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Autumn/ Winter 2013 Issue 10 FREE
Autumn/
Winter
2013
Issue 10
FREE
How to contact us Barefoot Running Magazine TRC Publishing Limited 21 Lyric Mews, Silverdale, London
How to contact us Barefoot Running Magazine TRC Publishing Limited 21 Lyric Mews, Silverdale, London

How to contact us

How to contact us Barefoot Running Magazine TRC Publishing Limited 21 Lyric Mews, Silverdale, London SE26

Barefoot Running Magazine TRC Publishing Limited 21 Lyric Mews, Silverdale, London SE26 4TD United Kingdom

ISSN 2050-9022

email:

info@bfrm.co.uk

 

website:

www.bfrm.co.uk +44 (0) 845 226 7301 +44 (0) 208 659 0269

tel:

Overseas:

Cover picture: Homage to Jesse Owens by Eileen San Felipe www.eileensanfelipe.blogspot.co.uk

Insert picture: Women's Elite start at the 117 th Boston Marathon (2013)

 

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www.trcpublishinguk.co.uk/bfrm

www.trcpublishinguk.co.uk/bfrm

   
   
@BareFootRunMag    

@BareFootRunMag

   

The health and fitness information presented in this magazine is intended as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Consult your doctor before attempting any of the exercises in this magazine or any other exercise programme, particularly if you are pregnant, elderly or have chronic or recurring medical conditions. Do not attempt any of the exercises while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Discontinue any exercise that causes you pain or discomfort and consult a medical expert. Neither the author of the information nor the producer nor the distributors make any warranty of any kind in regard to the content of the information presented in this magazine.

 

A note from the editor

A note from the editor Welcome to the Autumn/Winter issue of Barefoot Running Magazine. We hope
A note from the editor Welcome to the Autumn/Winter issue of Barefoot Running Magazine. We hope
A note from the editor Welcome to the Autumn/Winter issue of Barefoot Running Magazine. We hope
A note from the editor Welcome to the Autumn/Winter issue of Barefoot Running Magazine. We hope

Welcome to the Autumn/Winter issue of Barefoot Running Magazine. We hope you’re all enjoying good health and looking forward to a fun 2014.

There appears to be an unintentional theme to this issue of Barefoot Running Magazine: discrimination. Our “In focus” article takes a look into the life of the amazing Jesse Owens, detailing his athletic successes as well as the prejudices he faced due to the colour of his skin.

Meanwhile, inside his lab, David takes a look at sexism in sport. Unfortunately, it is still quite prevalent but women are slowly being allowed to show what they’re made of – and are showing a few men up in the process!

Our main feature is an account of the popular Running Show, held again at Sandown Park in Surrey, UK. We encourage you all to attend this annual event if you can - it’s informative and fun and a great chance to sample different clothing, footwear and food whilst picking up some very useful tips from running experts.

As most of you now know, this magazine isn’t just about running. We recently

had the great opportunity to meet Terry Laughlin - founder of Total Immersion Swimming - when he kindly allowed us to sit in on a coaching workshop here

in London. If you’re looking for a smoother, more efficient way to swim, take

a look at our “Conversation with” Terry and his article, “How to improve your

swimming stroke”. David and I have already made great gains in our own swimming practice just by following some of his basic rules.

Other features include the eagerly anticipated part two of John Woodward’s Alexander Technique article and a piece from Permaculturist and barefoot runner, Aranya Gardens, giving us definite food for thought!

Gareth “Gadget” Underhill helps us understand the intricacies of heart rate monitors whilst our test team give us their conclusions on a number of different fitness products. We welcome mountain runner and coach, Charlie Sproson, to the team too!

Our Roving Reporter, Chris Fielding, has just about recovered from his introduction to parkour and gives us a wonderful account of his and his son’s experience at Evolve in Manchester.

Ultrarunner Alene Nitzky is this issue’s book reviewer and she provides us with a wonderful insight into “The Summit Seeker” – a powerful book by Vanessa Runs whose honesty and humility many of you are no doubt familiar with.

All the usual news, events, letters, etc. make up the rest of this biggest ever issue!

Thank you to all who have contributed – we couldn’t do it without you!

Run Strong, Run Free!

