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.
Autumn marathon season is in full swing so it seems fitting that this week should be a marathon special as all my feeds have been packed with marathon news, marathon tips and the results of the quest for a place in either Boston or London next year. October seems to be a pretty busy month when it comes to the marathon!
First up, an infographic featuring the top 5 marathons around the world. I’ve been lucky enough to run in two of them, and I must say the other three are definitely on my bucket list. That and completing all the majors – got to dream big, right! What would be top of your list?
Any discussion of the marathon inevitably leads to the question of the world record and whether or not breaking the 2 hour barrier is possible. I’ve heard lots of discussion of this on various podcasts and seen plenty of articles on the subject. It seems to me that most commentators believe it is possible, but perhaps not in our lifetime. Still, a project exists with the sole purpose of trying to make that sub-2 happen. In the article below from The Guardian, Michael Crawley examines just who exactly that sub-2 is for. As an anthropologist, he’s spent time in Ethiopia, even discussing the project with many there, and he does raise some legitimate concerns. The article also looks at the recent performance of Kenenisa Bekele in Berlin (probably the most likely location for a sub-2 marathon to happen) and how that would compare to the requirements to dip below 2 hours. It makes for interesting reading and contains links to further discussion of the topic in the New York Times.
While on the subject of marathon times, The Chicago Tribune recently published an analysis of how the elite runners compare with the rest of the field. It’s no surprise that the elites were able to keep up a much more even pace compared to the average runner, but for the numbers geeks it’s still an interesting breakdown of what percentage of the field falls into each time bracket, as well as how their splits measure up.
For those more into history (and fond of a longer read) then Runner’s World has just the thing. To mark 50 years of long-form writing, they’re republishing great pieces from their archives every week for the rest of the year. This week. it’s a piece from 2004 about Marathon. You know, the place in Greece, not the mythical race distance! Part travelogue, part historical discovery, it’s well worth popping the kettle on, getting comfortable and having a read.
And finally, slightly less serious but no less impressive is the tale of Michal Kapral’s Chicago marathon achievement. In case you haven’t seen the story, Kapral completed the marathon course in 2:55:25. Frankly, I’m impressed enough by that, but even more impressive is the fact that he did so while also juggling three balls WITHOUT DROPPING THEM! Unofficially, this is a record (the official record allows for dropping, and Kapral currently holds that record too) and for me a pretty astonishing one given I can neither run a 2:55 marathon nor juggle. Especially not at the same time. Now if there was a record for the “okayest” marathon run whilst fumbling three balls and getting in everyone’s way, I think I would be a shoe-in!
The Running Princess