Jenny Simpson

This week, George Hirsch and Amby Burfoot talk with Jenny Simpson, miler turned marathoner--well, almost, as Simpson hasn't finished a marathon yet. But she'll be toeing the start line in Hopkinton on April 15, and she sounds absolutely determined to make it to the Copley-Square finish line. 

Simpson explains in this conversation that she never intended for the Olympic Marathon Trials in February to be her first marathon start, but life had other ideas, so that's how things developed. She dropped out of the Trials at about 18 miles, and now thinks she overtrained and overstressed about the 26.2-mile distance.

For a decade, Simpson had been the best USA 1500 meter/miler. She excelled at the global level, winning an Olympic bronze along with a gold and two silvers at the World Championships. She also won the Fifth Ave Mile 8 times.

Even during her track career, Simpson explains, she did a long run almost every weekend. She also attended many marathons with her husband, Jason, a 2:18 runner, and found herself inspired by the tens of thousands of amateur runners who challenged themselves with the marathon distance. 

Before speaking with Jenny, George and Amby discussed the biggest recent running news. Amby got a chuckle over his Google News aggregator, which brought him an April Fool's Day story from LetsRun.com. It claimed that Taylor Switft was now dating shot put great, Ryan Crouser, all 6' '7" and 320 pound of him. Take that Travis Kelce!

But Amby turned serious when noting that the BAA/Boston Marathon was putting out press releases listing "5 Reasons for a Clear Course" while a Black running club rejoindered with "5 Reasons for a Cheer Course." Last year there was tension at the Marathon's 21st mile when club members allegedly ran onto the course.

George was impressed by the always strong performances at the World Cross-Country Championships. This year in Serbia, the Kenyan senior women swept the top 5 places--an unprecedented team achievement. Individual champions Beatrice Chebet (Kenya) and Jacob Kiplimo (Uganda) repeated their victories of 2 years ago. The next World Cross meet will be held in January, 2026, in Tallahassee, FL.

Reviewing their conversation with Simpson, Amby said that he appreciated her conviction that a woman athlete could be both a fierce competitor and a good sport at the same time. George liked her fearlessness in stepping up from the mile to the marathon.

You can keep up with Jenny Simpson by following her on Instagram.

Where to find “Running: State of the Sport”

Use your smartphone to download podcast apps from Apple, Spotify, Audible, Pandora, or YouTube Podcasts. Once you've selected your favorite app, search for “running state of the sport.” 


With your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can also listen direct to “Running: State of the Sport” at the below internet links.

Apple

Spotify

Audible

Pandora

I Heart Radio

YouTube

"Running: State of the Sport" is brought to you by MarathonHandbook.com and RunLongRunHealthy.com. Marathon Handbook is the world’s leading marathon website, with a special focus on trustworthy running information and free, runner-tested training plans for all ability levels.

Run Long, Run Healthy is Amby’s weekly newsletter with the newest, most scientific, and most useful training advice for runners.


Audio engineering by BJ McGeever.

Dave McGillivray Interview

In this podcast, George Hirsch and Amby Burfoot talk with Dave McGillivray, who has run the last 51 Boston Marathons in a row, most of them while also serving as Boston's race course director. That meant he couldn't start his run from Hopkinton until everyone else had finished theirs at Copley Square.

On April 15, he will be aiming for his 52nd consecutive finish.

Sometimes that seems like the least of McGillivray's endurance achievements. He has also finished 9 Ironman Triathlons, several Coast To Coast runs, and a 24-hour pool swim, during which he covered 27 miles. Most of these efforts were undertaken to raise funds for various New England charities. 

On April 15th, for the first time since the 1980s, McGillivray will be running with the main pack of Boston entrants. He'll start the first several "waves," then walk back to join a son and daughter in mid-pack. This time he's supporting his own charity, the Dave McGillivray Finish Strong Foundation (link below) that seeks to "inspire and empower" New England youth. 

Before speaking with McGillivray, George and Amby discussed the Barkley Marathons, where Jasmin Paris became the first female runner to finish the grueling, 100+ mile forest scramble in Tennessee. The event, and Paris's success, were covered by the NYTimes, BBC, and many other media.

This led to a discusion of why ultra endurance events get so much attention. George said he thought it was due to the female angle--that we are at an important historial turning point when women athletes are finally getting their due. He mentioned that Caitlin Clark is probably the most heavily covered collegiate basketball player in this year's NCAA championship playoffs.

