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Friday, October 14, 2022

October 14, 2022: RunningStudying: Three Current Runners

[With my older son in the midst of his high school cross-country season, and both sons gearing up for their next seasons of indoor and then outdoor track, running has become a huge part of this AmericanStudier’s life these days. But it’s long been part of both my life and America overall, so this week I’ll AmericanStudy different sides of running, leading up to a very special Guest Post from one of those aforementioned youthful AmericanStudiers!]

On AmericanStudies takeaways from three 21st century runners.

1)      Tiffany Chenault: Look, I’ll take any opportunity to share one of the many amazing Guest Posts folks have contributed to this blog; but my SSN Boston colleague and friend Tiffany’s Guest Post is also highly relevant to this week’s and today’s subjects, as it’s a moving and important reflection on race, community, and sports in the 21st century. Check it out and then come on back for two other 21st century runners!

2)      Sydney McLaughlin: If any current runner could be called an heir to the two amazing women I wrote about in yesterday’s post, I think it would have to be Sydney McLaughlin, the young American hurdler who has set, reset, and obliterated world records over the last few international competitions. She’s the daughter of a mixed-race couple of former 1980s track standouts, Willie McLaughlin and Mary Neumeister McLaughlin, a heritage that opens up multiple AmericanStudies contexts. But I would argue that McLaughlin is also one of the first American track and field stars to fully embrace social media (yes, even when she takes a short break from it), a side of the sport that will only become more influential in coming years.

3)      Eliud Kipchoge: Two-time Olympic marathon gold medalist and current world record holder Kipchoge is from Kenya, where he still lives and trains, so he’s obviously not an American athlete. I’m partly highlighting him in today’s post because he was suggested by the young RunningStudier whose Guest Post I’m so excited to share this weekend, and I can’t imagine a better reason than that! But it’s also unquestionably the case that the most significant trend in long-distance running for at least the last few decades has been the total dominance of Kenyan runners on the international scene. No sport happens in a single national vacuum, and certainly a sport like running is more about the global community and the events where it comes together. Nearing 40 years of age, Eliud Kipchoge continues to dominate such global events, a particularly striking reflection of the broader trend of Kenyan dominance.

Extra special Guest Post this weekend,


PS. What do you think? Running connections or contexts you’d share?

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