After years of finishing at or near the back of the pack, Charlie “Duke” Miles has finished first in his age group (40-44) in all of his recent races. But up until now, the secret to his winning ways has remained a mystery. Was it some new kind of energy gel? No. Awesome compression socks with ridiculous energy return? Uh uh. A ramped-up training schedule that saw him exceed his average monthly mileage by over 30 percent? Great guess, but nope. The secret to this runner’s newfound success? His sweet jazz fusion playlist.

“It’s ‘No Mystery’,” said Miles in a coy allusion to a Return to Forever album that maybe some people have heard of. “You name it, I’ve run to it!” enthused the 44-year-old, who can’t decide if Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds of Fire or The Eleventh House’s Introducing The Eleventh House with Larry Coryell pumps him up more.

Miles’ most recent jazz fusion playlist for running.

“Boy, I’ve got some Pat Metheny stuff that just knocks my socks off every time!” Miles proclaimed. “I mean, seriously – his guitar synth solos literally knock my socks off my feet and I have to stop and put them back on. It’s really the only downside I can see so far.”

The jazzed up runner used to listen to NPR podcasts and Top 40 hits out on the trails until he discovered the wild world of fusion, also known as “jazz-rock fusion.”

“You can only listen to so many TED talks out there before you start yearning for that magical mix of consummate musicianship, mind-melting solos, and inimitable songwriting,” explained Miles.

Asked if his running friends have been supportive of his playlist choices, Miles said: “Friends?”

Miles is currently still digging the fourth iteration of his jazz fusion playlist, but has plans for a fifth, sixth, and more.

“It’s a fun thing to do with my spare time, making killer jazz fusion playlists,” Miles said. “I mean, what else is there to do?  Eventually, I’ll land on the ultimate jazz fusion playlist. Plus, maybe I’ll get so competitive that some company will sponsor me. Then I could afford to pick up some jazz fusion albums that aren’t already on Spotify!”


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