From the monthly archives:

June 2012

If the drug war can start involving the Tarahumara, then no one is immune.
—Don Morrison, a borderlands attorney with a Tarahumara client in prison.

When I returned to the Copper Canyons in 2006 for Caballo’s race, I was heartsick to discover that Manuel Luna’s son — a kind and wonderfully talented young man who was barely a teenager — had been beaten to death by drug cartel thugs. Since then, according to this remarkable story by Newsweek‘s Aram Rostom, the situation has become even more dire. The drought, plus the loss of farmland to the cartels and strip-loggers and very little knowledge of the outside world, makes the Tarahumara easy prey for cartel recruiters. As Rostom reports:

According to defense lawyers, law-enforcement sources, and some Tarahumara Indians, drug traffickers are now exploiting the very Tarahumara trait—endurance—that has been crucial to their survival.

In Dec. 2008, Runner’s World slipped this footnote into its shoe review:

We’ve reported in the past that a more stable shoe will help relieve the pain you feel just ahead of the heel. But recent research has shown that stability shoes are unlikely to relieve plantar fasciitis and may even exacerbate the symptoms.

Translation: “Those $100 shoes we’ve been telling you to buy for years? Turns out they’re worse than worthless.”
RW’s excuse is the same one Citigroup and Countrywide and Fannie Mae deployed as it tried to scuttle away from the subprime mortgage crisis: “No one could have seen this coming. We acted as soon as we got the information.”

That’s not an alibi, of course; it’s an indictment. They pretended they were experts — and cashed in on that authority of expertise — when in truth, they didn’t know what they were talking about.

Now, Runner’s World is slipping in another correction. In the March, 2012 issue, it began slinking away from the once hugely-profitable, and now discredited, “motion-control” shoe. They did it so quietly I missed it, even though I’d been shocked to hear RW’s shoe reviewer, Warren Greene, hint as much at a seminar more than a year ago.

Barefoot in Arizona has the story, including this bullseye analysis:

why do so many people believe they need pronation-controlling posts to run but no one believes they need Reebok Pumps to play basketball? It isn’t because the runners were convinced by studies showing the benefits of motion-control shoes, because they aren’t any. It’s because two generations of runners have been told they need them by the only major source of independent shoe reviews.

Incidentally, this major source of “independent” shoe reviews has NEVER published a negative review — not, at least, since Nike temporarily pulled its advertising back in the ’80s. As Runner’s World’s founder laments, the shoe review he’d created as a form of consumer protection is now “a grading system where you can only get an A.”

“Most influential runner in America”

by Christopher on June 12, 2012

Somewhere, a White Horse is reading this and rolling his eyes. Or saying, “De nada, McOso.”

Meanwhile, Scott Jurek is still on the road and killing it with his “Eat & Run” tour. The reception has been insane: I joined him for four events in three days in New York, Boston, and Chicago, and every one was standing room only. Boston was especially fun: we started the run right outside my old college dorm, and shared it with the great and super-cool Dr. Daniel Lieberman (who, incidentally, is not only a barefoot runner, but frighteningly fast).

El Venado & McOso, with Harvard on the Move