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Top Ten Stories of the Week
4/17/2021

These are the top ten stories based on views over the last week. 

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Pikes Peak Marathon legend Arlene Pieper Stine, the first woman to run a sanctioned marathon, has died

Eight years before Kathrine Switzer shocked the world by running the Boston Marathon, Arlene Pieper Stine did her 26 miles in the Pikes Peak Marathon, with a 9-year-old daughter in tow

Arlene Pieper Stine got into the Pikes Peak Marathon in 1959 as a stunt to market her Colorado Springs health club. When she finished, the 29-year-old mother of three was in the record books as the first woman to finish a sanctioned marathon. Unlike the Boston Marathon, the Pikes Peak race never had a prohibition on women participating.

One of Colorado mountain running’s most beloved heroes used to climb up the ladder next to the sign draped across the town of Manitou Springs’s main drag — “Welcome, Pikes Peak Runners” — so that she could send off the hundreds of runners who had packed the narrow street to head off for the summit of the 14,115-foot mountain more than 13 miles and 7,800 of vertical gain in the distance. Then they would turn around for the return trip.

“Runners, ready,” she said into the microphone in the absolute still morning of sun, rain, or even snow of late August. “Go!” said Arlene Pieper Stine.  

Pieper Stine became the race’s folk hero in 2009 when race officials went looking for the former Colorado Springs resident and health club owner so that they could bring her back to her hometown with some news: Not only had she been the first woman to complete the Pikes Peak Marathon — the punishing switchbacks, rocky single-track, and finally, the last few miles above timberline at over 12,000 feet — but she was the first woman to complete any sanctioned marathon, eight years before Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon in 1967. 

Fifty years after she finished the full “out and back,” as Peak marathon veterans refer to the course, with a time of 9 hours and 16 minutes, Pieper Stine was once again at the start line.  

Pieper Stine died Feb. 11, 2021, a month shy of her 91st birthday, as she was trying to build up her strength after battling COVID-19, her daughter Kathy Pieper said.

“She got cards and letters from runners and it meant so much to her,” Pieper said. “And I was able to go into her assisted living facility — all covered up — to see her. She ran such a good race.”

She became a role model and inspiration for women runners who looked to her for her boldness and independent spirit — a wife, mother, business owner, and runner who hiked and ran on Pikes Peak with her family in the 1950s, dressed for the race in white sleeveless blouse, white shorts, white headwrap, and tennis shoes from Woolworths.

“We didn’t carry water or have aid stations in those days,” she said in a 2014 interview. “I still remember it like it was yesterday. You can be a wonderful wife and mother, but it showed me that if there’s something you really want to do, you should go for it.”

Year after year, Pieper Stine was as much a part of the race as the unpredictable weather, the friendliness and camaraderie of the runners whether elite or there for a bucket list challenge, or because life wouldn’t be the same without that weekend in late August that turned Manitou Springs into an excited, nervous, and glad-to-be alive running party.

“If I can do it, so can you,” she told the runners who thronged around her in Memorial Park at the Race Expo, at the pre-race spaghetti dinners, or on the streets of town. 

From the first time that she and Pieper returned to Manitou Springs in 2009 for the 50th anniversary celebration of the race that they had run together — Arlene at age 29 and Kathy at age 9 — Pieper Stine became living reminders of the beauty and challenge of running the Peak. 

 “‘It’s a beautiful day for a race,’ I remember her saying as we passed runners that day,” Pieper said of the race she did with her mother in 1959. “And she kept that same attitude every year. She never could believe that runners would come up to her and say ‘Can you just touch my hand for luck?’ or ‘It’s so good to see you again.’ She remembered everyone and had wanted to say something to them all. She could barely walk 10 paces down the sidewalk and people would say, ‘Can I get your picture? Can I get your autograph?’ It was just the thrill of her life when [race organizers] found her.”

In 2019, to mark the 60th anniversary of Pieper Stine’s marathon step for woman runners everywhere, a group of women runners dressed in white sleeveless blouses, white shorts, and headscarves and hats gathered to run up Pikes Peak to mark the occasion. And like the rock star of the trail running world she was for women, Pieper Stine showed up for the celebration.

