“What the heck happened to his ear?”
While watching this video of Barefoot Tim doing his thing, I was struck by the way he embodied Coach Eric Orton’s observation that Tarahumara runners move down-and-up, not up-and-down like the rest of us. I was keeping an eye on Tim’s ear at the top of the frame to check this out. All of a sudden, his ear disappeared — shot right up out of the frame. From one stride to the next, he’d begun bobbing up and down. I couldn’t figure out what the hell happened… until I looked toward the bottom of the screen. It’s really striking: in every aspect but one, Tim’s form is unchanged. He’s got great posture and perfect forward lean, but as soon as he put on running shoes, he shifted from forefoot to heel strike. And in order for his foot to clear that heel so it doesn’t scrape the ground, he’s had to add a little upward jump to his stride, which means he’s pogo-sticking instead of gently gliding forward.