competitor | december 2014

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American Running


I’ve run a lot of great trails around the world, but few

match the magnificence—or the difficulty—of the Kalalau Trail on the NaPali Coast of Kauai. The moment you set foot on it, you’re in for an amazing, tropical adventure, complete with stunning sea cliffs, rugged climbs, fast descents, amazing waterfalls and remote beaches. In this issue, we highlight some of the best things about running in the U.S., and certainly Kalalau Trail is among the best trails in the country. For our story we invited pro trail runners Stephanie Howe and Sage Canaday to join us for several days of trail running and hanging out near Hanalei Bay. Sounds like fun, huh? “Simply an amazing place to run,” says Howe, the women’s winner of this year’s Western States 100. “It’s definitely one of my favorite trails in the world.” Read more about their Hawaiian adventure and check out photo editor Scott Draper’s amazing shots from the trip (page 40). Also in this issue, senior editor Mario Fraioli gives us an inside glimpse of the burgeoning trail running scene in Marin County, Calif. (page 50). Although the trails near Mt. Tamalpais have long been amazing, the buzz of a new running shop and the energy that several of the country’s top ultrarunners have brought to the area have combined to make this spot running’s current “it” locale. Also, we give a running-oriented look at “Unbroken,” the Angelina Jolie-directed movie (page 15) that debuts this month about the amazing life of 1936 U.S. Olympic runner and prisoner of war Louis Zamperini. Speaking of amazing, we also catch up with bold, brash and busy American middle-distance star Nick Symmonds (page 18), who, among other things, is preparing to compete in the first-ever beer mile world championships. We also highlight some of the best running gear that’s made in the U.S.A. (page 32), investigate the growing trend of social running groups (page 46), celebrate the top 50 running shops in the country (page 59) and tell you where to run, eat and more when visiting the idyllic getaway of Santa Fe, N.M. We hope you find inspiration in the pages of this magazine. But remember, there are great places to run all over the U.S.—including in your own back yard.

competitor Editorial

Editor-in-chief Brian Metzler Senior Editor Mario Fraioli Managing Editor Adam Elder Web Editor Ryan Wood Associate Editor Caitlyn Pilkington Editorial assistant Emily Polachek Senior contributing editors Allison Pattillo, Jason Devaney Contributing editors Courtney Baird, Jeff Banowetz, Giannina Smith Bedford, Sarah Wassner Flynn, Julie Kailus, Duncan Larkin, Mackenzie Lobby Contributing Writers Erin Beresini, Alan Culpepper, Jay Dicharry, Dan England, Scott Jurek, Max King, Susan Lacke, Linzay Logan, Amanda McCracken, Greg McMillan, Kelly O’Mara, Claire Trageser, Peter Vigneron


Photo Editor Scott Draper Graphic Designer Valerie Brugos Contributing Artists/Photographers Matt Collins, Neil Numberman, Victor Sailer, Brad Walters

Circulation & Production

Production Manager Meghan McElravy Advertising Production Manager Gia Hawkins Audience Development Manager Cassie Chavez product innovation MANAGER Aaron Hersh

digital services

VP, Digital services Dan Vaughan Director, Web Development Scott Kirkowski Director, SEO/Analytics Johnny Yeip associate Director, Web Design Matthew McAlexander Web Developers Grace Cupat, Joey Hernandez Web Designers James Longhini, Thomas Phan, Justin Wilson system administrator Bruno Breve Senior Video Producer Steve Godwin


SVP, media Sales Manager Doug Kaplan • 312-421-1551, SVP, Partnership Sales Mark Buntz • 858-768-6460, VP, regional Partnership Sales Molly Quinn • 858-768-6468, VP, NATIONAL Sales Ian Sinclair • 860-673-6830, VP, national Sales Susie Miller • 310-463-5837, VP, media Sales Todd Wienke • 404-517-7457, Director, Partnership Sales Melissa Zavislak • 858-768-6789, National Endemic Sales Alex Jarman • 858-768-6769, National Endemic Sales Jeff McDowell • 858-768-6794, National Endemic Sales Justin Sands • 858-768-6747, National Endemic Sales Gordon Selkirk • 858-768-6767, events senior Sales Kelly Trimble • 858-768-6749, east senior Sales Michael Proulx • 860-919-3448, Northwest senior Sales Daemon Filson • 541.292.1450, Midwest Regional Sales Tom Borda • 312-421-1551, southwest Regional Sales Richard Hurd • 512-364-1703, east Regional Sales Dave Ragsdale • 561-838-9060, Rocky Mountains Regional Sales Matt Steinberg • 303-525-6702,


VICE PRESIDENT Sean Clottu Director Jennifer Sugarman Managers Erin Ream and Carson McGrath Coordinator Liz Centeno-Vera and Christina McGregor


Controller, Media Gretchen Alt SVP, group publisher Kurt Hoy

Coming in January

Run the world with us as we explore the mountain-running mecca of Chamonix, France (pictured), touch down on the remote trails of the Patagonia region of Chile and serve up amazing glimpses of a stage race through South Africa’s Richtersveld National Park.

Get a Free Subscription! 8

Go to and sign up for a free subscription to the digital edition of our magazine. In addition to what you’ll find in the printed edition, you’ll get more stories and photos, plus links to cool videos, photo galleries and other related content.

a publication of

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER David N. Abeles CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Barrett Garrison Chief Revenue Officer Bill Pedigo Chief marketing Officer Keith Kendrick Executive VICE PRESIDENT, global events division Josh Furlow SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SALES John Smith 9477 Waples Street, Suite 150, San Diego, CA 92121 • 858-450-6510 For distribution inquiries: 858-768-6493 Digital Issue support: Distribution management: TGS Media Inc. •, 877-847-4621 No part of this issue may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Competitor is a registered trademark of Competitor Group Inc.

A Member of official magazine

Franck Oddoux

Bri a n M etzler, E d itor-i n-Chi ef

Competitor | december 2014

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Click here for more photos from this year’s New York City Marathon!


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RUNNING EMPIRE Last month’s New York City Marathon had 50,564 finishers, making it the largest marathon in history. In fact, only 305 runners who started the annual fiveborough tour of the city on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge on Staten Island didn’t reach the finish line in Central Park, meaning it had a 99 percent finishing rate—one of the highest of any marathon in the world. Kenyans Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany won the men’s and women’s races, running 2:10:59 and 2:25:07, respectively. Meb Keflezighi was the top American male, placing fourth in 2:13:18, while Desiree Linden was the fastest U.S. woman, finishing fifth in 2:28:11. Photo by victor sailer/

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Join the conversation at competitor.running

Check out more than 100 great gift ideas for runners—from training tools to shoes, apparel, gadgets and more.

Na Pali Coast

All our bonus footage of Competitor’s cover-story run along the Kauai coastline trail with ultrarunners Stephanie Howe and Sage Canaday is at We’ve got videos, photos, pro advice, and jaw-dropping footage of this incredible trail.

TOP 50 RUNNING STORES THE RESULTS ARE IN! Our search for the top 50 running stores in the United States has come to a close. Find out who won at

COLD-WEATHER RUNNING The winter is here, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop running. Pick up tips for cold-weather training at

Follow us on Twitter: @RunCompetitor

See where we've been on Instagram: @RunCompetitor

The 35 Greatest We named the top 35 American female marathoners of all time. See if you agree with our list at top35women,

and let us know on Facebook what you think of it. 12

Justin Galloway; Scott Draper;



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AMERICAN ICON Before Louis Zamperini’s inspiring story of Olympic stardom and prisoner-of-war survival hits the big screen on Christmas Day, we got an inside look at how Hollywood brought a bygone track era back to life.

Couresty of Universal Pictures

BY CAITLYN PILKINGTON OLYMPIAN AND WORLD WAR II prisoner of war Louis Zamperini not only defied the odds on the track—growing from a reckless teenager in Torrance, Calif., into a running sensation—but he also beat the odds of survival following a plane crash during WWII. After more than 45 days at sea in a life boat, he and one other survivor were captured by the Japanese and held prisoner for the remainder of the war. He was released in 1945 following Japanese surrender. On Dec. 25, director Angelina Jolie will bring his story to the big screen in “Unbroken,” which is based on Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 nonfiction bestseller, and stars Jack O’Connell as the runner and war hero. Nineteen-year-old Zamperini became a small-town icon during the 1936 Olympic Trials in Manhattan, N.Y., where he finished in a dead tie with then-AR holder Don Lash in the 5,000M, punching his ticket to the games in Berlin. He was the youngest American qualifier in his event. He finished eighth at the games, running a 56-second final lap that grabbed the attention of one spectator—Adolf Hitler—who would later identify Zamperini as “the boy with a fast finish.” We got an inside look at how the movie recreated 78-year-old Olympic moments, and all the details that go into bringing the look and feel of a bygone track era back to life. “On the job, I was blessed with very committed, expert coaches,” O’Connell says of getting into the role “I would’ve been ruined without the prior training they gave me.” Greg Smith, an accomplished Australian masters sprinter and coach of two 2012

Zamperini (played by Jack O'Connell) was undefeated for most of his high school career.


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Olympians, was recruited by Jolie to help create an authentic depiction of Zamperini’s time on the track. Smith gathered several runners from Sydney’s athletics clubs. He had particular praise for both Louies—C.J. Valleroy (young Louie) and O’Connell. “They were great, naturals,” Smith says. “They worked hard and looked perfect.” Smith says runners during that time were shaped differently than today, many being tradesmen and la-

with the long spikes people used then for push-off would be brutal today. We used the shoes with long spikes only for close-ups.” Valleroy admits it took him awhile to get used to the unique shoes from that era. “I’m on my high school track team, and I do cross-country running. But this was harder,” he says. “I also had to learn to run with a straight chest and proper arms and also learn how to push off for a faster sprint.”

told me that whenever his strife became impossible he’d envisage a finish line, however distant it felt,” O’Connell says. In 1998, 81-year-old Zamperini carried the Winter Olympics torch on a leg through Nagano, Japan, near where he was held captive. In 2005, he returned to the Olympic stadium in Berlin for the first time. In Torrance, his high school’s stadium is named after him, as is USC’s stadium, where he attended college

Director Angelina Jolie went to great lengths to re-create the track scenes, such as the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

UNBROKEN EXCERPTS The morning of the plane crash, May 27, 1943:

He turned a mile in 4:12, a dazzling time given that he was running on sand. He was in the best shape of his life.