Four years earlier, in 2015, I had the opportunity to celebrate Pieper Stine myself. The night before the marathon, I joined the Peak Busters gathering at the Manitou Springs City Hall and was reassured by Arlene, as I had come to know her. I had come back from falls and injuries like everyone else on the peak, since my first marathon on the mountain, in 2004.

At that time, Arlene was using a wheelchair after hip surgery. It was my second out and back and I was eager but nervous. “Good luck,” she said. “You’ll have a great time!” I bent down and she took her hand in mine. “OK,” I said, feeling tears about to come, feeling a part of history of this mountain that had both tested me and rewarding my training — or had spit me out during a few memorable Ascents and my first marathon. But I could always count on feeling inspired by the women who had come before me, especially Arlene.

The next morning, she was at the start, shaking hands, giving hugs, and talking to racers through the speakers, to get ready and GO!

“Without pioneering efforts like Arlene’s, we would have no history nor legacy in our sport,” said Nancy Hobbs, executive director of the American Trail Running Association. “Many women — young and old — have been inspired by her.

That includes Pieper, who is planning to train for the Ascent along with one of Pieper Stine’s grandsons, Kyle, 29, who wants to train and qualify for the marathon. She also is survived by daughters Karen, 67, and Linda, 57, and her son, Karl, 66; three other grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

“Mom wanted to sprinkle some of her ashes on Pikes Peak,” Pieper said. “And I thought, ‘I’d like to go back 60 years later and see if I can do the Ascent.’ Maybe I can finish it, maybe not even do it as a race. And then maybe I could keep her legacy going.”

(04/09/21) Views: 124
Jill Rothenberg
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How to run efficiently on concrete, sand, dirt or trail

Running on pavement, cement, sand, dirt or trail have their unique challenges. It’s not simply about which running surface is better or more optimal since that answer is: “it depends” or “none of them is best.” In fact, your best bet is likely to mix up your running surfaces to change your loading and balance the way that you run.

“The human body adapts incredibly well to its situation,” says Jeff Knight, senior manager of digital product science for connected fitness at Under Armour and former running coach. “Basically, researchers have found that runners adjust to run with a softer stride over the firmer surface and a harder stride over the softer surface.”

When you switch things up, there are certain ways to optimize your running. Here’s what you need to know about different running surfaces and how to train on them for the best possible performance:

Concrete and cement are the hardest materials you’ll likely run on. If you observe most serious runners, you’ll notice they often eschew the sidewalk in favor of the shoulder of the road for this reason. On the flip side, sidewalks are going to be safer than running in the street when it comes to traffic. Some sidewalks have a dirt or grass medians you can take advantage of to give your feet a break.

This is also where finding a good road running sneaker comes into play. “A standard road shoe. The cushioning of a neutral running shoe options helps dampen the impact of each stride.

Ranked slightly softer than concrete sidewalks, running in the streets or on asphalt paths is better than trying to stay on sidewalks when it comes to running efficiently. As Knight points out, humans are amazingly adaptable, so if you live in a concrete jungle, don’t stress: You’ve likely developed a stride that takes hard surfaces into account. But when you can, hop onto the grass and run the side of a field or a trail: Research shows running in grass reduces the stress on your body compared to running on a more rigid surface.

Gravel trails and roads are firm and are good for running since they’re slightly softer than asphalt without much difference in the actual surface, unlike a dirt trail in the woods. But the loose layer of dust and gravel on top ultimately slows you down. “In Austin, Texas, we have a popular running trail in the middle of town that surrounds Ladybird Lake. That trail is made of crushed up bits of granite,” Knight says. “When I was coaching, we added 5–10 seconds per mile if we did a tempo run on that trail!”

So, while gravel may be optimal for long endurance runs compared to pounding the pavement for hours, don’t expect a PR. Similarly, rail-trails are the best for your joints thanks to their cushiness and lack of any technical navigation. Rail trails also tend to be flat and straight, with relatively few obstacles. Their surfaces are akin to those of gravel roads, but the flatness makes them more beginner-friendly, while gravel roads can easily get ultra-hilly.

