Archive | May, 2012

The Real Maine Bros

21 May

Tonight at 6PM is the premier of the long awaited “The Real Maine”.  If you haven’t heard of it, where the hell have you been?
Here is the link to the site where the movie will be streaming, along with clips and info about all of the guys:


I’ve met most of these guys before and they’re real chill, which is one of the reasons I’m so excited something like this was made.  I think Erik sums it up best when he said ”  It’s one thing to see Kiprop run 3:30, but when you see someone who’s relevant to you run well it raises the level of expectation. It’s like, I know what he does, how he trains, how he lives. If he can do it why can’t I?”.  This is a regular, albeit talented, group of guys who are extremely dedicated to what they do.  They are REAL runners.

Here’s a quick last minute series of interviews I put together with some of the guys. Thanks so much dudes, we will continue to enjoy watching you kick ass this year.

Mark Feigen:

Feigen or Gerard Butler?


How did Kyle approach you about this trip to Maine? Were you pretty much on board right away?

Kyle asked me what my plans were for the summer and I told him that I didn’t have any. He said he had been talking to Riley and Erik about getting together for the summer and asked if I would be interested in joining them. It seemed like it probably wouldn’t happen but since I had no other options I said I was in.

When I’m home in the summer in Texas I get to run with a lot of runners from different teams such as Texas, Tulsa, and Arizona. Getting to run with people from different programs is one of my favorite things to do since it’s a nice little refresher from the normal school-season training and it allows me to learn about a lot of different point of views on training. What did you learn from this group of guys that helped with your running (philosophies/training aspects)?

Getting to run with guys from different schools and areas is definitely one of my favorite things too. Training and talking with Riley and Erik showed me that there are a lot of different ways to accomplish the same goals. Erik has probably run twice as many miles as Riley since being in college but somehow they have very similar PR’s. Different styles work for different people but as long as you believe in your own training you have a good chance to be successful.

Sharing running philosophies. Or discussing peeing in public

I know some people who have headed out to New Mexico for the summer to train and I’ll be doing a stint in Colorado, do you think the change of location helps focus on the training while keeping things interesting, and what would you tell somebody who is still on the fence about doing something like this?

Getting out of the usual training environment and into something different is a good way to keep training from getting stale. When i’m in the city I do the same runs all of the time and taking a break from that for portions of the year is fun and makes me excited to get back to school in the fall when the season starts up again.

Avoid this cabin in the woods though, unless you have Bruce Campbell with you (Anyone know this reference?)

How many runs did you drop Merber on?

We probably only dropped kyle on a few runs but he definitely complained about us going too fast pretty often. Riley loves to one-step.


Kyle Merber:


When we hung out in Ann Arbor last year, I believe you were only running about 2 to 3 miles a day. In case there are readers who don’t know, tell about what your setback was and how you overcame it to have such a successful year:

In August of 2010 I stepped on a piece of glass while on a training run. It pierced my trainer and tore my flexor tendon. I was out for 7 months and my entire junior year. It took two bouts of PRP to help me overcome the tear. This was a tough time in my life, and Erik does a great job of doing that struggle justice in the film. There was a large chunk of time when I became quite depressed because the future of my career was in question. But one day I will look back and view this as the turning point for me. The reason I was enthusiastic to be a part of the film is I wanted to give credence to those who are injured and say that it gets better. Once you encounter a serious injury, it becomes part of who you are as a runner. And that’s a powerful vendetta.

All of you have had some pretty impressive successes this season, most recently your 3:35 comes to mind. Do you attribute some of this year’s successes to the time spent out in Maine? 

I don’t necessarily point to Maine as the reason for any of our success. However, I think that anyone who shows a willingness to dedicate oneself to training will experience improvements. We weren’t the only group of college kids to have a training camp in the summer, we just did it with a film major. I definitely think getting a great base in is essential for any runner, and we all walked away with some new found strength. That probably could have been accomplished in most US states, and probably even parts of Canada, but we had a lot of fun in the process.

Most flattering pic I could find from the meet

Related to the last question, what do you think is the biggest thing you learned/took from The Real Maine Experience?

The biggest take away I left Maine with is that there is an infinite number of ways to train. Over the course of the summer, we had plenty of talks about workouts and training plans. Every one of our coaches brought something different to the table, but all produce results. The main objective in training is to find a way to stress the body, and then recover so you come back stronger. The variables employed to accomplish that goal will vary greatly.


This is less of a question and more of a request, I think you should grow just a ‘stache for track natties, how do you feel about that?

Request: Denied. I am a light beard kind of guy.

P.S–I stand by “easy days easy.”
Riley Masters:

Wrigley Field Riley

What is one thing you learned about each guy there while in Maine?

Mark and Erik always have something witty and funny to say. There aren’t a lot of serious conversations that go on around them. Mark is the kind of guy who will call you out on anything, he keep you on your toes. Erik is the guy in the group who finds a few good one liners and uses them obsessively in every situation. Chris is a super competitive kid. Whether he is racing, playing wiffleball or horse shoes he is GOING TO WIN! Kyle is the kind of guy you go to if you need advice; but regardless of the problem you go to him with, he’ll give you some kind of antidote about his injury or winning millrose. In all seriousness, they were a great group of guys to spend the summer time with. All of them are extremely hard working with very big aspirations. I learned a lot from all of them.

words of wisdom from the Millrose Champ

When asking Erik about the funniest thing/story of the trip he told me to ask you about that one, is it a story you’d like to tell?

The story Erik is referring to involves a minor procedure I had when I was a freshman in high school. I would love to share it with everyone, but I am not sure I could do it justice with out telling it in person. The content of the story is jaw dropping but my timing and delivery is what makes it great!