During his imprisonment in Ofuna, one of several Japanese POW camps, Fall 1943:

borers with more visible lower-body strength. “They ran in an upright position,” he explains. “Today, runners are a lot taller, and there’s a lot more moving forward, almost leaning over.” The running sequences, filmed near Sydney, Australia, were a challenge for the cast due to the replicated track shoes—racing spikes from the 1920s and 1930s. “We copied Louie’s actual shoe as closely as we could for these scenes and had them made in Mexico,” costume designer Louise Frogley says. “Basically, they’re like ballerina flats with no heels and spikes in front. We also had them constructed with different levels of spikes, because running in the shoes


O’Connell, who plays older Zamperini as a prisoner of war, says he had a head start in preparing for the running scenes. “I was always fit, boxing and playing football, so running for camera came naturally,” he explains. “I did have to learn to adopt Louie’s style of running. When we began these scenes, I was out of shape because I was still recovering from being emaciated [for the film]. I did it in stages, moving from the emaciated phase to the prison phase to my more natural self.” The film is a tale of endurance, documenting Zamperini’s resilience during his two-year imprisonment in Japan, which included torture and extreme starvation. “Louis

THE BEST RUNNING MOVIES OF ALL-TIME We’ve ranked the 25 best running movies ever made. Check out our list and see if you agree, disagree or have other recommendations at

on an athletic scholarship. According to Hillenbrand’s book, some suspected Zamperini, who had earned the nickname “Tornado Torrance,” would become the first man to break the 4-minute-mile barrier. In 1938, he posted a national collegiate mile record—4:08—that stood for 15 years.

The guards were fascinated to learn that the sick, emaciated man in the first barracks had once been an Olympic runner. They quickly found a Japanese runner and brought him in for a match race against the American. Hauled out and forced to run, Louie was trounced, and the guards made tittering mockery of him.

During a 2-mile training for the 1948 London Olympics, timed by his wife, 1946:

His time was the fastest 2-mile run on the Pacific coast in 1946, but it didn’t matter. He was unable to walk for a week, and would limp for weeks more. A doctor confirmed that he had disastrously exacerbated his war injury. It was all over.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures (main photo)

Click here for our list of the 25 BEST running movies of all time!


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NO ONE HAS EVER DOUBTED that Nick Symmonds is his own man. The dude’s got moxie. Among other things, he’s a hard-working, crafty, brash, bold, fun-loving and sometimes outspoken combination of speed, endurance and intensity. Those qualities, which have helped him become a five-time U.S. champion, two-time Olympian and world championships silver medalist in the 800 meters, also led to him taking a stance against USA Track & Field’s athlete sponsorship regulations, going on a date with

Paris Hilton, speaking out against Russia’s anti-gay laws and setting the unofficial American record in the beer mile. The 30-year-old Brooks-sponsored athlete (who helps design some of the company’s line of shoes) published his autobiography and started a caffeine-enhanced chewing gum brand in October. And this month he contended to win the first unofficial beer mile world championship in Austin, Texas. As you can imagine, training for it is all in a day’s work for this multitalented runner. —Brian Metzler

John Jefferson

For Nick Symmonds’ beer mile tips, turn to page 20.


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BELIEVE TRAINING JOURNAL Designed for women by pro runners, this is a runner’s journal, a worksheet, and a guide to your best season. THE ATHLETE’S POCKET GUIDE TO YOGA Enjoy stretching after your run with this colorful, lay-flat book of poses for runners. HANSONS HALF-MARATHON METHOD Set your new half-marathon PR the Hansons way.

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The Beer Will Flo in Texas

Nick Symmonds' Latest Ventures [THE GUM]


Symmonds’ 256-page autobiography, "Life Outside the Oval Office: The Track Less Traveled" ($19, serves up a slew of wild and funny stories about his rise from a small-town kid with a knack for the outdoors to one of the world’s top middle-distance runners, as well as some inside dirt on the world of track and field.

In October, Symmonds and longtime coach Sam Lapray launched RunGum ($18 for 12pack,, a new line of performance chewing gum available in fruit and mint flavors. One piece of RunGum includes 50mg of caffeine, 20mg of taurine and loads of B6 and B12 vitamins. It’s intended for athletes who want an energy boost without having to drink or eat anything to get it.

Nic k Sy mm on ds ’

“You need to be a good runner, but not a great runner,” he says. “But you have to be a great drinker.” Symmonds was injured for part of the 2014 season, but ran 1:51 for 800 meters in October.



The popularity of the beer mile—the act of pounding a 12oz can of beer, immediately running a lap around a track, then repeating the process four times in a row (without puking!)— has risen in recent years, with record attempts popping up on YouTube. Symmonds, who owns a 3:56.72 PR in the mile and ran a 5:19 beer mile “American record” in 2012, was a favorite to win the stacked 2014 Flotrack Beer Mile World Championship on this month in Austin. “I’ve been training my butt off, both in the pub and on the track,” Symmonds says.

“It needs to be at least 5 percent alcohol according to the rules, but there are both very heavy and very light beers in that category. You need one you can drink very fast,” says Symmonds, who says he doesn’t have a favorite beer-mile beer. “What slows everyone down is the carbonation. I try to get my beer settled and down to room temperature so I can get it down quickly,” says Symmonds, who has been practicing his beer-and-running routine on a treadmill and aiming to average between 8 and 10 seconds per beer. For more about how beer and running intersect, go to

WHAT: The first-ever semi-official (but not really) Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships. Long before Canadian James Nielsen broke the world record last April, the beer mile had already foamed over its previous cult-like interest among hardcore runners. Previously a gratuitously silly event staged by running clubs and college cross-country teams, the beer mile has gone viral as fleet-footed beer guzzlers post their efforts on social media outlets in the past couple of years. Nielsen’s 4:57.1 solo effort on a track in Novato, Calif., was the tipping point that sent #beermile trending around the world with more than 1.3 million views on YouTube (as of Nov. 13). WHEN: Dec. 3 WHERE: Austin, Texas WHY: “The athletes at the starting line on will be the best ever assembled for a Beer Mile, and I’m confident both world records will be broken,” said Mark Floreani, co-founder of FloTrack. WHO: Along with Symmonds, Canadian Corey Gallagher (5:01.5), Sweden’s Markus Liwing (5:24.3) and Australian Jack Colreavy (5:17.0) were expected to participate. Among the women are world record-holder Chris Kimbrough (6:28.60) and Brooks pro Katie Mackey, a former University of Washington runner with a 4:27.78 PR in the “dry” mile. HOW: For the beer mile’s official “Kingston” rules, national records and all-time standings, go to


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There’s a coach in every watch. Meet the GPS running watches with coaching features so dialed-in, they might know your abilities better than you do. 220 gives you essential running data like distance, pace and heart rate. The 620 adds a touchscreen, VO2 max estimating and a recovery advisor. And when you pair 620 with HRM-Run you have access to advanced running form coaching data like cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time. Both 220 and 620 are compatible with free training plans from Garmin Connect™, which you can send to your watch, for real-time coaching. To learn more, visit

Forerunner 220 | 620 ®

©2013 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries

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Click here to read about The Mystique of Meb!









April 21, and I take great pride that I won that race on the day it mattered the most. The path to representing the U.S. wasn’t an easy one for me. My parents’ journey from Eritrea was amazing. I came from zero, my family didn’t have any money and we grew up on welfare, but my parents’ sacrifices to make a better life for us has always inspired me to keep working hard toward my own goals. On July 2, 1998, I became a U.S. citizen. I wanted it to be July 4, but that’s the closest I could get! I remember it vividly like it was yesterday. The ceremony was at Cabrillo Monument in San Diego, and I remember giving my oath and looking out at the ocean and thinking, “Wow, this is a dream come true.” After 11 years of living in the U.S., I was so excited for the opportunity to finally wear the USA singlet in competition. That year I was able to go to the Goodwill Games in New York and run the 10,000 meters. I didn’t have the best race. I got lapped—maybe twice—but it was such an honor to wear the USA jersey. Since 1998 I’ve been on a number of U.S. teams—from an Ekiden relay in Japan to cross-country world championships, world cup events, track world championships and three Olympic Games. For me, part of being an American is that you never give up, and, God willing, I hope to have the opportunity to wear that USA on my chest a few more times before I retire.

3MEB KEFLEZIGHI is the only runner in history to win both the New York City Marathon and Boston Marathon and earn an Olympic medal. This is the fifth installment of his new "Marathon Meb" column for Competitor. Follow along each month in the magazine and also find regular training tips and inspiration at


WHEN I WAS RUNNING on the cross-country and track teams at San Diego High School and in college at UCLA, my coaches taught me that when you put on your jersey before a race, you not only represent yourself, but also your institution. I take that lesson to heart every time I have the privilege to wear a USA singlet. I’m not running for me—I’m running for the United States. As I was crossing the finish line in Central Park at the 2009 New York City Marathon, I pointed to the USA jersey on my chest. That was a precious moment for me. I took a lot of pride in that win because people were chanting “USA! USA!” as I broke the tape. Fast forward to the Olympic Games in 2012. It was probably one of the gutsiest races I’ve ever run. At the halfway point, I was in 20th place and I was hurting so bad that I wanted to stop. I already had a silver medal from Athens and a win at New York City, but it came to mind during the race that I was representing our country—and I had to get to that finish line. I wasn’t planning on passing people, and it was a miracle that I finished fourth. But when you’re doing things for the right reasons, you just get that energy. When I heard people along the course yelling, “Come on USA, come on Meb!” I got the energy to keep moving forward. And in Boston this year, I wanted to win for the U.S. so badly. My country needed me on



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11/18/14 6:00 PM

Meb Keflezighi - CEP Ambassador Olympic Silver Medalist 3 Time US Olympic Team Member NYC Marathon Champion UNRESTRICTED COMFORT





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Starting Lines


Click here for training plans and other resources.

8-Week Base-Building Training Plan

Lay the foundation for spring racing success by putting in a solid winter of training.





