‘Qualifying’ for marathons and everything else

Out and Back September 18, 2014 0 Comments

by Dante Zappala Ryan Hall is fast. He is qualified. He’s the only American marathon runner to break 2:05, accomplishing that at Boston in 2011. So when he toed the line at the same event in 2014 with the world’s best, you’d have to believe he deserved to be there; except that he hadn’t actually […]
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Body surfing or running: Finding the ‘right’ spot

Out and Back September 11, 2014 0 Comments

by Dante Zappala A few days ahead of Labor Day, summer was trickling away in Wildwood. The crowds on the boardwalk were thin. The neon had lost its luster. Even the T-shirts didn’t overly offend. The best one I could find read, “Obama can’t take these guns” with two arrows pointing towards the wearer’s biceps. […]
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Haunted by the ghosts of marathons past

Out and Back September 4, 2014 0 Comments

by Dante Zappala I’m running through the woods, and it appears I am winning the marathon. I’m surprised by this, but I go with it. The pace is solid, I feel great. Everything is going as expected. But suddenly, I get lost. The course opens into an empty field and it’s not clear which way […]
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The effects – good and bad – of a media frenzy

Out and Back August 27, 2014 0 Comments

by Dante Zappala The wooden chairs in the courtrooms at City Hall are harder than cement. I fruitlessly tried to find some comfort in one. My legs were pretty well shot. I had just strung together a set of runs to mimic the stress of the marathon – 10 quality miles one day and then […]
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Running on a trail of memories

Out and Back August 20, 2014 0 Comments

by Dante Zappala On the night of Aug. 5, 2009, Kevin McShea started his shift at the Northwest Detectives unit of the Philadelphia Police Department. He was presented with a case. A young girl had died on Forbidden Drive when, inexplicable even to fate, a tree branch fell and struck her while she was running. […]
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Encounter with a wise senior

Out and Back August 14, 2014 0 Comments

by Dante Zappala I met Rolf before we even said hello. I spotted him a good block away as he vibrantly bounded through the old city of Schwerin. Glowing against the gray background of formality and reserve, he pierced stares to find smiles around him. With Rolf, strangers become instant friends, and I was no […]
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Running in Germany as an Ausländer

Out and Back August 6, 2014 0 Comments

by Dante Zappala Rule # 1: Don’t hop the barrier to cross the road. Rule #2: No running in the bike lane. Rule #3: Fail to follow the rules and someone is sure to call you out. Even on the banks of the Müritzsee, a majestic lake in northern Germany surrounded by endless woods, the […]
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Running with reality

Out and Back July 30, 2014 0 Comments

by Dante Zappala On the beaches of the East Sea, the sun literally shines everywhere. It makes perfect sense. The winters this far north are long, desolate and cold. It’s reason enough to want to take your clothes off during the few weeks of peak summer when it barely breaks 80 on the hottest of […]
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Down on the farm in Treunbrietzen

Out and Back July 23, 2014 1 Comment

by Dante Zappala Follow the road out of Berlin down towards Wittenberg. Just before you get to the town of Treunbrietzen, make a right. You’ll rumble over cobblestones and cross a one lane bridge. Hang a left. Take the first dirt road you see to the barn with the solar panels on the roof. It’s […]
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Running into the night

Out and Back July 16, 2014 0 Comments

by Dante Zappala The apocalypse had come and gone. The gale force winds had subsided. Light rain misted sideways, riding the roller coaster of lingering gusts that swept across the fields of Germantown Academy. Even as lightning still flashed in the distance, Ben Szuhaj wanted to race. He had come to the track meet this […]
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