The Cuse is in the House!


On Saturday, at the Boston University John Thomas Terrier Classic, three runners from Syracuse University broke 4 minutes in the indoor mile. In fact, all three of the athletes ran under 3:59. They were led by the sensational Justyn Knight who finished in 3:56.87. This is amazing. However, the full picture is even more amazing. Syracuse has another runner that has also broken 4 minutes in the mile. Last year, Martin Hehir ran 3:59.81. AND the coach of the Orange, Chris Fox, also broke 4 minutes in the mile back in 1983. As far as I can tell, that’s 5 sub-four-minute milers in the same room. To put that in perspective, less than 500 americans have ever broken 4 minutes in the mile. Now, I realize that Adam Palamar and Justyn Knight are Canadian. Still, the collection of athletes in the 315 can no longer be overlooked. Syracuse already proved it can handle itself on an XC course – perhaps track domination is next…

For a complete list of americans that have broken 4 minutes in the mile, click here.

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Movie Reviews!!

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to watch two running films that came out recently. Here’s a quick review of each (without any spoilers):


This Is Your Day

This film follows Rob Krar, Caroline Boller and Karl Hoagland at the 2015 Western States Endurance Run. It provides several perspectives, as Rob is an elite (superhuman) athlete in his prime, Caroline is an up-and-comer and Karl probably has his best years behind him but is still working to make each year better than the prior one. My favorite thing about the movie is the way it focuses on the people around the athletes – their families, crews, pacers, etc. I don’t really have anything negative to say about the movie. It’s a little less than an hour long, and it is available on Vimeo for rent or purchase.


The Barkley Marathons: The Course That Eats Its Young

This movie focuses on The Barkley Marathons – a race that saw only 10 finishers in its first 25 years of existence. For me, the most interesting thing about this movie is the premise of the race. In June 1977, James Earl Ray (MLK’s assassin) escaped from prison in Tennessee. He covered so little distance in the time he was on the run that the races co-founders (who are obviously both sadists) thought it would make for a great ultramarathon course. The Barkley is probably one of the strangest races out there, and Laz, the race director, is probably one of the quirkiest folks you will come across. With that being said, this is a very entertaining movie. If you enjoy running and adventure, this is perfect for you. It’s available for rent or purchase here.

A trailer for this movie is available here.

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Olympic Trials Marathon Preview

The Olympic Trials Marathon will be held in Los Angeles on February 13, 2016. The list of qualifying athletes is extensive; however, many of the names at the top are familiar. A lot can happen in a marathon, but here is my best guess as to the teams that will head to Rio.


Shalane Flanagan


I would be very surprised if Shalane didn’t make the team. She has the fastest qualifying time by nearly three minutes. In addition, she has demonstrated that she is a pretty consistent performer. Since she has run much faster than the field, she will have a lot of flexibility in how she chooses to race. Not only that, Shalane brings track speed to the table. She is my favorite to win the race, and she will head to Rio as a realistic medal contender.

Desi Linden


Barring something unexpected, Desi will also make the team. While her qualifying time is nearly three minutes slower than Shalane’s, she is more than three minutes faster than the third fastest woman. That gives her the same flexibility that Shalane has – she can run her own race and secure a spot to Rio.

Deena Kastor


I’m going to concede up front that the third spot for the women is up for grabs. There is no standout, and there are probably at least a dozen women that could fill this spot. With that being said, who would bet against the fastest American marathoner of all-time? Deena has the fourth fastest qualifying time in the marathon and she showed in Chicago that she can still get it done. She has been to the Olypmics before. Deena is the nicest woman you’ll ever meet, but she is a fierce competitor. Bet against her? Not this guy.

The Darkhorse


I’m going with Maegan Krifchin. Of course, I’m biased because Maegan went to Syracuse University and used to train/race locally. The reality is, this could be her time. She ran her marathon debut in 2015, and she finished in 2:33:30. Maegan has run under 1:10 in the half marathon, and she raced middle distances in college. If the race starts slowly, and it probably will, she will definitely be a factor.


The race will probably start slowly, as this type of race tends to do. Shalane and Desi won’t need to push the pace, and I doubt any of the other ladies will take off. At some point, Deena will want to make a move. She’s not a 1:07 half marathoner any more, and she won’t want to get into a late kick with some of the youngsters in the field.

Alana Hadley will be running in Trials, although she won’t be eligible for the Olympics even if she finishes top three. Basically, the rules for the marathon require that you are at least 20 at the start of 2016 – Hadley was only 18. Colleen DeRueck will also be running trials. She is 51 years young.


