Running Machine

Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek running with a member of the Tarahumara. Wolf Gang’s Flickr page,

Your lungs, your legs, your knees, your feet and your achilles tendons. These are all a part of your running machinery [1].

Did you know that humans have evolved to be runners? We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have this ability. Our ability to run fast for long distances has helped us to survive in nature. When it comes to strength, humans just cannot compare to the 850kg rhinoceros or the 1361kg hippopotamus. It was endurance that helped us evade animals we couldn’t fight and endurance that helped us hunt down animals that we could outrun [2].

My love for running was refreshed when I read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. This book is truly a breath of fresh air as the author takes you through a detailed and vivid description of the Copper Canyons in Mexico. This was the setting where a famous ultramarathon was held between elites in the modern running society against a Mexican tribe called the Tarahumara, renowned for their long-distance running ability.

What is truly impressive about the Tarahumara is that they can run for days at a time with nothing more than a slab of rubber tire strapped to their feet and corn beer for fuel [3]

Running machinery is built in all of us. Not in your fancy air-injected Nikes. Not in your Energy Boost Adidas running shoes.

If the treadmill is getting too monotonous and boring for you, try breaking your routine by hitting the trails, the scenery will keep you captivated. While seeking adventure, always remember personal safety. Bring some friends with you and always carry a cellphone with you for emergencies. Here are some trails around Vancouver [4]:

1. Pacific Spirit Park (UBC)
2. Stanley Park (Vancouver)
3. Brothers Creek Loop (North Shore)
4. Lynn Peak (North Shore)
5. Mount Seymour (North Shore)

1. How Running Made Us Human: Endurance Running Let Us Evolve to Look the Way We Do
2. Nature Journal: Distance Running ‘Shaped Human Evolution’ 
3. Tarahumara: A People Apart
4. Vancouver Hiking Trails

2 Replies to “Running Machine”

  1. Evolved in to running machines?! I think Darwin skipped me, as running (as much as I would like to do it) has escaped me. I can handle a slow pace for short periods, but anytime I try to push the length of my run, I just can’t break through. I do appreciate runners and running, I just can’t seem to do it well myself.

    1. Everyone has a different pace and level of endurance. Vehicles and easy access to food have displaced our need to run but with practice we can develop endurance. Being human means that you’re naturally equipped with biological features that make you a great runner, don’t give up yet!

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