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editor
editor

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n / W i n t e r editor 2 0 1 3 B a r

Aranya Gardens

Avid barefoot runner & Permaculturist

www.aranyagardens.co.uk

Alene Nitzky

Keen ultrarunner and blogger

www.alenegonebad.blogspot.com

John Woodward

Alexander Technique Teacher and Natural Running coach

www.naturalrunning.co.uk

Terry Laughlin

Swimming coach and founder of Total Immersion Swimming

www.totalimmersion.net

www.naturalrunning.co.uk Terry Laughlin Swimming coach and founder of Total Immersion Swimming www.totalimmersion.net
www.naturalrunning.co.uk Terry Laughlin Swimming coach and founder of Total Immersion Swimming www.totalimmersion.net
Anna Toombs Ian Hicks Co-founder of Barefoot Running UK, movement therapist, Pilates instructor, running coach
Anna Toombs
Ian Hicks
Co-founder of Barefoot Running UK,
movement therapist, Pilates instructor,
running coach & author
anna.toombs@bfrm.co.uk
@ToombsAnna
Barefoot running enthusiast
ian.hicks@bfrm.co.uk
David Robinson
Gareth “The Gadget” Underhill
Co-founder of Barefoot Running UK,
movement therapist, sports performance
specialist & author
david.robinson@bfrm.co.uk
@barefootdrrob
Personal trainer, sports scientist
(Biomechanist/Physiologist)
gareth.underhill@bfrm.co.uk
www.outfitgroup.co.uk
Leigh Rogers
Jonathan Mackintosh
Holistic sports nutritionist, health &
wellness coach
leigh.rogers@bfrm.co.uk
www.meorganic.co.uk
Keen ultrarunner & blogger
jonathan.mackintosh@bfrm.co.uk
www.pixelscotland.com
Meet the team
Steven Sashen
Chris Fielding
Creator of the Xero Shoe & sprinter
steven.sashen@bfrm.co.uk
www.xeroshoes.com
Blogging enthusiast & barefoot runner.
Founder of Barefoot Beginner
chris.fielding@bfrm.co.uk
www.barefootbeginner.com
Dr Steve ‘Sock Doc’ Gangemi
Charlie Sproson
Chiropractic physician & MovNat coach
steve.gangemi@bfrm.co.uk
www.sock-doc.com
Mountain runner, running coach
& Montane sponsored athlete.
Charlie.sproson@bfrm.co.uk
www.mountainrun.co.uk
Tracy Davenport
Ricardo ‘The Dashing’ D’Ash
Minimalist footwear retailer, avid barefoot
runner & blogger
tracy.davenport@bfrm.co.uk
www.barefootbritain.co.uk
Avid barefoot runner & co-founder
of
the Maidstone Barefoot Dashers
Ricardo.d’ash@bfrm.co.uk
Gareth Underhill
Gareth ‘Gadget’ Underhill
Personal trainer, sports scientist
(Biomechanist/Physiologist)
gareth.underhill@bfrm.co.uk
Personal trainer, sports scientist
(Biomechanist/Physiologist)
gareth.underhill@bfrm.co.uk
www.outfitgroup.co.uk
www.outfitgroup.co.uk
I
am a mountain runner through and through, but manage the odd
road and lowland area when needs be. Living in the English Lake
Chris Fielding
District gives me an excellent training Chris and testing Fielding ground to put
myself and new products on the market really through my/their
Blogging enthusiast & barefoot runner.
paces.
Founder of Barefoot Beginner
chris.fielding@bfrm.co.uk
www.barefootbeginner.com
Blogging enthusiast & barefoot runner.
Founder of Barefoot Beginner
chris.fielding@bfrm.co.uk
I
got into
Natural Running through
problems I had with my back
www.barefootbeginner.com
after running more
than 15 to 20 miles over varied terrain. I read
Ian Hicks
books, watched what I could on You Tube, had some Pose
Ian Hicks
Coaching and
used trial and error
to try to rectify my problems.
It wasn't until I attended a VivoBarefoot Running course with Lee
Barefoot running enthusiast
ian.hicks@bfrm.co.uk
Barefoot running enthusiast
Saxby that I really
to minimize injury
understood the correct form I was looking for
ian.hicks@bfrm.co.uk
and pain during my running.
Since then I have
started teaching
Natural Running skills, alongside
Jonathan Mackintosh
Mountain Running
Navigation, Mountain Ricardo Skills ‘The and Dashing’ plan mountain D’Ash
running events, plus I also run an outdoor clothing and equipment
Keen ultrarunner & blogger
Avid barefoot runner & co-founder
retail online store,
specializing in lightweight, for the last 15 years.
jonathan.mackintosh@bfrm.co.uk
of
the Maidstone Barefoot Dashers
www.pixelscotland.com
This gives me the perfect opportunity to test the newest and most
Ricardod’ash@bfrm.co.uk
exciting products
available in the outdoor trade, in the perfect
testing ground:
the Lake District.
I
am also a Montane sponsored athlete.
www.mountainrun.co.uk
Picture courtesy of Montane

