Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Human Race - How it all began.

Arguably the greatest ultra marathon in the world where athletes come from all over the world to combine muscle and sinew and mental strength to conquer the approx 90 kilometres between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the event owes its beginnings to the vision of one man, World War I veteran Vic Clapham. Vic Clapham was born in London on 16 November 1886 and emigrated as a youth to the Cape Colony in South Africa, with his parents. At the outbreak of the South African War (Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902) he enrolled as an ambulance man into the Cradock Town Guard at the age of 13. He later moved to Natal and worked as an engine driver with the South African Railways.

With the outbreak of the Great War 1914-1918, Vic Clapham signed up with the 8th South African Infantry, and fought and marched 1700 miles of the eastern savannahs of Africa in pursuit of Glen Paul Von Lettow-Vorbecks askari battalions.

The pain, agonies, death and hardships of his comrades which he witnessed during those awful days left a lasting impression on the battle-hardened soldier, especially the camaraderie engendered among the men in overcoming these privations. Thus when peace was declared in 1918, Clapham felt that all those who had fallen in this catastrophic war should be remembered and honoured in a unique way, where an individuals physical frailties could be put to the test and overcome. Remembering the searing heat and thirst of the parched veld through which he had campaigned, he settled on the idea of a marathon and he approached the athletic authorities of the day to sound their views. His enquiry led him to the doors of the League of Comrades of the Great War a corpus of ex-soldiers who had formed an association to foster the interests of their living companions who had survived the War.

Clapham asked for permission to stage a 56 mile race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban under the name of the Comrades Marathon and for it to become a living memorial to the spirit of the soldiers of the Great War This was strenuously resisted by the League, but Clapham persisted maintaining that if a sedentary living person could be taken off the street given a rifle and 60lb pack and marched all over Africa then surely a fit and able athlete could complete the distance. Applications in 1919 and 1920 were refused but in 1921 the League relented and gave permission and 1 for expenses, which was refundable.

The first Comrades Marathon took place on 24th May 1921, Empire Day, starting outside the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg with 34 runners. It has continued since then every year with the exception of the war years 1941-1945, with the direction alternating each year between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the so called up & down runs.

The Comrades Marathon is a cherished national treasure and attracts thousands of runners, spectators and television viewers every year. We invite you to participate in this great event and experience the worlds greatest race. For the longest time this race has been on my bucket list, so, in 74 days I am hoping to tick that box and look for the next big adventure!

Monday, March 14, 2011

15 Famous Athletes Who Are Vegetarians

Roxanne McAnn from Nursingschools.net have asked me to share the article below with my readers. In the book Born to Run, McDougall also explores the benefits of becoming a vegetarian runner as done by the Tarahumara Indians. I am very keen to put this to the test and see how my body responds! Let me have your thoughts on this:

Humans, and especially those who do a lot of physical exertion, need quite a bit of protein to keep their bodies healthy and in optimal shape. While meat is a great source of the essential nutrient, it's certainly not the only one; many athletes have opted out of eating meat in favor of plant-based sources. Some might think it's a disadvantage, but many of these athletes have won countless medals and competitions and have gone down in history as some of the best in their sports. If you're a vegetarian athlete or aspiring to be one, here are some of the greats in sporting history who show you just what can be done with hard work, lots of veggies and some amazing talent.

Bill Walton: Bill Walton was never one to stick to the mainstream when it came to his personal life, but on the court he is remembered as a great player, winning three straight College Player of the Year Awards during his time at UCLA and named an MVP during his time in the NBA. This Hall of Famer didn't do it with the help of animal protein, however. A committed vegetarian, Walton is still active off the court today as an announcer.

John Salley: John Salley isn't just a basketball legendhe's also an outspoken advocate for vegetarianism, often doing work for PETA. The first player in NBA history to play on three different championship-winning franchises, Salley calls vegetarianism "best damn way to eatperiod" and one might be inclined to agree with him after seeing his performance on the court.

Edwin Moses: Track and field star Moses won two gold medals in the Olympics and set the world record in his event an amazing four times. His powerful performance on the track was fueled by pure vegetable goodness, as Moses was a longtime vegetarian.

