A British writer spent six months in search of the secret of Kenya’s dominance of distance running. One of the first things he noticed:
Another difference is that virtually all the children are running barefoot. Barefoot running is a growing trend in the west, based on the theory that conventional running shoes force you to run in an inefficient and injury-inducing style. It’s interesting to note that here the only children wearing running shoes are at the very back of the field.
In one race, the further back in the field the girls finish, the better their shoes, to the absurd extent that the girl with the newest, sleekest running shoes of all comes in last, while the girl whose shoes are only slightly worse finishes second to last.
Ironically, the prize for the winner in each race is a pair of Nike running trainers.
Runners aren’t the only victims of overhyped sneakers which lead to harmful heel-striking. ESPN believes NBA stars may also be paying a painful and costly price for believing that shoe companies actually know what they’re doing. The solution? According to another ESPN column, basketball players should take a lesson from naked runners and re-learn the ancient art of a gentle landing.
Last August, I was leaving Leadville, Colorado after the Trail 100 when I spotted ultra-ace Tony “Naked Guy” Krupicka’s pickup truck by the side of the road. Moments later, I was sharing a slab of dark chocolate on the back bumper of my car with Naked Guy’s gal, Jocelyn Jenks, while Tony continued digging around in his gear. I’d heard a good bit about Jocelyn while I was researching “Born to Run,” and since then I’d been curious to meet the woman who could date a guy who not only ran 200 miles a week, but avoided paying rent by spending a semester sleeping in a buddy’s closet. Jocelyn was every bit as captivating as I’d been told, and she soon had me intrigued by her work in Peru with CEES Energy Justice, which helps provide some of humanity’s most basic needs: heat, light, and warm food.
“Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” I said.
And she did. This coming Thursday and Friday, Feb. 17-18, I’ll be joining Tony Krupicka, Scott Jurek and Luis Escobar in a pair of CEES benefits at the University of Colorado. Thursday night is a fund-raising dinner at Oak, Friday we’ll be taking the mics for a talk and Q&A. Tony has the details on his blog, and Mike Sandrock — as usual — had the story in print in the Boulder Daily Camera way before anyone else.
I don’t know how many tickets are left, but with two of the planet’s best and most charismatic ultra-racers on the same stage, I doubt they’re going to last long.
TED just posted a talk I gave in DC on their worldwide site and homepage. I’ve been invited to speak at TED Global this July in Edinburgh, where I’ll also be hosting a Naked Run Festival. More on that to come. MUCH more.