Easy run: 4 miles





Total Mileage

Easy run: 6 miles + 4 x 20-second strides

Strength training circuit (x 1)

Long run: 8 miles w/last 2 miles at a faster pace


Easy run: 5 miles + strength training circuit (x 1)

Easy run: 6 miles + 4 x 20-second strides

Strength training circuit (x 1)

Long run: 10 miles + 4 x 20-second strides


Easy run: 5 miles + strength training circuit (x 1)

Easy Run: 6 miles

Strength training circuit (x 1)

Long run: 11 miles w/8 x 2:00 hard/2:00 easy mid-run


Easy run: 5 miles + strength training circuit (x 1)

Easy run: 7 miles + 4 x 20-second strides

Strength training circuit (x 1)

Easy run: 12 miles + 4 x 20-second strides


Easy run: 5 Fartlek: 8 miles w/4 miles + strength x 5:00 hard/3:00 training circuit easy mid-run (x 1)

Easy run: 6 miles + 5 x 20-second strides

Strength training circuit (x 2)

Long run: 13 miles w/last 4 miles at a faster pace


Easy run: 5 miles + strength training circuit (x 1)

Easy run: 8 miles + 5 x 20-second strides

Strength training circuit (x 2)

Long run: 13 miles easy


Easy run: 5 miles + strength training circuit (x 1)

Easy Run: 8 miles + 5 x 20-second strides

Strength training circuit (x 2)

Long run: 14 miles w 10 x 1:30 hard/1:30 easy mid-run


Easy run: 5 miles + strength training circuit (x 1)

Easy run: 8 miles + 5 x 20-second strides

Strength training circuit (x 2)

Easy run: 14 miles + 5 x 20-second strides




Easy run: 5 Fartlek: 6 miles w/8 miles + strength x 1:00 hard/2:00 training circuit easy mid-run (x 1) Hill repeats: 6 miles


Easy run: 4 miles


Easy run: 5 miles



8 x 20-second hill repeats at hard effort w/1:00 recovery between repeats Tempo run: 2-mile warm-up, 3 miles @ faster pace, 2-mile cool-down (7 miles) Hill repeats: 7 miles


Easy run: 5 miles


Easy run: 5 miles



10 x 30-second hill repeats at hard effort w/1:00 recovery between repeats


8 x 45-second hill repeats at hard effort w/1:30 recovery between repeats


Easy run: 6 miles


Easy run: 6 miles


Tempo run: 2-mile warm-up, 5 miles @ faster pace, 2-mile cool-down (9 miles)


Easy run: 6 miles


Fartlek: 10 miles w/7 x 3:00 hard/2:00 easy mid-run

REST (Kastor photo); Scott Draper (running photo)

Hill repeats: 7 miles

Competitor | december 2014

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WE ASKED SOME OF THE BEST COACHES IN THE U.S. ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD BASE-TRAINING PHASE. “I believe it’s good to include drills and strides a couple of days a week and at least one workout with some sort of quality to it—a fartlek, a tempo run, some hills or even some repeats. They just need to be very controlled. Otherwise you get too fit too quickly, and that’s not the point of the base period.” —Ben Rosario, head coach of Northern Arizona Elite

“Base training sets the tone for the rest of the season to teach the athlete’s body to burn fat. It also lays down a solid aerobic foundation on which later key, race-specific workouts sit atop."

—Andrew Kastor, head coach of Mammoth Track Club, Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

“A properly constructed and executed base phase prepares an athlete for a lengthy training and competition cycle as well as for each type of training for event-specific goals. The long run, in all its variations, may represent the most important component of the base phase, but I also believe strongly in varying paces, terrain and effort while having an athlete log ‘time on his/her feet’ during this period.” (Kastor photo); Scott Draper (running photo)

—Drew Wartenburg, head coach of NorCal Distance, Sacramento, Calif.

“A proper base phase provides a platform of fitness from which runners can draw throughout season. An aerobic development phase like this is also critical to connective-tissue strengthening, allowing a runner to work harder and at higher intensity with less risk of injury. —Pete Rea, head coach, ZAP Fitness, Blowing Rock, N.C.


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11/17/14 11:32 AM

Starting Lines


The Race-Day Checklist Eliminate stress and save time before your big race.

After months of training and preparation, race day is finally here. Are you excited? Nervous? Anxious? Race-day nerves are good when managed properly—even elite runners get butterflies before a race. Problem is, there’s a lot to keep track of the night before your race—like pinning your bib number on your singlet, eating breakfast at the proper time and putting on your watch before leaving for the start line— among many other things. Enter the race-day checklist. It’s a great way to stay organized and keep yourself in line when you’re anxiously awaiting the start of your first 26.2-mile journey. But don’t wait until the night before the race to put it together. Michele Gonzalez, a 26 Strong coach from New York City, advises preparing ahead of time. “I make my race-day checklist at the start of race week,” Gonzalez says. “I check the list multiple times during the week and ensure everything is laid out and ready the night before the race. This prevents stress and saves time on race morning—I don’t have to waste time or energy looking for a single thing.” Dorothy Beal, a 26 Strong coach from Virginia, equates making a race-day checklist to preparing for a vacation. “Having a race checklist is as important as making a packing list when you are going on a big trip,” Beal says. “It’s so easy to get swept up in the emotion of excitement that you often forget something important. There are so many variables that are hard to control in a marathon; the key to success is to control everything that you can control, and accept everything that is out of your control.” Adjust the sample list on on the clipboard to your own situation and plan accordingly. One trick is to save the list in your phone so you don’t lose it and can edit as you go—and leave encouraging notes to yourself to ease the nerves.

By Jason Devaney

Adds Beal, “It’s really important to remain cool, calm and collected before the race begins. I also find it helpful to have music with me that is slow, calming and positive.” “Keep calm and trust yourself,” says Tennessee-based 26 Strong coach Morganne Hockett. “Your training has taken you further than you imagined. Leave your doubts at the start line and run with your heart. Race day is meant to be a celebration of all your accomplishments.” Gonzalez has finished countless races since her first one in 2002—the Philadelphia Marathon. She doesn’t recall much about that race, except for one detail. “I remember wishing I had my name on my bib. It was my first marathon and

I was so envious of all the other runners who had written or taped their names across their chest,” she says. “There’s no way to describe hearing hundreds of people cheer for you, by name, over the course of 26.2 miles.” As for the race, enjoy it—you’ve earned it! When your legs start to scream at mile 22 and your brain is telling you to stop, think of all the training that went into this race. Keep those legs moving, and finish strong. It’s your day!

presented by

competitor competitor


Competitor | december 2014

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There are no hills where I live.

What can I do when there are hill workouts in my training program?

• Don’t let a lack of undulations in your area keep you from reaping all the benefits a good hill workout has to offer! A little creativity can go a long way. Seek out an empty parking garage during off hours (in the early morning, evenings or on weekends) where you can run from bottom to top without much interruption. Be sure to stay alert and watch for traffic, and if the garage is dimly lit, wear something visible to allow drivers to see you clearly. If a suitable local parking garage isn’t an option, look for a long set of

stairs at a stadium or office building. Finally, most treadmills allow you to increase the incline to your desired grade. For the hill workouts described in the training plans, a 4 to 6 percent incline is plenty. 3Mario Fraioli is the author of The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide to Marathon and HalfMarathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) and coach of 2012 Olympic marathoner César Lizano.

WTF? What’s this for? Running. The AMPLA FLY is a mechanics-improving, posture-enhancing, cadenceoptimizing shoe for runners who believe they can still improve. Get AMPLAfied at

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11/17/14 11:33 AM



Click here for more training wisdom from Alan Culpepper! [ COACH CULPEPPER ]

SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS IN 2015 Putting a plan in place is key to going after your goals. BY ALAN CULPEPPER

Find your own meaningful reason to grab 2015 by the horns—it will motivate you! WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE?

Having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve is critical to your 2015 success. This is highly individual, and can change year to year. You might want to improve your time or break through a time barrier, such as a 2-hour half marathon. Or you may want to improve on a particular placing at an event; maybe this is the year to take down your agegroup nemesis at the local 5K or 10K. Or perhaps it’s time to try something totally different, like your first marathon or an ultra distance event. Establish your goal and from there you can plan the year around that objective. Planning as you go works for smaller, incremental goals, but for a larger primary goal, you need a clear understanding of what you want to work toward from the beginning. When your goal is clear, you have a higher level of accountability to fall back on when motivation wanes.


Books Worth Resting For

BELIEVE TRAINING JOURNAL • Elite runners Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas have successfully meshed two beneficial training concepts: a way to log your daily miles, and space to write and reflect on your runner self. With inspirational quotes spread throughout the pages, this diary 30


Once you are clear on what you want to accomplish, lay out a plan to get there; you will significantly increase your chances of success by having a strategic plan. Work backward from your primary goal and fill in the blanks. Add in other enjoyable events that complement the larger goal, then backfill all the required training. Consider family and work obligations, and factor those into your schedule. Seeing a laid-out program will boost your confidence and ability to achieve it. Invest in a coach or training group for added support, and learn the nuances of your target distance or event. Plans always have potential to change with life’s surprises—but establishing a baseline, especially at the start of a new year, is the perfect place to begin. 3Running coach and two-time U.S. Olympian ALAN CULPEPPER is a vice president with Competitor Group Inc. and a race director for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series.

is a creative way for runners to get motivated, stay accountable and train smart—and it beats staring at an iPhone screen trying to reap those same benefits from a training app. Bonus points: It has spaces to record your goals, check in with your training, and write rundown summaries of every week. For runner girls in need a new coach, travel companion or run bud that never complains, this leather-bound journal is a perfect choice. ($19, –Caitlyn Pilkington

From top:; Courtesy of VeloPress

SOME OF MY BEST SEASONS came after years of mixed results or poor endings. In 2000, I had the wonderful experience of qualifying for the Sydney Olympics in the 10,000 meters. Unfortunately I became ill at the Games and had a very sub-standard performance. But ending on that flat note at the Olympics fueled my motivation for the 2001 season. I used the disappointment of placing poorly as motivation to improve my personal best in the 10,000, and, six months later, I set a lifetime PR at the distance. So often, a moment of disappointment can lead to greater incentive down the road. Regardless of how the last 12 months came together for you, use the ups and downs as your motivation for the coming year. If you had a successful 2014 racing campaign, you’ll want to capitalize on that momentum for new challenges. If your year did not come together as you had hoped, it’s time to regroup and refocus your efforts for 2015. Or, if you had mixed experiences in your last 12 months of training and racing, use the positive results to build excitement toward your next goal, and the not-so-good instances as learning tools to fuel your fire.


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MADE IN THE U.S.A. American-crafted apparel


runs strong and stays local. BY ALLISON PATTILLO MADE IN AMERICA goes well beyond red, white and blue—although those are great colors! Runners can find plenty of covetable performance wear that’s made in U.S. factories featuring technological innovations, recycled fabrics and fashion-savvy styling. Run with American pride and make Springsteen proud with the following gear.

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1 Runyon Canyon

Signature Vintage 1932 Olympic Running Man shirt

$36, // Los Angeles Soft performance fabric feels like your favorite old T-shirt and features an original graphic from the 1932 Olympic Games, held in Los Angeles.

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2 Atayne Reduce Reuse Recycle Run Long Sleeve REC T Elite 

$45, // Brunswick, Maine A splash of tie-dye complements an eco-friendly message on this tech shirt made from recycled polyester.