Tony Gonzalez: Atlanta Falcons superstar tight end Tony Gonzalez isn't a strict vegetarianbut it isn't necessarily all his doing. Gonzalez experimented with veganism and vegetarianism, but was talked into having a few servings of chicken or fish a week by the team's nutritionist. The bulk of Gonzalez's diet, however, is veggie-based, and this football star holds the record for most single season receptions and most career reception yards.

Martina Navratilova: Tennis champ Navratilova has 18 Grand Slam singles titles and 31 doubles titles to her namean all-time recordleading Billie Jean King (another vegetarian) to call her "the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who ever lived." Throughout her career, Navratilova has been committed to vegetarianism and is an active spokeswomen for organizations such as PETA.

Carl Lewis: It's hard not to have heard of this Olympic great, a man who was called, "the greatest athlete to ever set foot on track or field." Lewis has won ten Olympic medals over the course of his career, nine of them gold. Lewis isn't just a vegetarianhe's a veganand began this diet before the 1991 World Championships. His new diet didn't seem to hurt his performance as he, and others, felt he ran some of the best races of his career at that meet.

Robert Parish: One of the greatest NBA players in the history of the game, Robert Parish is a Hall of Famer inducted in 2003. While well-known for this jump shot, Parish is also is famous for his vegetarianismjust showing that even a huge, athletic individual doesn't have to eat meat to fuel the body.

Mike Tyson: Mike Tyson is a recent convert to an animal-free diet, committing himself in early 2010 to a fully vegan diet. It seems to have done wonders for the prize-winning fighter, as he's slimmed down and says he's happier now than he has been in years– a turnaround for a man famous for ear biting, crazy tattoos and jail time.

Joe Namath: Anyone who knows football has heard of this legendary player, inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1985. This Super Bowl Champion once said, "It shows you don't need meat to play football," and his success on the field makes that abundantly clear.

Prince Fielder: Prince Fielder decided to be a vegetarian after reading about how chicken and cattle are treated on farms, a decision that made national news and caused many to speculate that it might affect his performance on the field. Yet Fielder is a home run champ, and has hit over 110 home runs in the years since he went veggie.

Tony La Russa: While La Russa might be more famous for his work as a coach than as a baseball player, his accomplishments in the field of athletics are nothing to shrug off. La Russa is a star manager in both the National and American leagues, becoming only the sixth manager in history to win pennants with both and one of only two mangers to win the world series in both leagues. He's also a committed vegetarian stating that he decided to stop eating meat after seeing a PBS program on how veal comes to the table.

Ed Templeton: Those familiar with the skateboarding world will know this skater and artist's name well. Templeton owns and operates a skateboarding company and is a well-known skater in his own right. He's also a vegan and has been since 1990, citing the influence of his friends and readings about the meat and dairy industry as his reasons for making the change.

Scott Jurek: If you've never heard of the sport of ultramarathoning, the name alone should alert you to the fact that it's a pretty intense sport. This hardcore athlete made the change to a vegan diet in 1999 and hasn't looked back, finding new and innovative ways to fuel his body for several marathons and loads of training every year. It seems to have done his body good, as Jurek is one of the sport's leading champions.

David Zabriskie: Cyclist Zabriskie has won the US National Time Trial Championship a whopping five times and has placed well in the Grand Tour, making him an incredibly accomplished road bicycle racer. Along with his love of cycling, Zabriskie also has a passion for veganism and converted to the diet recently after learning about the impact the meat industry has had on the environment. He admits that it was a struggle, but believes that ultimately, it will be the best thing for his body and his training.

Salim Stoudamire: Salim Stoudamire is an imposing man, standing at 6'1'' and weighing in at almost 200 pounds. He's also a vegan. This point guard has stated that he became a vegan simply because he always wanted to and doesn't mind if his teammates tease him over his meal choices, stating that the new diet has improved his endurance and energy on the court.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The best shoe might be no shoe at all.....

