Friday, November 13, 2015

Interview with an Icon: Bart Yasso


The Chicago Marathon is a world major marathon and has a world-class expo complete with running celebrities. The expo itself is overwhelming and overstimulating. This year, I was there by myself, and just trying to take it all in. After my easy conversation with SBS of Another Mother Runner fame, I mustered up my courage to head over to the Runner's World booth to meet Bart Yasso. I've seen so many of my running friends postings of "barties" with him, that I was sure he was a super nice guy. When I walked up to him, he was politely listening to a runner talking about his experiences at this marathon. Bart didn't rush the guy, and I waited nervously for my turn to talk to this running icon. While I was waiting to talk with him, I couldn't help but wonder, how does he do this all day every day?

Of course when I got my turn, I couldn't think of a thing to say! Me, who never is at a loss for words? I need not have worried. I picked up his book and asked him about it. He told me that it was basically the story of his life as a runner, "if I wanted to read it". I told him I hosted a book club on my blog, and asked him if he'd be interested in answering some questions for me. Not only did he agree to that, he wrote his email in my copy of his book, along with an autograph. Then he posed for a picture with me. 
Bart and me!
I was so excited that when I walked away, I left my car keys at the Runner's World booth. Luckily when I went back to retrieve them, Bart was no longer at the booth. He was on stage, getting ready to speak. I'm sure he would have thought I was a stalker had he been at the booth when I returned!

When I posted a request on the SweatPink FB page for pictures of fellow runners and Bart, I was overwhelmed with the response. Runners love Bart! I'm happy to share some of those pictures in this post. I'll share some more in my book review on Monday. In the meantime, enjoy this conversation with Bart--and don't miss out on his book. Spoiler alert: I couldn't put it down. It has been a life well lived for the Chief Running Officer of Runner's World Magazine.

I didn't ask him specifics about races in the books or about Yasso 800s. The book is rich with details, and you can learn all you want to know about those topics when you read the book. Instead, I wanted to learn a little more about Bart the runner.

Bart and Artney
www.myprettybrownfit.com
TTLWH: Total fangirl here, I loved your book! It was such a great read. I cannot believe that you have had all these adventures. Out of everything you’ve experienced, what stands out as your most memorable experience? Favorite race? Anything really weird that you want to share?

BY: I feel so lucky I started running 39 years ago because it’s taken me around the world. By far, my most memorable experience was running the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. It's a 56-mile ultra marathon. Comrades is the oldest and largest ultra in the world. Also memorable on this trip was visiting Robben Island standing in Nelson Mandela’s jail cell. Mr. Mandela spent 20 years in that cell.

Bart and Tiffany
www.thechiathlete.com
TTLWH: You’ve really done it all. Are there any adventures or goals you still want to experience? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? What do you want to be most remembered for? And what’s on your race calendar for 2016? 

BY: I still go to about 30 events per year, but I only run a few. I do lots of seminars, speak at pasta dinners, and greet thousands of runners at the finish line. I would love to be remembered for what I gave back to our sport.

Smitha and Bart
www.fauxrunner.com
TTLWH: I read with great interest about your struggle with Lyme Disease. Do you still experience flares of the disease? Have you changed your training? Your goals?

BY: I don’t run competitively anymore. Of the few races I do participate in, I’m just happy to be part of the sport. I never wear a watch in a race. I go out and enjoy being part of the festivities. With the Lyme this past decade, I’ve had few relatively pain-free miles where I could train and race.


Nancy and Bart
www.littlefancynancy.blogspot.com
TTLWH: In 2016, I’m running Big Sur. In your book, you name it as the most scenic course. This is a bucket list race for me, and coming from the midwest, I know better than to have a goal time for this one! But I still want to train properly. What training advice would you give to runners training for this very hilly course? Will I see you there?

BY: I will see you at Big Sur. I love the event. The course has 14 miles downhill. I always tell runners prepare for the downhills.


Bart and Natalie
www.natrunsfar.com
TTLWH: When I was at mile 12 of the Chicago Marathon, I saw you in the crowd, you waved to me, and I swear you called out my name. In his foreword to your book, Amby Burfoot says that you remember the first names of 75% of people you meet. This is an amazing skill, and probably what makes you so popular with runners. How do you do this?

BY: That was me at mile 12 at the Chicago Marathon. I’m so lucky I remember faces and names very easily. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I suck at math, but I have a great memory. My friends always said we don’t need Google, we have Bart.