Here, we’re talking about technical trails, not dirt roads. Trails are softer in general, but present runners with more ankle-biting obstacles, and because of this, your stability may suffer. On technical trails, Knight recommends swapping to a more trail-friendly shoe. “Usually, trail shoes offer a bit more stability and traction,” he explains. “If I catch a root or rock wrong, I am less likely to slide off that root and turn my ankle. To summarize, lots of roots the size of baseball bats or rocks the size of baseballs means switch shoes.” He notes that if you’re looking for speed on the trails, a dedicated trail shoe helps with that as well. “That extra bit of traction and stability may keep you safe when you start getting sloppy,” he adds. “No one is as sure-footed at the end of a hard trail session as they are at the beginning!”

Soft sand is by far the most challenging surface to run on, and it will fight you every step of the way. If you’re a beach runner, stick to the hard pack sand by the water’s edge and wear your trail shoes for more stability. You can head into the soft sand as an interval, since it will immediately make maintaining your pace much more challenging as an almost full-body workout.

But if you have a tendency toward rolled ankles, skip running on soft sand altogether: It might be nicer on your joints from a softness perspective, but the lack of stability makes it potentially dangerous. Surprisingly, one study showed that compared to running on a sandy soft surface, running on asphalt actually decreased the risk of tendinopathy in runners.

(04/12/21) Views: 65
Molly Hurford
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7 Solutions For Runners With Tight Calves

If you’ve been noticing tight calves during your runs and feeling them when you head up a hill, you’re not alone. Most veteran runners can recall at least one time they’ve found themselves on the side of the trail wincing and rubbing a calf to alleviate a cramp.

While there’s no simple solution, there are a few ways to loosen your calves and lessen your chances of tightening up at a pivotal moment in your run.

1.- LOOK AT YOUR FEET

First, look at your feet. Your shoes might be to blame. You’ll know you’re overdue for a new pair if they’re suddenly uncomfortable and the support has worn out.

Jaclyn Fulop, a licensed physical therapist and runner, says tight calf muscles are a common problem for runners, but often, the root cause is lower on the body. “Tight calves can occur due to biomechanical dysfunction such as hallux rigidus [stiffness/rigidity in the big toe], the shape of your foot’s arch, repetitive stress, weakness or improper shoe wear,” she explains.

2.- CONSIDER TERRAIN

If your shoes are in good shape and you’re still having problems, consider terrain: Have you recently shifted to running more hills? Uphill running can put a lot more pressure on your calves than flat miles, and you may not be recruiting your other muscles to help alleviate the burden. Focus on using your glutes to get up the hill. You may also be spending more time on the balls of your feet as you tiptoe your way up an incline; instead, let your heel drop occasionally to allow your calf muscle to get a bit more release. Finally, consider power-hiking, which allows you to drop your heels more naturally, and in truly steep terrain, won’t even drop your overall pace by much.

3.- HYDRATE

Research has shown dehydration can lead to tight muscles — and if your calves are already tense, being a quart low on your daily water intake can shift them from annoying to painful territory. Aim to drink at least 64 ounces of water every day, more if you’re sweating profusely during a workout — and add an electrolyte tab or pinch of salt to a few of those glasses to maintain sodium, magnesium and potassium levels.

Practice basic running protocols with extreme care: In the summer, any cramping and tightness can be exacerbated by dehydration, so make sure you’re starting runs fully hydrated, and continuing to sip as you go, especially as runs last longer than an hour.

4.- WARM UP AND COOL DOWN

In any weather conditions, a slow and steady warmup is key to avoiding instant tightness in your muscles as you start to up the pace. Take a few minutes before each run to walk, do activation stretches like lunges (focus on the back leg for a greater calf stretch) and gentle hops on your toes.

After each run, give your body a few minutes to cool down by walking and doing some stretches. Also, consider getting a piece of gear that does the stretching for you — for example, a Strassburg sock gently pulls your toes toward your shin to stretch your calves while you sleep. For those who use standing desks, a foam wedge might be your new best friend. Use it while standing to get a gentle calf stretch while putting in no effort.

5.- STRETCH AND STRENGTHEN

Stretching — dynamic and static — can help, but Fulop recommends adding static stretches post-run rather than beforehand. “Stretching is important because it increases your joint range of motion, which improves balance and keeps the muscles working more efficiently,” she explains. A good way to stretch your calves is during your workout: Walking or running uphill is a great calf activator and naturally forces your muscles to stretch while you’re heading up.

You can do the staircase stretch slowly, but there’s also a benefit to doing it faster, in a pumping motion. Since your calves are so dense, excess fluid and blood can pool up in those muscles and might benefit from getting flushed out. So, add a quick set of calf pumps to your next post-run cooldown. Aim to do this daily.

