5 Questions With: Bart Yasso

Matt Orlando
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Welcome to a new edition of “5 Questions With.” This week I am excited to be able to share with you my interview with Chief Running Officer for Runner’s World magazine, Bart Yasso.

For those of you who are not familiar, Bart Yasso is by all accounts a living legend within the running world. In addition to being the CRO of Runner’s World, he is a member of Running USA hall of champions, published author, running coach and BadWater finisher. His book, My Life on the Run, “chronicles the heat stroke and frostbite, heartache and triumphs he’s experienced while competing in more than 1,000 competitive races during his nearly 30 years with Runner’s World magazine.” In addition to his achievements as an ultra runner, he has also completed marathons on all seven continents, including Antarctica and Mount Kilimanjaro. He is also the creator of the “Yasso 800s,” a workout that predicts marathon race pace by running 800 meters 10 times. You can find more on Bart Yasso by visiting his website and by following him on Twitter.

5 Questions with Bart Yasso

What was the path you took that led you to being the CRO of Runner’s World?

I was very lucky when Rodale purchased Runner’s World from Bob Anderson. Rodale is located in eastern Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley. I was living in Bethlehem, PA about 9 miles from the new Runner’s World headquarters. I met many of the Runner’s World staffers at the events I would direct and I think they liked me. Vern Walther, the consumer marketing manager, offered me the job as race and event coordinator. All the volunteer work I did for the local running club and for local events played a role in my getting hired at Runner’s World.

What has been your most rewarding experience as CRO of Runner’s World?

I receive emails every day from runners that find my running journey inspirational. I encourage them to take their running to the next level and to find a fun job in the running industry like mine. I didn’t set out to be an inspiration but if my story inspires them I willing to share it. I find it very rewarding to connect with runners on daily basis.

Of all the races you have run, what has been your most memorable (and why), and what races are still on your bucket list?

Easy question: Comrades Marathon is the greatest foot race on the planet. I always wanted to do Comrades back in the day when I was running ultras but due to illness I never made it to the starting line. I was very lucky and had the opportunity to run Comrades in 2010 and it was a dream come true.

How do you balance the demands of a full-time job as CRO and the demands of training for marathons and ultra events?

Personally, because of the effects of Lyme disease on my body – mostly my joints – I can’t run as far or nearly as fast but I never lost the passion. The few miles I run I cherish every step. I hope to be a runner for life. For me two 3 to 4 mile runs per week is a big deal. I don’t race that often but when I do I always make the best of it. I never take a finish line for granted.

Who has been your favorite person to meet / run with, and whom do you still hope to meet and/or run with some day?

I don’t have a favorite person or favorite runner. If I had to give you a favorite it would be the running community. I did, however, always want to go for a long walk with Nelson Mandela.

Bonus: What do you feel is the most important piece of advice that you have to offer to new runners?

Treat every run like it is a gift and always pay it forward. I have two quotes for new runners: running isn’t about how far you go but how far you’ve come, and never limit where running can take you.

Be sure to leave some love for Bart in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on future interviews!