But before we look too far ahead, let's take a moment to appreciate 2017. Here are the wins, tears and cringe-worthy laughs from the last 12 months.
Boston Runners Showing Grace1 of 9
In addition to Americans Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay making waves in Boston (placing second and third, respectively), the other big story from Marathon Monday 2017 was the heat. Despite zero tailwind, the direct sun caused several cases of heat exhaustion and body temperatures over 105 degrees. In total, 2,358 runners, or about eight percent of the total field, sought help at the medical tent. But if there was ever a day to be proud to be a runner, this was it. As runners dropped, good Samaritans stopped their own races to get their comrades to the finish line.
Sub-2 Attempt2 of 9
One part mad science, one part human determination, Nike's sub-2 marathon event was a riveting, aggressive source of fascination for anyone who's ever ran a marathon. Why? Because running a marathon in under two hours would require a man to run 26.2 miles at a 4:41 pace per mile. Nike's team of scientists set out to control every factor--nutrition, shoes, weather, location, training, drafting--even going so far as choosing three genetically gifted Eastern African runners and monitoring their every move for months leading up to the attempt.
When the three men finally lined up at the Formula One Track in Monza, Italy, millions of spectators tuned in to a Twitter livestream and were not disappointed. Eliud Kipchoge, the 34-year-old Kenyan-born 2016 Olympic marathon gold medalist, finished in a mind-blowing 2:00:25, brushing up against a barrier that most thought was impossible to break. Call it the moon landing of running--we're ready to see someone shave those 26 seconds off.
Big Shoes, Big Rewards3 of 9
The science behind the shoe that propelled Kipchoge forward was used in a new model perfect for us regular mortals looking to run new PRs. With its lightweight foam and stiff carbon-fiber plate, the Zoom Vaporfly 4% ($250) touts more energy return. The Zoom Fly ($150), is the Vapor's cheaper cousin that makes use of different foam and a carbon-infused nylon plate. Does it work? Well, for those runners who are already more efficient than the Average Joe or Jane, we think so. Regardless, this is an exciting time for running shoes and several companies have released responses to Nike's springy, bouncy, speedy kicks. Check them out in our fall shoe guide.
Mad Pooper4 of 9
The world went bat-poop crazy when a video of female runner going number two in a Colorado family's front yard gained viral fame. On the local news, the family pleaded with the woman, dubbed "The Mad Pooper," asking her to please stop defecating in their yard. While many runners have experienced potty-related emergencies, no one could understand why the women insisted on returning to the scene of the crime several times to do her business. To this day, despite a crap-load of speculation (a-hem), The Mad Pooper has yet to be identified.
U.S. Steeplechase Women Win Gold and Silver5 of 9
When Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs went 1-2 in the steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships this year, people who don't even know that track is a sport took notice. The steeple is an event that requires so much strength and tenacity. Historically, it was a horse race, and for those who aren't familiar, its 3,000-meter length (roughly 1.87 miles) requires runners to circle the track seven times. On each lap, there are four hurdles and one water trap. Recently, in the track world, the steeple has been dominated by Kenyans--until this year when Coburn and Freirichs proved the United States could hold their own.
When This Face Happened6 of 9
There were a lot of great moments at Worlds, including an amazing hedgehog named Hero who became the spry mascot. Nothing, however, topped Norway's Karsten Warholm's stunned reaction to winning the men's 400-meter hurdles.
Dallas Marathon Help7 of 9
When eventual winner Chandler Self, 32, finished the BMW Dallas Marathon in 2:53:57, it was not without a little help from a 17-year-old high school relay runner named Ariana Luterman. The leader had felt her legs wobble at mile 25, but was determined to make it to the line. Then, with just meters to go, her knees buckled. She attempted to coax her legs to stand, move and take her to the finish. Behind her, Luterman saw the struggle and instinctively reached to help. While some sticklers thought it should be a disqualification (many race policies note that help on the course is a violation), most runners saw it as a triumph of determination and kindness.
Shalane's Big Apple Win8 of 9
Perhaps there was no greater victory in 2017 than Shalane Flanagan's first-place finish in the New York City Marathon. As the 36-year-old made her way to the finish line, she yelled out a colorful phrase that included a choice "F" word that we will not reprint, but that has been our motto ever since. Her 2:276:53 time held off Kenya's Mary Keitany and made her the first American woman to win gold in NYC in 40 years.