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436. CJ Albertson, “The Guy Who Led the Boston Marathon for 21 Miles”

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“It was a win-win either way. If they go with me, they’re running my race, and that’s great. And if they don’t go with me, I have a huge lead at Boston, and that’s pretty awesome, too!”

If you watched the 2021 Boston Marathon, you got to know CJ Albertson — or at least his face — pretty well. That’s because CJ, who runs professionally for Brooks Running, took the lead in the men’s elite race right from the start, and held it for 21 miles. He ran solo that entire time, gapping the rest of the field by two minutes at one point. After 21 miles, the pack caught up to CJ — who was also celebrating his birthday that day — but he was able to hang in and ultimately finished 10th. Those 21 miles at the front may have put CJ on the Boston map, but he’s hardly new to the running scene. The California native is a 2:11 marathoner and cross-country and track coach at Clovis Community College. In 2019, he completed the indoor marathon world record challenge in 2 hours 17 minutes and 59 seconds. (That’s 26.2 miles, indoors, on a 200-meter track!) Then, in 2020, CJ set an all-surface 50K world best time of 2:42:30, which he also ran on a track. CJ loves pursuing the fun side of running, and is always up for a challenge, whether it’s leading the Boston Marathon or topping the leaderboard of every Peloton class he takes. All that and more, on this episode of the Ali on the Run Show.

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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • What CJ’s Boston recovery has been like (2:30)
  • On feeling like a star (6:30)
  • What the day before the race was like (8:30)
  • On praying before the race (17:00)
  • What it was like walking to the start line (23:50)
  • CJ’s race plan, and how it played out (26:20)
  • On gapping the field — by two minutes — and eventually getting caught by the pack (35:15)
  • That finish line feeling (48:15)
  • CJ’s love for Peloton (50:55)
  • What’s next? (57:40)

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