Hooray Run Podcast: Amanda Loudin on HOKA NAZ Elite’s String of Successes

Scott Fauble crosses the finish line at the 2019 Boston Marathon, as sketched by Carly Peil.

Freelance writer Amanda Loudin joins host James Rogers to discuss her May feature entitled “HOKA NAZ Elite: Inside the Hottest Team Going” for PodiumRunner. Northern Arizona (NAZ) Elite—a professional running group based in Flagstaff, Arizona, and led by head coach Ben Rosario—partnered with HOKA in 2015 and had a breakthrough 2018 with multiple team members posting eye-catching results.

Now a 13-member team, NAZ Elite’s most notable performance came this year at the 2019 Boston Marathon, where 27-year-old Scott Fauble finished seventh in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 9 seconds (2:09:09) to become the 11th-fastest American ever for the 26.2-mile distance.

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Q&Hooray: Kyle Merber, Hoka One One Long Island Mile


Kyle Merber is a professional runner for Hoka One One. On September 9, the first-ever Hoka One One Long Island Mile (Hoka LI Mile) will take place in Huntington Station, New York, at St. Anthony’s High School. Merber is the co-director of the Hoka LI Mile, which is a festival of races featuring an elite men’s and women’s mile that will follow an array of open miles and a 400-meter race for kids.

Merber, who is from Dix Hills, New York, ran collegiately at Columbia University and the University of Texas. While at Columbia, he ran 3:35.59 for 1500 meters. He has since lowered his 1500 personal record to 3:34.54. He has also clocked a 3:54.7 mile. Merber is one of America’s finest 1500/mile runners.

In May, Merber became a world-record holder. At the IAAF/BTC World Relays, Bahamas 2015, Merber ran the 1200-meter leg of the USA’s distance medley relay (DMR) championship team. The squad of Merber, Brycen Spratling, Brandon Johnson and Ben Blankenship ran 9:15.50 to set a new world record.

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Merber took time to answer questions about the Hoka LI Mile, which RunnerSpace.com will stream live on September 9.

Hooray Run: When you approached Hoka One One with the idea of the event, how long did it take for the company to jump on board?

Kyle Merber: The idea came to life last year when I was in my first summer of racing as a professional. I was faced with the option of going back to Europe in late August to get a couple more races in before the 5th Avenue Mile. I was in good shape and wanted to race, but it’s expensive to fly over twice, and it can be exhausting. So the idea was kind of born out of that gap in the domestic racing season, and I saw an opportunity to help bridge it. My co-director Brendan Barrett and I have had multiple conversations through the years of ways to bring the pros to Long Island, and this was finally the way to do it. We wrote up a big business plan and met with Hoka in October, but before we could even finish the proposal they were already on board.

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