Ep. 63 – Packing for Tokyo: with Bryce Hoppel

This week’s guest is newly-minted Olympian Bryce Hoppel, who joined the podcast a few days before leaving for Tokyo. Bryce qualified for the 2021 Olympics when he finished third in the 800m, making his second U.S. national team since turning pro in 2019. At the World Championships in Doha, he finished 4th in the 800m, and he’s not shy about his desire to land on the podium this time around.

Bryce is a Texas native and graduate of the University of Kansas and we had a great conversation about his path to running, his go-to taco order, why he should star in Space Jam 3, and everything in between. The first round of the 800 is the evening of Friday, July 30 if you live in the U.S., so don’t miss the chance to cheer him on!

On the men’s 800m squad:

“We come around when it counts. People are already counting us out but we’re definitely going to put two, if not three of us into the final, and one of us is gonna get a medal for sure. I know I’m going for it.”

On pre-Olympics jitters:

“I think it’s definitely more nerve-wracking leading up to it. Once it actually gets here, it’s like, there’s nothing you can do about it: go out there and compete. I just want to get to Tokyo… that’s the most stressful thing. They’re so strict about everything, you worry ‘am I even gonna make it there?’ And once you’re there, everything will click.”

On heading to Tokyo without American Record holder Donavan Brazier on the 800m team:

“It hit me right after all the feelings of making the Olympic team – I was like, dang, Donavan’s not on the team. That was crazy. It’s definitely going to be a different team without him, but he’s going to bounce back; he’s one of the best to ever do it.”

On choosing the University of Kansas:

“Kansas was one of the official visits that I went on and really liked it. I fell in love with track and cross country by finding a great group of friends there at Midland [in high school], and when I met the tight-knit community here, I was like, ‘let’s do it.’ Two days later I was scheduled for another official visit, but something just woke me up at 3am and I was just like, ‘I really loved Kansas. I want to go there’ [….] and luckily everything worked out and went well, and I definitely wouldn’t do anything different.”

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Ep. 62 – Return of the King: with Woody Kincaid

This week’s guest is Woody Kincaid of Bowerman Track Club, a Colorado native and University of Portland grad who recently qualified for his first Olympic games in the 5k and 10k. Longtime listeners will remember that we first had Woody on the podcast in 2018, when he was coming off a string of injuries that derailed his early pro career, and it was a great full-circle moment to have him come on again at the top of his game and to reflect on how far he’s come

Woody is a great friend of host David Melly and we got right into it, so get ready for an all-timer episode. We covered a wide range of subjects from “self-inflicted wounds,” to his relationship with his coaches, to why he threw up before the 10k at Trials, and everything in between.

Enjoy the episode and don’t forget to catch Woody representing Team USA in Tokyo in a few weeks. Don’t forget to subscribe, like, follow, review, and everything else!

On believing he can make the Olympics through setbacks:

“I do have this weird confidence in my own abilities. I have a pretty pessimistic outlook toward other things in the world, but I have a very strong self-belief. I’m not one of those guys that’s like, ‘anything is possible,’ but I know that if I focus I can do pretty much anything I set my mind to. I’ve had moments where I’m like, ‘I don’t know if this is going to work out,’ but those are, for me, generally pretty passing.”

On his relationship with University of Portland coach Rob Conner:

“RC was always a very hands-off coach. His philosophy was, ‘you can take a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’ and he was always taking me to water and I just… would not drink. But I think he’s very proud now and he’s happy to see the potential that he’d always seen on the big stage.”

On his relationship with Bowerman Track Club coach Jerry Schumacher:

“Jerry and I are the same person with two very different philosophies of life. Personality-wise, we’re very similar, stubborn kind of people, but we disagree on a lot. We always fight, but we understand each other.”

On participating in track and field media:

“I’ll go on podcasts because I have a respect for recording in the moment, but it’s not wise… it’s not smart. If I were smart, I wouldn’t have a Twitter as a professional athlete, because it doesn’t do me good. [….] At the same time, everybody has a [platform] now, and one of the good things about that is that people are more sympathetic to people just being themselves. I’m not worried about what people are going to think at this point – I’ve been out there for a while.”

On dealing with speculation and criticism:

“I’m most defensive when people discredit everything I do. I’ve always been that way. It can be anything… doping allegations or anything else. When I ran 12:58, it was like, ‘well, it’s just the shoes, it’s the environment.’ And Centro made a good point – he said: that just means you made it. And I really took that to heart. When people are so mad at me, it just kinda means that now I’m on the radar.”

