TOP T.R. BLOG POSTS OF 2020

It has been quite a unique year, to say the least. Records have fallen on the track and the roads from 5K through the half-marathon. But most of the racing calendar has fallen, too, another victim of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Of all the 43 years I have covered the sport, none comes close to comparing with 2020. The most compelling and consequential race of the year was political, not athletic.  And even after a near-total national shut down, that began the week after the Los Angeles Marathon on March 8th, notwithstanding the 340,000 American lives lost and counting, there is no end in sight to the tragedy that has befallen us. Yet when compared to how other nations have handled the pandemic, we have been shown to be complicit in extending our misery by a stunning, Mr. Magoo-like shortsightedness and politically driven series of denials.

Even ten months into the scourge, what lies ahead remains unclear, as the virus has yet to be controlled adequately to resume normal mass-participation racing and living. Already, most events in the first third of 2021 have announced postponements. For many, it marks a second straight year on hold. Whether the running community will embrace a second year of virtual racing has yet to be tested, much less proven.

All that said, here is the list of my blog posts that garnered the most traffic this past year. As you would expect, the Top 10 list is littered with references to Covid-19. The one non-running post that grabbed an audience came in at No. 6, featuring a story about my mother’s exploits as a member of the Polish Home Army during World War II, which will appear in an upcoming book about my parents. I included the 11th post to complete the list of ten running related stories.

TOP 10 (11) POSTS OF 2020

1. CONSIDERING THE BOSTON MARATHON 2020

In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, it is undeniable that we are all living in historic times. Since its inception in 1897, the only time the Boston Marathon hasn’t been contested as an individual foot race was in 1918 when the Boston Athletic Association conducted a military relay to support the “boys who were about to go over there and fight in World War I,” as Tom Derderian wrote in his Boston Marathon: The History of the World’s Premier Running Event…

   

2. OP-EDS HAVE SOMETIMES EXCLUDED BROADER PERSPECTIVES

If Bob Dylan was right that “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”, then you don’t need a white history professor (or blogger like me) to know what the state of integration is in the American distance running community. Yeah, we know, it’s as obvious as white on rice…

   

3. CHEPTEGEI’S MARATHON FUTURE

With World Athletics scrapping the 5000m and 10,000m from its Diamond League circuit, it has fallen to individual event organizers to maintain allegiance to these historic track events. Today (Oct. 7, 2020), in Valencia, Spain local organizers in cooperation with Global Sports Communications and NN Running successfully staged two world record time trials, one in the women’s 5000-meters, the other in the men’s 10,000…

   

4. REMEMBERING SAMMY WANJIRU

I was headed to bed last night (15 May 2020) when I came across “Professor Marathon” Sean Hartnett’s Facebook tribute to the great Kenyan marathon runner Sammy Wanjiru, who passed on this May 15th date in 2011… 

   

5. THIRD IDEA TO SALVAGE THE 2020 BOSTON MARATHON

As the running community searches for solutions to salvage their iconic events in 2020 in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, from postponements to virtual competitions, here’s another, more nuanced idea for the Boston Marathon 2020…

   

6. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY: GUN RUNNER

Bisia was officially sworn into the Polish Home Army at age 20, not long after its formation in February 1942. Her qualifications were that she knew the area well around her family’s estate in southeast Poland; was fast afoot as well as on horseback; spoke fluent German; and had a taste for adventure, developed after being the youngest in her family and always struggling to gain respect…

   

7. EVENTS MAY NOT SURVIVE PANDEMIC

In this time of coronavirus, when so much of normal life has been disrupted and locked down, running has once again been touted as a healthy habit to engage in, not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically, as well. And yet the great irony is that coming together by the hundreds and thousands to run in road races is considered a dangerous catalyst to the spread of the virus…

   

8. THE MARATHON PROJECT DELIVERS THE GOODS

After yesterday’s The Marathon Project in Chandler, Arizona (Dec. 20, 2020), NYTimes writer/runner Lindsay Crouse tweeted, “If I were wealthy first I would give a lot of money to charity and then I would put on another staging of @MarathonProj with $1 million to the winner, just to see what happens.”

   

9. IN THIS RACE TOGETHER

Today, as America’s body politic attempts to fight off the Covid-19 pandemic, it finds its fever spiking under the added stresses of a polarized political leadership and episodes of systemic racial injustice conducted by the very police forces created to protect and defend it. What chance does the nation have in healing under these circumstances?

   

10. “IT’S GOTTA BE DA SHOES”

I have never written a shoe review in my life, but how can shoes not be an issue in a sport where footwear is the only equipment used?  Like tires on a car, shoes are where the rubber meets the road/track in foot racing.

   

11. RITZ RETIRES: CARRYING THAT WEIGHT

American distance running fans could feel it; it was that close. Throughout the seemingly endless doldrums of the 1990s, when the U.S. distance running fortunes seemed to be at a permanent lull, anxious fans searched the horizon ahead for signs of a freshening wind that would sweep the U.S. back into world competition where we once moved with such steady hands. It wasn’t until the mid-2000s, though, that the winds of change began to blow with force across the Stars and Stripes as zephyrs coming out of Mammoth Lakes, California; Eugene, Oregon; Madison, Wisconsin; and Boulder, Colorado starched flags rising above podiums both here and abroad.

   

As always, many thanks to all who read this blog and follow the game. So from this keyboard to your screen, I wish one and all a safe, healthy, productive return to normalcy in 2021. Thanks for nuthin’, annus 2020. We certainly won’t forget you, but we won’t remember especially well, either.

END

One thought on “TOP T.R. BLOG POSTS OF 2020

  1. Wishing you and Toya a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous new year. I do hope that 2021 is the year that our paths will cross again.

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