3 Tracksmith Longfellow Short

4 WSI Sports Microtech

Slider shorts

$23.50, // Eagan, Minn. Tick off the miles in slim-fitting, moisture-wicking, anti-microbial shorts that resist snags and stay fresh-smelling.


5 Melanzana Hard Face Hoodie

$136, // Leadville, Colo. Stay toasty on invigorating winter runs in a full-zip hoodie that doubles as a jacket or mid-layer.

6 Thorlo Maui Collection XCCU

Experia Multi-Activity Socks

$15, // Statesville, N.C. These socks have just enough zonal padding in the heel and forefoot to keep feet happy on long jaunts.

7 Goodhew Inspire Micro socks

$16, // Chattanooga, Tenn. A blend of wool, bamboo, nylon and spandex create a natural wicking, anti-microbial and long-lasting sock with seamless toe design and arch support.

8 New Balance 990v3

$155, // Boston New Balance has been making a portion of its shoes in the U.S. for more than 100 years. Do your feet and stride proud in these classic, Americanmade stability trainers that use dual-density foam in the heel collar for enhanced comfort and support.

Scott Draper

$90, // Wellesley, Mass. Don’t let the clean tailoring, horn buttons and woven labels deceive you—these wicking, four-way stretch shorts are meant for Central Park, the trail and even the beach.


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WORLD’S BEST OBSTACLE RACE. PERIOD. Sometimes you need to get uncomfortable to be comfortable. Committing to a Spartan Race is the best way to achieve goals, and take control of your health and fitness. With courses ranging from 3-16 miles, featuring 15-25 obstacles, we have a race for everyone. Sign up today at and transform yourself.


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FUTURE SHOE The new Ampla Fly shoe is designed to help runners efficiently use the force exerted in running.

WE GUARANTEE YOU’VE NEVER seen anything quite like this. But even though the Ampla Fly ($180, running shoe looks decidedly futuristic, it’s aimed at improving on something the running world has worked on for 50 years—optimizing running economy through efficient use of applied force and maximal energy return. And it's all based on the kinematic science of running. The shoe’s carbon-fiber interior structure has been designed with a unique spring-like flange intended to load under pressure and launch forward as the foot lifts off the ground. Simply put: When you push off with your toes to begin a new stride, you’ll feel an energetic sensation, almost like a small boost of energy under your forefoot. 34

The Ampla brand is the brainchild of David Bond and Tom Hartge, who each have more than 25 years of running shoe industry experience at Nike, Adidas, K-Swiss, Patagonia and Quiksilver. They collaborated with Dr. Marcus Elliott, a Harvard-trained physician who specializes in performance enhancement and injury prevention of pro athletes in team sports and endurance sports at P3 Applied Sports Science in Santa Barbara, Calif. “Ultimately, this shoe is a running tool that empowers the most efficient use of force,” Bond says of the new shoe. “As a runner, force is your friend. Good, well-trained athletes use force. Poorly trained athletes waste force.” Elliott says he got invovled because Ampla is based on science first, not marketing fluff or

sales directives. He says the design of the shoe allows the foot be more active and use more of the natural propulsion created by the Achilles tendon and arches of the foot. "Shoes are important, but ultimately it's more about the foot and how the foot moves," he says. "This shoe puts the foot, and the entire body, in a better position for running." The Ampla Fly, which has been wear-tested by runners and select retailers during the past year, is created on a low-profile platform (4mm heel-toe offset) and weighs 9.5 oz. (men’s size 9.0). The shoe was unveiled at The Running Event trade show Dec. 2–5 in Austin, Texas. Shoes will debut to the public in early to mid-February at select running stores across the U.S. —Brian Metzler

Scott Draper

For more about the Ampla Fly, go to


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ELITE EATERS What we can learn—good and bad—from professional runners and how they fuel. BY ADAM ELDER

From left: sprinter English Gardner, sport scientist Mel Ramey, Alicia Kendig and hurdler/middle-distance runner Brandon Johnson.

Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where Kendig and others also work on product development. Near the top of her list? Formulating a sports drink that freezes better. (The USOC is seeing performance results from internal cooling before a race.)

THE TOP FUELING MISTAKES THAT ELITE RUNNERS MAKE: Product vs. food. “A mentality that they need to be using a product of some kind—sports drink, gel, chew, etc. I think we went to one side of the extreme the last couple years, and now we’re trying to get athletes to focus back on food.”

Over-carbing. “People feel like they need to completely replenish their carbohydrate stores after their runs. We’re seeing during those heavy training phases that that’s when alterations in body composition really happen naturally, and you don’t need to completely replenish carbohydrates.”

Click here for more nutrition advice!

Cramming cals together. “We have a lot of athletes who say, ‘I calculated my energy needs, and it says that I need to eat 3,200 calories. So by the end of the day I just make sure I get 3,200 calories,’ and a lot of times it’s in a ginormous dinner that they get the majority of their calories from. By simply eating more frequently you can get the most out of your training sessions and get the adaptation that you’re looking for.”


We caught up with Kendig to get her secrets on elite fueling. However, most of it is surprisingly simple: Eat real food. Hydrate often. Don’t do anything new on race day. But she had plenty of other advice to share as well:


pay attention to their food consumption at all times—not just three days before a competition or the morning of. When we say eat to fuel your performance, it’s not always a competition performance, it’s your performance on any given training day.”

Hydrate all the time. "My athletes are very good at hydration—because of all the benefits of hydration, not just, ‘Are you dehydrated after a long run?’ It’s to fight off illnesses. Over the long term, especially during the cold and flu season, being hydrated can really help keep all that stuff out.” Food is fuel, not a reward.

“Having a healthy perspective on food, and really looking at it as fuel. Not as a reward for training hard. It’s easy to say, ‘I had a really good workout, so I can eat whatever I want.’ It’s the other way around.”

Courtesy of Alicia Kendig

TEAM USA’S ELITE OLYMPIC ATHLETES get all the glory, but Alicia Kendig fuels their performances—literally. As one of five dietitians for United States Olympic Committee, Kendig works with top athletes, such as Ashton Eaton and Kim Conley, to make sure their nutrition is on point for the months ahead of race day. She’s also on the scene at key competitions, making sure competitors have everything they need to perform to their potential. “I work with a number of athletes one on one, making meal plans and helping them navigate whatever lifestyle they’re in,” Kendig says. “So it could be as basic as, ‘Here’s how you should shop at the grocery store.’ Or it could be food science recommendations—what’s going to be digested the quickest, what’s going to have the nutrient profiles that engages for peak performance, for example.” But that’s not all she does. The USOC recently unveiled its new test kitchen at the Olympic


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Go Digital with Us DECEMBER 2014

Our favorite gear made in the USA p.32

Nutrition secrets of Olympians p.36




Our favorite gear made in the USA p.32


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R-U-N in the U.S.A.

Click here for more of Susan Lacke’s humor columns!

How America’s cities have embraced running tourism.



Portland, Oregon: We were running before running was cool.

Las Vegas: Save your energy for the finishing kick…also, the escorts.

San Diego: Leave your worries (and your body hair) at home.

Miami: Our runners have more plastic than your race goody bag!

Boulder, Colo.: Oxygen is for sissies.

Boston: You got plenny’a roads on Patriot’s Day. Today, you chowdaheads get the sidewalk.

Asheville, N.C.: Give us your skinny, your bearded, your vegans yearning to run free! Boise, Idaho: Carb-loading since 1890. Phoenix: Rattlesnakes make for excellent speed work. Birmingham, Ala.: No, really, we have runners here. Madison, Wis.: Finish strong, then cut the cheese. Houston: You say “flat” like it’s a bad thing. Salt Lake City: Because running is the only vice left in this place.

Chicago: Because you didn’t get a spot in the NYC Marathon. Duluth, Minn.: Because you didn’t get a spot in the Chicago Marathon, either. New Orleans: Upset the alligators and locals at your own risk. Do you have a running slogan for your city? Tweet us at @RunCompetitor using the hashtag #racecation! 3SUSAN LACKE is an age-group runner and triathlete in Phoenix. You can follow her training adventures at outthere.

Matt Collins

FORGET CONGRESS AND its bailouts—it’s the runner who is single-handedly saving the economy of our great country, one race entry at a time. For a sport that requires little more than a pair of shoes and a sense of adventure, we runners sure drop a lot of dolla dolla bills, y’all. Between gear, clothing, race fees, nutrition, and post-run pancakes, the running industry in the United States is a lucrative one, worth billions of dollars. Yes, that’s billions, with a “b.” Runners have money to spend, and there are plenty of cities hoping you’ll do a little economic stimulus on their streets. Running tourism has become a moneymaker in and of itself, with entrepreneurs offering twofooted sightseeing tours everywhere from Concord to Compton (plan on some fast intervals during that one!). To persuade runners to visit their cities, tourism officials around the United States have created punchy, run-centric slogans to convince you to race-cation in their towns. Pack your bags!


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LEAN ATHLETES ARE FASTER. They waste less energy, dissipate more heat, and even gain more

7 3/8" × 9", 240 pp., $24.95, 9781937715151 | 6” × 9”, 288 pp., $18.95, 9781934030998

fitness from every workout. But fad diets are dangerous for athletes. You need Racing Weight Cookbook, a cookbook of 100 flavorful recipes made with the best foods for triathletes, cyclists, and runners. Racing Weight Cookbook will help you hit your ideal weight without compromising your performance. Using these recipes and Matt Fitzgerald’s proven Racing Weight program, you’ll improve your diet, manage your appetite, balance your energy sources, and time your meals and snacks—all while enjoying delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

Get lean and get faster with the new Racing Weight Cookbook. Available in bookstores; bike, tri, and running shops; and online. Try free recipes at

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“There are technical bits and there are smooth bits, so it always keeps you on your toes. It's a fun opportunity to really connect with the island and experience the natural beauty.” —Sage Canaday 40

Competitor | december 2014

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Come along as top ultrarunners Stephanie Howe and Sage Canaday explore the Nā Pali Coast of Kauai—one of America’s greatest trails. Photography by Scott Draper

Twisting and turning amid lush greenery and the turbulent coastal swells of the Pacific Ocean, the Kalalau Trail winds for 11 magnificent miles along the Nā Pali coast of Kauai. The moment you set off along this rugged route, you’re into an adventure unlike anywhere else in the U.S.

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Competitor | december 2014

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Stephanie Howe (31, Bend, Ore.)

Howe has been one of the top U.S. ultra-distance trail runners for several years. She won the mountainous Speedgoat 50K race at Snowbird ski resort in Utah last year and took top honors at the prestigious Western States 100 in California this year.

Sage Canaday (28, Boulder, Colo.)

