Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Podcast: Marathon Talk

Podcasts can be addictive. I just discovered this fact earlier this year, even though the format has been around for many years. This is simply because I'm not an Apple user of any kind, no offense to the late great Steve Jobs.

But for those of us, the few of us, who don't have an IMac or IPod or IPhone or IPad, podcasts can still be enjoyed by downloading the MP3 file to a PC and then sync to an MP3 player via Windows Media Player. This is how I do it. I was addicted to a podcast show called "Livin La Vida Low Carb" with Jimmy Moore. I listened to about 60-80 one hour shows from March to August.

Very recently, I discovered "Marathon Talk" with Tom Williams and Martin Yelling. I can't recall how I stumbled onto it, but it doesn't really matter. Of course, the central topic is marathon running. Apparently, this is a very deep topic as the two guys from Great Britian have made over 90 one hour shows to date. The weekly show format is consistent: recap of running in personal lives of Tom and Martin, recap of global running news, Tony's Trials (comedic reprieve), guest runner interview, winner of the week, look forward to next week's running events.

I suppose one of the attractive elements of the show is that the hosts are British. They speak proper English, brilliant, brilliant. I thought Great Britian was apart of Europe who we all know use the bloody metric system. But these blokes talk about running miles, not kilometers. And when the topic of bodyweight comes up (as it usually does among runners), they speak in stones, like "I dropped a stone and a half after 2 months of running". At first, I thought the guy had a kidney problem. I had to Google it. There are 14 pounds in a stone, just like there are 16 ounces in a pound. Brilliant. Fantastic.

And Martin and Tom know running. Their first guest was Liz Yelling, who is an olympic teammate of Paula Radcliffe, and oh yeah, Martin's wife. Another early guest was Hayley Yelling, two-time European Cross Country champion, and oh yeah, Martin's sister. It appears that Tom's family are slower runners, as their are no guests with the last name Williams. But there are plenty of guest who I easily recognized like: Jeff Galloway, Greg McMillan, Paula Radcliffe, Scott Jurek, Barefoot Ted McDonald, Bart Yasso, Ryan Hall, Tim Noakes and Dean Karnazes.

After listening to a few of these shows, I decided I wanted to go back to the beginning episodes in early 2010 and listen straight through. One of the early episodes was very interesting, about a documentary film maker who wanted to become an olympic marathoner. His name is Alex Vero.

Alex was an occassional overweight runner in college weighing 16 stones (about 224 pounds), and whose personal best marathon was 4 hours 21 minutes. That's almost 10 minutes per mile. To be an olympic marathoner, his time would have to drop to 2 hours 15 minutes at least. That's just over 5 minutes per mile.

before and after of Alex Vero from his website

Long story short, Alex didn't realize his olympic dream. He did however make impressive strides forward. In 2 months he lost 20 pounds and went from run/walking in 400 yard intervals to completing a half marathon in 1 hour 35 minutes. He joined a running club, ran a lot of interval sessions and in 18 months was able to improve his half marathon time to 1 hour 13 minutes. His fastest marathon time was 2 hours 57 minutes. Here's a trailer of Alex's documentary.


  1. I love Marathon Talk, even though I doubt I'll ever run one. I've also felt several times like I dropped a stone while running.

    Songbird is an excellent iTunes substitute. It reads and syncs any kind of mp3 player, Apple and otherwise. Works on Windows and Mac.

  2. Never say never Iris ;) Tom

    P.S. Thanks for the mention Kelly :)

  3. @Iris: a runner such as yourself who has completed 12 half marathons in 12 months certainly can run a full marathon, so the question is why not do it? I see it this way, you ran 6 marathons this year with a lengthy "run/walk" technique.

    @"Tom Williams": Seriously?!? I am to believe that the Tom Williams visited my little nook on the internet? Brilliant!