View this email in your browser

Presented by 

Roar Training

January 11, 2021, Issue 106


The running community reacts to last week’s events

During the past year, there have been many times when sitting down to write a running newsletter has felt trivial in light of current events. This week, that feeling is as strong as ever. I still haven’t figured out how to reconcile that, and like many of you, I imagine, I’m still reeling from last week’s images of terrorists storming the Capitol. But it’s time for me to write another newsletter, and thinking about running for a while is a good distraction.

I appreciated Aly Conyers, Tianna Bartoletta, Sara Hall, Courtney Carter, and Kamilah Journét’s reactions to last week’s events. Many others in the women’s running/track & field community shared reactions via Instagram stories that have since disappeared. In this 65-minute video conversation from DyeStat, Conyers, Stanford’s Clayton Mendez, and Springfield College’s Kris Rhim talk about what happened and what it all has to do with running. Mendez is critical of professional runners for not speaking out more. And remember Conyers’ name. A high school senior headed to Cal next year, she spent her summer attending and sometimes leading Black Lives Matter protests, and though she wasn’t old enough to vote in the presidential election, she worked the polls. (The conversation goes behind a paywall on Friday.)

Growing up, I would have had no idea where my running heroes stood on important issues, and maybe I would have had different running heroes had I known their views. But social media has changed that. Slowly but surely, more runners are finding their voices and using them. I am with Mendez on the idea that the change isn’t happening fast enough, but in the last year, among the women in the sport, there’s been quite a bit of growth, and I imagine that will continue to be the case.

A young Kate Grace, in 2008

The sponsor (and team) shuffle continues

Last week, reigning Olympic long jump and 4x100m champion Tianna Bartoletta announced that she is no longer a Nike athlete via this well done piece that makes the point that unsponsored does not equal unsupported. She said that Nike originally didn’t give her her fourth-quarter payment, because she didn’t compete at the Olympic Games in 2020. (You know, the ones that no one competed in because they didn’t happen.) Her agent, Paul Doyle, fought on her behalf, and Nike eventually sent her final payment. I appreciate Bartoletta’s transparency, because all too often, when athletes are unsponsored or barely supported by their sponsor, we have no way of knowing. Now that her fans know, we can do things like buy her book, Defying Gravity, when it comes out in June, take her yoga classes, or book her as a speaker and buy her training programs and merchandise via her website.

Molly Seidel has made it clear on social media that she’s no longer sponsored by Saucony, but hasn’t announced her new sponsor yet. Her new sponsor might be the worst kept secret in track & field right now (or the best, if everyone is wrong), but it’s an interesting move by Saucony, letting an Olympian slip away in an Olympic year.

Kate Grace announced last week that she’s leaving the Bowerman Track Club. The announcement was unfortunately timed as it came out while most eyes were on the mob of terrorists storming the Capitol. Grace will continue to be sponsored by Nike but hasn’t announced her next move yet.

Maddie Strandemo will remain a member of Oiselle’s Littlewing Athletics team but will move home to Minnesota and be coached by University of Minnesota coach Sarah Hopkins, with Lauren Fleshman serving as Strandemo’s mentor.

Germany’s Geza Krause, formerly a Nike athlete, has signed with Puma.


Thanks to Roar Training for sponsoring this week’s newsletter

Roar Training helps women feel confident and safe on their runs. Our self-defense classes teach you tested skills and techniques, yet we treat the serious subject of safety with humor and acceptance. We offer powerful runner safety workshops and programs tailored to your needs. Never let the fear of being attacked stop you from doing what you love. January 18–24 is Runner Safety Awareness Week. Join Roar Training for a free runner safety presentation. Click to learn more and to register.

Gabe Grunewald (left) follows a line of runners in 2017.

Gabe Grunewald stars in new documentary

Last week, The Courage to Run with Chip Gaines and Gabe Grunewald premiered on discovery+, and it was one of the best running-related programs I’ve watched. I had tears in my eyes for most of the 48-minute film, especially knowing how it was going to end, but it was also uplifting and so well done. This is a must-watch for running fans, and discovery+ offers free one-week trials.

A 28-minute companion special, Running on Hope, follows Justin Grunewald after Gabe’s death, with appearances from Ladia Albertson-Junkans and Amanda Basham. Albertson-Junkans had a baby in December and named her son Gabriel, after Gabe. Justin is now in a relationship with Basham, and Basham gave birth to their daughter, Rylan Ivy Grunewald, on Wednesday. Rylan and Gabe share a middle name.


A tentative winter track racing calendar takes shape

USA Track & Field announced the cancellation of the 2021 USATF Indoor Championships last week. They were scheduled for February 20–21 in Albuquerque. The unevenness of the indoor track (and road racing) cancellations speak to the unevenness of the U.S.’s pandemic response, as indoor track is still taking place in a handful of places. 

Agent Paul Doyle (the same one as mentioned above) has arranged four American Track League indoor meets, which will air live on ESPN and ESPN2. The meets will take place in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on four consecutive Sunday afternoons from January 24 to February 14. This series is expected to be formally announced today.

This article includes more information about other indoor events on the calendar, and it indicates that the longest event at the American Track League meets is going to be the mile.

For those who want to race longer, the Texas Qualifier, to be held outdoors February 26–27 in Austin, will offer an opportunity for athletes to go after both Olympic Trials qualifying marks and the tougher Olympic standards in events from 800m to 10,000m. This teaser indicates that Ajee’ Wilson and Sara Hall will be competing. This is interesting because Wilson hasn’t raced since the pandemic began, and Hall will be coming off February 19’s RAK Half in the UAE, about 8,000 miles from Texas.



