Arciniaga and Vail team up to race TCS New York City Marathon, by Carolyn Mather/Racing South


Nic Arciniaga, photo by

We asked Carolyn Mather, long time writer for our partner's Racing South, to cover American athletes racing in New York City this weekend. 


   Looking calm and relaxed Nick Arciniaga and Ryan Vail are excited to take it to the streets of New York City and emerge in the top ten but preferably top five finishers. Vail trains in Portland,Oregon but in August joined Arciniaga  in Flagstaff, Arizona to get in hard sessions preparing for the race in November. Arciniaga lives full time in Flagstaff and Vail lived with him and his wife Carolyn for a month while they put in many 15 to 25 mile runs. They thrived pushing each other, getting the most out of their time together. and are on a mission which hopefully culminates with a spot on the 2016 Olympic marathon team.

  Both believe that the predicted cold and windy weather will be an equalizer on Sunday. They come into to the race with personal bests of 2:10:57 ( Vail) and 2:11:30 (Arciniaga) and they have a plan to stay with the lead pack through 20 miles, covering any moves then go for a top spot the last 10K.

  Arciniaga began his marathon training on August 2nd starting with 135 miles a week and adding five miles a week until he hit 160. Arciniaga has been doing 140 miles a week for years but taking it a bit higher has made him stronger. He has learned to train smarter and pay attention to the small details like rest, nutrition and balance in his life. At age 31 he feels he is hitting his stride. I watched Arciniaga win his first national championship at the 2013 Twin Cities Marathon and his career has taken off since then. The day before the 2014 Boston Marathon he signed a deal with Under Armour as their only marathon star. His 7th place finish the following day in 2:11:47 was the icing on the cake for his new sponsor. He has been travelling for Under Armour and says they already treat him like he is an Olympian. He describes the relationship as "great" . Under Armour is introducing a new line of shoes this weekend with Arciniaga proudly showcasing  the new shoe.

  Under Armour is also partnering him with new sponsors, namely Map My Run and Cliff Bar as he has emerged as one of their sports superstars. His new look for his photo shoot and his Under Armour image is awesome and really suits him. The visibility he is providing Under Armour and vice versa is a true partnership. He ran their half marathon in mid October and was "really surprised at al the hills". The relationship is fantastic.

  After the marathon, Arciniaga is going to do Club Cross Country and then concentrate on getting himself on the world championship team for Bejiing next August. Enroute he plans to race a 30K in Japan in February, go after the American record at the 50K championship in March then do Boston in April. Next fall he plans to run a marathon before taking on the trials in February 2016. Arciniaga runs with Team Run Flagstaff and fortunately has a very supportive running community and many talented training partners.

   Vail who is 28 does most of his training on his own so he reveled in his time in Flagstaff. He lives and trains in Portland and does some online coaching when not training. His personal best was set in London but he found himself running alone there and here in New York after losing touch with the pack. The second pack in NYC was within 10 seconds of the lead pack last year at the half mark then broke apart. His plan this time like Arciniaga's is to stay with the pack whatever it takes.

   After the marathon Vail plans to do shorter stuff including cross country with a plan to return to the world cross championship. He is going to skip a spring marathon and look to Berlin or Chicago in the fall. Vail runs for Brooks and has a very supportive wife who coaches cross country in Portland and recently debuted in a stellar 2:45 marathon. His coach Dave Smith is good friends with Shalane Flanagan's coach Jerry Schumacher and with both coaches working out a plan he paced Shalane to her personal best 2:21:14 in Berlin running 41K with her and fellow pacer Canadian Rob Watson in September. He found it to be an incredible experience even though Shalane faded a bit the last 5K and did not get the American record.

  Arciniaga predicts that he and Vail will be on the 2016 Olympic Marathon team. These men are dedicated and pursuing their dreams in earnest. Meb Keflezighi ,three time Olympian and winner of the New York City and Boston Marathons said this morning that you have to believe and you have to put in the hard work. It takes a great deal of both .Arciniaga and Vail are on the way andSunday will be their first test on the road to the trials.

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