Dathan Ritzenhein


I like Ritz to win the Trials. He is the last member standing of the class of 2001 (Webb, Hall). Ritz finished 9th in the marathon in Beijing, but didn’t qualify in the marathon in 2012, finishing fourth in trials. He hasn’t raced a lot of halves or fulls lately, so it’s difficult to see where he is at. However, he carries in the same advantage that Meb does – been there, done that. He’s still young, he’s still fast, and I think this is his time.

Meb Keflezighi


I think this one speaks for itself. He has the fastest qualifying time in the field, and he is SO tough in tactical races. I do expect this race to start out faster than the women’s race, and I think there will be some mid-race moves by athletes that qualified with a fast half. With that being said, I’m not betting against this guy. Everyone that has for the last decade has gotten steamrolled. Meb has conceded this year is his last hurrah. Let’s hope he can go out on top.


Much like in the women’s race, the third spot is wide open. Once again, I think there are at least a dozen people who could claim it. With that being said, there’s no Deena Kastor in the men’s race, so I’m not even going to venture a guess.

The Darkhorse


Jared Ward was the top American at the L.A. Marathon earlier this year. In addition, his qualifying time of 2:12:56 is comparable to some of the faster times his competitors ran at Berlin, London, Chicago, etc. He’s young, he’s fast and he’s coached by former Olympian Ed Eyestone. Will he be able to snag that final spot? Only time will tell.


Obviously, Ryan Hall is not running. In addition, numerous athletes qualified by way of the half marathon (both men and women). However, I did not pick any of them in my preview. While they may have superior speed at the shorter distance (e.g. Diego Estrada), I’m still not convinved it translates to the full marathon.

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Thank you, Ryan Hall.


I’m going to start this post off with an apology. I, like so many others, have made fun of Ryan Hall at one point or another. Erratic racing, DNFs, coach/no-coach, Meb’s Boston win… the news always seemed to find Ryan. With that being said, it’s pretty clear in retrospect that Ryan didn’t deserve most of it.

Erin Strout wrote a great piece for Runner’s World yesterday, and I encourage you to check it out. Ryan has often been described as a head case, and the picture painted by the article is just the opposite.

I think Ryan also deserves recognition for the times he went for it. I love watching Meb, and he is truly timeless. However, Meb’s finest attributes are his consistency, his work ethic and his racing tactics. Ryan was something else. He was the guy who broke an hour in the half marathon in Houston. He was the guy who went toe-to-toe with the east Africans in Boston. He was not afraid to put it out there, and in his prime, he really believed he could beat anyone.

Was his career too short? Yes. As fans of the sport, do we feel like we deserve more? Yes. With that being said, did Ryan give us everything he had? No doubt about it.

Here’s a nice tribute to Ryan (with some entertaining running news at the beginning).

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Salomon S-Lab Wings Review


This is the Tesla of trail shoes. It’s stylish, efficient, loaded with features and expensive – let me break it down for you.

The Salomon S-Lab Wings is designed for all of your trail needs. It has an internal sleeve that gives it a nice, sock-like fit. With that being said, it was still a little snug for me. I debated with myself for a bit. I wanted it to be wide enough in the toebox. In the end, I decided it wasn’t quite there. There was friction, and over the course of a long race, my little toe would pay the price. It also has a snug heel, although that is a feature I enjoy.

I think the shoe provides a nice level of cushion. I’m not small for an ultrarunner (about 69kg) but I think this shoe could go all the way up to a 100-mile race. This differs from other reviews that I’ve read, but I think it all depends on your size, how hard you strike the ground, the terrain of the course, etc.


The upper of the shoe is soft and breathable. I really like the material and I hope that Salomon continues to make other shoes with a similar upper. The shoes have the classic Salomon quicklace system. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you can’t go wrong with these laces. Just make sure you use the lace pocket so Matt Flaherty doesn’t lose his mind.


The sole is fantastic. It uses contragrip (also found in other Salomon shoes), which basically means there are varying densities in the sole. This provides nice traction on most surfaces. This will be great on hard trail, soft trail and some roads. These shoes will not get the job done on a very muddy course.

The size 10 came in at 10.2 ounces. The heel is approximately 28mm and the forefoot is approximately 19mm – a 9mm drop. For me, this is a perfect drop, and it’s one more reason that I think these can get the job done at any distance. With regard to length, the shoe has an average fit. I normally wear a size 10 and I was a size 10 in this shoe.


If you’ve tried the Salomon X-Series (my favorite shoe), the S-Lab Wings is similar in a lot of ways. It’s basically a tricked out trail version of that shoe. With that being said, I think the S-Lab Wings is a tiny bit narrower. I’m curious whether other wearers noticed the same thing.

The price is a bruiser – these sell for around $180. Yikes. With that being said, Salomon shoes always go on sale as they bring new models out. Keep on the lookout. I expect these to drop down to the $100-$120 range.


