The Runaround – 8/27/12


Steve Spence, the bronze medalist in the 1991 World Championships marathon, for the most part, is known for his history as one of the United States’ top marathoners.

But, as of late, one of his most impressive achievements actually involves…the mile. In fact, this achievement has been a work in progress for Spence since he was a young teenager–long before he was a world-class marathoner.

Spence, now the head cross country coach at Shippensburg University, has been keeping a very special streak alive since for the past 37 years–since he was 13 years old. Usually, when we talk about a “streak” in running, it often is a reference to how many consecutive days one has run without taking a day off.

But how about a 37-year streak in which a runner has eclipsed a 5:00-minute mile on AT LEAST one occasion each year? Steve Spence, as of a few days ago, has accomplished that.

Sure, a sub-five-minute mile isn’t something to write home about for Spence, considering he was once able to hold that pace for 20 miles. But it is all the more impressive that he has kept his streak alive well beyond his finest years.

So, despite being a full-time collegiate XC/Track coach, a father of a professional runner, and despite being 50 years old and coming off of an injury that left him sidelined for almost a year, Spence ran a 4:52 full mile in front of a crowd of fans, athletes, and friends.

That’s natural talent.

How did he do it? Will he keep the streak alive? Want to hear more from Steve Spence? Be sure to check out last night’s show!

A New Perspective on “High-Volume” Training

American 800m ace Nick Symmonds, who placed 5th at this year’s Olympics and clocked a 1:42.95, has temporarily gone from the track…to the six pack.

Aside from being one of the fastest half milers in U.S. history, he is also the American Record Holder for the beer mile–an event where competitors must finish 4 beers and 4 laps. To run a legitimate beer mile, each runner must completely finish one full beer before starting each lap. And yes, the hardcore beer milers and fans do take this event seriously.

Don’t believe us. Check out the beer mile’s official website.

Symmonds’ most recent time? 5:19. He bested his original American Record of 5:31, but He won’t be satisfied with his new PR, though. The world record, held by John Finlayson, still stands at 5:09, and Symmonds is looking to be the greatest of all time.

Check out Nick Symmond’s training.

Also, take a look at the top beer mile performances.

The Runaround – 8/20/12


We were all over the map on Monday’s show, but that’s okay. We like to cover everything we can.

David Monico of Bring Back the Mile joined us on the first segment of the show to talk about the Magic Mile Challenge.

What is the Magic Mile Challenge? It’s a chance for for American every runner out there to be a part of Team USA.

And doesn’t every runner want to be a part of Team USA?

In essence, Team USA (captained by Bring Back the Mile) needs as many people as possible to get out on the roads or on the track to run a competitive mile. It doesn’t have to be in a race; it can be done on your own. Report back to the link provided and post your time. This isn’t necessarily about speed; it’s is about participation. If the mile is “America’s Distance,” then it should be easy for Americans to outdo our friends across the pond, right? Marathon TALK will be representing Team Great Britain and The Naked Runners will be leading Team Australia/Rest of the World.

Better yet, The Runaround is “the voice” of Team USA, so makes us proud and show us you care by getting a good mile in for the old stars and stripes. Check out our conversation with David Monico here.

Changing gears here…

Do you have great workouts and great training runs, but your legs seem to fall flat on race day? Do nerves get the best of you on the starting line?

Sports Psychiatrist, Dr. David McDuff, joined us in the booth Monday night to discuss what goes on inside the mind of a runner. More importantly, he talked about techniques a runner can use to combat excessive nerves.

Did you know that over-thinking and stress can deplete 1/3 of your glucose store before you even begin a hard physical effort? Don’t miss our conversation with Dr. McDuff (about 21:00 in the podcast)!

Changing gears one last time…

If you want a good laugh, you should visit Mo Farah Running Away From Things. If you’ve already seen the site, then you know what we mean.

We talked to Luke Harvey, the visionary who founded the site. He called into the show from Great Britain–marking him as our first international guest. How did Luke come up with the idea? W
hen did he come up with the idea? Did he expect it to be this popular? Is he even a runner?

You can answer these questions by tuning in to last night’s show. Luke’s interview beings at about 42:55.

The Runaround 8/13/12 – A Review of 2012 Olympic Track


Maybe you thought Usain Bolt and the Jamaican 4x100m team stole the show. Or perhaps you’d say Allyson Felix was the star of the meet. Or possibly, you think that David Rudisha led the 800m final field to one of the greatest performances in track and field history.

Either way, if you watched the action on the track at this year’s Olympics, you witnessed some of the greatest races the world has ever (and may ever) see.

