Winners and losers: Malcolm Gladwell, Toronto, Meb and more

Each we take a long, hard look at the state of the running scene, and then we randomly evaluate a few highs and lows.


Mohammed Ahmed winning the 10,000m.
Mohammed Ahmed winning the 10,000m at the Pan Am Games, tongue out, Michael Jordan style. Photo: Chris Lepik

Mo Ahmed

The St. Catharines, Ont. runner capped off a stellar season by breaking the Canadian 5,000m record, something everyone thought Cam Levins was destined to do. Ahmed ran 13:10:00. He also won gold earlier this summer at the Pan Am Games, and made the IAAF World Championship final. Ahmed was always a tier 1 talent for Team Canada, but going into the 2016 Olympics, he could be poised to do something special.

Guelph Gryphons cross-country

The University of Guelph

It’s fall, which means it’s time for Guelph to slowly start making room in its trophy case for another pair of championships.

Malcolm Gladwell (left) and Dave Reid coming into the finish at an Ontario school race in 1978. Photo: Bob Olsen.
Malcolm Gladwell (left) and Dave Reid coming into the finish at an Ontario school race in 1978. Photo: Bob Olsen.

Malcolm Gladwell

The Canadian author cranked out another impressive time (yes, that guy who wrote the Tipping Point is a runner, and a good one). At age 52, Gladwell posted an impressive 5:03 at the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York.


The 1984 Olympics were kind of big deal.
The 1984 Olympics were kind of a big deal.

The city of Los Angeles

Now that Toronto is out of the running for the 2024 Olympics, LA should be a favourite to score the big event.

Rowbury, Lagat and Mantano should drop this running silliness and start a band.
Rowbury, Lagat and Mantano should drop this running silliness and start a band.

Shannon Rowbury, Alysia Montano and Bernard Lagat

The three American stars tore it up… at the karaoke bar. This video has them killing (good killing, not bad killing) a rendition of Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror while at the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York.

Meb Pitch
How many marathoners are big time enough to get to throw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game? The answer is Meb.

Meb Keflezighi

The ageless Meb is going back to run the New York City Marathon for a 10th time. Never count Meb out for the win on this tough course.

Yeah, she was Rieti. Get it?
Yeah, she was Rieti. Get it?

Fiona Benson

One of the big Canadian track stories of the year is the rise of this B.C. runner. She became just the sixth Canadian woman to break 2:00 in the 800m earlier this year. Previously, no one gave her the time of day. She just capped off her season by running a 4:05 1,500m at a meet in Italy, which means she’s good enough to make the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Lawrence Hill

The famed Canadian author of Book of Negroes released his next novel, which, lucky for us, is all about a marathoner. Could this be the next great running novel? We think yes.

Sir Roger Bannister's racing spikes.
Photo: Christie’s

Roger Bannister

The first person to ever break 4:00 for the mile decided to take his track spikes down to Christie’s and ended up getting $546,403 for them, more than five times the pre-auction estimate. The 87-year-old class act is donating the money to medical research.

STWMScotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Canada’s big, gold label race got a big boost, announcing that Canadian women’s record-holder Lanni Marchant will run, hoping to qualify for Rio and take a shot at her own record (which she set in 2013 in Toronto). STWM needed some local star power, as pretty much ever other name in this country is either running elsewhere or is injured.




Mayor John Tory stood atop the City Hall snack bar and proclaimed… that Toronto was going to go ahead and pass on the 2024 Olympics. As our own Scott Leitch stated in his opinion piece, world class cities host world class events. So what does this decision say about the Big Smoke… That it’s full of hot air, apparently.

Ryan Hall in the 2009 Boston Marathon. Photo: George Roberts (Wikimedia Commons).
Ryan Hall in the 2009 Boston Marathon. Photo: George Roberts (Wikimedia Commons).

Ryan Hall

First off, congrats to Ryan and his wife (and arguably better runner) Sara on adopting four Ethiopian children recently. That’s impressive and just one short of a bad ass cross-country team. On the downside, Hall ran a 1:09 half-marathon in the UK recently, signalling that maybe it’s time to work on his talents as a coach (something he could have used a couple of years back, perhaps).

Paula_RadcliffePaula Radcliffe

Radcliffe’s name popped up as a part of the looming doping scandal and it just won’t go away. She’s tried to argue that blood values can’t be evaluated out of context and are easily misunderstood. What can be evaluated regardless of the context are crazy outliers, like a 2:15 world record that even dopers can’t touch.

Mo-Farah-Running-Away-From-Things-10Mo Farah

Even when he wins a half-marathon in 59 minutes, it seems like negative press swirls around this guy as of late. Recently, he admitted that he once took a banned stimulant (bad idea) and then won said half-marathon wearing Britain national singlet in place of his Nike Oregon Project get-up. All this after saying he is going to stick by NOP head coach Alberto Salazar (who’s been accused of juicing his athletes). Make up your mind, Mo.

Krista Duchene after the Rotterdam Marathon
Photo: Rotterdam Marathon

Krista DuChene and fans of Canadian road racing

The footnote to the announcement that Lanni Marchant is going to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is that DuChene, the second fastest Canadian of all-time, was forced to drop out after breaking her foot. Seeing these two rivals go head-to-head once again would have been great story at time when competitive running is capturing the imagination of the casual sports fan. Krista just can’t seem to catch a break. On the upside, she already has a qualifying time for the Rio Olympics, which will be her first Games.

The Chicago Marathon registration has been postponed.

The Chicago Marathon

After announcing that they have decided to drop pacers and let the elites duke it out themselves, we were excited. That makes for a much more entertaining race. And then we saw the start list. Sure, there are four 2:04 guys and two women capable of running close to 2:20. But when your biggest names are Deena Kastor and Joan Samuelson, you don’t really have an enticing elite race for fans to watch. World records still matter, apparently. On the upside, Canada’s Rob Watson will be trying to run the race of his life, and should get some camera time if he can run around 2:10.

That's odd, one of these logos looks sorta like a mix of the other two...
That’s odd, one of these logos looks sorta like a mix of the other two…

2020 Tokyo Olympics

Good idea: creating a minimal, sexy logo for your Olympic Games. Bad idea: stealing the design from some tiny Dutch theatre company and a public works project in the age of social media.

Who are your winners and losers this week? We want to know. Comment below!