Wanted: A marathon for the masses, to help Americans lose weight

*Note: This essay was published in the New York Daily News print edition on November 5, 2017. It can also be found online here.

Sunday, 50,000 physical elites will line up to run the New York City Marathon. Watch and you’ll see the best of the endurance world: lean, lithe and little in the way of body fat. At a start line a few miles from the site of the Occupy Wall Street protests, another enviable 1% will congregate.

Most runners will be fairly uniform; spectators won’t see many, if any, overweight competitors. Slower movers don’t make the cut: The “sweep bus” pulls anyone out of the race taking over 15 minutes per mile. Police support and precious volunteer hours drive down the time the course is open. This deters the obese, the overweight and aged. Continue reading “Wanted: A marathon for the masses, to help Americans lose weight”

Time to ban downhill traffic on the Incline

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on July 11, 2017. It can also be found online here.

The Manitou Incline’s rules do not prohibit downhill traffic. They should.

On the Fourth of July, I ran up the Incline through a herd of holiday hikers and just below the top a group of six downhillers nearly knocked me off the steep trail. Jarring, but, this was to be expected on a day when I passed 23 people going down in my 24 minutes going up. Continue reading “Time to ban downhill traffic on the Incline”

What Killed the Horse? Some thoughts on the Dead Horse Ultra

I just raced the Dead Horse Ultra near Moab, Utah, and I can’t stop wondering what killed the horse. Was it the breath-removing beautiful red vistas? Or the dangerous drop-offs from rock ledges that promise certain death? While most race reports ponder trail conditions, shoe selection, gear tradeoffs, course advantages and disadvantages, and some might even promise to help you “beat the Dead Horse Ultra”—I’d prefer to focus on two straightforwardly simple viewpoints—what you’d see when you look up at this race, and what you’d see when you look down on this run. Both, I think, give us some insight into the mystery of the stiff stallion. Continue reading “What Killed the Horse? Some thoughts on the Dead Horse Ultra”

The Pikes Peak Ultra, The Mad Moose, And The Most Biased Race Report You’ll Ever Read

I’ll get to how great the Pikes Peak Ultra was in a minute, but first I have to tell you a story.

I knew something wasn’t right when the world seemed like I was staring down into an industrial-strength washing machine. Everything was spinning, and I certainly wasn’t in a laundry room; I was actually 15 miles into the 18 mile first stage at the 2009 TransRockies Run (TRR). My partner, Justin Ricks, must’ve detected my weirdness well before I did – my steps must’ve seemed off, my micro-route choices strange, and the rapid deceleration put the nail in my coffin. We had been trading second place with another team (the TRR is a partner race, run together, over 6 stages and about 120 miles total) on our first day, and my focus was so complete on running them down that I ignored the cold fact that I was a hot mess. I was dehydrated and flat lining. Quick.

Continue reading “The Pikes Peak Ultra, The Mad Moose, And The Most Biased Race Report You’ll Ever Read”

Forget Football: Why the Army Marathon Team Ball Run Matters More Than the Army-Navy Game

Photo of the arrival at the 50-yard line in Baltimore; image courtesy of the West Point Marathon Team.   Photo of the arrival at the 50-yard line in Baltimore; image courtesy of the West Point Marathon Team.

After losing to Navy for the baker’s dozenth time, I have a message for Army football fans: Quit the crying. Wipe the tears. End the sobbing. Halt the sniveling. Cease the bawling. No more weeping.

Because the school you care so much about ultimately has one mission – graduating high quality Army officers for service in a challenging, complex world – and Army scored a silent success this weekend in a much more important contest than the football failure on display in CBS’s klieg lights. Continue reading “Forget Football: Why the Army Marathon Team Ball Run Matters More Than the Army-Navy Game”

September 11th, Iraq and Running

I was still at senior at West Point, roughly 50 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River, on September 11th, 2001. I was in a course on Chinese politics, about to listen to a lecture from U.S. Defense Attaché to China, when my professor turned on the television in time to watch the second tower go down. Quietly, he said that we wouldn’t hold class that day and that if anyone was interested, an informal prayer group was forming outside. Instead, I chose to dart across campus back to my room to make phone calls and send emails to family and friends.

Continue reading “September 11th, Iraq and Running”

Great Naseby Water Race: 50 Miles in 7 hours, 43 minutes!

So, this is what 50 miles looks like ~ a very squinty eyed, salt stained expression of semi-agony. It took about 3 hours for the blood to come back to my arms and hands, as it had become fairly settled in my legs over the past 7 hours and 43 minutes.

Continue reading “Great Naseby Water Race: 50 Miles in 7 hours, 43 minutes!”