Former 2:24 marathoner, now in my late 40s and hoping to maximally flatten the curve of my slide into senescence and mediocrity • Magazine writer, book editor and author, and commentator on the sport of distance running since 1999 • Adviser and confidant of other perambulators • Paradoxical hater of exercise fanatics • Chihuahua whisperer Sentence-fragment impresario

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Things that ten people in the professional running world probably aren't inclined to say

"Someone will eventually have to be the first American woman to win Boston since 1985, and honestly, I don't really care if it's me, Jordan or someone else. People say I'm competitive, but that's not really a major part of my make-up, and technically I'm from Colorado...also, I think there's a misperception about what happened in Central Park in November. It's easy to confuse "Heck yeah!" with something else, but I wish everyone would dial it back a bit."

-- Shalane Flanagan, 2017 New York City Marathon champion, four-time U.S. Olympian

"We try to be as transparent as we can, because it helps the sport. That's why when our athletes give interviews, they're encouraged to be as improvisational as possible rather than come off sounding stilted or colorless. Winning is important, but so is furthering running's image as being home to a lot of honorable, charismatic sportsmen and sportswomen."

 -- Alberto Salazar, head coach, Nike Oregon Project

"You know, I don't really have an opinion on that, and if I did, I'm  not really much for public statements. You look at all of the anonymous people taking shots at runners on message boards, and it's really intimidating. I've just always preferred to let my feet do the talking."

-- Lauren Fleshman, two-time U.S. outdoor 5,000-meter champion

"When we started, it wasn't supposed to be  a gimmick. We really thought we were producing something that was not only more comfortable and more economical for all types of runners, but safer and better on the body. We were as surprised as anyone when the problems started."

-- The makers of Vibram FiveFingers

"I think of how much faster that 47:49 ten-miler and that 28:29 10K might have been if I'd known to incorporate short breaks into my races. The fact that I only discovered how well that works when I was pushing 50 is probably the biggest regret of my competitive career."

-- Jeff Galloway, 1972 U.S. Olympian in the 10,000 meters, book author and entrepreneur

"We've decided to put an end to the anonymous trolls here once and for all by requiring registration instead of just offering it as an option in the hope that this will placate people. Some website owners might hold their nose and tolerate a stream of demeaning 'hotness' threads, libelous claims, and outright racist hostility if it meant more page impressions, but that's not us."

-- Weldon and Robert Johnson, co-founders of

"I'm all for putting athletic bodies on display, because a lot of us have worked hard to get and keep these physiques. But track in field is not a meat-market or a fashion show."

-- Maggie Vessey, retired 1:57.84 800-meter runner

'"You see the miles and all the miles,  and you only talk about those, and the hills and the Kenyan elite genes or Ethiopia genes. You in America coaches label and copy the volume of training. I laugh at you for this as the fundamental EPO difference is hidden plain sight. Kenyans keep getting positive dope and I say strong anecdote about  those being different level moral Kenyans, and we keep the going EPO play. Foolish idiots you are!"

-- Renato Canova, coach of various top East African marathon

"We tried for a long time to develop meaningful performance-enhancers, but the truth is that the stuff just doesn't work. And drug use in the Olympics is historically negligible anyway. Athletes have their own talent, drive and lifestyle to reckon with and, well, that's it. Any benefit any runner, thrower or jumper has gotten from a pill or a syringe? Purely psychological. We like to take about PEDs because we like to chalk up our losing to other people's cheating, plain and simple."

-- Victor Conte, founder of the now-defunct Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO), ex-convict, and current head of SNAC Nutrition

"I actually won't have a book coming out in the next three months. I've decided people focus way too much on nutrition and exercise, and frankly I've never liked writing."

-- Matt Fitzgerald, author of 87.3% of running books currently in print

(Disclaimer for the daft: these are not actual quotes.)

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