Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.
The biggest story at the beginning of the week was last Sunday’s Berlin marathon. Berlin is always a highlight on the racing calendar, not just because it’s one of the World Marathon Majors, but because it’s the course most likely to see a new world record set due to its fast and flat route – indeed Dennis Kimetto set the record of 2:02:57 in Berlin last year. This year’s London Marathon winner, Eliud Kipchoge, was the hotly tipped favourite and hopes were high for a new record. While Kipchoge won (in a personal best time of 2:04) Kimetto’s record remained safe for the time being. However the big story is the fact that Kipchoge won despite a shoe malfunction which saw his insoles coming loose! How could that happen? The article below sets out some of the possibilities:
And speaking of Marathon Majors, both Boston and London have also been in the news this week. In Boston, runners are receiving confirmation of their entry and, with an ever-increasing number of applications, running the qualifying time is no longer enough, with the cut-off falling around 2:28 under the mark. Meanwhile in London, the results of ballot entries started to arrive on doormats from the middle of the week. With a record-breaking 247,069 ballot entries, the already slim chances of gaining a place are even slimmer this year, so with that in mind, here’s some sage advice for those considering applying for a charity place:
Another marathon story I enjoyed this week came from Nike, whose latest ad focuses on the final participants on a marathon course. The winners in a race are, deservedly, much-heralded, however the focus on the back-of-the-pack runners reminds us that it takes a great deal of grit and determination to still be out on the course, using up every last ounce of energy to get to the finish long after those winners have packed up and gone home. Running a marathon is not easy, but I firmly believe that anyone who truly wants to complete the classic 26.2 mile distance can do so if they are prepared to make the commitment. As we enter autumn marathon season, that’s something worth remembering.
Another place that exercise for all is being celebrated is in a primary school near Stirling. This Scottish primary school has been in the news a few times in recent months due to its ‘daily mile’ initiative. Every day for the last three and a half years, pupils at the school have headed outside to run or walk a mile in the school grounds. That 15 minutes or so of exercise has had a massive impact with reported improvements in the children’s fitness, behaviour and concentration. Even more interesting is the fact that none of the children at the school are overweight which, in a time of rising obesity levels, is quite remarkable. Other schools around the country are now looking to follow suit and, with such positive results being observed, a team from Stirling university is set to launch a comparative study looking for specific evidence of the physical, cognitive and emotional benefits of the initiative. Yes, these children are essentially doing what children used to do in running around outside, using up energy and keeping healthy, but with decreasing activity levels nowadays, it’s important to recognise the benefits of keeping active at a young age and (re)educating people to that fact.
And finally, with International Podcast Day falling this past Wednesday, this seemed a good time to introduce you to some of my favourite podcasts. This year I have been listening to podcasts during my Sunday long runs and often listen to podcasts in the car as well as I drive home from work each day (in the morning I like to listen to the radio). I tend to listen to running/fitness-related podcasts, and currently have a rotation of 3 that I listen to regularly:
Marathon Talk – Martin Yelling and Tom Williams present a weekly podcast devoted to all things marathon. Often, stories I’ve picked up on for Friday Finds also feature here and there are opportunities for listeners to get involved via the website and social media channels. Good for long runs but beware: can lead to laughing out loud whilst running!
DC Rainmaker – I enjoy reading the DC Rainmaker blog as it indulges some of my great loves: running, Paris and technology. Mainly takes the form of addressing listener questions about assorted sports technology, with a bit go joking around between the hosts to keep things a bit lighter. At around 30 minutes, it’s a great one for the car.
Tough Girl – A more recent discovery for me, but I’m loving this one. Host Sarah Williams talks to inspiring women who have overcome great challenges such as running across Africa, rowing the Atlantic and swimming the Channel. Always inspirational. To catch up on all the episodes, I’ve been listening to this in the car, but it would also be great for a shorter midweek run. I also plan on reading the Tough Girl blog when I have a little time.
Until next Friday!
Happy reading (and listening)
The Running Princess