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Ep. 61 – Sky’s the Limit: with Skylyn Webb

This week’s guest is Skylyn Webb, a middle distance runner for Saucony’s Freedom Track Club. Sky has an incredible story beginning in Colorado where she played basketball at Fort Lewis College before joining the track team and becoming a 3-time D2 national champion in the 800. Most recently, she qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials at the Music City Track Carnival this past weekend and you can catch her in Eugene next week.

We got into some pretty heavy stuff talking about Sky’s unorthodox journey to running, coming out to her parents, and learning to channel adversity into positive outcomes.  We also assessed Sky’s potential in the beer mile, her impulse pickups of a tattoo and a puppy, and planned our post-pandemic Boston summer. Sky’s leading the way as one of the few openly gay athletes at Trials, which we talk about a bit on the pod, so happy Pride to all our queer listeners and friends!

This was a great episode with a wonderful person and athlete and hopefully the first of many more in the coming weeks leading up to, and during, the Olympic Trials in Eugene. Make sure you subscribe if you aren’t already and enjoy the great long-run talk we’ve got coming up!

On taking up running at a difficult point in her life:

“I was in a tough spot, and I ended up reaching out to the track coach at Fort Lewis and he let me on the team. It brought me out of that hole and allowed me to finish my eligibility at UCCS and it all led to… here. At the time it was awful, but I wouldn’t change it now.”

On taking an unorthodox path to pro running:

“I hope [my story] can go to show that you don’t have to be this perfect runner all throughout your whole life…. it’s fine to get into it later or not be so serious for a while, and it can still work out.”

On her potential in the beer mile:

“I don’t want to be too confident, but I think I could be real good. That might be the only time I could beat Helen [Schlachtenhaufen] in a mile.”

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Ep. 60 – Clearing Barriers: with Dan Michalski

This week’s guest is Dan Michalski of Tracksmith and LeTourneau University, a steeplechaser who’s been turning heads all season with his big performances, most recently when he ran a big PR of 8:21 and notched an Olympic standard at the USATF Distance Open this past weekend. 

Dan is an extremely impressive guy who only started running track his senior year of high school in Ohio before running for Cedarville University, a D2 school, before transferring to Indiana University and nearly winning the NCAA steeplechase in 2019 before falling over the final water jump. He’s currently balancing a newborn baby and a full-time coaching job with his own running career and is currently ranked #8 in the world without a professional contract.

We talked a lot about his unconventional path to elite running and the challenges of balancing a career and family with training, but we also got into his love for disc golf, his hardest steeple falls, and the story behind his moustache. Dan’s story is super inspirational and hearing from him made for a great episode.

On racing pros while unsponsored:

“I have a little bit [of a chip on my shoulder], but I also don’t want to confine myself to that narrative. America loves the underdog, and I know that about myself and the people that know me know my story, but at the same time… I make ends meet. I’d much rather be making a salary and getting health insurance doing what I’m doing than being the guy that’s just kinda hung around one of the pro training groups.”

On potentially racing Evan Jager:

“There was some fangirl nervousness in me… he and Will Leer and Ben Blankenship […] those guys were on my wall at my parents’ house. He was somebody that I did elevate, and it’s crazy to think that I could be sharing a starting line with him – we’ll see if we’re sharing the finish line.”

On learning from his infamous fall at NCAAs:

“I had the most epic ‘failure,’ but what did it really cost me? It’s in a sport; it’s not real life. It wasn’t truly consequential, and really it’s been kind of a formative moment for me. If I can get past one of my biggest failures, I can say that I’m so much more of a person than just the runner that was going for a national title that one time.”

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Ep. 59 – They/Them: with Nikki Hiltz

This week’s guest is Nikki Hiltz, a returning favorite who came on the podcast for another great Run Your Mouth x Citius Mag crossover to talk about coming out as non-binary, being a role model at a time when trans and queer youth are under attack, and their training and racing plans as they gear up for the 2021 Olympic Trials. This was a really engaging, really informative episode and I hope you’ll enjoy this deep dive into Nikki’s experience.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe, follow, and download on social media and wherever you get your podcasts!

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Ep. 58 – The New Generation: with Ben Crawford and Matt Wisner

In a Very Special Episode of the podcast, Ben Crawford and Matt Wisner, the co-founders of the New Generation T&F magazine, came on RYM to get deep into the philosophy and inner workings of track and field media. No subject was left unaddressed, which at times made for a revealing and uncomfortable conversation, but one that will definitely make you think. We also got into high school stories, the Mountain Dew mile, and Matt’s season opener and had a lot of fun along the way.