Toni and Bart
www.runninglovingliving.com
TTLWH: You’ve been called the Mayor of Running. With your great people skills, you’d make a good politician. Ever consider running for office? President? Heck, Trump’s got nothing on you!

BY: I don’t want to hold any political position. What I do fight for is to make sure everyone has the opportunity to run.


Bart and Steff
www.runsteffrun.com
TTLWH: Anything else you want to add?

BY: Running is a very powerful sport. I want to witness thousands of runners using our sport to change their lives to the better.

Erika high fiving Bart at this years RW Running Festival
www.mcmmamaruns.com
In my copy of the book, Bart wrote this quote:
"Never limit where running can take you."-Bart Yasso
Best advice Bart could give to a runner. What a life he's lived! Be sure to check out his book. The review will be posted on Monday, November 16. The linkup will be open for 2 weeks. You can always post your review in the comments, too! I'm looking forward to hearing what you think!

If you want to learn more about this iconic runner, Marathon Training Academy recently posted a podcast interview with Bart! You can check that out here. You can also check out his website, bartyasso.com.

Have you ever met Bart Yasso? 

80 comments :

  1. LOVELY interview! I LOVE YOU, BART! <3

    Also -- The Chi-Athlete ...not ChiRunner.:)

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  2. Needless to say I know Bart from reading Runner's World and I have always loved all the advice he has given. He is an icon, and he has given so much to this sport. I have missed him this year at the NYC Expo, but many many runners loved meeting him. Such a positive force!

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    1. He embodies all that is positive about our sport! Running is fun!

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  3. Great interview, Wendy! I haven't read the book, yet, but based on his wonderful personality, it sounds like it's a fascinating read!

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  4. I finished the book last night; read it in just a few days. I agree, you can't put it down. An easy read, and enjoyable from page one. I can't even fathom so many crazy adventures. I won't comment on specifics, either, until review time, but I'll say that not only does he make you feel as though you know him as the guy next door, and he comes across as a really great guy, grateful for everything he has and for what running has given him. And he gives back so much.

    I have not met him. That would be grand.

    I love his inscription on your book.

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    1. I love that inscription as well! What a fun experience. And I'll get to see him at Big Sur!

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  5. Nice interview! I met him at the Shamrock half marathon in Virginia Beach! He is a super nice guy. And so many interesting stories...I had to laugh at the run at the nudist resort.

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    1. The naked marathon chapter was hilarious!

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  6. I've never met Bart Yasso before, but I'd love to meet him in person. I was in awe when I met Jeff Galloway in person, and I'm sure I'd be even more star struck by meeting Bart.

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    1. Isn't that funny? I met SBS and it was like being with an old friend. Then I go to meet Bart and I'm completely starstruck!

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  7. Great interview. Love that you were able to bring out the human side of this celebrity! It's funny you mentioned how patient he is with people. I had the honor of meeting him last year at Runners World Half in Bethlehem PA. He took the time to take several runfies with me and my friends even though he had a dog race to judge.

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    1. That's funny that he judged a dog race! He's a man of many talents.

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  8. What an awesome and down to earth guy. I love that he just wants to spread his love of running to the world. I can't wait to read your review.

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  9. I love Bart. he's crazy but I love him.

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  10. Great post! So cool that you were able to score an interview with him!

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  11. Bart is so awesome and really just the nicest person ever! I dont think he realizes his celebrity or rock-star status!

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    1. If he does, it's not a big deal to him. He's so humble!

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  12. This is awesome, Wendy! Thank you for including me. I am a TOTAL Fan girl)! Lol! When I met him at the WDW Marathon weekend I was just like you! I was SO nervous to meet him! He was so nice. He's the absolute best! When things slow down in the next few weeks, I'm going to get his book! Thank you for sharing! Can't wait to read your review on the book!

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    1. Your picture with Bart is the cutest of all! Thanks for sharing.

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  13. How much fun! This was SOO nice of him!!
    I wish I had his name remembering skills. I am TERRIBLE at it!

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    1. I need to be better about remembering names!

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  14. What an awesome experience Wendy! I would be so speechless meeting him, you though now that surprised me. You did a great job with the interview and also with all the pictures of others with him. That was super nice of him to agree to the interview. My absolute favorite line in this whole post and it's so powerful... "Running is a very powerful sport. I want to witness thousands of runners using our sport to change their lives to the better." So many people have no idea the impact they have on other people, What a great responsibility that is and Mr. Yasso has that down to a "T"! Thank you so much for using your talents as a blogger to get this out there!

