Five weeks after her eleventh place finish at the New York City Marathon, Lanni Marchant laced up again in Honolulu. The results? Marchant finished first female in a fast 2:41:25, finishing fourth over all at the race. Not related to her victory, Marchant is also taking over the iRun shoe review job vacated by Reid Coolsaet, who will soon begin a new shoe contract in 2022. After her victory, and before penning her first January column, Marchant spoke with iRun.
iRun: Tell us about Hawaii.
Lanni: Hawaii is amazing—it’s one of my favourite spots to come visit, train, and race. The Honolulu Marathon has been a bucket list race for me ever since I came out here to re-learn to run post hip surgery. I never expected I’d be running in it for the title spot.
iRun: You said you raced it for fun. Is that your new approach to racing?
Lanni: Having fun is definitely my new approach to racing—but also to most things generally. Not everything in life is supposed to be fun—I get that, but when I have an opportunity to make something fun, I’m going to take it.
iRun: How did you feel and how do you feel right now?
Lanni: I actually felt really good in the race until my right foot started cramping at about 27km. It had cramped up in a similar manner in NYC, but not until 40km there. So knowing I had quite a bit more racing left, I opted to pull back and not press things too hard. Running another marathon five weeks after NYC means I was not fully recovered, so I wanted to find that balance between running for fun but still running smart. I feel pretty good now. A bit sore but nothing that isn’t normal post marathon.
iRun: After New York and Hawaii, is Olympic Lanni, at 37 years old, back?
Lanni: In a weird way, I hope not. I am excited to be back able to run marathons and run them well. I think I have a new relationship with running, racing, and myself—quite different from how I approached things as “Olympic Lanni” in the past. So, I am back on the roads but I’m dead set on writing the story differently this time.
iRun: Let’s talk about your new gig reviewing shoes at iRun. What shoes did you wear in New York and Hawaii?
Lanni: I am amped to write shoe reviews for iRun! I think it will be a great way for me to test out what’s out there and share the journey of my running with the readers. I wore the Nike Next% for both races. I bought them a while ago but have not really been able to wear them a ton due to my injuries, surgeries, shoe contracts, and the shut down of most races last year.
iRun: How important are shoes to you? Has your relationship with shoes changed through the years?
Lanni: I used to be a runner who could wear any neutral shoe and not have an issue. My racing flats—even for the 10,000m and marathon—were always something like the Saucony A5 or Asics Hyperspeeds. Now, I have to be a bit more picky about what I put on my feet. Certain shoes will aggravate some nerve stuff in my left hip or right foot, and because I run on a lot of dirt roads in Colorado, I need to make sure what’s on my feet can withstand the rocks and such.
iRun: What shoes have you worn? You started out as a Saucony athlete, right?
Lanni: My first partnership was with Saucony. I wore their A5s when I set the previous marathon record. I then switched to Asics and wore their shoes from 2014 – 2016. Setting the former half-marathon record and competing in Rio in their Hyperspeeds. I switched to Under Armour after the Olympics, and wore those up until 2020/2021. Now I train a good bit in Saucony and do my speed work/races in different versions of Nike or Puma.
iRun: Do you still wear UA? What was that like?
Lanni: I have a few pairs that I like to wear for easy runs. The company was still developing their “super shoe” and because I wear a smaller size than their prototypes I wasn’t able to test them out before my contract ended.
iRun: Do you think runners put too much stock in their shoes?
Lanni: It’s hard to say since we are in the era of “super shoes.” I will say that fitness is fitness—you can’t expect a shoe to take you from the couch to the finish line without putting in the work. I believe it is important to find a shoe that you feel comfortable and confident in.
iRun: What do you look for in sneakers?
Lanni: I am still a fan of keeping things simple with a neutral style trainer. I prefer something that I can do some pick-ups in (fartleks and tempos) without having to drop down to a racing flat.
iRun: You’re not a scientist, you’re you. Straightforward and no BS, which perhaps is an approach never before taken with reviewing shoes in the history of shoe-reviewing. What’s your approach going to be to this column?
Lanni: My goal is to let the shoes do the talking. I want to share with the readers the fit, feel, responsiveness etc., but I also want to share the story of the run itself. Why I chose a particular spot to run and those shoes to do it in.
iRun: Are there shoes out there you’re dying to try?
Lanni: I have had my eye on some of the Adidas models for a while now, so I would really love a chance to check them out.
iRun: When do you reckon you might race next?
Lanni: I am sticking with my new race plan of #sayyestostupid. Which means, I don’t have a race plan in place and will just look for fun, silly, challenging, or travel opportunities for the most part. I am excited to be in a place where I can do that.
iRun: You may have just answered it, but what’s your outlook for the new year, goals, resolutions?
Lanni: I am looking forward to building on the tiny bit of momentum I have going right now. The past few years have had some big blows, so I am going into 2022 with no expectations other than for things to be different than they were this year.
iRun: Last word to the people, who love following you and you applaud your races, the ups and downs, and look forward to reading your column? Can you speak directly to the folks cheering you on?
Lanni: Keep treading water.