At the breakfast table, sitting on the tram; shortly afterwards sitting at your desk or rushing to your next appointment. Does that sound familiar?
Born to run? Hardly…
Daily life is characterised by routine behaviours and repetitive sequences of movement. After all, we all live in a society in which above-average physical activity is seen as crazy. On the other hand, driving by car, travelling on the train or by plane seems to be the most normal thing in the world.
The fact is that it’s highly effective and pragmatic to quickly pop from A to B, in the shortest time possible and usually while seated. Over time, common movement patterns and associated habits have developed. In the spirit of efficiency due to low energy consumption, they play a role in ensuring that various muscles in our bodies are barely used. Illnesses that occur increasingly today have only been connected with this lower rate of physical exercise in the last couple of decades. Today it seems quite odd to think that people should be born to run. People are not particularly fast. This is different from the animal world, if we think about masters of speed such as the cheetah or rabbit.
That’s the title of Christopher McDougall’s best seller, which was published by Blessing Publishing House in 2010 and became a worldwide hit.
McDougall is a journalist and a passionate amateur runner. After countless injuries and repeated assurances by various doctors and physiotherapists that he wasn’t made to run, he began his search for the secret of running. Chasing a last glimmer of hope he went to find the Tarahumara, indigenous people who live completely by themselves and who produce the best and strongest runners in the world. The research for his book begins.
His search unveils astounding results from scientists such as Bramble, Lieberman and Carrier that verify our super power of running both morphologically and anthropologically. In parallel, McDougall fulfils his dream of discovering the secret of easy running for himself. Confronted with the wildness of the Tarahumara’s habitat and with their unusual social behaviour, he arrives at the start line of the run of his life.
The super power of running is buried in all of us. It’s not for nothing that running is a popular leisure activity. What’s more, the numbers of people participating competitively in this sport have increased during the last few years, and there’s a reason for that.
Our unimaginable running capabilities
We have a body that’s set up for performance and a mind that strives for efficiency. In McDougall’s book, he describes the brain as a bargain hunter. Our unbelievable stamina made it possible for the brain to evolve biologically. Now that very same brain undermines our special ability to run long distances, so that it can continuously save energy and use it for other types of human development.
What makes us into super runners?
According to Dr. Bramble, over a long period of time the human body took on the various abilities of a fast-running animal. You can see that, for example, in an Achilles tendon whose only task is to stretch like a rubber band. For a walking - not running - animal, this part of the body would simply be a burden. Compared to those of chimpanzees, our toes are short and straight, which is very helpful when running. For walking, long, spread-out toes are much more suitable.
We humans also have pronounced buttocks. Large, strong gluteal muscles help to ensure that we don’t fall over forwards when running, due to the all the energy flowing from the upper body.
Particularly astonishing is the neck ligament that humans have, which serves to keep our heads steady at speed.
Our legs are equipped with extremely elastic tendons and ligaments. Like a wound-up elastic band that twists back into its original position when you let it go, they pass on energy, thereby helping us to be excellent runners. With our extraordinary ability to sweat we have the best cooling system ever.
There’s a bit of running super hero in all of us
Not everyone can believe that we’re really all made to run long distances. It no longer corresponds to the way daily life, leisure, career and family have developed. Processes have changed with regard to the amount of time involved. With all the optimisation of our daily lives, long-distance running is simply no longer necessary. Yet everything in our bodies is set up for running, jumping, climbing, moving, and - yes - for hunting. Born to run.
The great thing about the “superpower of running” is the fact that you don’t need anything special to be able to run. We don’t have to arrive on Earth from another planet, like Superman. People are born to run.
We’ve made it our task to support this superpower with our shoes. To contribute to helping our special runner characteristics flourish again. In daily life, at work, on adventures, while travelling - wherever our legs take us. So with that in mind…
Run wild! Anna, Ran & the Wildlings