6.- TRY SQUATS

Erin Taylor, author of “Hit Reset: Revolutionary Yoga for Athletes,” is a fan of the squat, because so many calf stretches involve straight legs, and we don’t activate certain muscles when our knees are bent. Get into a deep squat, with your hands on the floor to stabilize yourself. Come up onto your toes as high as you can, and then drop your heels. Repeat this a few times.

7.- RECOVER AND FOAM ROLL

Foam rolling your calves is as important as rolling out your quads and hamstrings. Don’t just give your calf a single swipe — work from your ankle slowly up to your knee, making sure to hit the sides of your calf as well as the back.

(04/09/21) Views: 64
Molly Hurford
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Des Linden smashes the world record for 50k in her first ultra marathon

Des Linden’s elite marathon career has included two Olympic Games and a Boston Marathon win.

Tuesday morning, running on the Row River Road bike path along the northern bank of Dorena Lake near Cottage Grove, Oregon Linden became a world record holder.

In her first ultramarathon attempt, the 37-year-old from Michigan ran the 50K course in 2 hours, 59 minutes, 54 seconds to shatter the previous women’s record of 3:07:20 held by Great Britain’s Aly Dixon since Sept. 1, 2019.

“I thought it would take a disaster for it to not happen, but you get to the marathon distance and disasters are pretty common,” Linden said. “Then you extend that and you just don’t know. As confident as I was, it’s unknown territory. I was trying to respect it as much as possible.”

Linden averaged 5:47 per mile. She hit the 26.2-mile marathon mark in 2:31:13 and powered through the final five miles with the help of American men’s marathoner Charlie Lawrence, who paced Linden through the entire 50K.

“We held it together, but it got hard the last five but I knew we had that time locked away,” said Linden, who couldn’t see the clock at the finish line. “But I knew. We were crunching the numbers out there. I’m like ‘I gotta break 3 (hours) or else I’m going to have to do this again, like soon.’”

Linden said she’d been planning for this race for a couple of years and felt like the time was right to give it shot. 

“The spring is totally free,” Linden said. “Without the major marathons it was like, let’s figure it out. And I think a small operation is a little bit better for trying to test the waters anyways, and with COVID, that’s how it has to be. We just tried to quietly do something and see how I liked the distance and how I measure up and if it’s something I want to pursue moving forward.”

The Row River Road course has been the site of several under-the-radar races the past year, including attempts by former Oregon stars Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay to break U.S. half-marathon records. Neither were able to do what Linden did Tuesday.

“This is definitely one of the highlights of my running career thus far,” Lawrence said. “Being able to help a friend and probably my biggest mentor in the sport achieve a goal of hers and get a world record, is awesome.”

Linden finished seventh at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and two years later won the Boston Marathon.

She finished fourth at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta in early 2020 before the pandemic shut everything down. She remains the alternate for the Tokyo Olympics this summer behind the three American qualifiers — Aliphine Tuliamuk, Molly Seidel and Eugene’s Sally Kipyego.

(04/13/21) Views: 64
Chris Hansen
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Gerda Steyn sets South African marathon record in Siena, Italy

Eighty runners lined up in Siena, Italy, on Sunday morning to race the Xiamen Marathon, an elite-only event that marked one of the final opportunities to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Kenyans Eric Kiptanui and Angela Tanui took the wins in PBs of 2:05:47 and 2:20:08, and South Africa’s Gerda Steyn set a national marathon record of 2:25:28. In his first race in more than a year, Canada’s Reid Coolsaet finished well off the Olympic standard of 2:11:30, crossing the line in 2:16:38.

Kiptanui won the race by 10 seconds, edging out Ethiopia’s Abdi Fufa for first place. He bettered his PB by 30 seconds, improving on a 2:06:17 showing from his marathon debut in Dubai in 2020. His result is the second-fastest ever run on Italian soil, a minute off the all-comers record set by his fellow Kenyan Titus Ekiru at a race in Milan in 2019, which he won in 2:04:46. 