  • Tsige Gebreselama won the Great Ethiopian Run 10K in 32:33.

  • Kenya’s Jemesunde Tanui won the Dhaka Marathon in 2:29:04.

  • Natoya Goule won the 600m at the Clemson Orange and Purple Elite Meet in 1:26.80.

  • Eilish McColgan ran what sounds like it would have been a fast 10K, but course marshals sent her the wrong way, so her 31:08 doesn’t count.

  • Katie Asmuth won the Bandera 100K in 9:25:00, and Erin Clark, who is new to ultrarunning, finished second in 9:35:07. Both earned golden tickets to Western States. Asmuth’s post about the race is worth a read. She fell and broke her nose and finished the race with a tampon stuck up her nose to stop it from bleeding. She is a healthcare worker and decided she would go to the race only if she could be fully vaccinated against Covid in advance, which happened just in time.


Other News 

  • Ted Metellus will take over as race director of the New York City Marathon and 87 New York Road Runners staff members who were furloughed in July have been laid off. There have been other leadership changes at NYRR as well, and Fast Women editor Sarah Lorge Butler reports on them in this Runner’s World article. Metellus becomes the first Black man to direct the New York City Marathon.

  • Alexi Pappas’ book, Bravey, comes out tomorrow, so there’s a lot of Pappas content out there at the moment. One of my favorites was this excerpt published by the Atlantic. Pappas writes about lucking into being able to let her body develop on its own timeline, but not everyone around her was so fortunate. Pappas was also great on the Morning Shakeout podcast last week. She’s about to get a lot more attention with the publication of this book, and she’s ready and an excellent ambassador for our sport.

  • Erin Strout wrote a nice cover story about Sara Hall for Women’s Running. The magazine also unveiled its full list of 25 Power Women of the Year who are reshaping the running industry for the better. To read the stories, you need to subscribe to the magazine or sign up for their Active Pass, which is on sale right now. I’m so honored to have made the list, but I also never want Fast Women to be about me, just about people like the other 24 women on the list, who are an impressive bunch. I was also honored to be featured on TrackYack last week.

  • At December’s Track Meet, Dani Shanahan tripped and fell mid-race, got back up, and ran a one-minute personal best in the 10,000. She talks about that breakthrough and the mental side of the sport in this Runner’s World piece from Taylor Dutch.

  • Cal’s Brie Oakley tells Elizabeth Carey that she’s not sure how much more college running she’ll do, but she wants to keep running for a long time, including marathons, trail races, and ultras.

  • Sarah Sellers announced the arrival of her baby, Emery Jane, on Sunday night.

  • I’m a fan of sprinter Brittany Brown’s story, and she tells some of it here.

  • Hellen Syombua is a 51.09 400m runner who represented Kenya at the 2019 World Championships, but she’s moving to the 800m and says she hopes to run 1:56 this year. If she does, she’ll become one of the best in the world in the event.

  • This piece, from Tracksmith, looks at Sam Roecker and Whitney Macon’s experiences at the Marathon Project.


Other Podcasts

  • Weini Kelati went on the Citius Mag podcast last week and she just has such a good story. I highly recommend this episode. I loved hearing the story of the first time she met Meb Keflezighi, who was also born in Eritrea. Kelati says she wants to write a book to inspire people, but she also thinks her story would make a good movie. “It will make them cry when they watch it, it will make them laugh, too,” she says.

  • Kara Goucher and Chris McClung talked to Shalane Flanagan on last week’s Clean Sport Collective podcast. The whole thing was great, but it was particularly interesting to hear that coach Jerry Schumacher had to convince Flanagan that training with Goucher was going to be a good idea.

  • I enjoyed hearing more from B.A.A. runner Erika Kemp on More Than Running with Dana Giordano. She said lots of good stuff, like there are many different ways to become a successful runner, and it’s not going to look the same for everyone. But I am still hung up on how she manages to keep her grocery bills so low.

  • I’ve always been curious about Canada’s Regan Yee, so it was fun to learn on Women Run Canada that she is just a delight.

  • Heather MacLean, a rising star in the sport, was on the Run Your Mouth podcast, where she talked about the New Balance Boston team’s decision not to travel for races last spring and summer, partially because they didn’t want to use up Covid tests when sick people needed them more and partially because they didn’t feel safe traveling. MacLean also discusses the challenges women face in sharing their stories on social media, and the fact that they’re often held to a different standard than men.

  • Kendra Chambers offered a lot of great advice on the A to Z Running podcast.

  • I loved learning more about Maya Weigel on the DIII Glory Days podcast.

  • Rachael Steil talked about her struggle with an eating disorder, which led to the creation of her nonprofit, Running in Silence, on Social Sport.

  • This episode of the FKT podcast reveals that Kelly Halpin and Sabrina Stanley’s FKTs were determined to be the top two of 2020, and both runners discuss their accomplishments.

  • This week’s podcast section is a mile long (I binged-listened 14 episodes in a row on Saturday) but here are a few others that I enjoyed: Alia Gray talking about coming back to run a PR at the Marathon Project; Bobbi Gibb on her unconventional path through life; Huntington University’s Emma Wilson on her breakthrough this season; Emma Coburn on feeling as strong as ever for this time of year.

The racing scene has been really quiet in the U.S., but things are going to start picking up in the next couple of weeks. Thanks so much to Roar Training for sponsoring this week’s newsletter, thanks to all of you who support this newsletter via Patreon, and I hope you all have a safe week.


Copyright © 2021 Fast Women, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.