As Ryan McGrath said on Monday, “This is Day 1 of the Olympic Hangover.” We’re going to miss the Games, and we know you will too.

But lucky you!

You can tune in to The Runaround’s review of the Olympics whenever you want by clicking on the link below. We recapped what we thought were the best events, accepted call-ins, and even gave a shout out to synchronized swimmers.

Missed last night’s show? Listen to the replay now!

The Runaround – August 6, 2012: American Magic at the London Olympics


Photo Credit:

When was the last time the United States brought home such coveted hardware? It’s been a few years…well…more than a few years.

The last time it happened: Lyndon Johnson was President. The Beatles were just beginning their rise to pop-culture stardom. And a gallon of gas cost 30 cents.

The last time an American athlete brought home an Olympic medal in the long distance track events was in 1964, when Bob Schul took the gold in the men’s 5000m and Billy  Mills won the 10,000m in dramatic fashion. It has been 48 years since the ’64 Games in Tokyo, and a 26-year-old, Portland, Oregon native finally put American distance running back on the Olympic map.

Placing himself comfortably in the middle of the pack through most of the race, U.S. 10,000m record-holder Galen Rupp moved up slowly behind the leaders before unleashing a potent kick in the last 200m to claim the silver medal in the 10K final.  The only man to beat him was Mo Farah of Great Britain–his friend and training partner. Farah only edged Rupp out by .48 seconds (Farah – 27:30.42, Rupp – 27:30.90), but both finished comfortably ahead of reigning Olympic champ and WR holder, Kenenisa Bekela of Ethiopia (4th place) and his brother Tariku (3rd place).

Conversely, it has been much longer since Americans have experienced a stunning defeat. In fact, televisions didn’t even exist to document such a shortcoming.

For the first time since 1920, an American male athlete was not present on the medal podium for the 400m dash.

No U.S. 400m runners even advanced to the final. Reigning Olympic Champion LaShawn Merritt dropped out of the first round due to a hamstring injury. College sprinters-turned-Olympians Tony McQuay (U. Florida) and Bryshon Nellum (USC) struggled in their first Olympic experience. Admittedly, it’s difficult to peak for the NCAA Championships in June. and then extend one’s season to August. Nonetheless, the U.S. didn’t even have a fighting in an event that, for so long, has been dominated by athletes donning the stars and stripes.

But that’s the Olympics.

And let’s not distract ourselves from America’s two golden girls. Sanya Richards-Ross finally achieved her goal of becoming Olympic Champion by striding away from the field in the last 100 meters of the 400m dash. She finished with a time of 49.55 seconds and has immediately turned her attention to the 200m rounds.

Jenn Suhr claimed the gold medal the pole vault last night, clearing a height of 15 feet, 7 inches. She beat Yarisley Silva of Cuba by minimizing missed attempts, more notably, out-vaulted Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva–the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and defending champion.

Want to hear more about the events on the track in London? Check out last night’s Olympic coverage on The Runaround! Parker Morse of Running Times Magazine joined Greg, Brad, and Ryan on a monthly feature segment entitled “Around the Clock,” presented by Running Times. Hear the panel discussion of all the Olympic track action to date by clicking the link below.

Last Night’s Show

The Metronome of Track & Field: Matt Scherer

Matt Scherer–the best 800m rabbit in the business.

“Metronome,” you ask? That’s right, Matt Scherer keeps the beat for the best middle-distance runners on the planet.

He is a rabbit–a professional pace-setter for middle-distance events in track and field, usually the 800m. He is commonly understood to be “the best in the business–the best 800m rabbit around.” When meet directors, coaches, and athletes ask Scherer to do what he does best, you could set a clock to him.

For example, when he rabbitted World Record Holder David Rudisha through the first 400 meters at the adidas Grand Prix in New York, Scherer was asked to bring the Kenyan through the quarter in 49 seconds. Mr. Metronome split 49.09.

Snap a finger and that’s difference between 49.00 seconds and 49.09. That’s extremely precise considering: 1) He’s not wearing a watch, and 2) he has to make his way through a pack of several men moving more than 18 mph.

Yet, he’s more than just a pace-setter. In 2008, he established himself as the world’s 6th-fastest 600m runner in history with a 1:14.

How is he so precise? Does he want to abandon rabbitting to focus on racing again? How does his training differ from most athletes? Find out by checking out Monday’s show replay below. Also, listen to our recap of the Olympic events that have occurred thus far along with our “Local Athlete of the Week.”

The Runaround – July 30, 2012