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Running On The Edge
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Barefoot running, also called "natural running", is the act of running without footwear. Throughout human history, running barefoot was the natural way to run, and cultures such as the Tarahumara people in Mexico still practice it today. Barefoot running became popular in the latter half of the 20th century, as notable Olympic runners such as Abebe Bikila, Bruce Tulloh, and Zola Budd participated barefoot. Scientific research into the practice of running barefoot has not reached a clear consensus regarding its risks or its benefits. While shoes provide necessary foot protection from cuts, bruises, and the weather, proponents of barefoot running argue that it offers benefits and is healthier for the feet by reducing the risk of chronic injuries (notably repetitive stress injuries) due to the impact of heel striking in padded running shoes.
To provide the benefits of both running barefoot and shod, different varieties of barefoot-inspired footwear are available, including thin-soled and flexible shoes such as traditional moccasins and huaraches, and modern footwear like Vibram FiveFingers and Vivobarefoot. Running almost barefoot in thin-soled shoes may be termed minimalist running.
Throughout most of human history, running was performed while barefoot or in thin-soled shoes such as moccasins. This practice continues today in Kenya and among the Tarahumara people of northern Mexico. Historians believe that the runners of Ancient Greece ran barefoot. According to legend, Pheidippides, the first marathoner, ran from Athens to Sparta in less than 36 hours. After the Battle of Marathon, it is said he ran straight from the battlefield to Athens to inform the Athenians of the Greek victory over Persia.
February 1st, 2013
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