Year in Review – A Look at the Biggest Marathon-Related Headlines and Stories from 2015

news.001*[Audio Content Available For Members Only. Click Here to Join Now]

In this special end-of-the-year podcast we thought we’d round up the biggest marathon related headlines from 2015 and give you a simple snapshot.

We tried to limit ourselves to stories that dealt with the marathon distance. Here’s what we found.

A Snapshot of 2015

Running Magazines Shutting Down

Print Media continues to struggle as Marathon & Beyond Magazine announced it was ending after the final 2015 issue. Running Times Magazine also announced that it will be closing its doors.

People who Died

Marine Colonel James Fowler (1930) who started the Marine Corps Marathon died this year as did George Spitz (1922) who was the major advocate to change the NYC marathon from loops around Central Park to a run through all five boroughs.

Sarah Sumpter (1990) died of cancer at age 25. She was a runner from UC Davis who competed at the USATF championships and was training for her marathon debut at NYC to qualify for the Olympic Trials.

Miki Gorman (1935) was a great American female marathoner of the 1970s. At 5 feet tall and weighing 87 pounds, Gorman refuted the idea that women are too delicate to handle long-distance running. Even though there wasn’t an Olympic or world championship marathons for women at the time, Gorman accomplished the best then available, by winning the triple sequence of New York City in 1976, Boston in 1977, and New York City in 1977. She’s the last American woman to win the NYC Marathon.

Marianne Dickerson (1960) won the silver medal at the IAAF world Championships in 1983, the year before the first Olympic Marathon was opened to women.

Colin Welland (1934) was never a runner but his impact on the sport is enduring. He wrote the screenplay for the movie Chariots of Fire, which, more than thirty years later, remains one of the best running movie ever made.

Doping Scandals

Unfortunately there was a steady stream of doping headlines this year. In January, Boston and Chicago Marathon champ Rita Jeptoo received a two-year ban after testing positive for EPO. In June, former Nike Oregon Project members alleged that coach Alberto Salazar and runner Galen Rupp had broken drug rules. Both have denied it, and the USADA is investigating.

In August, a German journalist alleged rampant doping in Russia and Kenya. Liliya Shobukhova of Russia, the second-fastest female marathoner ever, was stripped of numerous titles for doping. The IAAF also suspended 28 athletes after using new technology to retest past blood samples. Even though these headlines are disheartening, it is positive that cheaters are being rooted out of the sport.

Race Cheaters

The owners of offered Mike Rossi $100,000.00 to duplicate his 3:11 time which he allegedly ran to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Rossi gained attention after his letter to his kid’s school principle went viral. Gregory Price, 61 years old, was given a lifetime ban for cheating at the Marathon Corps Marathon during multiple years.

Body Image Breakthroughts

This year saw more acceptance of various body types amongst runners. Notable was Derek Mitchell from Missouri who in March, at 570 pounds, decided to run a 5K every month for the rest of the year. As of September he’d not only grown a large following of Facebook fans, he outpaced his goal by finishing his 17th race and lost 100 pounds in the process.

Social Media and Technology

A majority of runners who participated in Running USA’s 2015 National Runner Survey said that they post race results and photos on social media (not surprising). Selfie-fever could be seen in the running world with a high prevalence of runners pausing mid-run for a quick picture (or ten).

Drones have also caused a stir during races with Big Sur using them to provide a unique perspective of the race. Other marathons like NYC and Boston have banned them.

Under Armor paid $710 million to own health apps including MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, and Endomondo. launched with an intriguing goal -to provide runners with the best deals for their favorite models online.


Hot weather continued to plague several marathons this year with two runners dying during the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

Qualifying Times

The Boston Athletic Association announced the cutoff for qualifying in all age groups for the April 2016 120th running of the race was 2 minutes, 28 seconds faster than the standards. Out of 28,594 total applications received during the registration period, 24,032 were accepted. That means 4,562 applicants are left trying to find another way into the marathon.

USATF amended the Olympic Trials qualifying standard for next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio—including the marathon. USA Track & Field has followed suit lowering the “B” qualifying standards for the Olympic Trials Marathon to sub-2:45:00 for women and sub-2:19:00 for men.

World Championships

The 2015 World Championships Women’s Marathon in Beijing saw the closest finish in the history of the Championships with the win decided by just one second and the top four finishers completing the course within seconds of each other. Mare Dibaba, proved to be the fastest in 2:27:35 – the first Ethiopian to win Gold at the World Championships Marathon.

At the 2015 World Championship’s Men’s Marathon, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie became the youngest-ever world marathon champion at 19 years-old when he crossed the finish line in 2:12:28. He took home the first-ever gold medal at these championships for Eritrea.


Jessica Bruce, 32, of the UK sets a world marathon record pushing a buggy (or stroller). She completed the Abingdon Marathon with her 7 month old son Daniel in 3:17:52.

Eliud Kipchoge had hoped to challenge the world record at the 2015 Berlin Marathon – and while he won the race in a new personal best of 2:04:00 and posted the fastest marathon of anyone for 2015, the world record was outside his reach. Kipchoge dealt with shoe problems as his insoles fell out of his shoes and were flapping around his ankles beginning at mile ten, but that did not stop him from going on to a comfortable victory.

Betty Jean McHugh, an 88-year-old from North Vancouver ran 6:31:32 at the Honolulu Marathon, bettering the previous mark by an astonishing 92 minutes.

Deena Kastor (age 42) broke the American women’s master’s marathon record at 2:27 in Chicago.

Meb Keflezhigi continued to dominate at the men’s master’s level and finished 7th at the NYC Marathon.

Camille Herron ran the fastest women’s 100k on US soil, won the world 100k title, set a world’s best road 50 miler record (5:38), and also took home the world’s 50k title in 3:20.

Scott Jurek accomplished the Appalachian Trail through-hike speed record. In July, the 41-year-old completed the Georgia-to-Maine route in 46 days, eight hours, and seven minutes. His champagne celebration atop Mount Katahdin afterward attracted controversy in the form of three park citations, two of which were dropped after Jurek agreed to pay $500 for drinking in public.


Also Mentioned in This Episode

  • The book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Mastering the habits of our everyday lives. It’s a great read!
  • Get all MTA Podcast episodes from 2015.
  • Drury Hotels – our official hotel sponsor. Deal for MTA subscribers.

Today I did my 2nd Half Marathon and it was a night and day difference compared to the first. This time I had the support of MTA, Angie’s awesome advice, and the Beginner Half training Plan which made a difference. Thank you for that and to all my MTA peeps. -Suresh K.

4 Responses to Year in Review – A Look at the Biggest Marathon-Related Headlines and Stories from 2015

  1. Howard Elakman December 31, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

    Very interesting history of the year about runners and what is happening. I have always gone along with the statement that RUNNERS LIVE LONGER. I am amazed to see how the sport of running has grown. In my day we registered for every race because there so few. Now there are so many you can’t possibly run them all. Unfortunately there are to many injuries that go along with people that do not train properly and end up injured by doing to many races.

    • Trevor Spencer January 5, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

      It’s nice that now there are marathons in many many cities. It really makes travel more enjoyable for a runner.

  2. Adolfo Salgueiro January 5, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    This was an interesting podcast. The great thing about having to leave so much out is that our sport is growing. Sad would be if you could say it all in a 15-minute episode and still have time to dwindle your thumbs through it. I look forward to another great year of MTA.

    • Trevor Spencer January 5, 2016 at 9:14 pm #

      Thanks Adolfo. Here’s to a great 2016!

Leave a Reply