How far can you run in 24 hours?⏱

Lap 81: Sponsored by Verb Energy

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Sydney Marathon’s WMM Application 🦘

The Abbott World Marathon Majors are looking for a seventh race to join the circuit by 2025 and the tryouts have started. The prestige and support that comes with World Major status would immediately catapult any of the candidates into a new stratosphere of legitimacy, despite the much more established histories of the races in the current lineup.

While unsure of the exact criteria being analyzed, the longevity (and length) of the race seems like it should at least be considered. The current six, with respective inaugural years are: Boston (1897), New York (1970), Chicago (1905), London (1981), Berlin (1974), and Tokyo (2007).

That’s a lot of America for a “World” event series — time for some more continental diversity! The three candidates are South Africa’s Cape Town Marathon (1994), China’s Chengdu Marathon (2017), and Australia’s Sydney Marathon (2001). Each race has its pros and cons, although it would be expected that whichever eventually gets the call up to the big leagues will be enlarged and improved.

First off, considering the large majority of the circuit is already dominated by athletes from Africa, it seems appropriate to host a high-caliber marathon on the continent. It would create a fantastic opportunity for local (or at least local-ish) athletes who may not have the means to travel to the other side of the world with ease. The event is considered “climate neutral,” which, without looking too much into what that means, sounds better than a race that prides itself on being “picking up discarded gel packets and water cups agnostic.”. However, the race is quite small — drawing a crowd of fewer than ten thousand athletes currently. Compared to the throngs of fans lining up 1st Ave or Boylston, for athletes out on the course, that probably sounds like a library.

But the Chengdu Marathon has a lot going for it, as well. It is by far the biggest host city of the bunch and is gearing up to host 35,000 runners. The course is sorta boring, on super wide highway-like roads with out-and-backs, although it runs through much of the sites to see in the city. The food in this part of China is considered amongst the best in the world and for that reason alone, it has my attention. However, the race hasn’t hosted the same depth of international elites as the other events, which has been exacerbated by the difficulties surrounding the pandemic (i.e., cancellations). Organized by the local government, the event is all about showcasing the city as a business and tourist destination. It is operated and promoted by Wanda Sports, you know, from the Diamond League slash multi-billion dollar conglomerate.

On paper, this is probably the clear winner. But I have probably consumed too much American media propaganda around the continued postponement of the “2020” World Indoor Champs, and therefore have some reservations.

And then finally, we have the Sydney Marathon, which took place this past weekend and would be the only country from Oceania represented. There were multiple shorter races happening as well, and over 28,000 athletes participated across the festivities. That includes Kenya’s Moses Kibet, who ran an all-comers record of 2:07:03, and Ethiopia’s Tigist Girma Getachew in 2:25:10.

It was an extremely exciting race and I highly recommend watching the end of the men’s battle here. But oh my god, if that is not the most chaotic course imaginable — and it’s not just the last mile. The entire thing includes wild turns, roundabouts, and doubling back against traffic. Why are there walkers all over the place? These guys ran 2:07 having to weave in and out of people during the final sprint, all to come up to the most uneventful finish line imaginable despite having the Sydney Opera House in the background.

Do we really need to add a seventh race to the World Marathon Majors? At some point it will only dilute the fields of top competition even further. And as of right now, none of these three feel like they’re on par with the current grouping, though admittedly there’s a few years for them to aim to get there.

We all have the same 24 hours in the day..

Most of us don’t have the desire — or ability — to continually run for a day straight and cover just shy of 200 miles in the process. Aleksandr Sorokin of Lithuania, however, is not most of us. Last summer, he took down the previous world record for the 24-hour run — the long thought to be untouchable 188.6 miles run by Yiannis Kouros in 1997 — by logging 192.2 miles.

And for reasons that completely elude me, he decided he wanted to do it again. So last weekend in Italy, Aleksandr broke his own record, going 198.6 miles at the IAU 24-Hour European Championships. That’s 7:15 pace for 24 hours, counting any stops. 

Per Strava, his first mile slower than seven-minute pace occurred 89 miles in. And while you’re there, take a look at the course… oof! While I’m on the record as being opposed to major championship events being held on weird “tracks,” I think I’m willing to make an exception here.