Canaday, a two-time U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier with a 2:16:52 PR, was the 2012 U.S. mountain running champion, the 2013 U.S. 100K trail running champion and the 2014 Pikes Peak Ascent champion.

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“It’s a true adventure run. The trails aren’t totally buffed out, but that’s why I love running on it. It makes for a more stimulating run, both mentally and physically.” —Stephanie Howe


Competitor | december 2014

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Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii Getting There Kalalau Trail is only accessible from the north side of Kauai. To reach the trailhead, take Kuhio Highway (Route 56/560) west beyond Princeville and continue through Hanalei for about 4 miles to reach Ha‘ena State Park and Ke‘e Beach at land’s end.

Lodging There are many places to stay in the resort hub of Princeville or the locals’ hangout of Hanalei. Camping on the beach can be amazing, and is allowed at two points along the trail (Hanakoa and Kalalau) but permits are required.

Etc If you’re planning to do out-and-back runs, keep your swimsuit and a towel in your car so you can relax on Ke‘e Beach when you finish your run. The park closes at sundown, which means watching the sunset can be the perfect ending to a perfect day.

For tips on running the Nā Pali coast trail, plus info on how to get there and where to stay, visit

Click here to see photos, videos and more about the Na Pali Coast Trail!

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Crowd Sourced Running’s social subculture is exploding in popularity, and the November Project and other tribes are turning out top athletes in the process. The result? Running is being entirely redefined.

By Erin Beresini

Orrin Whalen is hugging everyone. He’s even giving me a hug—a big, tight, squeezy one, though we just met. The 22-yearold freelance art director is about to lead a 6:30 a.m. workout at the Hollywood Bowl, an outdoor amphitheater tucked into the hills on the north side of Los Angeles not far from the world-famous Hollywood sign. But nothing starts before he and his workout co-leader, Angelo Neroni, 25, embrace nearly every crusty-eyed person walking toward the big tree by the parking lot. All 60-something of them. “Before, we’d be here at 6:29 like, ‘Where the f--- is everyone?’” Neroni says, referring to seven months ago. That’s when they launched the Los Angeles chapter of the November Project alongside four other cities. Created in Boston in 2011 as a training pact between two friends, November Project is a booming fitness movement that now has “tribes” in 17 cities and has been 46

featured in Runner’s World, Boston Magazine and on NPR. As many as 700 people have come to a single workout. Each of these popular early-morning get-togethers is free and full of cussing and twentysomethings. The workouts are a far cry from the typical storefront run; they’re not divided into pace groups, and nobody runs more than 600 meters continuously. By the end of the hour, nearly everyone at the L.A. session will have covered 1.5 hilly miles broken up with countless burpees, dips, bear crawls, jump squats and pushups, all on a short-looped course that ends in a tunnel of cheering, high-fives, a positivity award and bear hugs. “It’s about having an open heart,” Whalen says of the hugging. Such an untraditional and touchy-feely run workout like this one could be easily written off as a CrossFit-inspired fringe program

with no chance of replacing traditional run clubs. But it’s really part of a larger movement; those huggy millenials driving November Project’s rapid growth are changing running culture forever—starting with a takedown of the word “runner.” “We don’t like to put ourselves into a bucket of runners, or a bucket of CrossFitters, or a bucket of yogis,” says Bojan Mandaric, 33, co-founder of November Project. “We’re all across the board and I think that’s the future of the urban athlete.” Ask Mandaric how he thinks November Project is changing running, and he’ll say it’s through the group’s concept of community. “We’re establishing a sense of accountability,” Mandaric says. “When you say that you’ll meet someone on the corner to go for a run, if you bail then all of the sudden you’re the

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Photography by Scott Draper

Orrin Whalen greets the Los Angeles tribe before a "birthday" workout on the three-year anniversary of the November Project's inception.

a—hole.” (You might also end up on NP’s ‘We Missed You’ page, an online forum for humorously shaming no-shows.) The workout structure also builds that community. The circuit format makes it so “elite athletes run with people who’ve never run up a hill,” Whalen says. “No matter what level you’re on, you’re still connected. There’s no ‘Oh s—t! I’m slow,’ or ‘I’m the fastest!’” That doesn’t make NP unique, however. Any runner will tell you track workouts are similar, with fast runners training alongside slower runners. And for more than three decades, running has been a social, community-oriented sport. “There’s a book [published in 1959] called The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,” says Mark Washburne, 58, president

of the U.S. Running Streak Association. He’s run at least a mile every day for the past 25 years. “The joke is that it’s so last century. By the time I did a race in 1984, running was pretty much a social event.” Hash running clubs, for instance, were growing in popularity throughout the ’70s and ’80s. A hash run was simply an excuse for club members to hang out and run for fun, following a random course set in flour or chalk or something similar by a member who ran ahead. If the community aspect of NP isn’t revolutionary, perhaps something much more subtle is driving its popularity: its inclusiveness. “We’re not putting a badass athlete up front,” Mandaric says. “It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, everyone’s a valuable member of the community and that’s how we’re going to present them.”

For example, when pro hockey player Andrew Ference started showing up at Boston NP workouts, “we didn’t give him more attention than someone who’s trying to train for their first 5K.” Add that everyone-is-awesome philosophy to NP’s rejection of labels like “runner”—and the hugs—and you’ve got one very powerful, completely unintimidating gateway drug to, well, running. NP Los Angeles is certainly creating runners, even if the people who show up don’t refer to themselves that way. “I’m not really a runner, but I’m running a 5K this weekend!” says a man as he runs up a steep hill marked “Zee Beech” at the NP workout in Los Angeles. “I don’t know, three miles?” Neroni says when I ask how far he ran to get to the COMPETITOR.COM

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The November Project is about being as inclusive and untraditional as possible.

Nov. 1, 2011

May 2012

July 2012

Aug 2012

Sept 2012

Bojan Mandaric and Brogan Graham start running together in Boston.

Invite people to come along. Hug greeting begins.

100 people show up to a single workout.

Mandaric and Graham pledge that if they get 300 people in a single workout, they’ll get NP tattoos.

Stanley Cup champion Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruin visits NP, and his social media push helps NP get 300 people. Mandaric and Graham get NP tattoos.

workout. When I ask what he’s training for, he replies, with zero hint of snark: “I’m training for everything.” The days when runners were prepping myopically for standard-distance races could be dwindling. The new urban athletes like Neroni want to tackle everything and be ready to jump into anything. That just might include the traditional 5K, 10K, marathon and beyond, but their race calendars aren’t limited to those events. “You see the explosion of color runs and zombie runs and themed events,” says Rich Harshbarger, president of industry-trendtracking nonprofit Running USA. “There’s 48

a culture of wanting to be a part of something fun, something that’s unique.” That doesn’t mean that this new wave of runners will destroy amateur competitive running with a love of strange events and unfocused preparation. Au contraire, these urban athletes are true competitors. Case in point: When November Project groups from around the country participated in this year’s North Face Endurance Challenge marathon relay in Madison, Wis., they swept the top six spots. “When we go to race day, it’s f---ing race day,” Whalen says. The group workouts have trained these guys to race—not by pace, but

by feel. “Just find who you’re fast with and push each other,” Whalen says. Two weeks ago, he qualified for Boston at the Ventura Marathon with a 3:00:35. “When I ran the marathon, I wore a watch,” Whalen says. “But all of training, didn’t wear a watch at all.” That pure running experience this group seeks extends to a rejection of headphones. “You’re separating yourself from the community with them on,” Whalen says. “I don’t even use them running alone because—and this sounds really cheesy—the sound of your own breath and the feel of your heart beating is really f---ing cool. And you’ll hear different s--t too!”

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Orrin Whalen and Angelo Neroni (above) lead workouts like this one at the Hollywood Bowl.

Left, center photos: Jared Wickerham

November Project founders Bojan Mandaric (left) and Brogan Graham

MARCH 2013

APRIL 2013

JUNE 2013

NOV 2013

JAN 2014

APRIL 2014

NP’s first tribe outside of Boston is formed in Madison, Wis., by Dan Graham (Brogan’s brother).

San Francisco starts its own NP tribe.

NP tribe forms in Edmonton, Alberta.

Washington D.C., Denver and San Diego join in the fun.

Philly, Baltimore, Indianapolis and Los Angeles tribes form.

Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Sacramento all added. NP is in 17 cities.

Of course in this society, it’s legally risky to get a large group of people together to do anything, even if they just want to hug and run and listen to their own hearts beat. At the very least, somebody must help unpaid group leaders like Whalen and Neroni navigate liability insurance. Right now that task is up to Mandaric and his co-founder, Brogan Graham, 31, neither of whom currently make money off of November Project. “We’re looking for some local partnerships to continue to do what we’re doing,” Mandaric says. “But we don’t want to tie ourselves to a specific brand. Every time you put a brand name next to your own, it’s not as genuine, especially because we’re not selling our

service. The beauty of the grassroots fitness movement is there are no sponsorships.” In every respect, November Project and its devotees are a throwback to a strippeddown, pure version of the sport; one where the training group isn’t affiliated with any store or product, and people show up to run simply because they enjoy it and want to share that joy with others. (And November Project makes it easy to share; just before everyone leaves the Hollywood Bowl, Whalen and Neroni hand out hundreds of circular pieces of paper stamped with #NP_ LAX workout details, then urge everyone to “make a connection with a stranger” and hand him or her this token.)

Perhaps the only thing really new about this new wave of “urban athletes” who run 5Ks and marathons and relay races, train in untraditional ways, love to race, hug, and eschew any kind of membership dues is how unintimidating and welcoming they are. There’s no doubt this burgeoning culture of acceptance is influencing other running movements, like beer and happyhour runs. If November Project is a glimpse into the future of running, the future looks fantastic. “We’re not just a gateway drug to running,” NP L.A. member Marilyn Nguyen says. “We’re a gateway drug to being happy.”


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Higher Ground

By Mario Fraioli Photography by Jeff Clark

The glow of headlamps illuminates the dark early-morning sky of downtown Mill Valley, Calif., as a group of groggy, athletic-looking dudes gather on the sidewalk outside a local coffee shop. After a few moments of slapping hands and exchanging the usual pleasantries, the small talk reverts to more hushed tones as they begin running up Bernard Street and embark on their weekly Wednesday morning ritual: a 3.3-mile, 2,571-foot ascent of Mount Tamalpais, the highest peak in Marin County.