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Main feature 8 The Running Show 2013 In focus 14 The Truly Legendary Jesse Owens
Main feature
8
The Running Show 2013
In
focus
14
The Truly Legendary Jesse Owens
David’s laboratory
24
Is it time for an equal playing
field?
Book review
40
The Summit Seeker by Vanessa
Runs (reviewed by Alene Nitzky)
Injury corner
48
Calf Flexibility Sans Stretching:
No More Calf Wall Stretches
Technical tip
52
Prepare to run! by Anna Toombs
Nutritional nugget
56
The importance of soil life in the
nutritional value of food
A
conversation with
62
Founder of Total Immersion
Swimming, Terry Laughlin
The Green Room
72
Barefoot Running and the
Alexander Technique – Part Two
Try this at home
84
How to make positive adjustments
Picture from the past
88
Roger Bannister
adjustments Picture from the past 88 Roger Bannister How to: 90 Improve your swimming stroke Write
adjustments Picture from the past 88 Roger Bannister How to: 90 Improve your swimming stroke Write
adjustments Picture from the past 88 Roger Bannister How to: 90 Improve your swimming stroke Write

How to:

90

Improve your swimming stroke

Write back at you

94

Feedback on feedback! By the Barefoot Running Magazine team

Club directory

152

Find a club near you

Web directory

154

For products and services

International News

154 For products and services International News National National news news On track International On track

National National news news

On track

International On track news

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82
56
102
72
104
On track International On track news 82 56 102 72 104 P a g e 6
On track International On track news 82 56 102 72 104 P a g e 6

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Outside the lab 38 Other peoples’ labs Questions & answers 44 Your questions answered Season
Outside the lab 38 Other peoples’ labs Questions & answers 44 Your questions answered Season

Outside the lab

38

Other peoples’ labs

Questions & answers

44

Your questions answered

Season in pictures

46

What you have been up to

Caught in the web

59

Internet snippets

Events

60

Stuff that’s going on

Assorted goodies

80

Products worth a look

The What’s Season on in pictures

2014 events and race calendar

98

4

The Asics Uksem debate

Barefoot Running UK

Clubhouse calendar

8

106

The latest from Barefoot

Events and workshops etc.

Running UK

It’s your letters

110

Your stories and thoughts

The society pages

112

What’s happening within the Barefoot Runners Society

Product reviews and results

120

Next Issue

153

What’s coming Autumn 2013

results 120 Next Issue 153 What’s coming Autumn 2013 Anna’s pause for thought 22 Tips and
results 120 Next Issue 153 What’s coming Autumn 2013 Anna’s pause for thought 22 Tips and
results 120 Next Issue 153 What’s coming Autumn 2013 Anna’s pause for thought 22 Tips and
results 120 Next Issue 153 What’s coming Autumn 2013 Anna’s pause for thought 22 Tips and
results 120 Next Issue 153 What’s coming Autumn 2013 Anna’s pause for thought 22 Tips and

Anna’s pause for thought

22

Tips and general musings

Chris Fielding

68

Roving Barefoot Reporter

Sashen speaks

76

The Sensori Venture is Born

Gareth “Gadget” Underhill

116

Heart Rate Monitoring

Backchat

156

David Robinson’s latest

The Dashing Ricardo

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Ricardo Flipped out over flip-flops 2 0 1 3 P a g e 7 B a
Ricardo Flipped out over flip-flops 2 0 1 3 P a g e 7 B a
Ricardo Flipped out over flip-flops 2 0 1 3 P a g e 7 B a
Ricardo Flipped out over flip-flops 2 0 1 3 P a g e 7 B a
Ricardo Flipped out over flip-flops 2 0 1 3 P a g e 7 B a
Ricardo Flipped out over flip-flops 2 0 1 3 P a g e 7 B a

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Main feature

The Running Show 2013

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few weekend’s ago, we headed to Sandown Park once again to attend the annual Running Show, organized by TCR Shows. We featured last year’s event in the magazine and thought we’d report back again on this year’s gathering of running enthusiasts, presenters and running paraphernalia.

thought we’d report back again on this year’s gathering of running enthusiasts, presenters and running paraphernalia.

Tracy was having a conversation with Aranya Gardens, another barefoot living/running enthusiast (and writer for the mag!) who we’d been in contact with via social media but never met it was nice to finally chat to him in person!

We were also excited to teach a workshop on both days as well as present two seminars on barefoot running. This year we chose not to have a stand and were looking forward to being able to roam around and chat to people.

