3. Vancouver After Dark – Aaron Chapman
week five – 67.2
2020 to date: 302 KM
The latest offering from Vancouver historian Aaron Chapman explores “no fun city” through its nightclubs. I really liked Chapman’s other book The Last Gang in Town about the Clark Park Gang so I had high expectations for this. For the most part it lived up to them. It did get rather depressing when it seemed as though every story of a live music venue in this city ended with the date that it was demolished and the name of the condo or office tower that replaced it. The book has lots of great historical photographs too. I liked this book. Chapman tells a good story, even though it got a bit repetitious. There’s a copy of his book dedicated to the Commodore on our bookshelf here that I should probably get around to reading too.
On Friday, World Athletics released its ruling on the controversial Nike Vaporfly shoes. The decision brought that the current incarnation of the shoes would be fine but they outlined new rules for the future, rules that effectively banned the prototype Nike Alphafly that Eliud Kipchoge wore when he broke the two hour marathon in Vienna back in the autumn. The new rules limit stack height to 40 mm and limit to one carbon-fibre plate (the Alphafly is rumoured to have three). Those rules I don’t think surprised many people. Putting a limit on the stack height seemed to be what everyone was expecting. The more interesting decision was around prototypes. Beginning April 30, 2020, a shoe has to have been available to the general public for four months before it can be used in elite competition, ostensibly banning prototypes from elite competition. I’ll link to the release here. It means, though, that the Vaporfly is fine for the upcoming US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta at the end of February (and for the Tokyo Olympics later this year). The US OMT is interesting because any athlete who shows up that day without the Vaporfly on their feet is already at a significant disadvantage over the rest of the field (who have the fancy shoes). For me, though, this is mostly meaningless. Or so I though until I actually thought about it. I’ve been asked why I don’t race in them, and my answer has always been that I want to see what I can accomplish without them, which sounds all noble except that I’m pretty firmly not a Nike guy and I am pretty firmly an Adidas guy and if Adidas had made them then I would probably have three or four pairs by now. But what I’ve thought a lot about lately is the effect of so many people around me who do wear them and what that has done for the sport. I have gone from competing against myself and only myself, to sort of kind of caring about where I place in my age group at an event, to working towards achieving a particular standard – a Boston Qualifying time. In the time since I started caring about a BQ (a very recent period of time one could call the Vaporfly era) the Boston Qualifying time has been cut by five minutes because more and more people are consistently running faster. It sucks to work so hard and have the goalposts moved. It also sucks to think that even in spite of the disastrous day at CIM in December, if everything else was the same and I was wearing Vaporfly shoes I might have run a BQ. It really would have felt a bit like cheating though.