How a mountain, a running store and an abundance of local talent have elevated the San Francisco Bay Area community to become the hottest underground scene in trail running.

who won the U.S. 100-mile title in February at Rocky Raccoon 100 in Texas. Leading the charge, as he does most weeks, is 35-yearold Galen Burrell of Mill Valley, a runner who specializes in sub-ultra distances and is the most respected climber of the group, having won the famed Pikes Peak Marathon in 2004. “Mount Tam was my introduction into the trail/ultrarunning community,” says the

33-year-old Laye. “But Mount Tam summits are more than social. The mountain is the vehicle that changed my perspective on what is possible, whether that's a weekly run to the top or the goal of completing 50 or 100 summits in a year. It’s the rock that inspires each of us in some way to be better, I think.” Although the effort can escalate quickly if someone is feeling frisky, the weekly run up the mountain isn’t an unsanctioned race for

Less than a quarter mile in, a long flight of stairs greets the runners and eventually spills them onto Summit Ave., a mile-long stretch of road that leads to the Temelpa trail, the most direct—and steepest—route to the mountain’s east peak. For those who weren’t quite feeling awake when they showed up at 6 a.m., tripling your heart rate in a matter of seconds is a surefire way to snap yourself out of a slumber. Summiting the iconic mountain, known locally as just “Tam,” has become symbolic of the strength, unity and beauty that perpetually inspires the vibrant Marin County running community. And in the past year or so, it’s become a training hotbed for some of America’s fastest trail fiends. The group of locals ascending the mountain on this October morning are some of the most accomplished off-road ultrarunners in the United States. Mill Valley residents Dylan Bowman, Alex Varner and Brett Rivers, who finished third, seventh and ninth, respectively, at this year’s Western States 100, are running, as is Sausalito’s Matthew Laye,

One of the highlights of the Wednesday morning run up Mount Tam is catching the sun rising over San Francisco. 50

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these elite off-road animals. This Wednesday morning ritual, which attracts up to a dozen or so members of the local running community, is as much a social affair as it is an athletic endeavor. One of its highlights is the shared enjoyment of the spectacular sunrise over San Francisco and the surrounding area below. A little more than 40 minutes after setting out from downtown Mill Valley, the first runners reach the fire lookout on the east peak of the mountain as the rest of the group tackles the steep scramble that makes up the final quarter mile of the climb to the top. One by one, the runners touch the door of the fire lookout, a gesture that marks an “official” summit—a running tally of ascents many of these individuals can recite as quickly as any of their personal bests. “There’s something immensely rewarding about touching the door and then turning around and surveying the entire Bay Area laid out below you,” says Varner, 29, who won the U.S. 50K trail title in 2013 and is on track to summit Tam around 30 times this

year. “Sharing it with others makes it even more special because it’s never easy to get to the top, and there’s a shared suffering that all have endured to get to this point.”

T h e W e e k ly S u m m i t It has been said “iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another,” a proverb that also accurately describes what’s been happening on the trails around Marin County in recent years. At the end of 2012, Burell was totaling his stats for the year and noticed he had run up Tam 29 times. Looking ahead to 2013 he set a goal of 50, a number Rivers saw and thought, “Well, if you you’re going to do 50 Tam summits this year, then I’m going to do 50 too.” And so the weekly Tam summit run was born. Burrell, Rivers, Bowman, Laye and a few more of their “bros” began gathering in downtown Mill Valley on Tuesday mornings for “Tam Tuesday”—a 7–9-mile round trip up and down the mountain followed by coffee and banter in Lytton Square.

That run—which has since moved to Wednesdays—is an unadvertised, underground extension of the weekly Saturday morning group run that takes place at Rivers’ San Francisco Running Company store in Mill Valley (see next page). The Wednesday morning Tam summit run carries a higher-performance vibe than the larger and more easygoing Saturday runs. The Wednesday runs have generally been maledominated so far, although anyone can show up and participate in either run. (There are many strong women runners who traverse the trails of Marin County—most notably recent transplant Larissa Dannis, who placed second at the Western States 100 in June and won the U.S. 50-mile road championships in October.) “It is a tough route and works on uphill running strength, and it is probably the best way to see the seasons change by doing a run at the same time every week,” Rivers says. “Wednesday morning can best be summed up as a hard run up to a killer sunrise, a Strava CR, summit count smack-talk and other postrun coffee banter.”

Above: Burrell, Varner, Laye and Bowman gather in downtown Mill Valley and wait for others before setting off for Mount Tam.

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Building Community

While most of the members of this motley crew meet on Wednesday mornings and throughout the week, only two of them— Bowman and Varner—share a coach. When this all-star cast of off-road runners, which also includes reigning U.S. 100K trail champion Jorge Maravilla, 37, the general manager of San Francisco Running Company, aren’t trying to one-up one another for Tam summits, working out together when schedules allow or competing head to head on race day, they’re following one another closely on the Strava website, trying to take down course records whenever the opportunity presents itself.

In early 2013, friends Brett Rivers and Jorge Maravilla opened the San Francisco Running Company, a specialty retail store that sits in the Tam Junction neighborhood of southern Mill Valley, just a mile from the vast labyrinth of amazing trails that make up the Marin Headlands. Rivers (pictured at left) had worked for a San Francisco-based tech company and made some money when the company went public in 2011. Instead of remaining in the tech world, he opted to invest his time, energy, passion and money into running.

“We’ve had success as a direct result of being able to train together,” explains Bowman, 28, who moved to Mill Valley from Aspen, Colo., in 2013. “There’s certainly a competitive element there but it’s also very supportive and has allowed us all to reach a new level of fitness and performance.”

“When we set out to open up San Francisco Running Company, we were simply trying to build a community running store that we would want to support even if we were not actively involved in the store,” says Rivers, 33, who was initially going to open the store in the city until the Mill Valley location became available.

A D e e p H i s t o ry With both rolling trails and steep routes, smooth paths and rugged singletracks, Marin County has long been a go-to place for trail running. And while the growing list of accomplishments among the current crop of trail runners around here is fresh and exciting, the heritage and history of trail and ultrarunning in the Bay Area extends far beyond this current competitive renaissance. Masters trail ace Topher Gaylord, who finished second at the inaugural Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in France in 2003, has been living and running in the Bay Area on-andoff since he was 9, including living in Marin County full-time for the past five years after many years of living in Italy. Devon Yanko, a three-time member of the U.S. 100K team,

lives in nearby San Anselmo and often tags along with some of the faster guys in the area when she’s not holding down the fort at M.H. Bread & Butter, the bakery she owns with her husband, Nathan, also a competitive ultrarunner. Ann Trason, a 14-time Western States 100 champion and former course-record holder, trained just across the bay in the Berkeley Hills for most of her career and often trained around Mount Tam, while Ian Sharman, the 2013 winner of Colorado’s Leadville 100 and multiple-time top-10 finisher at the Western States 100 who occasionally comes to Marin to log miles with his local rivals, also lives in the East Bay.

In addition to offering a wide range of gear and accessories, SFRC, as it is known locally, has contributed to the vibrant trail running community by fostering an authentic and accessible vibe. The store has become the hub of the local running community, attracting runners from near and far to its increasingly popular Saturday morning group run, as well as hosting other events throughout the year and serving as a resource for anyone keen on touring the local trails. It’s hard to run the trails in the area without seeing a runner wearing SFRC-branded apparel. Even outside of the Bay Area, international trail running star Killian Jornet has been seen rocking a SFRC trucker hat in his exotic mountain running adventures, along with recognizable American runners Sage Canaday and Max King. “What SFRC has done for the community is incredible,” explains Galen Burrell, an elite mountain runner who lives in Mill Valley. “It’s not that all these runners didn’t exist in the Bay Area before the store opened, it’s that there wasn’t anything to draw them all together. SFRC has really galvanized the community by giving it a collective sense of identity.”—M.F.


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Above: Brett Rivers, owner of the San Francisco Running Company in Mill Valley, Calif.

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“There's something immensely rewarding about touching the door and then turning around and surveying the entire Bay Area laid out below you.” —Alex Varner, 2013 U.S. 50K trail champion

“I love to see the blending of this new generation of runners bringing superb values, camaraderie, energy, humbleness, competitiveness and companionship to the running community,” says Gaylord, 45, who is the president of Mountain Hardwear, headquartered 17 miles across the Bay in Richmond. “Marin County is a combination of perfect running conditions 365 days a year, amazingly talented runners who love to share the trails together, push each other, openly share

their running strategies, and inspire each other to be better.” In addition to attracting a fast crowd, some of trail and ultrarunning’s most iconic events are native to Marin County, with local and international bragging rights on the line. Winning one of the hallowed 35 black shirts at the annual Dipsea Race, a 7.4-mile rollercoaster of a run from downtown Mill Valley to Stinson Beach and the oldest continual

Above: With 2,400 feet of elevation gain in a little more than 3 miles, summiting Tam is not easy, even for top trail runners.

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trail race in the U.S., is something of a status symbol in the area. The Miwok 100K, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015, is one of the most competitive and challenging long-distance races in the country. And The North Face Endurance Challenge in December, with its massive prize purse, attracts some of the world’s best ultrarunners to the Marin Headlands every year for a 50-mile battle royal on the trails.


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“If you are running consistently with people that perform at the highest level, you expect the same from yourself.” —Matthew Laye, 2014 U.S. 100-mile champ

This year’s edition of the TNF50 will include a lot of local pride on the starting line: Bowman, Varner, Rivers, Burrell and Maravilla are all scheduled to compete. They’ve joked that if there were cross-country team scoring, they would be hard to beat. “I think that such success comes in waves, and right now the momentum is really building in Marin,” says Burrell, a four-time winner of the Mount Tam Hill Climb, a 3-mile race with 2,400 feet of elevation gain. “SFRC and events like The North Face Endurance Challenge are certainly factors that have helped put the Bay Area on the map for ultrarunning, but ultimately it’s the collective force of all the individuals that thrive here. What’s exciting is that the wave hasn’t crested yet!”

Looking Ahead With the success of the Marin-based “bros on a mountain,” as they refer to themselves, trail and ultrarunning’s best-kept secret is no longer a silent whisper: there’s definitely something special happening on the trails around Mount Tamalpais.

Left: Laye leads Bowman, Burrell and Rivers over one of many stretches of technical, rocky terrain heading to the top of Mount Tam.

“If you are running consistently with people that perform at the highest level, you expect the same from yourself,” says Laye, who clocked a 2:23 marathon earlier this year in Boston. “I am inspired by Galen’s climbing ability, Brett’s smart racing and training, Dylan’s mental toughness, Varner’s success across so many distances, and Jorge’s downhill running ability and joy. Each one inspires me to think differently about what is possible and pushes me to consider what is possible for me.” Varner, a native of San Rafael who returned to Marin County after attending college on the East Coast, has made a major splash in the ultrarunning scene in less than two years of expanding his racing range. Even though Western States was his 100-mile debut, his impressive result doesn’t come as a surprise when you consider the collective successes of those he chases around the trails in his own backyard. He’s literally just trying to keep up with—and eventually pass—some of his friends.

