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U.S. olympic-trials 2016_raceraves

Like so much else about 2016, the year in racing was one for the ages. From the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat, 2016 featured all the emotion (and quirkiness) runners expect from their sport. Some proven stars continued to shine brightly, while notable new talent—including one ambitious canine—captured the running world’s imagination. So we’re psyched to share, in chronological order, our top 10 highlights from the year in racing:

1) You ain’t nothin’ but a… Ludivine, a 2½-year-old hound dog in Elkmont, Alabama, wandered away from her owner and ran the entire 13.1 miles to finish 7th overall at the inaugural Trackless Train Trek Half Marathon, leading the race to rebrand itself Elkmont’s Hound Dog Half Marathon. Poor girl must have been dog tired!

2) You heard it here (on the) first: As first reported by RaceRaves in April, Taco Ball launched their new CarboLoad menu inspired by runners, featuring tasty on-the-go options like the 7-Layer GUrrito and CLIF-alupa.

3) Born to run: Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya continued his tireless pursuit of GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) status, winning his third World Marathon Major in London before running away with gold at the Rio Olympics. Kipchoge’s only loss in his past seven marathons was to Wilson Kipsang in the latter’s world record performance at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.

4) Young gun conquers the oldest 100: At age 20 Andrew Miller became the youngest-ever winner of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, thanks in part to one of the most costly mistakes in ultrarunning history by Jim Walmsley, whose wrong turn at mile 80 cost him the lead and the victory, as well as a potential course record.

5) Smooth sailin’ for Galen: Galen Rupp offered a spark of hope for the future of American distance running, earning a bronze medal in the marathon at the Rio Olympics, six months after winning the Olympic Trials in his marathon debut in Los Angeles and eight days after finishing fifth in the 10,000m.

6) Para- means “Better than”: Led by Abdellatif Baka of Algeria, the first four runners to cross the finish line in the 1500m final for visually impaired athletes at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games would have been fast enough to win gold at the Rio Olympics.

7) The Biggest Apple: New York City staged the largest marathon ever with 51,394 finishers, eclipsing its own previous mark of 50,530 finishers at the 2014 edition.

8) Making every breath count: Evan Wilson of Edmonds, WA, a 57-year-old former runner who in 2011 was diagnosed with terminal pulmonary fibrosis, completed the Seattle Marathon in 10 hours, 55 minutes with his oxygen tank in tow to raise money for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. Make a difference and show Evan how amazing the running community is by supporting his efforts HERE.

9) Right round for the record, baby: Gina Slaby set the women’s 100-mile record with a time of 13:45:49 at the Aravaipa Desert Solstice, besting the legendary Ann Trason’s 25-year old record by less than 2 minutes. Congrats, Gina!

10) Where no man has gone before: Nike announced the launch of its Breaking2 project, with the goal of training at least one of three elite marathoners (including Eliud Kipchoge, see above) to run 26.2 miles in less than two hours—a mind-boggling 4:34/mile pace. And for those who prefer stripes to swooshes, Adidas is reportedly working on its own sub-2 project, details TBA.

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Your turn – what do you think?