Along the same lines, Amby recalled the recent success of Netflix's movie about Dyana Nyad. He also noted the recent 10,000 meter track performances of Grant Fisher, Nico Young and Waini Kelati. At The Ten, all met the qualifying times for this summer's Paris Olympics. 

After the interview, Amby said he was impressed with the way McGillivray shared his triple-bypass heart surgery with the running public to raise public awareness. 

George noted that McGillivray was anything but an instant success in the marathon. He dropped out of his first, and nearly quit his second at the 21 mile mark in 1973. At that point, he thought of his grandfather's belief in him, and picked himself off the sidewalk to complete the last 5 miles. 

And he hasn't missed a Boston finish since then.

To keep up with Dave McGillivray, you can follow him on Instagram. To support the Dave McGillivray Finish Strong Foundation, go here. 

Where to find “Running: State of the Sport”

Use your smartphone to download podcast apps from Apple, Spotify, Audible, Pandora, or YouTube Podcasts. Once you've selected your favorite app, search for “running state of the sport.” 


With your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can also listen direct to “Running: State of the Sport” at the below internet links.

Apple

Spotify

Audible

Pandora

I Heart Radio

YouTube

"Running: State of the Sport" is brought to you by MarathonHandbook.com and RunLongRunHealthy.com. Marathon Handbook is the world’s leading marathon website, with a special focus on trustworthy running information and free, runner-tested training plans for all ability levels.

Run Long, Run Healthy is Amby’s weekly newsletter with the newest, most scientific, and most useful training advice for runners.


Audio engineering by BJ McGeever.

Clayton Young Interview

In this podcast, George Hirsch and Amby Burfoot talk with Clayton Young, who recently finished second in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando, Florida. Since Young had run a sensational 2:08:00 in last fall's Chicago Marathon, he is now fully qualified for this summer's Olympic Marathon in Paris.

In the Marathon Trials, Young gained a lot of attention for the pair of shades he elected to wear all weekend, and also for his innovative use of a fluids bottle within a metallic bottle that also provided refreshingly-cool caps en route. 

In the last several miles, he looked better than his training partner Conner Mantz. Indeed Young several times swerved close to the cheering crowds to egg them on, and to see if he could find an American flag to carry to the finish. Yet in the final yards, he let Mantz edge ahead of him to break the tape.

In this interview, Young admits that he could have won the race if he wanted, and that he later agonized for a short time over his decision. He wondered if he had made a mistake. 

In the end, he says, the "joy of the moment" was more important than winning the marathon. 

Before speaking with Young, George and Amby discuss some important recent news stories including: George's trip to the Barcelona Marathon, the great double wins by Parker Valby and Nico Young in the NCAA indoor championships, and Camile Herron's world-record-setting 6-day race in California during which she covered 560 miles.

After the interview, George noted the growing list of successful marathon runners from Brigham Young University. He was 
struck that "the runners have a deep appreciation for each other, and for everyone else who contributes. They've built something special that combines the best of team, family, and community ... and it's really powerful."

Amby was impressed with Young's self-confessed "runner nerdiness," and tried to convince him to wear a bro-bra in Paris--one filled with energy gels and ice packs.

To keep up with Clayton  Young, you can follow him on Instagram.

Where to find “Running: State of the Sport”

Use your smartphone to download podcast apps from Apple, Spotify, Audible, Pandora, or YouTube Podcasts. Once you've selected your favorite app, search for “running state of the sport.” 


With your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can also listen direct to “Running: State of the Sport” at the below internet links.

Apple

Spotify

Audible

Pandora

I Heart Radio

YouTube

"Running: State of the Sport" is brought to you by MarathonHandbook.com and RunLongRunHealthy.com. Marathon Handbook is the world’s leading marathon website, with a special focus on trustworthy running information and free, runner-tested training plans for all ability levels.

Run Long, Run Healthy is Amby’s weekly newsletter with the newest, most scientific, and most useful training advice for runners.


Audio engineering by BJ McGeever.

Sara Hall Interview

In this podcast, Amby and George talk with Sara Hall, who recently finished fifth in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Sara, who's married to former marathon star Ryan Hall, has perhaps the longest running resume of any U.S. distance star.

She won the first of 4 California state championships in 1997, and the Footlocker XC Champs her senior year in high school. Since then she has starred at Stanford, on the track, and in the marathon, where she has a personal best of 2:20:32. 

In her fifth place finish at the Marathon Trials (2:26:06), Hall set an American masters record for the distance, eclipsing the time Des Linden ran last fall in Chicago.