“No one wants to be the slowest,” Varner says. “It inspires me because I see what these guys do on a daily basis and it pushes me to go out there and try to get the best out of myself.” The older generation of local runners—including speedsters like 2013–2014 Dipsea winner Diana Fitzpatrick, 56, and frequent top-10 Dispsea finisher Mark McManus, 40—has continued to inspire by crushing it in the masters division of races. Now the faster runners in their 20s and 30s are continuing the progression and inspiring the next generation of local teenage runners, some of whom have already earned black shirts in the Dipsea and begun to test their mettle in other races. “Success breeds success and this is just the start of a new wave,” Rivers says. “There are a large number of younger kids who are barely double-digits in age running the Dipsea and experiencing the Mount Tam Hill Climb. It’s awesome and inspiring. They are the next generation."

Above: Left to right, Burrell, Varner, Maravilla, Laye, Bowman and Rivers (pictured on page 52) are inspiring a new generation of trail runners.

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The 50 Best Running Stores in America

Running Insight

- By Mark Sullivan -

There are a lot of great running shops across the country, but every year a select few stand out among the rest.

The best stores offer

exemplary customer service for every type of runner, organize training programs, group runs and local races, and provide knowledge and insights about the latest trends, the newest gear, proper running form, local trails and injury prevention. In other words, it’s much more about spreading the joy and passion of running than it is about selling new shoes and gear. Every year, Competitor magazine partners with Running Insight trade magazine to identify the 50 Best Running Stores in America. It starts with readers nominating their favorite shops on Then there

is a rigorous evaluation process, which includes runner nominations, mystery shopping to assess customer service, credit ratings from vendors, and assessments about local programs and community commitment. Which running shop is the best in the country for 2014? The winner will be revealed on Dec. 4 at an industryonly trade show in Austin, Texas, and published online at In the meantime, we offer a glimpse of the four finalists for the Running Store of the Year and list all of the shops earning the 50 Best Running Stores in America seal of approval for 2014.

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The Final Four Fleet Feet Baltimore Baltimore, MD

Columbus Running Company Columbus, OH

Established: 2004 Primary Owners: Eric Fruth, Jim Jurcevich, Matt DeLeon Total Space (four stores): 6,500 square feet Ten years after taking on a “crazy bank loan” with a passionate business plan as 24-year-olds, Eric Fruth and Matt DeLeon (along with partner Jim Jurcevich, who came on as an investor in 2005) have grown Columbus Running Company to a thriving four-store operation. They’ve helped out-of-shape beginners become fit, passionate runners, watched high school cross-country runners grow up and spread the joy of running far and wide among the Central Ohio region of 2 million residents. “We’ve always seen it as trying to create a running culture we’d want to be a part of,” Fruth says. “We believe that a good running shop is the coffee shop of the local running

Running Central Peoria, IL

Established: 1977 Primary Owners: Adam White and Marie White Total Space (one store): 20,000 square feet Running Central owners Adam and Marie White blazed a bold new path in running specialty retail in July, moving their store to a refurbished 111-year-old building that formerly 60

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scene. It’s all about being part of the community.” In addition to offering a wide range of products, great service, a welcoming atmosphere and beginner clinics, the stores are all engaged in the local community—through neighborhood walks and fun runs, high school crosscountry meets and a free running club that offers group runs year-round. The CRC also created the Grasshoppers running club for kids in second through sixth grades, developed a charity training program that recently donated $23,000 to Ronald McDonald House and helped send several runners from its store in Dublin (15 miles northwest of Columbus) to the Dublin Marathon in Ireland. “It’s not just about selling shoes, it’s more about getting people running,” Fruth says. “The running world is a pie. Our thought has always been, let’s bake a bigger pie by growing the sport. If the sport isn’t growing and changing, it’s not thriving.”

served as a hardware and lumber supply store. The result is an amazing 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that puts Running Central among the country’s largest independently owned running specialty stores. Beyond its sheer size—about half of the space is devoted to the showroom floor—the Whites mix plenty of other novel ideas into their Running Central concoction. With hardwood floors, reclaimed artwork, exposed timber beams and modern touches such as Ned—the illuminated six-foot runner that sits at the center of the store’s shoe wall—the $2.2 million Running Central project was inspired by retail, restaurants and other hospitality ventures boasting dynamic ways of interacting with customers and presenting product. “The running specialty industry didn’t present the model we envisioned creating, so we built it ourselves,” Adam says. “It’s an energetic and inviting atmosphere woven with class and sophistication.” While Running Central holds 150 unique models of adult shoes, a number in line with other running specialty stores, it distinguishes its vast product lineup in two areas: women’s apparel and kids footwear. Running Central contains more than 4,000 units of women’s apparel ranging from traditional running gear and sports bras to yoga and lifestyle wear. The RC Kids Zone, meanwhile, features more than 100 boys’ and girls’ shoes, taking youth from the cradle through junior high, from church to the cross country course.

Bobby and Karen Levin had success in other careers before opening a running shop, but those jobs were never as fulfilling as helping fellow runners on a daily basis. The husband-and-wife team have run a combined 50 marathons, but they say they get even greater reward from helping runners run their 5K, half marathon or marathon. Twice-a-week fun runs, training programs and Fleet Feet’s No Boundaries beginner program are just a few of the ways they’ve created a welcoming community around their store. “I think one of the keys to our success is that we’re welcoming to everybody,” Bobby Levin says. “We are accommodating to all levels of runners, but we also welcome non-runners. We really view our shop as a running, walking and fitness specialty store.” Perhaps the most obvious sign that Fleet Feet Baltimore has been a successful part of the local community is that it’s expanding. In December, the shop is moving from its original 1,600-square-foot storefront to an attractively appointed 2,400-square-foot space (designed by 3 Dots Design) across the street. The new space will feature an innovative shoe wall, a wearable technology demo area and inspirational quotes inscribed on the walls. “It all comes down to taking care of the customer,” he says. “We’re excited about what we do and eager to help people progress. I think that some people are absolutely shocked that we might spend 45 minutes or more with a customer, but that’s what we do.”

James DeCamp, Running Insight, Bobby Levin

Established: 2003 Primary Owners: Bobby Levin & Karen Levin Total Space (one store): 2,400 square feet

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Track Shack Orlando, FL

Established: 1977 Primary Owners: Jon and Betsy Hughes Total Space (one store): 5,000 square feet Track Shack is one of running’s great legacy shops. Not only have owners Jon and Betsy Hughes been involved from the start when it was a pen-and-

paper operation—Jon started managing it fresh out of college in 1977, Betsy joined a year later and they bought the store when they were married in 1983—but they’ve also been loyal to their staff and have many employees who have been with the shop from 15 to 30 years. While they take pride in not expanding or reacting to trends—for example, they never had any interest in adding a second store and deliberately declined to

The 50 Best

Here are the very best running stores in the U.S. for 2014 based on 20 criteria, including retail environment, shoe-fitting, checkout process, credit worthiness and community service. Alabama

Fleet Feet Huntsville, Huntsville


Running Zone, Melbourne

Geneva Running Outfitters, Geneva Naperville Running Company, Naperville Running Central, Peoria


Fleet Feet Schererville, Schererville Runner’s Forum, Indianapolis

sell minimalist toe shoes and squishy rubber sandals when those were red-hot products—they’ve certainly adapted as running has changed, with things like working with local charities, developing rich website content and using vibrant social media interaction as a way to reach customers. (The Hughes’ son, Chris, recently joined the store and has helped further that change, including opening on Sundays this fall for the first time ever.) In addition to weekly fun runs and training programs, the Hughes have continually immersed themselves in the community in which they grew up. Their thriving race business, Track Shack Events, puts on 16 local races and times 40 other events around the U.S., plus Jon directs the Disney running series. But what makes that so significant, Betsy says, is that their races help contribute to the Track Shack Foundation, a nonprofit that gives grant money to athletic programs at local schools and other community organizations. (It provided money to Jenny Simpson’s grade school track program in the mid-1990s, helped create a tumbling program for disabled children and built a playground at a homeless shelter.) “Whether it’s our store, our events or our foundation, it’s all about people,” Betsy Hughes says. “We can sell shoes all day long and we’re very, very good at it. But it’s about the people we work with, our community and our staff. We grew up here, raised our kids here and continue to live here. We just love doing what we do and helping people.”

Massachusetts Whirlaway Sports, Methuen

The Running Well Store, Kansas City Ultra Max, Columbia

Rush Running Company, Bentonville

Track Shack, Orlando

Tri-N-Run, Lafayette





Fleet Feet Tucson, Tucson Sole Sports, Tempe Tortoise & Hare Sports, Glendale


Sole 2 Soul, Visalia


Fit Niche, Lakeland Fleet Feet Stuart, Stuart Jacksonville Running Company, Jacksonville


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Big Peach Running Company, Atlanta

Tri State Running, Edgewood

Classic City Running, Buford

Sports Spectrum, Shreveport

West Stride, Atlanta



Schu’s Idaho Running Company, Boise


Dick Pond Athletics, Schaumburg Fleet Feet Chicago, Chicago


Maine Running Company, Portland


Charm City Run, Timonium Fleet Feet Baltimore, Baltimore


Columbus Running Company, Dublin Vertical Runner, Hudson


Three Rivers Running, Fort Wayne


Charlotte Running Co, Charlotte

Playmakers, Okemos

St. Petersburg Running Company, St. Petersburg

Skinny Raven, Anchorage

North Carolina


Big River Running Company, St. Louis

Runner’s Edge, Missoula


Red Dirt Running, Omaha

New Hampshire

Runner’s Alley, Portsmouth

New Mexico

Bosque Running, Albuquerque

New York

Fleet Feet Rochester, Rochester Fleet Feet Syracuse, East Syracuse

Courtesy of Track Shack

The Final Four


Red Coyote Running, Oklahoma City


Emmaus Run Inn, Emmaus

Rhode Island

Rhode Runner, Providence


Fleet Feet Brentwood, Brentwood


IRun Texas, San Antonio Luke’s Locker, Dallas


Salt Lake Running, Salt Lake City


Pacers, Arlington


Performance Running Outfitters, Brookfield

Competitor | december 2014

11/17/14 12:12 PM




11:40 AM

10 Reasons to Shop at a Running Specialty Shop By Brian Metzler

There are many places to buy running shoes nowadays—at a big sporting goods retailer, at a mall chain store, online, at a discount website or at a running specialty store. The roughly 800 running specialty shops around the U.S. have been the lifeblood of the running industry and the sport for more than 35 years, providing a sense of community and spreading knowledge and passion to all levels of runners. Yes, many have had a runner-geek quirkiness to them, but that’s the culture of running that has thrived for decades. Here are a few reasons why it makes sense to visit your locally-owned neighborhood running shop. 1. Personalized customer service and individualized shoefitting (which often includes expert video gait analysis) and in-depth knowledge of all things running. 2. It’s the best and least intimidating place to learn about training for your first or next race, whether that’s a 5K, a full marathon or a trail run.