This is an interesting article written by Chris McDougall for NYT:

UNTIL he met a reclusive tribe of near-mythical athletes at the bottom of a Mexican canyon, Micah True could never figure out why his running injuries got worse as his running shoes got better. Then, the Tarahumara Indians taught him a lesson that even Nike is now starting to embrace: the best shoe may be no shoe at all.

Mr. True, 53, from Nederland, Colo., wasn't the only one baffled by the injury mystery. For years kinesiology professors, physical therapists and athletic-shoe designers have been puzzling over the same paradox: if running shoe protection and cushioning have improved, why haven't injuries among joggers decreased?

''The technological advancements over the past 30 years have been amazing,'' said Dr. Irene Davis, the director of the Running Injury Clinic at the University of Delaware. ''We've seen tremendous innovations in motion control and cushioning. And yet the remedies don't seem to defeat the ailments.''

Since the running boom of the 70's, giants like Nike, Adidas and New Balance have rivaled Silicon Valley for speed of R. & D. rollout, releasing improved products nearly every six months. One shoe, the Adidas 1, even has microprocessors that analyze foot impact and adjust cushioning with each stride. New Balance has a motion-control shoe so finely engineered it costs $199.99.
Still, 65 percent to 80 percent of all runners -- joggers and elite marathoners alike -- are injured in an average year, according to Dr. Davis. Aching Achilles tendons, sore knees, inflamed arches and hobbling plantar fascia pain are as common today as they were when boot camp grunts were jogging in canvas Converse ''Chuckies.''

''Since the first real studies were done in the late 70's, Achilles complaints have actually increased by about 10 percent, while plantar fasciitis has remained the same,'' said Dr. Stephen Pribut, the president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. And so Mr. True began to wonder, does it even matter what footwear runners use? Or could protective shoes be contributing to the problems they're meant to prevent?

Mr. True had been hampered by repeated injuries while competing in ultramarathons in the early 90's. While fighting for first place in the Leadville Trail 100 Ultramarathon, a grueling 100-mile course over steep, rocky trails, he suffered a stress fracture in his tibia. It was there that Mr. True met the Tarahumara runners, who had traveled from Mexico to win four of the top five places while wearing homemade huaraches fashioned from strips of old tires.

Hoping to discover their secret, Mr. True followed the Tarahumara back to their canyon-bottom home. There they taught him to run lightly on the front of his foot instead of heavily on his heel. He experimented with running on his own homemade huaraches before trying the Bite running sandal, with its deft mix of ancient sparseness and modern cushioning. Eleven years have passed since Mr. True changed his technique and footwear, and even though he now regularly runs 40 miles over hazardous terrain, he has not had an injury since.

''If my gringo feet could handle it, going barefoot would be even better,'' he said.
During the past decade two barefoot-style training methods for runners have been developed based on the same principle: that legs, not shoes, are the best shock absorbers. That is, you land on your forefoot, instead of your heel, and paw back.

Dr. Nicholas Romanov, a sports physiologist in Naples, Fla., created what he calls the Pose Method, and Danny Dreyer, a running coach in San Francisco, started a program known as ChiRunning, both of which have already won legions of disciples among joggers, trainers and triathletes. Essentially these programs teach runners something they thought they knew: how to run. ''The problem is, the fancy running shoes have allowed us to develop lazy feet,'' Dr. Romanov said. Pose runners, consequently, prefer the thin-soled Puma H. Street, which is actually a casual shoe.

Surprisingly, even Nike now sees the sense of running ''shoeless.'' Just one year after releasing its most structured shoe ever -- the Air Max 2004, with airbags and a motion-control footbridge -- the company has switched tack by offering the Nike Free 5.0, a shoe it claims will ''re-evolutionize'' running by enabling people to run as if they were barefoot. With its gauzy heel, stockinglike upper, and thin sole, the Free 5.0 looks more like a slipper than a sneaker.

''We found pockets of people all over the globe who are still running barefoot, and what you find is that during propulsion and landing they have far more range of motion in the foot and engage more of the toe,'' said Jeff Pisciotta, the senior researcher at the Nike Sports Research Lab in Beaverton, Ore., who headed the Nike Free project. ''Their feet flex, spread, splay and grip the surface, meaning you have less pronation'' -- twisting of the foot -- ''and more distribution of pressure.''

