10 February 2016

the race in the USA that really matters to me right now

it's a big weekend coming up - not because of the republican presidential candidates debate taking place on saturday, but because it's the US olympic marathon trials.  and i'm stoked.

why, you ask?

why bother when there's no one that i'm personally connected to in the race?

why the interest in american running when there are so many great canadian runners to follow and support?  (believe me, i do support them too ...!)

why stare at a TV screen for a couple of hours just watching guys and gals trot through the streets of LA?

i'll give you a few reasons why that's what i'll be doing.
  1. i'm a visual learner - as opposed to someone who can and does simply study and learn from textual material, or a tactile learner who benefits from someone physically guiding them through the mechanics of an activity, i find that i amass the most knowledge and integrate it best by watching others do what i want to be able to do.  and since the television coverage of the US olympic trials provides an opportunity to observe some of the best marathon-distance runners on the continent (if not on the planet) doing their thing in a high-stakes event, i'm going to be focusing my beady little eyes on just about every footstrike, every hip angle, every sagittal (or coronal) swingpath of the arm and every body-angle lean.  yep, i'll be geeking out.
    from one of my favourite running blogs, The Balanced Runner
  2. meb - c'mon, as a guy in his mid-forties i gotta root for another runner in the same decade of life who is considered one of the favourites going into this competition.  meb keflezighi also just happens to have one of the most inspirational life stories of anyone on the elite marathoning scene, and is a great all-around human being to boot.  #GOMebGO
  3. you can cheer for athletes other than canucks - i know lots of canadians who pull for the detroit red wings, or the green bay packers, or manchester united, or maria sharapova or rory mcilroy.  just because you take interest in and can get behind an athlete/athletes from another nation doesn't necessarily mean that you have diminished interest in a homegrown athlete.  believe me, i'm just as keenly following reid coolsaet's training camp in kenya right now and eager to track with rob watson's london marathon prep.
  4. watching others give their best brings out my best - for me there's nothing quite like appreciating the level of dedication, sacrifice, perseverance and pure desire that can seep through the television screen during an event like this.  although i know that i will never be (and most probably could never have ever been) in the hunt for an olympic berth watching these men and women chase after their dream will charge my batteries as i focus on my own meagre goals.  some (hopefully most) of them will radiate pride just because they have managed to work their way into that starting chute - and i will be ready to applaud them before the starter's pistol ever fires.  and as they jockey for position and the real contenders emerge, i feel as if i will absorb some of their grit by sheer osmosis as they draw upon the deepest parts of their wells to try to secure one of those top three spots in order to earn the honour of representing their country in rio de janeiro later this summer.
so what about you?  does a race like this mean anything to or for you?  will you be tuning in, or would you rather watch paint dry?  please share your comments, and if applicable who you will be rooting for!

in the meantime, be sure to check out some of these great videos about the lead-up to the feb 13 US olympic marathon trials!

"One Team, One Goal" by timothy jeffreys

"Chasing Rio" - a competitor.com series

"Saucony Seeker" featurettes



  1. I'd like to watch it but am not sure that I can, because Rogers Cable doesn't even air the Boston Marathon, which is attended but thousands of Canadians... Hopefully, the online sports site we're a members of for the sake of soccer will air it... Go, Meb, go for sure! As a woman, I'm mostly cheering for the ladies, Desi all the way!!!:)

    1. thanks for taking the time to read and to comment, anna! i sure hope you can find coverage - NBC is televising the coverage this year so that should be carried by Rogers, right?!?

      i'm a big desi fan too - i would have been rooting for deena as well, but she's just pulled out :(. i also like kara goucher (Skechers athlete) and sara hall (because she did a blog interview with me, is a great person and is married to my favourite us marathoner of all time!).

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