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    1. It was a pleasure doing this! I'm still starstruck!

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  15. How awesome you got to meet Bart! I've never met him but it would be quite the honor!

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  16. How fun! Looks like everyone has met him! He seems like an awesome fun guy. What an honor to meet him

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    1. It was one of the highlights of the marathon weekend!

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  17. I love this so much as I just met Bart at the RW Festival and Half...and was there for Nancy and Erika's photos!! He truly is an ambassador of the sport and just the nicest guy you ever want to meet. I'm definitely downloading his book!!
    PS - SO cool you get to run Big Sur!!! That and Chicago are the only races remaining on my bucket list!

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    1. Oh you have to do Chicago! It is the best race, I think!

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  18. So awesome that you got to meet and interview Bart! I love how supportive he is of all runners!

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  19. Wow Bart Yasso seems like such a nice guy! I haven't read his book but you make me want to read it.

    I wish I had his memory. I FORGET 75% of names!

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    1. He's lived an amazing life--still does!

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  20. What a great interview! He seems like such a cool guy. I can't wait to check out his book.

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  21. Aww sorry I missed your shout out for BY pics. We've met him several times. He was a wonderful host at the RW festival and I wish I would have asked him more questions!

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    1. I'm just thrilled that he agreed to this interview!!!

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  22. What an amazing interview. He is such a class act.

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  23. This was lovely! I have a love/hate relationship with his Yasso 800s... haha

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  24. I haven't read this book yet, but I need to get it ASAP. I met him last year and he is such an amazing guy and I love listening to him speak!!

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    1. Truly, he is amazing. What else can I say? We are so lucky to have him in our sport!

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  25. This is awesome! I love how he signed your book. I definitely need to remember that quote! I don't think I've met Bart yet, but I'm hoping to do a race with him someday!

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  26. I would be too shy to say anything as well, that's awesome that he replied to your questions! I love the running community, though those Yasso 800's are NO JOKE!

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    1. I'm so glad my coach didn't make me do those Yasso 800s!

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  27. He seems like a very nice guy! It's wonderful he just wants to give back to this sport.

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    1. He's got it made--lived the dream and gets to tell all of us about it!

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  28. I have never met Bart Yasso but he sounds like an incredibly nice and caring guy! Love that you got to interview him!

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    1. I love that he let me!! I can't wait to see him again at Big Sur! #Bartieagain!

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  29. Oh, I didn't think it was possible, but this made me love him even more. He certainly is creating a legacy of kindness and supporting all runners.

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  30. Awesome post. I high-fived him at my first marathon last year on the course. Got to run with him at a event in January. Then got multiple pictures with him today at the Richmond Marathon, a #bartie at the finish after an awesome PR and then one where he is holding my medal later on. Such a nice guy.

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    1. That's great! I'll get to see him again at Big Sur. What a great guy!

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  31. How exciting you got to meet him and interview him. Thanks for sharing !

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    1. I still can't quite believe I got to interview him! So exciting!

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  32. How cool! I wish I would have gotten the chance to meet him at the RW half, but it was just not in the cards for me that day. Maybe next year!

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    1. He's everywhere, so you'll have another chance, I'm sure!

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  33. Awesome interview! I am going to have to read his book! He is such a nice person, thanks for the inclusion!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your picture with me!

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  34. How amazing that you got to interview him! His story is very inspiring and I might have to check out his book now.

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  35. What a cool interview! I've only started hearing about Bart in the past year, but he sounds like a pretty cool, stand up guy! I've actually been thinking about asking a few local running celebs for interviews for my blog, and you've inspired me! Plus, I want to read his book now!

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    1. Check out my review of the book! You won't regret reading it. It's a great, well written book!

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  36. I am thew same way, I get really excited to meet someone, but have no idea what say.
    Loved this!! I have not met him at an expo yet...but I am positive I will one day :)

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    1. I hope you do! You need a #bartie! All the cool kids have them... :p

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  37. Bart is such a wonderful ambassador for the sport. I loved seeing him at the finish line of so many races, but especially Richmond Marathon last year when my daughter was finishing the race and he took a photo with her!

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    1. He never seems to get tired of it! I love that.

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  38. Great interview! I've met him a few times. I somehow missed the post asking for pictures because I have a couple. Oh well.

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