Monday, March 26, 2012

Humans are the Perfect Runners

It turns out that we humans learned to run before we learned to think.  I knew it!  After all we are not the largest, or strongest animals on the planet...and we are not even the fastest runners.  Our unique competitive advantage is that we have the best endurance.  And that ability to outlast every other running mammal led to our dominance.

I wish I had started running earlier.  You know by now that I'm not a natural runner but since 'finding running' nearly 30 years ago now, I've become an obsessed convert.  Heck, I'm even involved in a competitive running event May 6 called Reggae Runners Half Marathon Challenge with Larry and Dan.  We were online friends first, met up in person in Negril last December and will compete individually but together via the Internet this May.  Yes, it appears that the three of us are runners before thinkers...still!  Check out their individual blogs here:  Larry Savitch, Dan Cumming.

Recently CBC aired a great documentary, "The Perfect Runner" that explored the evolution of humans as runners.  If you've read Christopher McDougall's excellent book, "Born to Run" then you'll like The Perfect Runner where Niobe Thompson explains how humans evolved into the best endurance runners on the planet...leading to our dominance!  Here is a short description of the program:
How did our ancestors survive the shift from trees to land, and evolve to dominate the planet? The answer lies in a remarkable ability we evolved far earlier than our powerful brains: humans are nature’s perfect endurance runners. Gemini-winning anthropologist Niobe Thompson (Inuit Odyssey, 2009; Code Breakers, 2011) takes a journey of personal discovery back in evolutionary time, in conversation with leading evolutionary biologists and immersed in cultures whose survival still depends on endurance running. From the highlands of Ethiopia, to the most remote place in Arctic Siberia, to the world's toughest ultramarathon in the Canadian Rockies, The Perfect Runner weaves cutting-edge science with gripping adventure, and leaves the viewer with a new and inspiring understanding of our common evolutionary inheritance as the running ape.
Here is a short video trailer of the program, The Perfect Runner:

The Perfect Runner, Official Trailer from Niobe Thompson on Vimeo.

Sally always encourages me to "Run Christopher, Run".  Now it makes perfect sense.

Until next time...

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