– The internal sleeve makes these super comfortable
– The sole is fantastic
– These can get you through 100km, and if you’re light on your feet, they can take you through 100 miles
– Quicklace system with lace pocket

– A little narrow in the toebox
– Not great in mud
– Price – yowza!

Check out this very cool video review of the Salomon S-Lab Wings from Ginger Runner.

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You’re Going to Hollywood!

No, no, no. Not American Idol – the Olympic Trials Marathon! The marathon will be held on February 13th in Los Angeles and some folks are still trying to qualify. A large group of them gathered in Jacksonville, Florida last weekend and worked together to make it happen. It was an unusual gathering, as most races don’t draw nearly as many elite runners. Here are the runners from Sunday that qualified for the Olympic Trials Marathon:

Men (Sub-1:05:00)

Jonathan Grey After His Victory

Jonathan Grey After His Victory

1 Jonathan Grey, 27, Boulder, CO 1:02:47
2 Fernando Cabada, 33, Clovis, CA 1:03:25
3 Chris Derrick, 25, Portland, OR 1:03:39
4 Sean Quigley, 30, Lafayette, CO 1:03:45
5 Stephen Furst, 30, Raleigh, NO 1:04:23
6 Makorobondo Salukombo, 27, Cleveland, OH 1:04:25
7 Jacob Sienko, 23, Warwick, RI 1:04:25
8 Arya Bahreini, 21, Edmond, OK 1:04:26
9 Mark Leininger, 24, Greenville, SC 1:04:25
10 Andrew Weaver, 25, Baltimore, MD 1:04:26
11 Nick Holmes, 25, Elmhurst, IL 1:04:28
12 Patrick Reagan, 29, Savannah, GA 1:04:28
13 Tanner Fruit, 27, Colorado Springs, CO 1:04:30
14 Tyler Pennel, 28, Blowing Rock, NC 1:04:31
15 Kevin Castille, 43, Lafayette, LA 1:04:33
16 Sean Davidson, 23, San Luis Obispo, CA 1:04:33
17 Everett Hackett, 25, West Hartford, CT 1:04:34
18 Kyle Dawson, 27, Coatesville, PA 1:04:35
19 Ryan Miller, 24, The Woodlands, TX 1:04:35
20 Juan Paredes, 25, Santa Ana, CA 1:04:37
21 Evan Gaynor, 27, Wauseon, OH 1:04:44
22 Sean Brown, 27, Aurora, CO 1:04:43
23 Jonas Hampton, 26, New Britain, CT 1:04:46
24 Chris Frias, 25, San Luis Obispo, CA 1:04:48
25 Richard Flynn, 28, Greenville, SC 1:04:50
26 Michael Eaton, 28, Louisville, KY 1:04:55
27 Tim Chichester, 27, Mount Morris, NY 1:04:55

Women (Sub-1:15:00)

Stephanie Dinius Taking the Win

Stephanie Dinius Taking the Win

1 Stephanie Dinius, 26, Brookline, MA 1:13:39
2 Esther Atkins, 29, Blowing Rock, NC 1:13:45
3 Laurie Knowles, 38, Charlotte, NC 1:13:45
4 Keely Maguire, 25, Newmarket, NH 1:13:48
5 Dylan Hassett, 22, Greenville, SC 1:14:07
6 Olivia Mickle, 24, Beaverton, OR 1:14:13
7 Erin Osment, 22, Charlotte, NC 1:14:17
8 Tera Moody, 35, Chicago, IL 1:14:19
9 Ashley Brasovan, 25, Golden, CO 1:14:30
10 Brianne Nelson, 35, Golden, CO 1:14:33
11 Karen Roa, 25, Boston, MA 1:14:33
12 Nicole DiMercurio, 24, Greenville, SC 1:14:34
13 Bridget Lyons, 27, Atlanta, GA 1:14:47
14 Wendy Thomas, 36, Windsor, CO 1:14:50


  • Kevin Castille is 43 years old and he ran 1:04:33.
  • The last runner to qualify was Tim Chichester, a semi-local guy who attended SUNY Geneseo
  • 1:09:59 is a fast half marathon – in Jacksonville, that time earned you 60th place
  • The Houston Half is on Janury 17th – it’ll be the last chance for runners who still need to qualify
  • El Niño could make for a really interesting Olympic Trials Marathon
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    Male-only marathon? Please boycott

    This gallery contains 5 photos.

    Originally posted on Ultra Runner Girl:
    As an adventure-hungry blogger, I often get invitations to interesting races. In early November last year, I got an email from a Dutch guy named Jan, who invited me to the first international marathon in…

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