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What we read: May 15, 2020

While the week began with freezing temperatures for some in the North and Eastern portions of the United States, in the western states, it is decidedly starting to feel like summer with the added benefit of spring allergies (and well, okay, there will continue to be freezing temperatures in the Dakotas until mid-June). Otherwise, life is continuing like normal if by normal we mean a global pandemic, pandemic fatigue, and literally no fun ever.

Yet, the world will continue to spin and hopefully with a little less smog.

Other things that persist include racism and the fact that being Black in the USA means having to fear being shot without provocation. Last Friday runners across the globe ran for Ahmaud in memory of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot dead by two white men for running while Black. I’m glad to see this awareness in the running world, but what we need is for hashtag activism to turn into actual social and structural change. I’m not sure what that will entail, but a good place to start is by donating to #blacklivesmatter, becoming an ally, and taking steps that lead to structural change. One run and one hashtag aren’t enough.

One of the most neglected populations in terms of US new coverage is indigenous persons across the United States, which includes the (lacking) coverage of the inpact of COVID-19 on indigenous communities (they have been disproportionately impacted by the virus). I’m going to take space in this column every week to highlight key news about indigenous communities and persons, starting with this article about a Navajo Mexican-American writer bringing awareness to the impact of COVID-19 on Navajo communities. Similarly, Nick Tilsen is also working to help indigenous communities respond to and recover from COVID-19 as an “accidental social entrepreneur.” If you’d like to support indigenous communities, here is a list of vetted organizations.

Next, if you’d like to learn more about indigenous peoples, High Country News published this list of five films to watch. Continue to learn more about indigenous contributions to sustainability and the environment by eating this article from Grist, which describes how indigenous activism helped to stop an uranium mine on indigenous land. And, finally, it’s high time we acknowledge that land grant universities owe a debt to indigenous communities.

In running news, there has finally been a reckoning for ultra race director Sean Blanton, who after years of allegations of sexual harassment was finally taken to task after he started altering and then deleting the race results (in the race registration website ultrasignup) of folx who disagreed with him publicly. It’s a good article, but I wonder why we didn’t stop this long ago with the first allegation of harassment and had to wait, instead, for him to delete race results.

In positive running news, this profile of ultrarunner Courtney Dauwalter is a must read. She has long been someone that I think highly of, and this profile highlights even more about her personal, mental, and emotional strength.

Next, also in running news, I liked this article on cancelled races from the perspective of race directors. It was a good reminder about why race fees often can’t be refunded (and perhaps, even if they are offered, why you shouldn’t take them if you are financially able).

Finally, Tracksmith and Mary Cain just announced their joint partnership where Cain, as a sponsored athlete, will also be a full-time Tracksmith employee. I’m glad to see this support of Cain, especially after everything she went through with Salazar and Nike, and I also like this new model of athlete sponsorship. It’ll be interesting to see how it works, and I’d like to see other companies follow a similar model.

Finally, check out these recommendations for books to read during turbulent times. What books would you add to this list?

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