The venue was the same as last year, but there was a huge 50% increase in exhibitors, from race organizers to shoe retailers to physios. There was a full programme of seminars and workshops as well as a “Write this run” conference happening in the building next door.

The “Barefoot Brigade” was out in force too! As soon as we arrived, we bumped into Emma Spencer-Goodier (www.yogawithemma.co.uk) carrying a banner at least twice the size of her small frame, as she headed off to teach her first “Yoga for Runners” workshop of the day. We then spotted minimalist shoe runner Gray Caws (www.n8pt.com) who had a stand to promote ChiRunning and had a chat with him before making our way down to Tracy’s stand (www.barefootbritain.co.uk) where she had her signature ‘English Country Garden’ set up along with an array of Luna Sandals, Xero Shoes and Sockwa.

David Townsend organizes the whole event, with the help of his colleagues, Sarah and Claire. They understand the running world well; they know that many of their punters will be after the latest gadgets, whether it’s new shoe technology or the next generation of GPS watches. However, they also are well aware that barefoot/minimalist running is very much a part of the sport (or even a sport in its own right) and the mechanics and mental benefits are something they are keen to acknowledge. A running event should offer something to every kind of runner and nobody went away disappointed.

Before we knew it, it was time for David and me to teach our first workshop. If you know us particularly

David! – you’ll understand how difficult

it was for us to stick to a one hour

session! There are so many things to cover in relation to barefoot running and we had to think about which aspects we wanted to talk about, both for our workshop and the seminar.

So, a couple of weeks before the show, we had a long chat about the kinds of things that were cropping up regularly during client sessions and in forum discussions. One major skill that

people often need to improve is their ability to use their natural spring. If a runner is used to their shoes helping them gain a sense of spring in their running, they can tend to land quite heavily and painfully when they try and run barefoot. This lack of spring

is often coupled with a restriction in

ankle and foot mobility, so these are the two areas we tackled in our

workshop. We taught the participants

a series of mobility and reactive drills

inside, as well as getting them outside to try some barefoot running on the cold concrete! Most of them were minimalist shoe runners but they all commented that they felt they were

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landing more lightly on their feet.

Our first seminar came shortly after our workshop. We spoke about transitioning to barefoot running and the differing opinions on the subject.

Some people would argue there is no such thing: how can you transition to barefoot running? You just take your shoes off and start again from scratch! We know of plenty of people though who have chosen to take off their shoes at the end of a run for five minutes at first and then gradually increase the time that they’re barefoot. Others have decided just to make the switch from conventional trainers to a more minimalist option and if they’ve done it with patience and thought, they’ve had no problems. Ideally, going barefoot and starting again is the best bet but it’s really more a case of deciding on what your end goal is and how it all fits into your life. There is a definite need to be flexible and what works for one person will not necessarily be successful for another.

We also talked about injury. Last year we discussed common injuries related particularly to barefoot

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running, as well as the role that barefoot running can play in injury reduction. This year, we talked about the irony surrounding seasoned barefoot runners; perhaps they begin their journey in search of a more efficient, comfortable running style to eliminate injury but once they’ve established that, they start

to search out challenges and want to tackle more severe terrain and weathers both of which carry the risk of injury! However, we were quick to point out that although we get the odd bruise or cut, on the whole the risks are pretty low. Meeting the elements head on snow and driving winds for example

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– can be very exhilarating and when you’re barefoot it adds to the sensation. This
can be very exhilarating and
when you’re barefoot it adds to the
sensation. This is what barefoot
runners seek out: sensation. This is
certainly the case with the evolution
of barefoot running in Britain, where
the terrain and weather can be
pretty unforgiving!
Lastly, we discussed cadence.
We see so many clients who have
become obsessed with the number
“180”. It really is only a guide – if
you’re running on a straight, even
road your cadence will very likely
differ to the one you adopt when
you’re running off road in thick mud.
Adaptation and flexibility are really
key here as well as practice. The
more you practise, the more you
learn.
Once our seminar was over, we were
free to wander about and chat. We
talked to Tom of Aspire PR who asked
us to “sell barefoot running” to him.
The next day, we saw him in the
10km race wearing chunky trainers
so he’s not yet a convert!
David Townsend had kindly organized
a
mini “after-party” on the Saturday
night so we headed to a bar around
the corner for some well-earned beers.
The barefoot runners seemed to
congregate together although a
podiatrist who’d been selling orthotics
at the show joined us because he
said it, “looks like you’re having more
fun over here”! Running, yoga and
other types of exercise were the
main topics of conversation – people
from all running backgrounds happily
discussing their passion.
Sunday at the show was busier. Each
year, a 5km and 10km race are held
on the Sunday morning and they are
both popular, attracting some serious
runners. Afterwards, the racers
wander in to see what gadgets they
can find or, as was the case with one
unhappy runner, come in looking for
the answer to niggling injuries. Again,
we spent the day rushing about and
chatting to people, including one
man whose injury issues had a great
deal to do with the fact that he was
required to wear a suit and ‘proper’
shoes for work when he was most
comfortable in minimal shoes or
being completely barefoot.
It does seem that injury is still the
main reason why people investigate
barefoot running. Following closely
behind that though is also the desire
for something simple in a world that
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is complicated. A primal need to get in touch with the earth underneath our feet when most of the time we’re stuck inside attached to computers with shoes on our feet.