In addition to his 24-hour record, in the past two years he also established new 100 mile (10:50:39 — 6:30 pace), 12-hour (110.2 miles), and 100km (6:05:41 — 5:53 pace) world records.

How do you possibly recharge after one of these efforts to turn around and do it again? That’s why I’d like to propose Sorokin’s new nickname be the ‘Lithuanian Battery.’

Are seven events not enough?

In what has to be the last track meet of the season, the Decastar meeting in Talence, France finished off the year with a few sentimental victories. The Commonwealth champion, Lindor Victor broke his own Grenadian national record by just 11 points (8550).

In the women’s heptathlon, things were tight coming down to the tenth event as Austria’s Ivona Dadic needed to beat the Netherlands’ Emma Oosterwegel by just under a second to take the lead. Doing just that, but not by enough, Dadic’s 2:11.12 vs. Oosterwegel’s 2:11.78 brought them into a dead heat at 6223 points.

It’s a waste to leave this thing as a tie when there are so many fun potential ways to decide a winner. For example, an eighth event.

In partnership with Bandit Running

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Cow Harbor 10k 🐮

Like many Long Islanders, I have a complicated relationship with the place. It will always be home, even if I ultimately decided to settle my family in Westchester (or as I like to call it, “Bizarro Long Island”). The 118-mile-long sandbar is a place of great extremes — you’ll find the best and worst of what the country has to offer there, but perhaps nothing is more emblematically Long Island than a good, car-dependent suburb. While growing up, I often lamented the fact that my hometown was a planned Levittown-like community with no walkability or downtown. But on the other end of the spectrum — and just a 25-minute drive away, sits the idyllic village of Northport.

With a Main Street fit for a movie set, the town on the Sound has cute shops, soda fountains and history. Part of that history started in 1977, with the first Cow Harbor 10K, which is now the USATF 10K Championships.

If you’re a race organizer who wants to ensure a fast time wins your event (and I assume about 10% of my readership fits this mold), then may I suggest throwing in a halfway bonus? That’s what got things moving on the men’s side as Jacob Thomson opened things up to secure the $500 bonus, which would likely cover the majority of the flight from Flagstaff.

That assist set Biya Simbassa up for an honest race that put Ryan Hall’s 2006 course record of 28:22 on notice. Simbassa ultimately took it to the line in 28:13 for a $10,000 payday. This is Biya’s third USATF title, along with wins over 10-miles and 25K, but what he’s likely just as excited about is the fact that back in 2006, Hall would go on to break the then-American 20K record (57:54). Nothing boosts the confidence quite like the transitive property!

Meanwhile, on the women’s side, it was all about Steph Bruce…

Catching up Stephanie Bruce

What Stephanie Bruce is referring to as the GRIT Finale is going just about as magically as one could have hoped for at the start. The 38-year-old mother of two has always been one of the most transparent and inspiring athletes on the circuit, and this year, the stakes were kicked up a notch. At the start of the year, Bruce shared that 2022 would be the final of her long career. She was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition called Bicuspid Aortic Valve disease (BAVD) and as a health precaution, made the decision to retire at its conclusion.

With strong runs in Boston (12th) and the Gold Coast Marathon (4th), and a NACAC 10,000m victory, things are trending well into the big one circled on her calendar: The New York City Marathon. In her tune-up at the Cow Harbor 10K, Steph etched her name in the record books as she won the race in 31:52, breaking Erika Kemp’s course record time of 32:18.

With just a few more months left to savor her pro career and knock one final marathon out of the park, I caught up with Steph to try putting this weekend and her career into perspective.

Congratulations on winning Cow Harbor! I know that that was something you've been wanting to do for a really long time. Breaking the course record is one hell of a way to do it. But this one seemed like it was a little bit more special than just an average U.S. title. Why did this mean so much?

It's almost like part of my early professional running career began at Cow Harbor. I ran in 2010 and I remember being second place to Magdalena Boulet. And I think Magda was actually the age I am now or maybe a little younger. I was probably that punk kid coming on the scene, chilling like ‘Who's this?’ I got a taste of “Oh, wow, I love this road racing thing.” New York is always special to me, having been born there. My family lived on Long Island and the course is just so hard and relentless and I felt like it kind of mirrored like who I am as an athlete. I know I have never been the most talented athlete or won an NCAA title or anything but I just always find a way to get the most out of myself.

