Interview with Bart Yasso – Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World Magazine

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Bart Yasso started running in 1976. He joined Runner’s World in 1987 (and still loves his job).

He’s friend to millions of runners around the world.

In fact, I tried to friend him on Facebook today and got notified that, “Bart has reached the friend limit. He can’t receive friend requests at the moment.” Facebook caps the number of friends at 5,000.

Bart was with us for episode #19 (five years ago) and we’ve since bumped into him at the Little Rock Marathon and Modesto Marathon.

His book, My Life on the Run, was the first running book I picked up after taking the plunge. Interesting side note to the book . . .

My Life On The Run
The book has a chapter about the 1989 Badwater 146 Ultramarathon -a grueling race in one of the hottest paces on earth, Death Valley, California.

That year only six people participated. Few knew of this now legendary race back in 1989! One of the crazies who ran it that year was a guy named Adrian Crane who Bart said ventured into the salt flats with a pair of skies on his back.

Crane’s plan was to ski across the salt flats and emerge later on the main road, shaving 20 miles from the course. He had attempted to walk across the salt bed the year before, but he crashed through the crust so many times that his legs were too lacerated to continue. Now he was leaving nothing to chance. pg 49

“What do you think ski boy’s going to do?”
“That Adrian guy?”
“Yeah, the one with the skis on his back. What a nut!”
“How do you ski across a sand dune?”
“Maybe he thinks this is a cross-country ski race”, I joked.
It’s no coincidence that people who ran ultramarathons are a little wacky; the sheer enormity of the distance requires a mind at odds with reality. pg 51

Crane later emerged from the desert dazed, scratched up, and dehydrated. He would have finished in second place but was disqualified for cutting the course. Gotta admire his tenacity!

Here’s an interesting side note to this story. My dad, Sheldon Spencer, remembers giving Adrian Crane his desert crossing skis! Dad used to own a sporting goods store in Modesto, California, called Valley Sporting Goods and remembers when Adrian came in looking for skis to cross Death Valley. Dad was intrigued by his plan and gave him an old pair of cross-country skis from the rental department. There was no way those skis were coming back in one piece!

To read about The Badwater 146, Bare Buns Fun Run, Burro Racing, Antartica Marathon and more pick up a copy of My Life on the Run.

Interview with Bart Yasso

What has changed in the running world since 1976? (Short video clip)

Watch the full video on the MTA YouTube channel.

Interview Questions

  1. Let’s get into your running story. Take us back to the beginning. How did you become a runner?
  2. Give us an idea of your travel schedule. Where you have been in the last 60 days?
  3. How many times have you been asked to be in a selfie?
  4. You started running over 30 years ago. What does the running world have now that it didn’t have when you started?
  5. Can you give us a tour of your office? What sorts of things do you have lying around?
  6. Most bizarre races? (any distance)
  7. Your toughest race?
  8. Let’s talk about destination marathons. What are some of the “must do” races in the U.S.?
  9. What are some of the must do races outside of the U.S.?
Bart Yasso and MTA

Meeting Bart at the Little Rock Marathon

Also Mentioned in This Episode

  1. The Pikes Peak Marathon – mentioned as a remarkable U.S. marathon
  2. The Rome Marathon – mentioned as a remarkable international marathon
  3. Quick tip: Running on Air breathing technique

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