Any schmo can run a marathon
Humans, scientists say, are built for speed – or, at least, endurance. It's all in our shortish toes and big behinds
Apr 25, 2009 04:30 AM
For years, we've comforted ourselves with the thought that the Boston Marathon, which took place early this week, is the territory of dangerously maladjusted health nuts and masochists. Sadly, the latest anthropological research concludes it's you and I – the non-runners – who are letting down the evolutionary side.
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My personal favorite bits from the article:
"Humans are the best endurance runners in the mammalian world," says biological anthropologist Daniel Lieberman.
"A typical human being can run above the trot-gallop transition speed of most mammals. Humans who aren't particularly athletic can run marathons."
"It's a failure of imagination," Lieberman says. "I would love to be able to run the Boston Marathon. But the qualifying time for my age group is (three hours and 20 minutes). I can't get anywhere near that, and there are so many people who can.
"Millions of people out there run marathons – tall, fat, short, skinny, big, small. Are these people abnormal? Of course not. They're telling us something about human evolution."