It all came together on the day. Those are just the days you train for. You stay in the sport to be like ‘Maybe, just maybe it will all click in one moment.’ That was what it was like for me on Saturday. I think anyone who has been in the sport for a long time has had those moments deciding whether they should keep going – if they’re either not winning races, injured, coming back from pregnancy or whatever it is. There's a multitude of reasons to hang it up. But then when you have a day like I did Saturday, that's the reason it's worth it to kind of keep going and keep fighting through. 

The Grit Finale has been really emotional with everything being so definitively your last. Not everyone makes it so clear to the entire world when it’s coming to an end, but you have. What's the response behind that transparency, which has become a trademark of yours?

That's what it is. The trademark. This felt really fitting for me. Most people go throughout their day and have a thought like they should do this. And when I have a thought, I'm like, I'm just going to put it out there because I feel I kind of want to normalize people going through life, making decisions and not knowing if they're the right one or the wrong ones. I just kind of wear everything on the outside. The reception has been amazing. 

From when I told people about the diagnosis of my heart condition, I had so many people write and they were like, ‘I have this.’ They were almost like, ‘You're fine. You can keep going.’ After months went by and I went to see that first cardiologist at MedStar, he did give me the green light. He was like, ‘If you want to retire, you need to not do it because of your heart.’ So I had everything clear with them. People were trying to be like, ‘Hey, you don't have to retire because of your heart.’ And I knew that. But last year was a difficult year just because of all the things I went through.

I was looking at the direction my life was going and I thought, ‘Oh, I should make a decision on my running career. And it feels great to end it this year.’ But I definitely have moments questioning whether this is the right decision or is it not? So it's up in the air on some days. 

I think what's cool about it is that the transparency is not hard. It doesn't feel forced or like promoting. It’s ‘Hey, this is me. This is what I’m thinking.’ And guess what? If something happened and I was like, ‘Okay, I changed my mind’ for some reason I don't think people would be like ‘That’s lame! You said you were retiring!’ That’s maybe what people are afraid of to say their truth in case they change their mind. I think it’s fine to live my life one day at a time. And if something feels right or certain, I’ll go through with it.  I'm pulled in a different direction and then I'll go in that direction.

So is New York going to be the last race on the Grit Tour finale? I mean, you said the end of the year. Is it New York or is it like are we leaving the door open for more?

(Continue reading the rest of this interview at

NYC Marathon Training - Vol. 4

I entered this week with one goal: to finally get over the 70-mile mark. On a run many months ago, long before I committed to doing this marathon, there was a conversation between a couple of busy guys. We were theorizing the possibility of training for a marathon effectively by fully committing to the hard-easy schedule. While we might not have the time to harden the legs on pure mileage, that same task could be accomplished by making big days really, really big.

Thus far, I had only moderately committed to that approach. Some 13-mile Wednesday mornings and a single 21-mile long run weren’t exactly going to make up for the rest of my maintenance runs being five or six miles long. That needed to change. The truth is that I already care more about this marathon than I’d originally expected and certainly intended and that sentiment only continues to grow.

Granted, compared to how I used to operate and obsess over every detail of my training, I’m still only barely scratching the surface of my ability to become all-consumed by this sport. In many regards, from the perspective of my lifestyle and overall well-being, this newfound approach is probably much healthier. A friend recently asked how I am managing to balance everything, and I’ve realized it’s a combination of a few things.

Compartmentalizing has never been more important — when running, I need to be fully present. And when I log in to my workday, then how my legs feel ceases to matter. Once I pick Laoise up from daycare, then she deserves my undivided attention. And then after bedtime, that’s when I write, grab an extra run, or snuggle up with Patricia on the couch.

Things have been going quite swimmingly since the start, and this week’s workout was the first time I really hurt. The assumption that the faster stuff would still be comparatively easy for me, at least compared to more beefy long-run-workout-hybrids, didn’t hold true. The goal was to run 12 x 1k with a minute jog rest on the bike path at 5-minute pace, which happened — it just sucked. My shitty recovery over the past several weeks eventually caught up to me — lesson learned… again… for the thousandth time.