Ben Crawford is a University of Oregon student and photographer who rose to prominence on the running YouTube scene with his coverage of the Men of Oregon’s summer training and manages a channel with over 40,000 followers.

Matt Wisner is a 1:48 800m runner and 3:42 1500m runner who ran for Duke University before transferring to Oregon for his final year of collegiate eligibility. He was briefly the facility record holder at the renovated Hayward Field when he won his section of the 1500 at the Hayward Opener this past weekend.

How they define ‘new generation’:

BC: There’s definitely a big gap between people who are like ‘social media is bad’ and people who say ‘the sport’s dying.’ Social media is the future; if you brand yourself and are able to showcase your personality you’re able to get more fans and in turn be able to make more money, create more revenue. And obviously, the faster you are on the track the better it’s going to work out for you.

MW: We hear all this talk about ‘pushing the sport forward,’ but to us, pushing the sport forward means both more fans and more engaged fans. What’s going to make people watch a [whole] 5k? If you know the runners in the race, if you have stakes and know their personality and what they’re up to, you won’t take a bathroom break during the 5k.

On the value of running Youtube:

BC: Providing content that’s new, and fresh, and different is valuable. It may appeal to a lot of people or to a small subsection, but the act of doing something different and putting yourself out there is inspiring for people to see and say, ‘If they did that, I can go and do something of my own in the sport.’

On placing controversial figures into context:

MW: We want to cover things journalistically, and if something is noteworthy and interesting, we want to put it in our magazine. You have to hold people accountable for their words, but at the same time we also genuinely want to know what people think. Ultimately, depiction is not endorsement, and people can and do speak for themselves.

On running culture:

MW: There are so many different cultures within ‘the sport,’ and we want to depict all of it. We want to be wary of defining the culture narrowly, but at the same time, the quirky weirdo distance runners are what drew me to the sport in the first place. I was this kid who hated the boys’ soccer team and wanted to go hang out with those weird kids who were boys and girls and, y’know, shaved their legs sometimes.

BC: You want to make [running culture] inviting to have mainstream appeal… you want it to be fun and not too weird or too serious [….] You look at Track and Field News and those other magazines, and it’s very much defined by a dominant culture. People say ‘running is the sport for everyone,’ but you look at what’s portrayed and it’s [narrow.] If you want to change it, one of the first thins you have to do is make it so anyone can look at it and say, ‘that person reminds me of myself and I feel inspired by them.’

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Ep. 57 – Fixing the Sport: with Noah Droddy

This week, the newest member of the CITIUS Mag podcast family comes on Run Your Mouth to talk about his ideas for changing the sponsorship and marketing models of track and field, his college highs and lows, playing in a band, and everything in between.

Noah Droddy is a professional marathoner, Indiana native, and style icon who hosts the podcast D3 Glory Days with college teammate Stu Newstat. Most recently, he finished second at the 2020 marathon project in a personal best of 2:09:09. This episode is full of hot takes and good stories and you won’t want to miss a minute.

On going into the Marathon Project with an expiring shoe contract:
“I went into the race with that attitude that I was fighting for my life in the sport, which, as much as I hate that stress, has worked out well for me before in the past when I have these clear stakes and I can rise to the occasion.”

On building the sport by changing the sponsorship model:
“You really have to burn down the sponsorship model […]There are so many things we’ve done to make the sport niche and benefit only a few people, like logo restrictions for example, but if you make changes to get more eyeballs on the sport, we could be NASCAR [….] Right now, we are all kind of dependent on the shoe industry; the only ‘path’ to making a living is to sign a shoe deal. I think we’ll really know the sport is in a good place is when people are signing sponsorships with companies not endemic to running.”

On how running D3 shaped his running future:
“I was not a good enough high school athlete where I could’ve joined a competitive Division 1 program and so D3 was really my on-ramp in continuing to run [….] my junior year, I qualified for nationals for the second time and ended up finishing 9th. That was one of those moments where I was like, ‘maybe I’m better than I thought I was,’ and it allowed me to dream bigger […] to redefine my own potential.”

