David Willey

Ali on the Run Show Episode 153: David Willey, Former Editor in Chief of Runner’s World

“If you are struggling, it does not mean that you are failing. It does not mean that you’re doing something wrong. It just means that you are coming up against some hurdles, whether they’re physical or mental or emotional, and it’s important to listen to those and try and understand what’s underneath them. But by no means do they imply that you’re not going to achieve your goal. You just need to see them as part of the process. Struggle is just as important as the elation and the sense of fulfillment that we all get after a great workout or a PR.”

David Willey spent 14 years at the helm of Runner’s World magazine. But after announcing his departure from the brand in 2017, David went off the grid. On this episode, David’s back on the grid, opening up about what made life for the past two years “outlandishly fun, intentionally challenging, unexpectedly hard and depressing, and newly regenerating.” David talks about his time at Runner’s World — the highs, the lows, and the part of the job that had him ambushing runners on live television during the New York City Marathon — and talks about his take on the brand now. He talks about his old dog and his new dog (we both shed a few tears there), his battle with Lyme Disease, and how he fulfilled his decade-long dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

Thank you to AfterShokz for sponsoring this episode of the Ali on the Run Show! CLICK HERE for $50 off your wireless headphone endurance bundle!

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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • How David got the job at Runner’s World, and why it was a dream job (3:45)
  • David looks back at his favorite Runner’s World covers, stories, and adventures (10:00)
  • Why David left Runner’s World after 14 years (18:40)
  • All about David’s “Moonshot Marathon” (24:30)
  • Why David says Runner’s World readers get so heated online (32:20)
  • What it’s like interviewing runners live on the course during the New York City Marathon broadcast (35:20)
  • Does David still read Runner’s World? (43:15)
  • David looks back on his time with his dog, Trucha, and his book proposal in the works (45:30)
  • On an unexpected battle with Lyme Disease (56:30)
  • David’s message to runners who are struggling right now (1:05:10)

What we mention on this episode:

Runner’s World covers through the years

Mary Wittenberg on Episode 98 of the Ali on the Run Show

Joe Holder

Julia Lucas

“A Very Good Dog” — David’s editor’s letter about his dog, Trucha

Camp Canine

The Runner’s World Show podcast

The Human Race podcast

The Hive Life podcast

Neely Spence Gracey on Episode 42 of the Ali on the Run Show

Bayshore Marathon

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One Response

  1. Just listened to this on my run. Loved this episode, Ali. Especially the part about struggling. Thank you David and Ali.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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