Sara didn't begin her marathon career until 2015--the same year she and Ryan adopted 4 Ethiopian sisters, and welcomed them to their home in Flagstaff, Arizona. How she managed to combine marathon training and racing with raising four young daughters who didn't speak English ... well, it's another one of those inspirational stories about female marathon runners.

Before speaking with Sara, George and Amby discussed some of the recent biggest news in running. This included results from the Glasgow World Indoor Championships, where Scotsman Josh Kerr and American Elle St. Pierre won exciting 3000-meter titles.

They also reviewed results from the Tokyo Marathon, where Eliud Kipchoge and Sifan Hassan were expected to win, but didn't. That changes the outlook for the Paris Olympic Marathon in August.

To keep up with Sara Hall, you can follow her on Instagram.

Where to find “Running: State of the Sport”

Use your smartphone to download podcast apps from Apple, Spotify, Audible, Pandora, or YouTube Podcasts. Once you've selected your favorite app, search for “running state of the sport.” 


With your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can also listen direct to “Running: State of the Sport” at the below internet links.

Apple

Spotify

Audible

Pandora

I Heart Radio

YouTube

"Running: State of the Sport" is brought to you by MarathonHandbook.com and RunLongRunHealthy.com. Marathon Handbook is the world’s leading marathon website, with a special focus on trustworthy running information and free, runner-tested training plans for all ability levels.

Run Long, Run Healthy is Amby’s weekly newsletter with the newest, most scientific, and most useful training advice for runners.


Audio engineering by BJ McGeever.

Jared Ward Interview

In this podcast, Amby and George talk with Jared Ward, 2:09:25 marathon runner and sixth place finisher in the 2016 Rio Olympic Marathon. Ward was at the finish line of the recent U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials to congratulate his friends and training partners, Conner Mantz and Clayton Young, on their 1-2 finish in the Trials. 

Ward had just received a treatment of PRP for an ailing hamstring injury that kept him from running the Trials himself. But he couldn't have been happier or more effusive about his two training partners. "They'll never let you down," he said. 

He also described how Coach Ed Eyestone's steady hand has produced a growing number of top runners at BYU and after graduation. In a world of increasing specialization and digitization, Eyestone refuses to get lost in the weeds. He tells his runners: "Get as fit as you can, and everything else will take care of itself."

Ward explains why he's not bitter about finishing behind runners wearing super shoes in the Rio Olympics, when he didn't even know that super shoes existed. (Neither did anyone else except for a handful of Nike runners.)

He also discusses the BYU approach to caffeine for endurance performance, the benefits of training at 5000 feet and taking one day off per week, and how much carbohydrate marathon runners can consume during their 26.2 mile efforts.

Before speaking with Ward, George and Amby briefly discussed recent news, including: Sensational running at the Millrose Games and other indoor meets, a new U.S. high school record in the 2-mile, and the deaths of Kenyan running legends Kelvin Kiptum and Henry Rono.

You can learn more about Jared Ward by following his Instagram posts. Also, in 2019, he was a big hit on the wellknown "Shark Tank" TV show, and his Myostorm company is still producing recovery tools for runners.

Where to find “Running: State of the Sport”

Use your smartphone to download podcast apps from Apple, Spotify, Audible, Pandora, or YouTube Podcasts. Once you've selected your favorite app, search for “running state of the sport.” 


With your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can also listen direct to “Running: State of the Sport” at the below internet links.

Apple

Spotify

Audible

Pandora

I Heart Radio

YouTube

"Running: State of the Sport" is brought to you by MarathonHandbook.com and RunLongRunHealthy.com. Marathon Handbook is the world’s leading marathon website, with a special focus on trustworthy running information and free, runner-tested training plans for all ability levels.

Run Long, Run Healthy is Amby’s weekly newsletter with the newest, most scientific, and most useful training advice for runners.


Audio engineering by BJ McGeever.

Joan Benoit Samuelson & Frank Shorter

Frank Shorter (1972) and Joan Benoit Samuelson (1984) are the only two Americans to have won both a U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and the subsequent Olympic Marathon. Here, just a week before the 2024 Marathon Trials, they talk with George and Amby about their experiences, especially in the pivotal Trials. 

Samuelson recalls waking up from surgery 17 days pre-Trials, looking at the bandages covering her right leg from toe to hip, and thinking, "Maybe I can bounce back for the 3000 meters in the Track Trials." 

