In Mammoth, we run. And run. Then we run some more.
Whether it’s the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon, the Las Vegas Marathon or wherever distance runners gather, the Mammoth Track Club came up big in 2010.
One of the questions among us this past year is whether we are a ski town or a runners’ town.
We’re both, of course, and the runners are catching up fast.
Ryan Hall, who left the track club late in the season, nevertheless represented us well, finishing fourth in the Boston Marathon in April, just ahead of fifth-place finisher Meb Keflezighi.
In New York in November, Meb failed to defend his 2009 title, but represented Mammoth well, finishing sixth among the massive field. He also had a week of interviews, appearances and special events.
(That blowout piece in the New York Times really caught our eye, along with millions of other readers.)
It was in December, though, that the Mammoth runners blew out the roof.
Mammothite Josh Cox won the Rock’n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon, while Mammoth TC runners also captured the men’s half marathon and the women’s half marathon.
There were 28,000 runners. Ours came up first and best.
Cox, the 50K American record holder who made up four minutes during the race, finished in flamboyant style, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which reported that he crossed the finish line, “first high-fiving fans, then spreading his arms and whirling around in his finest airplane imitation.
“Cox completed a brilliant rally to break the tape in a winning time of 2 hours, 25 minutes, 5 seconds. He then raised the tape over his head, as if it were a heavyweight championship belt,” reporter Patrick Everson wrote.
Meanwhile, Mammoth’s Scott Bauhs won the half-marathon in 1:02:39, with training partner Patrick Smyth second at 1:03:31.
In the women’s half marathon, Mammoth TC’s three-time Olympian Jen Rhines finished a brilliant race in 1:14:57, three minutes of ahead of Britain’s Nicki Archer.
To say that Mammoth is on the distance runners’ map would be an understatement.
Founded in 2001, the Mammoth Track Club is the top-ranked long-distance running group in America.
The creation of this elite team is a joint effort of two world-renowned coaches, Joe Vigil and Bob Larsen, with financial and administrative backing from Running USA.
The mission of the group is to return U.S. distance running to the dominant force it was in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 2004 Athens Olympics, two team members won medals in the marathon, a silver for Keflezighi and a bronze for Deena Kastor.
In the five years since then, Coach Terrence Mahon and Mammoth Track Club have continued to re-establish the United States as a powerhouse among the world leaders in distance running.
This season, Kastor is taking time off in advance of the birth of a child in March, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t involved in the running world.
In New York, she was all over the place.
From her blog, Kastor wrote:
“It was a crazy week in New York City. I never thought I would say this, but it is way easier to run than to work at these events.
“One of my days consisted of a 4 a.m. wake-up call only to return to our hotel at 10:30 that night. Long days. Now that a good night’s sleep (11 hours) is behind me, I can say it was a blast.
“I was able to be on air with Al Roker for his morning weather report, help raise money for New York Road Runners Youth Programs, run with various magazine editors whom my husband (Andrew) is coaching and be the keynote speaker at the New York Athletic Club dinner.
“The day before the race I signed autographs at the ASICS store and Paragon Sports (with hurdle star Lolo Jones). Later, I went to the race expo to do a question and answer session with running expert Toni Reavis, as well as sign autographs at the ASICS booth and the ING booth. I went through about 400 posters that day.
“Race morning called for an early start as I was helping NBC with elite athlete interviews. All the athletes were gracious to give me some of their precious time before and after the race.
“After our obligations were met, Andrew and I sat in a window seat of my favorite NYC café. We sipped on hot soup, ate sandwiches and watched through the window as runners passed in their silver post-race blankets.
“Their salt-encrusted faces wore smiles despite the fact that they were walking with an uncomfortable hitch in their step.
“It reminded me of one of my decisions to reward myself by shoe-shopping after the Olympic Trials in Boston in 2008.
“I went to my favorite shoe store on Newbury Street and bought a pair of brown leather flats, sure to go with everything in my wardrobe.
“Well, I got to wear those shoes for two days until the swelling went down in my feet and the shoes immediately became too big for me!
“So, to all you female runners out there, DO NOT reward yourself with shoes right after a great race! It is fun at the time, but a waste of hard-earned money and sweat!
“Try some of my other rewards like indulging in high-quality face cream, buying new bamboo bed sheets or consuming the ever-so-satisfying toasted coconut almond fudge gelato!”