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Ep. 56 – Full Circles: with Josette Norris

This week’s guest is Josette Norris of Reebok Boston Track Club. Josette is a middle-distance runner, New Jersey native, and Georgetown University alum who recently made a big splash by qualifying for the Olympic Trials with a 10-second personal best in the 5,000m, running 15:19 at the 2021 Texas Qualifier. We talked about transitioning to professional running in a pandemic, what it’s like to be engaged to another professional runner, and the sweet garage setup the Reebok Boston group has in Charlottesville.

On breaking through after 2020:

“The biggest positive that I could take away was having that extra time to get to know my coach and my teammates better, to train, and really just to get stronger. I wasn’t seeing those results in those few races that we had last spring but I was very hopeful that by this year, all the work that I’d put in would pay off [….] It’s been a blessing for me in a way because now I’m having this breakout in an Olympic year, when last year I’m not really sure, because it would definitely have been harder for me in my first year as a pro.”

On ‘full circle’ moments in her career:

“I ran my first ever indoor meet at the Armory in high school, and I got to make my pro debut there 15 minutes from my hometown. I have all these little moments where it’s like – this was meant to be; everything I’ve dreamed about is happening.”

On learning from her fiancé, Olympian Robby Andrews:

“I look up to him because he’s done so much in the sport that I want to do personally, and it’s been so great to have that support system in him as we’re both chasing our dreams together. It was really cool during the pandemic since we were together all the time and doing our training together [….] We have a really good system of both doing our own thing as professionals, and he’s really inspired me and helped me get to where I am today.”

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Ep. 55 – Oats and Hoyas: with Amos Bartelsmeyer

This week’s guest is Amos Bartelsmeyer of Nike and Bowerman Track Club, a 3:53 miler who represented Germany at the 2019 World Championships. We talked about his path from Saint Louis to Georgetown to Seattle and finally into the professional running world and how he got there. We also talked favorite race memories, go-to cocktails, the story behind the “Oats and Hoes” Instagram account, and more.

After graduating Georgetown University in 2018, Amos Bartelsmeyer moved to Seattle in hopes of being coached by incoming University of Washington coach Andy Powell. Despite being unsponsored, he was able to find a training group and came into 2019 on fire, eventually earning a Nike sponsorship and a spot at the 2019 world championships representing Germany. Since September, he’s been a member of Bowerman Track Club and recently ran 1:49 in the 800 and 3:38 in the 1500 in his first races in over a year.

Amos is racing at the Trials of Miles Texas Qualifier presented by Citius Mag this weekend. In advance of the meet, Trials of Miles and Citius are teaming up to raise money for relief organizations doing work in Texas following the past week’s extreme weather and power outages. You can learn more or donate at the links below:

Austin Mutual Aid: https://www.gofundme.com/f/kick-the-cold-austin-mutal-aid

Texas Mutual Aid Directory: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rdMnbzYxfXFrG1DefGqN3R1zu_lan2fml2bEYRpMcRQ/edit

Enjoy the episode, and don’t forget to subscribe, follow, rate, and review wherever you get your podcasts!

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Ep. 54 – California Dreamin’: with Eric Avila

This week’s guest is Eric Avila, a member of Golden Coast Track Club who’s currently in Flagstaff for a training trip where he’s meeting up with some of the country’ best milers for workouts. Eric is a 3:36 1500m guy who recently has found some success in the 5k, running 13:18 in December at the Sound Running track meet. We talked about his shift in training, as well as his love for speed suits, his NAIA roots, and his pitch for the Taco Truck Mile in a great conversation recorded a few weeks ago. Eric will be running the 5,000 at the Citius Mag x Trials of Miles Texas Qualifier on February 27th – catch him on the free livestream in less than two weeks!

On coming from a NAIA collegiate background:

“That chip on my shoulder has always and will always be there. I’ve always kind of thought of myself as blue collar because of the hard path I took. When I got out of college, Bowerman, NOP, OTC, they were the new Oregon Ducks. You kinda have to to be able to believe on yourself on the line.”

On shifting his training toward the 5000:

“A lot of times, I have decent closing speed over the last 150 meters but I haven’t been strong enough to be there to utilize it. So with this more aerobic training, I’d love to take a real crack at the 5k, but I think it’ll help in a fast 15 as well.”

On racing distance races in a speed suit:

“I did it for one race, and I won. And afterwards I was like, well shoot. I have to wear this again. And the next season I did a long [East Coast] indoor trip for 3 weeks and I thought I’d packed my singlet, but I’d only packed my speed suit. So every race that season I raced in the speed suit and since then, I’m the speed suit guy.”

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