3. It’s about what you’re getting for your money. Running smarts = priceless. Good deals on pro sports hats and jerseys = not so much. 4. Most running stores have coaches and sports medicine experts available for questions about health, injuries, rehab and recovery.

5. If you spend $100 at a locally owned business, on average, $68 goes back to the local economy. Spend the same $100 at a national chain and only $43 returns to the local economy.

8. Running shops offer clinics and special events for runners of all ability levels. Sporting goods stores offer fly-fishing demos and great deals on water skis, lawn darts and soccer nets.

6. You wouldn’t go to a bakery to get an oil change or new windshield wipers, would you?

9. Beer and pizza! Many running stores offer up suds and slices after weekday group runs.

7. Local running shops sponsor local races, local running groups and local schools.

10. Passionate runners just like you work at running specialty stores.

The Best of the Best

Here is the list of winning stores since the 50 Best Running Stores in America program began in 2006. 2006 – Boulder Running Company, Boulder, Colo. 2007 – 9th Street Active, Durham, N.C. 2008 – Bob Roncker’s Running Spot, Cincinnati

2010 – Playmakers, Okemos, Mich. 2011 – Shu’s Running, Boise, Idaho 2012 – Fleet Feet Syracuse, Dewitt, N.Y. 2013 – Naperville Running Company, Naperville, Ill. 2014 – To be announced on Dec. 4


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James DeCamp, Tim Perroud

2009 – Naperville Running Company, Naperville, Ill.

Competitor | december 2014

11/17/14 12:10 PM

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FOUNDED IN 1607, Santa Fe is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. These 400 years of history also make it one of the most vibrant—the New Mexico capital’s eclectic mix of Native American culture, renowned artists like Georgia O’Keefe and cosmopolitan population have earned it its nickname, “The City Different.” This moniker applies to its running community too, where adventurous runners find inspiration in the raw, unique beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains 14ers and the city’s old Spanish architecture. Locals consider their trails “to be treasures, whether they are mountain bikers, runners or hikers,” says Mariam Browne, vice president of the Santa Fe Striders running club. A great place to catch this city’s unique running vibe is the Striders’ Thursday night run from the Running Hub, a popular local running retailer. “It meanders through almost every part of town a runner needs to see: The rail trail, the plaza, museum hill and the historic east side,” says store owner John Lumley. “No map can navigate a newcomer through this route.” 66


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• Santa Fe is located more than 7,100 feet above sea level, making it the highest state capital in the U.S.

where to


the 15-mile rail trail at sunset offers a relaxing ambience and loads of flat running toward the city.

Eric O’Connell


you are weary from travel or need to acclimate to the altitude slowly, Lumley recommends the paved section of the Santa Fe Rail Trail that starts downtown. The trail is 17 miles long and follows the route of the old Santa Fe railroad line. For mild elevation change, Browne suggests the 6.7-milelong Rio en Medio Trail, which features several waterfalls along the way. The Aspen Vista Trail, which starts at nearly 10,000 feet and tops out at 12,000 over 5.5 miles, is a perfect lung-buster for advanced runners, “especially in the fall when the leaves are changing,” Lumley says. “You get the excellent views of the Espanola Valley very early in the run.” The Dale Ball Trails offer several options for trail enthusiasts, as does the Santa Fe Ski Basin ski resort. For speed work on familiar turf, The Santa Fe High School track is the place to sweat out 400-meter repeats with the best runners in town.

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x The Santa Fe Baking Company Café (504 W Cordova Rd.; sponsors a handful of local races and provides discounts for the Santa Fe Striders, so you will likely bump elbows with a few runners or cyclists if you stop in. Breakfast is served all day long. For a quick refuel, pick up one of their many baked goods and a coffee, and check out their live music on Saturday mornings. Blue Corn Café (133 W. Water St.; is a Santa Fe Striders favorite, especially for Taco Tuesday after the group’s track workout. The restaurant’s handcrafted beers and New Mexican fare can satisfy any palate. Known as “Santa Fe’s Watering Hole,” Del Charro (101 West Alameda St.; delcharro. com) is the place to go for good food and strong drinks on a budget. Nightly specials, mouth-watering burgers and signature margs highlight the menu, with options for vegetarians too. Don’t forget to try the local favorite: Frito pie—a casserole-type dish with chili, cheese and Fritos corn chips!


j The Corrida de Los Locos (Feb. 2015) is a small race celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015. “Anyone willing to run in that weather is truly loco,” Browne says of the typical mid-20s temps on a February morning. “But the hot chocolate at the end brings back some sanity.” The oldest race in town, the Santa Fe Run-Around (May 2015; santaferunaround. features a 10K, 5K and free 1K children’s run. Starting in the central plaza, it follows Canyon Road—home to the city’s art district. The Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon (Sept. 2015; is another popular pointto-point race, climbing from downtown to Buffalo Thunder Resort in Pojoaque, N.M. It begins with a tough climb and ends with a fast downhill in the final few miles to the resort. “Runners from Kenya, Mexico [the Tarahumara], Native American tribes and other cultures all come together for this wonderful global running promotion,” Browne says. For the fun-run seekers, the Monster Dash at Desert Academy (Oct. 2015; desertacademy. com) is a 3-mile dirt obstacle course that many runners tackle in costume.




kSanta Fe experiences mild versions of all four seasons, with no extreme heat and little rain and snowfall. Lumley says the best thing about running in the area is the weather: “It rarely rains and is almost never hotter than 80 degrees. In the winter months, the low humidity and regular sunshine can make a 30-degree day feel almost like shorts-and-T-shirt weather.” Winter mornings can yield heavier-coat-worthy conditions, but runners can enjoy manageable temps once the sun is high in the sky.


CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, NEW MEXICO WAS THE ORIGINAL “SUNSHINE STATE,” DUE TO ITS YEAR-ROUND CLEAR SKIES, UNTIL FLORIDA TOOK THE NICKNAME FOR ITSELF IN THE 1970S. k Family owned and operated, the Running Hub (527 W Cordova Rd.; is the city’s go-to place for anything running. “The staff are competitive runners themselves and offer advice about shoes, injury prevention, running safety, routes, weather support—you name it,” says Browne. Along with the Santa Fe Striders, the store hosts group runs at 6 p.m. every Thursday year-round and an additional run on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. during the

Get Spooked



Because of Santa Fe’s long history and diverse inhabitants, there’s no shortage of ghostly legends. If you have no time for a tour, stop by La Fonda Inn or La Posada Hotel for dinner or a drink and a little ghoul hunting.

March through October months. Alpine Sports (121 Sandoval St. #B; carries a large selection of trail running shoes and gear for hitting up the extensive trails in the area. Servicing such an active community, REI (500 Market St. #100; also has its usual array of outdoor equipment and has a location in the city. Pick up some hydration mix, a new pair of running shoes or grab a book about where to go explore.

Get Spicy

If you want to experience the local flavor Santa Fe is best known for (and have a big appetite), take the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown Tour.

Get Educated

Visit the eight Northern Indian Pueblos within an hour north of Santa Fe to learn more about the culture and traditions that still influence the city and the state of New Mexico today.

From top: Courtesy of the Run Thunder Half Marathon; Courtesy of Del Charro(3)



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Click here for other “I’m a Competito r” profiles.



to see photos of CELEBRITIES who run!

In large companies, it can be a challenge for the top brass to connect with all of their employees. Especially when you lead a team of 2,100, like Burton Goldfield, 59, the president and CEO of California-based TriNet, which provides human resource services to small and midsize businesses. Yet Goldfield, who says running has always been part of his life, sees fitness as an essential piece of his productivity and a way to connect with his team. At a previous job, he gave up his fancy executive corner office and created a fully equipped gym for employees. The gym became an invaluable place for Goldfield to meet everyone in the office. That could explain why the San Francisco Business Times named him the most-admired CEO in 2010.


How do you integrate fitness into the workplace? At TriNet I wanted to combine fitness and charitable giving. Everyone on the staff has been given a fitness tracker. Each month we divide into teams based upon our charities of choice. Whichever team averages the most steps at the end of the month wins a $5,000 donation to their charity from TriNet. Why do you run and exercise? I have energy to burn. It’s more about calming my mind, keeping me focused and making me feel good than the physical outcome of the workouts. I like to go hard enough

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so I get beyond thinking about work and get to the point where all I can think about is what I’m doing with my workout, which usually comprises running, biking or weights. If I don’t exercise, I don’t feel like I’ve brought my best for the day. Do you race? I do. So far I’ve done a 10K in Philadelphia, and the Hood to Coast Relay in Oregon with a team of business associates, friends and significant others. We had a perfect team. Everyone was on the same page with goals. We supported each other and had fun. I don’t race to be competitive in my sport, I do it to have fun.

Do you have a go-to running shoe? New Balance shoes—I have 23 pairs. I cycle through them until they are eventually retired to a shelf in the garage. Yes, I save them all. I never want to part with a pair! I used to run in the New Balance 2001s, a leather shoe from way back. I couldn’t find them in my hometown of Philadelphia so I finally called (this was before the Internet) Road Runner Sports in San Diego. Now I run in the New Balance 2040. When I get a new pair I write the purchase date directly on the shoes so I know when they need to be put on the shelf.

I find them offensive. But my wife likes them.


Running through Copenhagen at sunrise in the middle of winter was like being in a fairyland. The crisp air, old buildings and solitude—I felt like I could run forever.


My TomTom with HRT instantly tells me what the day is going to be like. Heart rate is an incredible indicator of overall well-being.

COFFEE OR TEA? Coffee. I’m a big fan of caffeine and exercise. I take my coffee—preferably a dark roast Sumatra—black. I like it made with a press pot.


In the morning. I’m usually up at 4:50 a.m., have coffee at 5:00 and am at the gym by 5:10.

Sarah Maren Photographers

Burton Goldfield


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GPS Speed & Distance

Calories Burned

Workout & Interval Timing

Water Resistant

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Competitor December 2014 Issue  

Epic Escape: Running Hawaii's Na Pali Coast. Our Favorite Gear Made in the USA. Nutrition Secrets of Olympians. Mount Tam Underground: The N...