The Sunday Read: …is back! Ultra trends, Paul Ryan and more.

Every time a heart problem fells a runner during a race, the debate over whether marathoning is dangerous to heart health or not bursts anew. Refreshingly, one group isn’t arguing the point, but rather trying to do something about it. In late September, 16 runners wore a cardiphone “a heart monitor that sent an electro-cardiogram (EKG) reading via cell phone to computers at the finish line. A cardiologist and a team of technicians monitored the runners’ heart activity beat by beat, mile by mile.” The test was a step toward the commercialization of the device that the Windsor (Ont.) Cardiac Centre along with an unidentified manufacturing partner hopes to make available to runners at every race. The full story is here:

An University of Manitoba study on pulmonary edema links the disease causing build-up of fluid in the lungs to marathoning. Studying 26 people before and after a race, researchers discovered 50 per cent of the runners exhibited symptoms of the disease. They found women were more effected than men and race times had no impact. The researchers presented their paper at the European Respiratory’s Annual Congress in mid-September. It appears, however, that the study only marks preliminary research and that more investigation is needed. The story is here:

The Outside online blog calls 12-year-old trail runner, Katylynn Welsch a “phenom.” The kid won an XTerra half-marathon trail race in Waco, TX, beating a lot of experienced competitors – including her 10-year-old sister. She’s run “nearly a 100 events in the past two years.” Says her father, Rodney (at least we think it’s her father: no attribution is actually given in the slavering profile): “I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I just try to see what they’re capable of. I think the schedule is harder on me than it is on them. I’m driving them all over, and they get to sleep in the car.”  Welsch also ran two marathons last year, including Houston, posting a 3: 45 before being DQed. Why? You have to be 12 to enter the race and at that time she wasn’t. Incredible talent already showing itself, or precocious burnout in the offing? You can draw your own conclusions here:

Ultrarunning a pretty serious business. You run long miles, probably eat plants, wear next-to-nothing on your feet, and have experienced so much life already you’ve turned it into a book. Hel-lo, Scott Jurek! But seriously – or not, as is the case – the good folks at have created a list of the top trends in the sport – and it’s hilarious. Number one on the list? Blogging. “What, you run ultras and you don’t have a blog?   Well, what kind of minimalist earth-loving born-to-run nature lover are you?   If you run ultras, you have to have a blog!   That’s where you share your ultrarunning adventures with other ultrarunners.  I’m pretty sure the totality of the blogging population is like 20% ultrarunners. ” Check out the full list here:

Oh, and here’s something we’ve all done. Not! Meet Olok Nykew, a 37-year-old St. Paul man who ran the Sioux Falls Marathon, apparently clocked a world-class 2:06 time at the obscure race. Too bad he only ran half the course. Nykew showed up 45 minutes late, ran the half-marathon course, somehow not realizing his mistake (guess he’s never heard of Garmins) and, to great cheers, arrived at the finish.  Although he said the time seemed to be a mistake, it’s pretty hard to mistake a half for a full. Perhaps Nykew should enlist as his training partner, Paul Ryan. The story is here:


About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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4 Responses to The Sunday Read: …is back! Ultra trends, Paul Ryan and more.

  1. Dawn Ladds-Bond says:

    I’m not a doctor, but I can’t get behind the idea that a 12-year-old running a marathon is a good thing. I’m impressed with her results, but 42.2 km of hard racing on joints that are still developing…I dunno.

    • subthree says:

      I thought the Outside piece was incredibly irresponsible. Rather than questioning the amount of her running, talking to her about if she liked to run that much, speaking to her father about his knowledge of running, they just boosted her. Should any 12-year-old run 100 races annually, including marathons and ultras? I doubt it. Should a major magazine about the outdoors unquestioningly publish (report is not even an operative word here) about that? I don’t think so.

      • Dawn says:

        I think it’s disgusting that he says their schedule is harder on him than on the girls. I also can’t imagine what it may be doing to them on the reproductive front (again, I’m not a doctor).

      • subthree says:

        I agree. (I’m not a doctor, either…just in case anyone thought I was because of my close association with Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, but while we’re similar I can offer neither medical nor academic skills qualifying me – just for the record). Whew. Glad we got that out of the way.

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