All of you “Real Maine” guys are having great seasons, which is great because to the viewers it helps validate everything that you guys say in the movie. Looking back at your college career so far, what kind of advice would you give to the graduating high school seniors who will be going into their first semester of college next fall to achieve the levels of success that you, Erik, Chris, Kyle, and Mark have?

The advice I would give to young runners is to be patient. Running isn’t something that comes to you overnight. Sometimes it takes a while for all of your training to pay off, but if your patient and stick with it then eventually you will see the benefits and rewards of all that hard work.

Hard work is paying off, 3:37 is blazing.

Erik van Ingen:


I read in a previous interview that the idea stemmed from Quentin Cassidy’s escape to the cabin in the novel Once a Runner. This has actually been something that I, and I’m sure many other runners, have dreamed of since reading that fantastic book. To all of us who have had this in the back of our heads but have never acted upon it, would you recommend it and what words of advice do you have in terms of finding a place and a group of people to do it with?

I would definitely recommend it. It was a fun summer, the best of my life. My advice is keep it basic, real cheap. To quote fight club, “It’s only when we have lost everything that we are free to do anything”. As far as a group, chemistry is key. The dynamics of how each person interacts within the group is priority. We knew that going into the summer and stayed true to that.

Running to him was real..

Here’s where I try and ask some questions that haven’t been asked yet.

This film is your final project/thesis type film, correct? Who do you consider some of your artistic influences and who is your favorite director?

Yeah, this project was my senior thesis ,after the fact though. I had another project lined up, but bailed it for this. TRM was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I look for artistic inspiration in a lot of different places. I think that’s how an artist is pieced together is being influenced by so many things that you can sift through the good and bad and create a style that reflects you. I really admire well rounded artists. Mos Def comes to mind for me. He’s one of the most influential hip hop artists of our time, he performs on broadway, he’s been on screen with some of Hollywood’s biggest actors. I also like figures that transcend genre, like what the Fugees have done with their live performances. I think being able to combine multiple influences to create a unique sound is brilliant. I’m using hip hop as an example mostly because that’s something that I hold close to me in terms of a personal interest, but I feel that I can still pull ideas from other forms of art and have them compliment whatever it is that I’m working on. As far as a favorite director, I’m a huge Derren Aronovsky fan. His aesthetics are so dark and gritty. The struggle and internal conflicts that his films deal with are something that have always resonated with me. I can’t relate to wrestling or dealing heroine, but the ideas that are conveyed by the subject matter is something that I can relate with.

Yo it’s 6 Million Ways to Die, from the seven deadly thrills,
Eight-year olds gettin found with 9 mill’s

I don’t think many people realize how good of a skier you were (I assume you still are). Do you still hit the rails in the winter?

Skiing, that was my first love. It will always have a spot in my heart. Unfortunately this was the first year in my life that I didn’t ski. I see skiing as a detractor from my training. It’s a very tiring sport as is running. Pounding out a run in the morning then spending the day at the hill is a bit too much for my body. At this point, my eggs are all in the running basket so I’m fine with it. I’ll always have skiing when I decide to hang up the spikes.

Did Kyle get dropped on every run you did?
Kyle got dropped many a time, he also did some dropping. Contrary to popular belief he’s not a big pussy.

Did y’all have workouts to do while out there and if so did everybody do their own separate workouts or were there times when y’all did them together?

We were all on different schedules. Mark and Kyle had similar workouts being that they have the same coach. Riley’s training was flexible so at times he would hop in with them. As for me, I was getting back into things after a long outdoor season so I was just getting in some miles. We had some days where we had to do our own thing, but for the most part we all ran together.

Bros before hoes

Tell me about your decision to release this online for free to the public:

As for releasing it online for all to see. I want this to be something that others can appreciate. Everyone is going to pull something different from it. For some it will be a different perspective, others might be motivated. Whatever it is, I want a lot of people to see it and I want a lot of people to pull something positive from it that they can apply to their own running. Making it to view for free is only going to heighten the exposure. I’m young with very few expenses. I figure I have plenty of time to make money in the future. Right now it’s about fine tuning my skill set and promoting what I do.

We appreciate the hours of work you put into this

One of the most intriguing things about this film to me is that it’s by runners that people like me can actually relate to. From the clips so far it looks “real”, that’s the best way I can describe it. It’s not a Saint Ralph, but rather a down to Earth group of guys who are willing to do whatever it takes to reach their goals in the sport. What do you hope viewers take away from the film?

That was one of the biggest things I was going for, was making something real, something relatable. We are college kids working our asses off to be the people that we want to be. Almost every runner our age can relate to that manifestation of self. I think a great example is Kyle running 3:35. That came out of nowhere. We were texting the other day and he said the first thing he thought when I ran 3:38 was “shit, I need to get to sleep so I can get on my horse”. It’s one thing to see Kiprop run 3:30, but when you see someone who’s relevant to you run well it raises the level of expectation. It’s like, I know what he does, how he trains, how he lives. If he can do it why can’t I?

No guts, no glory

In retrospect, what do you think is the most important thing you got out of this trip? Sorry that’s kind of broad. 

This trip was the first time that I could just relax. I can get super tightly wound. I was able to just get away, do something new, and have fun. I had a purpose, but no outside stress. We were a bunch of kids out running on some dirt roads, nothing more, nothing less. As a filmmaker I have grown a lot in the past year because of this film. I learn very well in a hands on environment. There’s no better way to learn about making a movie than to actually make a movie. For the group as a whole, I think there’s this bond that we hold. We’re not teammates and we sure as hell aren’t doing each other any favors when it’s race time. A bystander wouldn’t notice, but we can look each other in the eye and know that there’s something there. We are the real Maine.