In fact she did much more than that in a Marathon Trials victory that still amazes her. "If somebody asks me about the biggest win of my life, I'll say in was the Olympics in L.A.," she notes. "But the race of my life was the Trials. I can't really explain how I was able to do that."

Shorter recounts how, as an unheralded Yale cross-country runner, he drove from his home in New Mexico to the 1968 Alamosa Olympic Marathon Trials--the first "modern" U.S. Trials to follow a strict Olympics-selection system. He was curious about the marathon distance, and wanted to watch the race. When he arrived, he discovered that anyone could enter (for $3), so he did. 

A borrowed, ill-fitting pair of shoes caused him to drop out after 17 miles. But four years later, Shorter tied with Kenny Moore for the top spot, and in 1976 he finished alone at the front.

Shorter credits much of his marathon success to training like a 5000-meter runner, including many workouts with Steve Prefontaine. He thought little of running 6 x 800 meters in 2:01 with 200-meter recovery jogs. 

Super-shoes? No, the opposite. Shorter says he won his Olympic gold medal in a pair of track shoes with the spike plate replaced by a thin pad of rubber.

"I just wanted whatever would give me the lightest shoes," he says. "We didn't worry about pounding. I would joke that we had four years to recover."

Where to find “Running: State of the Sport”

Use your smartphone to download podcast apps from Apple, Spotify, Audible, Pandora, or YouTube Podcasts. Once you've selected your favorite app, search for “running state of the sport.” 


With your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can also listen direct to “Running: State of the Sport” at the below internet links.

Apple

Spotify

Audible

Pandora

I Heart Radio

YouTube

"Running: State of the Sport" is brought to you by MarathonHandbook.com and RunLongRunHealthy.com. Marathon Handbook is the world’s leading marathon website, with a special focus on trustworthy running information and free, runner-tested training plans for all ability levels.

Run Long, Run Healthy is Amby’s weekly newsletter with the newest, most scientific, and most useful training advice for runners.


Audio engineering by BJ McGeever.

CJ Albertson

In this episode, George and Amby talk with prolific fast marathon runner CJ Albertson--a fan favorite and dark-horse contender to make the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team at the Feb. 3 Trials in Orlando. Prior to the 2020 U.S. Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Albertson was a little known road racer competing without a shoe contract. 

That changed after he finished 7th in 2:11:49. He signed a contract with Brooks, and has been racking up consistently fast marathons ever since. This includes finishes among the top American runners in the last 3 Boston Marathons.

Known for his strength and hard-fast training runs, Albertson holds the world record for 50K on the roads. And last December he won back to back weekend marathons at Cal International (2:11:09) and Baja MEX (2:11:08). This means he has achieved the Paris Olympic "B" qualifying time, and will make the U.S. Olympic Team on Feb. 3 if he finishes in the top 2 or 3 positions among those with Olympic qualifiers.


(It's not yet clear if the U.S. will send 2 or 3 marathoners to Paris. No one can go to Paris if they haven't run under 2:11:30, not even if they win the Trials.)


Married with two young children, Albertson is also a teacher and coach at Clovis Community College in Fresno, CA. In this podcast, Albertson talks candidly about his earnings from professional running and his chances of making the Olympic Team.


He also discusses how he is training for the possible heat in Orlando by running on a treadmill with 11 infrared lamps pointed at him.


Amby was intrigued by Albertson's training and any future ultra-running ambitions he might have. George gave Albertson big points for saying that his Fairy Godmother wish for 2024 was completion of an track facility at Clovis, preferably with a large scoreboard. (He didn't mention the Olympic Trials.)


You can follow CJ Albertson on Instagram here.


Where to find “Running: State of the Sport”

Use your smartphone to download podcast apps from Apple, Spotify, Audible, Pandora, or YouTube Podcasts. Once you've selected your favorite app, search for “running state of the sport.” 


With your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can also listen direct to “Running: State of the Sport” at the below internet links.

Apple

Spotify

Audible

Pandora

I Heart Radio

YouTube

"Running: State of the Sport" is brought to you by MarathonHandbook.com and RunLongRunHealthy.com. Marathon Handbook is the world’s leading marathon website, with a special focus on trustworthy running information and free, runner-tested training plans for all ability levels.

Run Long, Run Healthy is Amby’s weekly newsletter with the newest, most scientific, and most useful training advice for runners.


Audio engineering by BJ McGeever.

Ed Eyestone Interview

Ed Eyestone has been close to the center of USA distance running for nearly 4 decades, and never more than now. He's coach to American O...