Their feet, in other words, get a workout with every step. Nike tested the theory by having a group of students at the German Sports University in Cologne run warm-ups for six months in the Frees. These students showed a significant increase in foot strength and flexibility compared with those who ran in their regular shoes, Mr. Pisciotta said. Presumably, he said, ''a stronger, healthier foot means less chance of injury.'' The idea for the Free was born after two Nike researchers, visiting the Stanford track team, found that their sponsored runners ran sprints barefoot. Vin Lananna, their coach, had encouraged them to take off their shoes. ''I felt that as shoes became more elaborate and intricate, the feet were getting weaker,'' said Mr. Lananna, who is now director of athletics at Oberlin College in Ohio. Mr. Lananna had always outfitted his team in Nike's cheapest and least structured shoe. The one time he experimented with Nike's best, his team was plagued by plantar fasciitis and Achilles problems. He now likes his runners to use the Frees.

Paula Radcliffe, the world record holder in the women's marathon, also has converted to the bare-is-best philosophy. Even though the Free 4.0 will not reach the market for six months, Ms. Radcliffe, of London, has secured a few prototypes and is wearing them for a third of her 130 weekly miles. ''The deconditioned musculature of the foot is the greatest issue leading to injury,'' said Dr. Gerard Hartmann, an exercise physiologist in Limerick, Ireland, who works with Ms. Radcliffe and who was consulted by Nike on the Free's design. ''Only 2 to 3 percent of the population has real biomechanical problems, so we're basically creating new problems by treating ones that don't exist,'' he said.

But the key to successful barefoot-style running, Dr. Hartmann stressed, is learning how. Nike, he said, has had an obligation to re-educate runners, since its technology may have contributed to sloppy mechanics. ''We have discussed expanding the instructional role,'' said Mr. Pisciotta from Nike. ''But biomechanics are so personal.'' All runners must find people who can tell them ''what can help and what can hurt.'' Dr. Davis agreed that ''just slapping special shoes on your feet won't help.'' She demonstrated by using me as a guinea pig for a series of diagnostic tests. At 43, I have five marathons to my credit and do about 40 average weekly miles. I know how to run -- or I thought I did.

First I ran in bare feet, then in the Nike Free 5.0 and finally in Nike's most popular cushioned shoe, the Pegasus. The amount of impact, Dr. Davis found, was significantly higher during the Free and barefoot sessions. But slow-motion video replay revealed that I was landing on my heel then slapping down my forefoot. My right foot was twisting outward, while my left knee was dipping to the right. These irregularities were nearly invisible, but severe enough to aggravate my twingey Achilles.

By learning to land on my midfoot, I could correct these problems, Dr. Davis said. But I should be careful, she warned, because tinkering with a new gait can suddenly load the heel and Achilles with unaccustomed stress and cause a whole new set of injuries. The Nike Free ''should be the first shoe sold with an instructional DVD,'' Dr. Hartmann said. ''You have to respect that this shoe can revolutionize the way people run, and no revolution comes without its casualties.''

Born to Run review.

While we were on holiday in South Africa last month I picked up a book called Born to Run by Chris McDougall. It is one of those books that has the ability to change your life, and I was honestly bummed out when I turned the last page in the book. I just did not want it to be finished! I would recommend this book to all runner out there! Below is a review by Amazon.com

Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence.