While Kiptanui fell short of the Italian all-comers record, Tanui did not, and her 2:20:08 winning time lowered the mark of 2:22:25, which Kenya’s Vivian Kiplagat also set in Milan in 2019. Unlike in the men’s race, which was relatively close, the women’s race saw a big gap between first and second place, with Tanui crossing the line more than two and a half minutes ahead of the next-closest runner. On top of setting the Italian all-comers record, Tanui also lowered her own PB by a whopping five minutes. 

In recent years, Steyn has proven to be one of the best runners in South African history. She set the Comrades Marathon up-run course record in 2019, becoming the first woman to break six hours in the storied event with her 5:58:53 winning time. That same year, she ran to an 11th-place finish at the New York City Marathon (a race less than half the distance of the 87K Comrades Marathon), running 2:27:48.

In 2020, Steyn ran to a seventh-place finish at the elite-only London Marathon, where she posted a new PB of 2:26:51, which was the second-fastest marathon result in South African history. This year, she was set to run the NN Mission Marathon, but her plans changed when the event was pushed from April 11 to April 18 and moved from Germany to the Netherlands. 

Fortunately, the Xiamen Marathon accepted her on short notice, and she ran a new South African marathon record of 2:25:28. She looked to have great chances of being named to the South African team headed to the Tokyo Olympics before Sunday’s race, but with her result in Italy, she has likely officially booked her ticket to the Summer Games. 

(04/12/21) Views: 60
Ben Snider-McGrath
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Kenyan Emmanuel Naibei wins Lagos City Marathon

Naibei ensured Kenya’s dominance when he won the race in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 37 seconds, beating a field of 300 athletes in the Nigerian capital on Saturday.

Naibei, who finished second at the 2019 Guangzhou Marathon where he set his current Personal Best time of 2:08:27, edged out the Ethiopian duo of  Deresa Geleta and Demiso Gudeta who finished second and third respectively, for victory.

Naibei walked home with the winner's purse of US$ 30,000 (Sh3.2 million) while Geleta and Gudeta went home with $20,000 (Sh2.1 million) and $15,000 (Sh1.6 million) respectively.

This was the fourth time a Kenyan is winning the men’s race in Lagos.

Last year, Kenya’s David Barmasai Tumo won the fifth edition of the marathon in a course record time of 2:10:22 as Sharon Cherop went for the women’s crown in a course record time of 2:31:40, dethroning Ethiopian Meseret Dinke.

However, Dinke was on top of her game this time around to reclaim the title in 2:32:16, beating Kenya’s Celestine Jepchirchir to second place.

Third place went to Desta Muluneh from Ethiopia.

(04/10/21) Views: 56
Ayumba Ayodi
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NN Running has announced its elite field for Mission Marathon

Set to run in the Netherlands on April 18, Eliud Kipchoge will headline the race of about 60 athletes.

The fields for the NN Mission Marathon have been released, and the world finally knows who will toe the start line with Eliud Kipchoge. The races are set to be run in Enschede, the Netherlands, on April 18, and fields of 23 women and 35 men will line up to compete. Kipchoge is the clear favourite for the win, but second place in the men’s race and first place in the women’s are both anybody’s to claim, which will make for a couple of exciting and dramatic competitions.

The men’s race

In the men’s race, the pre-race seed times aren’t even close, and there’s really no debate as to who is most likely to win. Kipchoge owns the world record in the marathon with his PB of 2:01:39, and he has also run an unofficial record of 1:59:40. While many of the other runners racing the NN Mission Marathon are looking to qualify for the Tokyo Games or prove that they deserve to be chosen for their national Olympic teams, Kipchoge has a simpler and less stressful reason to run: he needs to bounce back from his poor race at the London Marathon last fall.

He’s still a heavy favourite heading into the Tokyo Games, but his poor 2:06:49 showing in October proved that he is human, and for the first time in years, his competitors might seriously believe they have a chance to beat him. A great race in the Netherlands can boost Kipchoge’s confidence while also knocking down that of his rivals ahead of the Olympics.

The next fastest PB in the men’s field belongs to Felix Chemonges, who owns the Ugandan national marathon record of 2:05:12 (which he ran at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2019). Chemonges hasn’t raced since March 2020, though, and his last result was a sub-par 2:10:08 run at the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan.

Only one other man in the field, Kenya’s Laban Korir, has run a sub-2:06 marathon in his career, and his 2:05:54 PB puts him at third-best in the men’s race. Out of the 35 men set to race the NN Mission Marathon, 17 have run faster than the Olympic standard of 2:11:30, and 11 runners from that group have broken 2:10.