On Thursday and Friday night I had the bandwidth to get out for runs on the bridge — it’s one of the few spots lit up at night near my corner of Westchester and it doesn’t hurt that it’s a scenic venue. After the first night, I shot a text to photo extraordinaire, Joe Hale, to see if he’d join me for the second round. A bunch of the new Bandit gear showed up at my front stoop so it was time for an impromptu photo shoot and test run.

In full transparency, I agreed to race the marathon in the gear before ever trying it on, but the rumors were positive and all expectations were met. It was like putting on the USA uniform again — it makes you feel elite.

After running 44 miles in three days, I felt like I was crashing a bit on Saturday, but no matter — Sunday was the main event. The plan was to run 23-24 miles. The morning of, I hadn’t decided on where to run yet; I wanted minimal hills and a place to stash fuel. In the past, I’d have a training partner to snap me out of my indecision, but now, I’ve learned that coordinating logistics for every session is another downside of working out alone. (Before you start feeling bad for ol’ Kyle, I do have friends! But being in your 30s is interesting — you have too many friends to keep up with, but not enough that you’ve got someone on call who wants to ride a bike for 2.5 hours alongside you.) 

The route wasn’t perfect, but I got some water and a gel at 15, and then a dry gel at 21. But more importantly, the effort wound up going great. About an hour in, I began entertaining the idea of turning 23 miles into a full marathon because the miles were clicking off naturally. In the end, it was a 2:40 marathon off a big negative split.

I hit 85 miles on the week and the big days were finally big.

Rapid Fire Highlights 🔥

  • Evan Jager and his wife Sofia welcomed their first daughter, Emma Lovisa, to the world. One can only assume that is the Swedish spelling of Laoise.

  • Ben Blankenship shared that he is now being coached by Ryan Hall and is training for the marathon — which one is a mystery, in true Blankenship form.

  • Kate Grace got married! And as fans of her husband, Patrick, we at The Lap Count fully endorse the decision.

  • The Yonkers Marathon is the second oldest in the United States and apparently the second hilliest city in the country behind only San Francisco. Despite being in Yonkers visiting my 95-year-old grandfather all the time, I had no idea it was happening this weekend until after the fact. It was won in 2:48 for the men and 3:51 for the women. Although there were only 109 finishers and only just now learning what time of year it’s held, in my opinion, it should still be a World Marathon Major.

  • The Philadelphia Distance Run took place in… well, Philadelphia this weekend. James Ngandu (1:02:01) and Monicah Ngige (1:09:23) took top honors.

  • 9x All-American and recent Stanford University graduate Christina Aragon has signed with Nike and will be joining the Bowerman Track Club.

  • The Berlin Marathon is set for this weekend and there are two good reasons to watch it: Eliud Kipchoge is feeling confident and his 2:01:39 from 2018 on this course could be under threat. And Keira D’Amato is not only chasing her American Record of 2:19:12, but she could be vying for the win. You can watch it starting at 3AM on Flotrack — or more reasonably, you can find out what happened when you wake up.

  • Very high on the list of my wife’s bucket list races for me to run is the Copenhagen Half, which had incredibly deep fields this year with 15 men under the 60-minute barrier led by Ethiopia’s Milkesa Mengesha (58:58). Tadu Teshome (1:06:13) took the win in the women’s race, which featured seven women under 1:08. Racers likely celebrated by dipping in and out of design showrooms admiring Scandanavian mid-century modern furniture from the 1950s that I can’t afford.

  • Connor Burns, the first junior to break four minutes in the mile since Jim Ryun, has committed to the University of Oregon.

  • At the Capitole Perche in Toulouse, the hometown hero, Renaud Lavillenie (5.81m) won the pole vault alongside China’s Xu Huiquin (4.41m). As World Athletics continues to make a push towards more street meets, I am in full support of the pole vault being the prime event as a showcase. Just leave the track events alone!

  • If you’ve never heard a County Down accent, then check out the interview we did with Ciara Mageean in NY last week talking about her career and Irish 1500m record.

Thank you so much to Verb Energy for sponsoring this week’s newsletter! I think if five of you order some bars using that 30% discount code then they’ll want more placements in the future.