With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder. With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

Question: Born to Run explores the life and running habits of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, arguably the greatest distance runners in the world. What are some of the secrets you learned from them?
Christopher McDougall: The key secret hit me like a thunderbolt. It was so simple, yet such a jolt. It was this: everything I’d been taught about running was wrong. We treat running in the modern world the same way we treat childbirth—it’s going to hurt, and requires special exercises and equipment, and the best you can hope for is to get it over with quickly with minimal damage.
Then I meet the Tarahumara, and they’re having a blast. They remember what it’s like to love running, and it lets them blaze through the canyons like dolphins rocketing through waves. For them, running isn’t work. It isn’t a punishment for eating. It’s fine art, like it was for our ancestors. Way before we were scratching pictures on caves or beating rhythms on hollow trees, we were perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain. And when our ancestors finally did make their first cave paintings, what were the first designs? A downward slash, lightning bolts through the bottom and middle—behold, the Running Man.
The Tarahumara have a saying: “Children run before they can walk.” Watch any four-year-old—they do everything at full speed, and it’s all about fun. That’s the most important thing I picked up from my time in the Copper Canyons, the understanding that running can be fast and fun and spontaneous, and when it is, you feel like you can go forever. But all of that begins with your feet. Strange as it sounds, the Tarahumara taught me to change my relationship with the ground. Instead of hammering down on my heels, the way I’d been taught all my life, I learned to run lightly and gently on the balls of my feet. The day I mastered it was the last day I was ever injured.

Q: You trained for your first ultramarathon—a race organized by the mysterious gringo expat Caballo Blanco between the Tarahumara and some of America’s top ultrarunners—while researching and writing this book. What was your training like?
CM: It really started as kind of a dare. Just by chance, I’d met an adventure-sports coach from Jackson Hole, Wyoming named Eric Orton. Eric’s specialty is tearing endurance sports down to their basic components and looking for transferable skills. He studies rock climbing to find shoulder techniques for kayakers, and applies Nordic skiing’s smooth propulsion to mountain biking. What he’s looking for are basic engineering principles, because he’s convinced that the next big leap forward in fitness won’t come from strength or technology, but plain, simple durability. With some 70% of all runners getting hurt every year, the athlete who can stay healthy and avoid injury will leave the competition behind.
So naturally, Eric idolized the Tarahumara. Any tribe that has 90-year-old men running across mountaintops obviously has a few training tips up its sleeve. But since Eric had never actually met the Tarahumara, he had to deduce their methods by pure reasoning. His starting point was uncertainty; he assumed that the Tarahumara step into the unknown every time they leave their caves, because they never know how fast they’ll have to sprint after a rabbit or how tricky the climbing will be if they’re caught in a storm. They never even know how long a race will be until they step up to the starting line—the distance is only determined in a last-minute bout of negotiating and could stretch anywhere from 50 miles to 200-plus.
Eric figured shock and awe was the best way for me to build durability and mimic Tarahumara-style running. He’d throw something new at me every day—hopping drills, lunges, mile intervals—and lots and lots of hills. There was no such thing, really, as long, slow distance—he’d have me mix lots of hill repeats and short bursts of speed into every mega-long run.
I didn’t think I could do it without breaking down, and I told Eric that from the start. I basically defied him to turn me into a runner. And by the end of nine months, I was cranking out four hour runs without a problem.

Q: You’re a six-foot four-inches tall, 200-plus pound guy—not anyone’s typical vision of a distance runner, yet you’ve completed ultra marathons and are training for more. Is there a body type for running, as many of us assume, or are all humans built to run?
CM: Yeah, I’m a big’un. But isn’t it sad that’s even a reasonable question? I bought into that bull for a loooong time. Why wouldn’t I? I was constantly being told by people who should know better that “some bodies aren’t designed for running.” One of the best sports medicine physicians in the country told me exactly that—that the reason I was constantly getting hurt is because I was too big to handle the impact shock from my feet hitting the ground. Just recently, I interviewed a nationally-known sports podiatrist who said, “You know, we didn’t ALL evolve to run away from saber-toothed tigers.” Meaning, what? That anyone who isn’t sleek as a Kenyan marathoner should be extinct? It’s such illogical blather—all kinds of body types exist today, so obviously they DID evolve to move quickly on their feet. It’s really awful that so many doctors are reinforcing this learned helplessness, this idea that you have to be some kind of elite being to handle such a basic, universal movement.