It’d be safe to bet on Kipchoge for the overall win in the Netherlands, but with so many other runners hovering around the same seed times, the battle for second and third place — plus the mad dash to cross the finish before the clock hits 2:11:30 — will produce must-watch coverage.

The women’s race has the potential to be much more competitive than the men’s when it comes to the overall win. Mexican marathon record holder Madai Perez has the fastest PB of any of the women in the field. The only thing is that she ran her national record of 2:22:59 all the way back in 2006, and the last time she broke 2:30 came in Chicago in 2017, when she ran 2:24:44. She certainly could take the win in the Netherlands, but her seed time is a bit misleading considering how long ago she ran it.

Next up are Jessica Augusto and Sara Moreira, a couple of Portuguese runners. Augusto owns a PB of 2:24:25, just ahead of Moreira’s career best of 2:24:49. Both of these women have posted tremendous times in the past, but neither has completed a marathon in recent years. Augusto’s last finish came in 2017, and she has one DNF since then.

Moreira has had an even worse few years, and her last finish came in 2015. Since then, she has DNFed three times, including in the marathon at the Rio Olympics. In 2015, though, she placed second at the Prague Marathon and fourth at the New York City Marathon. The next athlete on the start list is Kenya’s Gladys Chesir, who has a PB of 2:24:51, but like her Portuguese competitors, she hasn’t completed a marathon in years, and her last official finish was in 2017.

In total, nine of the 23 women in the field have beaten the Olympic standard of 2:29:30, with several others knocking at the door of sub-2:30 results. Like the men’s race, the women’s run should be an exciting affair, and it’s an event no running fan will want to miss.

(04/09/21) Views: 50
Ben Snider-McGrath
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Native Americans in Massachusetts want to reschedule Boston Marathon from Oct. 11 holiday

Native Americans in Massachusetts are calling on the organizers of the Boston Marathon to move the already rescheduled date for the storied race because it now conflicts with a day meant to commemorate the contributions of Indigenous people.

The Boston Athletic Association announced in January that the 125th edition of the marathon would be pushed back from its traditional April running to Oct. 11, assuming road races are allowed to take place under Massachusetts’ COVID-19 restrictions by then.

But the Indigenous Peoples Day Newton Committee complained the new day undercuts a day reserved for recognizing the contributions of Native Americans, past and present. The group said its first planned celebration of the Oct. 11 holiday in the Boston suburb of Newton has to be cancelled because of the marathon’s new date.

“Unfortunately, the Boston Athletic Association has decided that Indigenous Peoples Day is a ‘side’ holiday that can be usurped," the committee said in a recently launched online petition. "By doing this, they are perpetuating the myth that Indigenous peoples are part of the past and irrelevant.”

The BAA didn't directly address the complaints, but said the new date was selected in close co-ordination with the eight cities and towns along the marathon route. Those communities include Newton as well as Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and Boston.

“We will continue working with city and town officials, as well as with organizations planning events during the October 9–11 weekend,” the organization said in a statement.

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said the city, which has the longest stretch of the marathon course, can handle both events. She said the city is offering to host an Indigenous Peoples Day celebration on a field at Newton South High School.

“While the pandemic has made so many things more complicated, we are excited to celebrate both Indigenous Peoples Day and the Boston Marathon in Newton on October 11, 2021,” Fuller said in a statement.

But City Councilor Emily Norton said she's disappointed at the chosen date. “It was insensitive at best and disrespectful at worst,” she said.

(04/09/21) Views: 48
Canadian Press
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How to Breathe While You Are Running

As a new runner, you probably haven’t given much thought to how to improve breathing while running. After all, who needs to be taught how to breathe? But soon into your journey into the world of running nearly you begin to think of concerns on improving performance and want to gain a better understanding of proper technique and start to wonder how to improve breathing while running.

In fact, most runners could benefit from learning a few breathing techniques. Understanding how to improve your breathing while running will not only boost your performance, but also reduce common injuries that often plague runners.

Here are a few tips on how to improve breathing while running so you can get your breathing under control and ensure you have a great run every time:

Become a Belly Breather

Do you tend to take shallow breaths when you’re feeling tired? Most people breathe through their chest, which isn’t the best way to maximize their oxygen intake.

Belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a technique which allows you to maximize your oxygen intake while you run. It works by engaging the diaphragm to create more space in your chest cavity, allowing your lungs to expand fully to take in more oxygen.

Deep belly breathing increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your muscles and will stave off fatigue for longer. It has another benefit as well; a growing number of studies show that belly breathing has a calming effect, which can improve your focus and mental fortitude.

An easy way to practice deep belly breathing is by lying down on the floor and placing one hand on your belly and another on your chest. Take a normal breath and see which area rises first. Practice breathing deep into your belly first, then moving the breath up into your chest as you exhale.

Inhale and Exhale Through Both Your Nose and Mouth

Breathing in and out through only your mouth can have a hyperventilating effect, while breathing in and out only through only your nose won’t provide you with enough oxygen on your run. The best way to breathe while running is to inhale and exhale using both your nose and mouth combined.

Breathing through both the mouth and the nose will keep your breathing steady and engage your diaphragm for maximum oxygen intake. It also allows you to expel carbon dioxide quickly.

Practice breathing through both your nose and mouth during the day. This might be difficult because we’re hardwired to breathe in and out through just our noses. Once you’ve got this down, you can move on to our next tip: learning the best breathing patterns to run faster and prevent injury.

Time Your Breathing with Your Cadence

Do you always seem to get injured on one side of your body? Learning the right breathing pattern to match your cadence may help prevent those nagging injuries and boost your running performance.

Rhythmic breathing, also called cadence breathing, describes the number of steps you take on inhale and on exhale. If you’re like most runners, you have a natural tendency to have an even number of foot strikes for each inhale and exhale.

For example, if you have a 2:2 breathing pattern, you inhale every two steps and exhale every two steps. This even breathing pattern can lead to injuries because the exhale is always on the same foot.

Instead, try focusing on a breathing pattern that alternates from one side to the other. For instance, a 2:1 breathing pattern in which you inhale for two steps and exhale for one. This alternating pattern will increase your core stability and help you remain injury-free.

Warm Up Your Respiratory System

If you frequently get side stitches on your runs, you aren’t alone. According to a study, 70 percent of runners report experiencing this stabbing side pain.

Although the exact cause of side stitches is still uncertain, we do know that it happens when the diaphragm muscle starts cramping. Considering how the diaphragm muscle plays a significant role in our breathing, it stands to reason that improper breathing may a likely cause of side stitches. Side stitches seem to occur more often in new runners, further supporting this theory.

Warming up your diaphragm before taking off at your usual pace can reduce the chances of developing this annoying side stitch. First, start by practicing your deep belly breathing technique to relax your diaphragm muscle.

Next, start slowly and focus on maintain your breathing technique. Gradually increase your speed to give your diaphragm time to adjust to harder breathing. This will warm up the entire body and allow you to run stitch-free. Make sure to store your gear with a secure running belt on your next run.

(04/13/21) Views: 43
FlipBelt
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Can pacemaker and three-time Toronto Marathon champion Philemon Rono help Kipchoge hit another milestone?

Pacemaker Philemon Rono is all fired up for the ardours task of pacing a strong field, led by world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, at Sunday's NN Mission Marathon in Enschede.

Rono, who clinched the 2016, 2017 and 2019 Toronto Marathon titles will link up with another Toronto Marathon champion Laban Korir, former Olympic and world marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich, Augustine Choge and Jonathan Korir.

The race — initially set for April 11 in Hamburg, Germany — is set for Enschede in the Netherlands and an upbeat Rono is confident he has what it takes to cap off Kipchoge's glittering career with another feather.

“As a pacesetter, you have a lot of mathematics to do in a race, unlike the athlete. You need to be tactical, timely and stay focused on the laid down rules,” said Rono.

He proved his mettle during his stint at the Global Sports Communication training camp, where he set up Wilson Kipsang for a 2:03:38 world marathon record at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.

Rono's exploits also saw him fire up three-time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor to a decent fourth finish at the Rotterdam Marathon.

“With such experience in pace-setting, I will do my best to achieve the results as demanded by the race organisers,” added Rono, nicknamed 'junior police' because of his short stature.

(04/13/21) Views: 43
Emmanuel Sabuni
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