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Each week, two of our contributors or special guests face off in The XC's Top 5 Running Show, dissecting five stories from the week in the world of distance running and track and field. They offer their best and hottest takes to the host, Michael Doyle, who rewards them in points.

The panelist with the deepest knowledge and hottest takes will emerge from this five-lap sprint of ideas the victor. The prize? We give them the mic atop the podium to tell us something important or exciting they want to share with you. And seven days of bragging rights, of course.

We’ll be pushing this show out both as a podcast on The XC’s feed each Monday, and as a video on our YouTube and IGTV channels, at around 7 p.m. ET. So be sure to  follow us @thexcorg and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

This week:

This week, defending champion Justin Horneker takes on The XC's Alex Cyr.

In this episode, they debate:

Who Took Home the Prickly Pear?

The Nike Bowerman Track Club secretly put together a big track meet in Arizona on Saturday and called it The Prickly Pear, for some reason. During it, some of the best distance runners in the world faced off on an outdoor high school track in powerful 3,000m or 800m finals. Grant Fisher, Evan Jager, Elle Purrier and Colleen Quigley all toed the line, but which athlete really stole the show?

The American Track League — A Sign of Events to Come?

The American Track League, a series of indoor track meets held at the University of Arkansas, wrapped up its third week in a row of races. So far, despite the meet's continued lack of significant sponsorship, we have seen big-time Olympians compete and even the odd world record drop. The league is gaining momentum, but can this model continue to thrive in pandemic times?

The Father-Son 4-Minute Mile Club Is a Thing?

Cruz Culpepper, an 18-year-old freshman with the University of Washington Huskies, ran the mile in 3:59.53 in late January. Cruz is the son of 2004 U.S. Olympian Alan Culpepper, and the pair became only the fifth father-son duo to both dip under the four-minute barrier. But are they any more impressive than the Gregoreks? The Centrowitzes?

Colleen Quigley Leaves World famous Training Group - Good Move?

Top American steeplechaser and Instagram running celebrity Colleen Quigley dropped a bomb just before taking to the track at the aforementioned Prickly Pear Meet — that she’s left the Nike Bowerman Track Club (she writes about her departure here.) Quigley, the third-fastest steeplechaser in American history, is in the prime of her career. Was it a bad call to leave one of the best clubs in the world, or is this the perfect time for Quigley to test the sponsorship market?

The Super Bowl of Running

We recorded this edition of The Top 5 Running Show just before the Super Bowl kick off on Sunday — which is, of course, the biggest single sports event of the year. While no other competition in sports can quite rival the Super Bowl's gravitas, what is the running world's equivalent event?

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