Q: If humans are born to run, as you argue, what’s your advice for a runner who is looking to make the leap from shorter road races to marathons, or marathons to ultramarathons? Is running really for everyone?
CM: I think ultrarunning is America’s hope for the future. Honestly. The ultrarunners have got a hold of some powerful wisdom. You can see it at the starting line of any ultra race. I showed up at the Leadville Trail 100 expecting to see a bunch of hollow-eyed Skeletors, and instead it was, “Whoah! Get a load of the hotties!” Ultra runners tend to be amazingly healthy, youthful and—believe it or not—good looking. I couldn’t figure out why, until one runner explained that throughout history, the four basic ingredients for optimal health have been clean air, good food, fresh water and low stress. And that, to a T, describes the daily life of an ultrarunner. They’re out in the woods for hours at a time, breathing pine-scented breezes, eating small bursts of digestible food, downing water by the gallons, and feeling their stress melt away with the miles. But here’s the real key to that kingdom: you have to relax and enjoy the run. No one cares how fast you run 50 miles, so ultrarunners don’t really stress about times. They’re out to enjoy the run and finish strong, not shave a few inconsequential seconds off a personal best. And that’s the best way to transition up to big mileage races: as coach Eric told me, “If it feels like work, you’re working too hard.”

Q: You write that distance running is the great equalizer of age and gender. Can you explain?
CM: Okay, I’ll answer that question with a question: Starting at age nineteen, runners get faster every year until they hit their peak at twenty-seven. After twenty-seven, they start to decline. So if it takes you eight years to reach your peak, how many years does it take for you to regress back to the same speed you were running at nineteen?
Go ahead, guess all you want. No one I’ve asked has ever come close. It’s in the book, so I won’t give it away, but I guarantee when you hear the answer, you’ll say, “No way. THAT old?” Now, factor in this: ultra races are the only sport in the world in which women can go toe-to-toe with men and hand them their heads. Ann Trason and Krissy Moehl often beat every man in the field in some ultraraces, while Emily Baer recently finished in the Top 10 at the Hardrock 100 while stopping to breastfeed her baby at the water stations.
So how’s that possible? According to a new body of research, it’s because humans are the greatest distance runners on earth. We may not be fast, but we’re born with such remarkable natural endurance that humans are fully capable of outrunning horses, cheetahs and antelopes. That’s because we once hunted in packs and on foot; all of us, men and women alike, young and old together.

Q: One of the fascinating parts of Born to Run is your report on how the ultrarunners eat—salad for breakfast, wraps with hummus mid-run, or pizza and beer the night before a run. As a runner with a lot of miles behind him, what are your thoughts on nutrition for running?
CM: Live every day like you’re on the lam. If you’ve got to be ready to pick up and haul butt at a moment’s notice, you’re not going to be loading up on gut-busting meals. I thought I’d have to go on some kind of prison-camp diet to get ready for an ultra, but the best advice I got came from coach Eric, who told me to just worry about the running and the eating would take care of itself. And he was right, sort of. I instinctively began eating smaller, more digestible meals as my miles increased, but then I went behind his back and consulted with the great Dr. Ruth Heidrich, an Ironman triathlete who lives on a vegan diet. She’s the one who gave me the idea of having salad for breakfast, and it’s a fantastic tip. The truth is, many of the greatest endurance athletes of all time lived on fruits and vegetables. You can get away with garbage for a while, but you pay for it in the long haul. In the book, I describe how Jenn Shelton and Billy “Bonehead” Barnett like to chow pizza and Mountain Dew in the middle of 100-mile races, but Jenn is also a vegetarian who most days lives on veggie burgers and grapes.

Q: In this difficult financial time, we’re experiencing yet another surge in the popularity of running. Can you explain this?
CM: When things look worst, we run the most. Three times, America has seen distance-running skyrocket and it’s always in the midst of a national crisis. The first boom came during the Great Depression; the next was in the ‘70s, when we were struggling to recover from a recession, race riots, assassinations, a criminal President and an awful war. And the third boom? One year after the Sept. 11 attacks, trailrunning suddenly became the fastest-growing outdoor sport in the country. I think there’s a trigger in the human psyche that activates our first and greatest survival skill whenever we see the shadow of approaching raptors.