Archive | Guest Perspective

Toughness, Faith Fuel Ultra Runner

BryanBurkAir Force veteran uses lessons learned from high school football, military career and his religion to bring him to the finish line of endurance races.

By Henry Howard

In high school, Brian Burk played running back and safety on the football team. He had grown up playing a variety of sports but did not fashion himself as a runner.

Burk — aka “CleDawg,” a nickname stemming from his passion for the Cleveland Browns — readily admits that back in those days he lacked discipline and any knowledge about conditioning. Instead, he just wanted to play the game he loved.

That all changed one day when the coach made the team run a mile after practice. Continue Reading →

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Six Steps to Filling out Your Race Calendar

5374200948_539b10fb1c_mRunners face the daunting challenge of plotting out a to-do list of races that won’t break the bank or bust up their body.

By Henry Howard

Right now I have no fewer than 21 races on my race calendar for 2015.

That’s about triple the number I have averaged in the past four years since I began my running journey.

I’ll probably end up doing about 10 races and have already committed and signed up for two, the Phoenix Marathon and the Indianapolis Monumental. I’ll run the full 26.2 in each race but will flush out my race calendar with shorter distances.

Or maybe try an ultra. Continue Reading →

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Athlete-Foodie Combines Two Passions

07_04_12_Giro_06_Stage6_066Endurance cyclist was looking for a healthy, nutritious energy bar portable enough for long bike rides, runs or hikes. She found it in her kitchen.

By Henry Howard

Ally Stacher, who grew up in a small town in California, says she has always been a foodie. “My family and friends were always making great meals and I fell in love with the process of making food with the best ingredients and from the ground up.”  Continue Reading →

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Athlete Overcomes Back Surgery to Run Half Marathon

Alex_Johnson_blogrunA cold race day in Indianapolis gave way to a series of heart-warming moments for Louisville man and his girlfriend.

By Henry Howard

When Alex Johnson arrived in Indianapolis for the Monumental Marathon on Nov. 1 of last year, he was greeted by an unusually cool fall evening. Race-time wind chills were around 20 degrees for Johnson, who was running his first half marathon, and his girlfriend, Taryn Scampoli, who was running the full.

“I’m not a cold weather runner, or cold weather anything, so I was not in a great mood the morning of the race,” admits Johnson, who lives in Louisville, Ky. “However, I also kept in mind that the previous three months had all led to this morning, and that there was one goal to the day, and that being to cross the finish line. As the race started, I turned my music up loud, latched on to each next fastest runner I could find in the pack, and leaned forward.”

While Johnson trained three months for his first 13.1-mile race, his quest was actually years in the making. Continue Reading →

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Top Running Stories of 2014

2014It’s been quite a year for the running community — from glory in Boston to disbelief in South Africa.

By Henry Howard

With 2014 winding to a close, many news organizations look back with “top 10” lists of the best, worst or some other categorization.

As runners, we have our own personal top achievements from the past year. Maybe it was a PR, finishing a new race distance or winning an age group. Or perhaps pushing through or recovering from an injury.

But as I reflected on the past year, there seemed to be quite a few running related stories that carried impact that will last beyond 2014. The resilience of the Boston Marathon community to host a terrific race one year after the terrorist bombing. The death of a beloved Olympic athlete and war hero. And Deena Kastor’s half marathon record.

These aren’t in any particular order — I’ll let history decide on the significance of each. But to me, these are the top running stories from the past year. Continue Reading →

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Review: Swiftwick Socks Help Runners Recover

aspire-zero-black-compression-socks-9652larCompany’s compression socks and sleeves offer athletes comfort during activity and recovery afterward, in many styles and colors.

By Henry Howard

I’m a guy so it’s no surprise that I lack the shopping gene.

When I became a runner, I had no idea there were so many options for shoes, socks, shirts, shorts, headwear, gloves and the list goes on. I knew I wanted a good pair of running sneakers and running clothes that wouldn’t chafe me. And I knew better than to wear a cotton T-shirt while running. Continue Reading →

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Runner Sportsmanship

postracefoodfrenzyThe recent display of greed at a Cincinnati road race shouldn’t indict all runners. We have our issues but good sportsmanship regularly prevails.

By Henry Howard

I was appalled to learn of the food looting perpetrated by some of the 15,000 runners in the recent Thanksgiving Day Race in Cincinnati. There seemed to be plenty of energy bars, fruit, drinks and other recovery fuel on hand.

But that wasn’t enough for some of the runners who readily ignored giving thanks for the day, and instead greedily filled their boxes with food. Not only did a local food bank not receive an influx of leftovers, many of the runners were left without snacks after the 10K race.

“There were people jumping in dumpsters to find bigger boxes,” race director Julie Isphording told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I couldn’t believe it. People brought bags of their own just so they could stuff them full.” Continue Reading →

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10 Years, 50 Marathons, 50 States

EdLoyRunning a marathon in every state requires proper training, sound logistics and financial planning. It takes a little more for those who live in Hawaii like Ed Loy.

By Henry Howard

Ed Loy was fed up with himself in September 2004. At the time, he was a 280-pound college senior interviewing for jobs. He was convinced that no one was hiring him because of his weight.

“I made a resolution to lose the weight and finally get in shape,” said Loy, whose previous athletic track record consisted of playing pick-up basketball with college friends. “At first, I walked a lot to school and home. Then took up workout DVDs at home (Tae Bo). I lost the initial 25 pounds this way, but wanted more.”

So, at the encouragement of a friend and former “Biggest Loser” contestant, Loy joined a gym in May 2006. “I became a strength junkie, but the weight didn’t come off,” he said. “I walked/jogged on the treadmill and thought this was a little fun. Once the scenery got old, I started to run outside near my home. As the distances increased, the more fun I was beginning to have, but it was a challenge just to stick with it. Eventually, I started to look into racing and did my first half marathon in September 2007.” Continue Reading →

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Running to Beat Cancer (Again)

IMG_9390Darrell Henry lost his colon to cancer. Now, he’s lacing up his running sneakers once again to fight cancer the only way he knows how.

By Henry Howard

Darrell Henry has no colon. But he has a heart, the heart of a champion.

Henry’s colon was removed in June 2013 “because of hundreds of polyps and a large cancerous tumor brought on because of familial adenomatous polyposis, a genetic disorder which causes polyps in basically any part of the body. With hundreds of colon polyps it’s inevitable some will become cancerous.”

The biggest drawback to being colon-less: Hydration. “Most of the body’s hydration occurs in the colon. I drink 150-200 ounces per day to stay properly hydrated,” he says.


Doctors used a section of small intestine to build a replacement (called a j-pouch) for the colon and followed up by 12 rounds of chemo. Henry endured one round of chemo every other week for six months.


Henry decided to enjoy the experience as much as possible and dedicate himself to running.

“My intention was to fight as hard as I could, take any treatment necessary and beat cancer but also to gain as much positive from the experience as I could,”

says Henry, who tries to run 50 to 70 miles a week, even during chemo. Continue Reading →

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Musician Conquers Alcoholism, Then Ultras

10003585_10204714372890015_6944650481230729807_o-2Just running wasn’t enough for Ryan Deguzis to break his addiction. It did play a role, however, and now he is loving life and giving back.

By Henry Howard

MTA member Ryan Deguzis has a lot going for him: he’s a classical musician, teaches students, has a steady girlfriend and recently finished his first ultra marathon.

But it wasn’t always like this. Like millions of Americans from all walks of life — millionaires to soccer moms — Deguzis battled an addiction to alcohol. He’s been sober for 3 ½ years now.

“Running was one of the things that helped me escape alcoholism,” he says. Continue Reading →

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