Marathons, unsanctioned races, and loads of amazing content
The end of the year feels like as good a time as any to reflect on what we’ve achieved in our first year of publishing. We flicked the switch in late December 2017, and while we knew we would still be here 12 months later, it was impossible to know what the 12 months in the middle were going to be filled with.
I remember those first few months when I would reach out to people for a feature, or to a photographer, and being a little deflated when no one had heard of us. Looking back on it now - of course they hadn’t heard of us! But at the time I was living with TEMPO in my head 24/7 and I naturally assumed everyone had seen one of our five articles and was in love with us!
A fun time early on was hanging out with the guys and girls from Private Road Running Club in Seoul. I joined them for their long run, riding beside them taking photos while they cranked out 25km. Afterwards, we walked a couple blocks to a pizza store owned by one of the crew, where local street culture icon Make 1 proceeded to stand out the front smoking cigarettes. Recovery from a long run is different for everyone I guess.
The early part of the year was a crazy busy time. We were still establishing a strong network of contributors who understood what we were trying to do, which ultimately resulted in some mis-steps and some pieces that could have been better. Progress - you don’t always realise you’re in the middle of it until you look back and see how far you’ve come.
In late March we got to head over to LA to take part in The Speed Project, which was definitely a highlight of the year. You can read a recap of that experience here. I’m proud to say that in 2019 TEMPO will be fielding a women’s team at the race - and we’re gunning for some records while we’re there.
To witness the Boston Marathon was incredible; it’s probably cool to be nonchalant about this stuff but the energy in the city all week was amazing, and I tried to soak up as much of it as I could. On race day I remember standing on one corner for 4 hours in the driving rain before Des Linden came around the bend; it was only when I went to leave my spot that I realised my feet were numb from all the water. ‘Am I going to get my foot amputated?’ ‘Is this worth it?’ those were the questions circulating in my mind as I headed for shelter to start my photo edit.
A week later I got to run down a closed freeway in LA with Nike and meet Joan Benoit Samuelson - it’s probably cool to be nonchalant about meeting Joan as well, but that was a thrill.
One thing I didn’t get to check out was the USATF National Championships, but I was glued to online coverage. We had Jason Suarez on the scene producing some incredible imagery for us. Shelby Houlihan’s 1500m & 5000m double (on back to back days) were a highlight, as was Lopez Lomong winning the 10000m.
Side note: if you haven’t yet read his book - check it out. Lopez tells the story of being snatched from his parents as a child and growing up in a refugee camp.
While I’m not deliberately trying to drop in mentions of all the places I went this year (hey, I did my fair share of winter too), on a trip to Tokyo for the launch of the Nike Pegasus Turbo, I got to briefly interview both Yuta Shitara and Suguru Osako, Japan’s fastest marathoners. This was a couple of months after Shitara had claimed the national record (and 100 million yen as a bonus from the Japan Track and Field Association), and a couple of months before Suguru would go on to beat it in Chicago (and also cash in). I was interested to hear the training differences between the two; Shitara, who trains in Japan, said he would regularly clock 200km+ in a training week, while Suguru said he maxed out around 180-190km and would rarely hit that peak.
We’re proud to have featured athletes of the calibre of the Bowerman Babes (thank you Colleen Quigley for your writing!), Gen LaCaze, Shalane Flanagan, and Allie Kieffer, and we have no plans for stopping in 2019.
A special thank you to all of the athletes who said yes to us when we were brand new and all we could show you were the designs of what our site WOULD look like eventually. We’ve finally reached the point where the athletes we approach know who we are and what we’re about; and that’s allowing us to bring bigger and better stories to you.
We also brought on our first columnists in the middle of the year, NYC residents Tim Rossi and Leigh Anne Sharek. Both Tim and Leigh Anne absolutely shred on the roads; Tim banking a 2:31 at NYC marathon and Leigh Anne getting that OTQ @ CIM recently. These two represent everything we stand for at TEMPO; they’re the young, fresh, exciting voices. They go hard, and they know when to take themselves seriously and when to keep it chill.
I remember chatting to people before Berlin and asking ‘If Eliud doesn’t break the WR, can he still be considered as the greatest? By default, isn’t the greatest the person with the WR?’ Thankfully that’s not an argument we need to have anymore.
To celebrate the WR, I wanted a feature for the geeks; something the running nerds, the 1% of the community, could get their teeth into. The piece Sean Whipp wrote for us was exactly what we needed, and was one of the most read pieces on the site in 2018. You can read ‘Portrait of a Master’ here.
The last part of the year for me has been spent in Ethiopia, and I’m super excited to bring you that content early in 2019. In fact, with some quiet time in the office over the Christmas and New Year break, I plan to bring that piece to life with the attention and richness it deserves.
So, what can you expect from us in 2019? We’re making an effort go bigger on everything we do. We’ll have better event coverage, and more intimate and revealing athlete features. On top of this, we’re not going to be afraid to push the boundaries a little.
Finally - to you. You might not think much about checking out an article on our site, or sharing something with a friend, or simply liking a post on social media. But we’re small - I see everything, and it’s huge for us to see that you’re liking what we’re doing. We’re investing heavily into the sport we love, and we’re glad you like it. Thank you.
See you in 2019,
P.S. - Write to me here. Especially if it’s about TEMPO merch. I want to do it but I keep getting out-voted.