If you’re here, we’ve probably been introduced in some way already.
This space will feature a more journalistic approach to running topics than has typically been the case on my existing blog, which has been in play in some form since August 2004. Having written about various aspects of professional running for over 20 years and with a few dozen professional athlete interviews to my credit, I’ve quickly moved from skeptical to contemptuous about the sport’s self-appointed and self-absorbed visionaries, to whom likes and clicks at any expense are paramount not merely from a career perspective, but as a personal guiding principle. This has led many ostensibly smart people to check their intellects at the door of their banal opinion columns and tweets.
From my perspective, some obvious yet longtime structural problems in track and field and distance running have finally been thrown into public view in recent years, perhaps chief among them the dictatorial coaching environments characterizing some NCAA distance programs and professional teams, most famously the late Nike Oregon Project. The media (and sadly I must include Twitter) responses to some of the abuses that have been revealed, already superheated by the bright flame of Alberto Salazar’s suspension from the sport for unrelated procedural offenses, have become emblematic of #MeToo and the general pushback against the current White House occupants in that they are both part of necessary change and increasingly absurd and destructive in their overreach and dismissal or neglect of important facts.
This phenomenon is not limited to running, but running is the sport and probably the cultural phenomenon I track most closely, sometimes against my will. My feeling is that some of the narcissistic absurdities being cast out by major outlets simply to fuel reader dyspepsia are ultimately going to prove more harmful to both running and the public’s trust of the kind of outlets (i.e., left-leaning) that are merrily churning out this chum without apparent fear of eventual reprisals.
If you’ve followed my other blog, you have some idea of the “Wait a minute, I see people I know and respect cheering but…” topics I intend to dissect further. I can give a short but pointed example: Why would a publication standing at the forefront of social justice select dicking over hundreds of freelance contributors — in general a pretty powerless bunch compared to who pays them — as an apparent business principle?
This will probably wind up as nothing more than an occasional stop for a few of my middle-aged runner friends around the globe, enough of whom have privately encouraged me in the general direction of self-immolating angst to make this feel like a reasonable move. It doesn’t really matter how many subscribers I gain, though, because if even a handful of people are tossing me a few bucks a month for the privilege of sampling more overwrought analogies, wobbly metaphors and gratuitous rhetorical side trips, that will be enough to keep me going between the regular projects I’m cajoling toward various states of completion.
On a mechanistic note, since I’ve imported all of the posts from that site to this one and will continue to do so, making them available for free here, you won’t have to do that anymore if you would rather just bookmark this one — the free stuff will appear here, too. And if people share the subscriber-only stuff, I genuinely don’t care as long as the place maintains a token level of reader support.
That’s all. I will have something ready sometime next week, depending on how this experiment proceeds in the seminal stages.