Minute 1: The Acclaimed “Brittany Runs a Marathon” released this weekend
Hollywood can’t seem to pull away from running movies. Granted, sappy RomComs and Marvel remakes generate more buzz and box office receipts, but with this weekend’s release of “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” the baton has been passed to an unlikely heroine. Commercial success runs in the genre with predecessors like Chariots of Fire and McFarland USA. (We have previously ranked our 10 Favorite Running Movies of all time.) Perhaps that’s what led Amazon to place a $14,000,000 bet on Brittany when it picked up the rights to the film earlier this year after the indie production impressed at Sundance.
Brittany is based on the real-life Brittany O’Neill who was the unlikeliest subject of a running movie since Forrest Gump. While living in Manhattan, O’Neill typically partied past midnight and slept past noon, packing on an extra 60 pounds. Her first staggering jogs were attempted in Converse high tops. The movie tracks O’Neill’s transition from a couch panini in 2011 to finishing the 2014 NYC Marathon in 3:55. Her story is told with humor and depth. (LA Times review here.) Brittany may even rival our all-time favorite running spoof from Comedy Central: “The First Person to Run a Marathon Without Talking About It.”
Minute 2: Dinner table conversation
We are eating up this list of Foods for Fighting Fatigue. Happy to see that a few of our favorites like blueberries, salmon and brown rice made the list. Less happy that our beloved almond milk and coffee don’t rank well for energy-boosting. Another new report this week disclosed that elite athletes are disproportionately at risk for tooth decay because of their reliance on sports drinks and energy bars. Get the details in this Newsweek story. Finally, Outside magazine weighs in with a critique of the new Weight Watchers app called Kurbo. They don’t have a problem with the nutritional science or technology, they question how WW chose the target audience for Kurbo: children aged 8 to 17. There is a lot of research that shows an emphasis on dieting for children leads to some unintended consequences.
Minute 3: Did you just waste 10,000 hours?
In his best-selling 2008 book “Outliers,” Malcom Gladwell told us that if we spent 10,000 hours working hard at just about anything, we could become experts in our chosen pursuits. After all, that’s how Bill Gates and the Beatles got to be really good at their crafts (and really rich). A Princeton study a few years ago concluded that dogged devotion can only get you so far. If you spent 10,000 hours practicing jump shots, could you ever be as good as Steph Curry? That study showed that intense deliberate practice could impact piano playing by 41%, sports by 18% and professional accomplishments not at all compared to other factors like genetics and IQ. This week another study suggested that Gladwell had oversimplified the 10,000 Hour Rule. Yes, intense practice can transform you from beginner to very good, but practice alone can’t assure greatness. Rest easy, Steph.
Minute 4: Gear Roundup
We have never been big fans of blade-style sunglasses. Yeah, we know they are lightweight, deflect sweat and fit under a bike helmet, but we can’t seem to get images like this out of our head. (The ‘80s called and they want their sunglasses back.) So when we curated a collection of Our 8 Favorite Performance Sunglasses, we picked (a) mostly “normal” models; and (b) a few blades that would only sorta embarrass you in the real world. Meanwhile, our friends at Backcountry.com are fighting the August retail doldrums by waiving 2-day shipping fees on orders over $50 and giving you a 20% discount off almost any item in their store. They offer their own discount bin of sunglasses under $60.
Minute 5: Making History in Falmouth
The New Balance Falmouth Road Race is routinely ranked as one of the top running races in America. In Massachusetts, where history is Revered (ouch), the Boston Marathon usually claims top billing in the history books. Last weekend Falmouth added to its own timeline. For the first time since 1988, an American man prevailed when Leonard Korir covered the oceanside 7-mile course at a 4:36/mile pace. Sara Hall nearly made it an American sweep, but she finished just 5 seconds behind Kenyan Sharon Lokedi in the women’s field. Full race story here.
This was also the first Falmouth Road Race in history without race founder, Tommy Leonard, who passed away earlier this year at 85. Tommy was a legend in Falmouth and in Boston, where he tended bar at the iconic Eliot Lounge about ½ mile from the Marathon finish line. He glorified runners the way most Boston barkeeps worshiped the Celtics and the Red Sox. This profile from a few years ago captures the former Marine well.
When Bill Rodgers won his first of four Boston Marathons in 1975, a TV reporter asked him what he was going to do next. “I’m going to the Eliot to have a Blue Whale,” Rodgers replied. Tommy had founded his Falmouth race in 1973 by marrying his twin passions of running and keeping runners hydrated. The race starts at one Cape Cod bar and finishes at another. Tommy’s friend Bill Rodgers won the second Falmouth in 1974, only to see their mutual buddy Frank Shorter win the next two races.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
There’s little doubt that Tommy Leonard smiled broadly from above last Sunday when 10-year old wheelchair racer Maddie Wilson crossed the finish line in fifth place among all wheelchair athletes at Falmouth. Maddie built a big fan base when she became the youngest-ever Falmouth wheelchair athlete three years ago at age 7. This year she was thrilled to race with her idol, Tatyana McFadden, who broke her own Falmouth course record. You will have a smile on your face and maybe a tear in your eye when you check out the feature on Tatyana and Maddie below.
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