Most people at the show were not barefoot runners. Many weren’t interested in it and plenty hadn’t even heard about it. This doesn’t mean they weren’t enjoying their running. Running is personal. People have their own reasons for starting a running practice and continuing with it as a fundamental part of their life.

This is why the Running Show is so much fun and such a buzz. Running is represented from many different perspectives and without prejudice. If you get the chance, come along next year – it’s well worth it!

Report by Anna Toombs

next year – it’s well worth it! Report by Anna Toombs Did you know Running fact
next year – it’s well worth it! Report by Anna Toombs Did you know Running fact

Did you know

it’s well worth it! Report by Anna Toombs Did you know Running fact 11. Joan Benoit

Running fact 11.

Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first woman’s elite Olympic marathon at the 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles, with a time of 2:24:52

Running fact 10.

During the Great Wall Marathon, China, participants have to climb 5,164 steps

Wall Marathon, China, participants have to climb 5,164 steps P a g e 1 2 A

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Editor’s note:

This article contains certain words that might make some readers uncomfortable. The words are direct quotes from the period of time in question and are reflective of the unfortunate prejudices highlighted in this article.

first heard about Jesse Owens during a GCSE history class. We

 

were studying Hitler and the small part that Jesse Owens played in Hitler’s life helps to form a picture of the dictator and his influence on

German people at the time.

I remember learning how Jesse Owens, a black American athlete, had dominated at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, upsetting Hitler considerably as his ideals of a superior, Aryan state dissipated before his eyes.

Born James Cleveland Owens (he became known as Jesse when a teacher at elementary school heard

him pronounce his initials, “J.C.”) in Alabama on September 12 th , 1913, Jesse Owens was one of ten children and the son of a sharecropper. As a youngster, he was always racing his friends and in high school, his talent was spotted by his gym teacher, Charles Riley. Riley took Owens under his wing, inviting him round on Sunday afternoons, teaching him correct manners at the dinner table as well as talking to him about running. He told Owens that, when racing, “Never look to left of right – horses don’t!”

Owens began to develop a name for himself as he excelled in the 100m, 200m and long jump, or “broad jump” as it was known then. There were a number of colleges who wanted to sign Owens up and he chose Ohio State University.

In sport, Owens was equal to his fellow athletes. Colour was not an issue on the field. However Owens, because he was black, was not allowed to live

fellow athletes. Colour was not an issue on the field. However Owens, because he was black,
 

on campus and when he travelled with his team to various athletics

meets, he often wasn’t served in restaurants because of the colour of his skin.

 

Larry Schneider, used some innovative techniques, including getting his

students to train to music to develop their rhythm.

 

Rather than become bitter about this, Owens dealt with it in a calm manner, rising above the prejudice. He would just say of those who took issue with his colour, “It’s their problem, not mine”, without any hint of anger. Footage of Owens addressing journalists and the public shows a well-mannered, good natured, intelligent man, focused on competing and representing his country.

Undoubtedly, the coaching he received greatly contributed to his achievements. His college coach,

However, Owens had a natural talent. His trim, yet muscular build was perfect for sprinting and he moved with a natural grace whilst generating immense power and speed. His ability to jump, both horizontally and vertically, was uncanny and that in-built spring was what helped him rise to the top of his game.

In 1935, Owens attended the ‘Big 10 Championships’. The night before he was due to compete, he fell down some stairs and hurt his back. Against the advice of his peers, Owens chose to compete anyway, despite the

 

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Nazi regime and although the US government were still keen to attend and not compromise any existing ties to the German government, a growing number of American protesters were against America’s participation in the Games.

Owens had his own doubts too, but was given a stern talking to by his coach who reminded him what a great opportunity this would be. After a visit to Germany by Avery Brundage, the president of the AOC (American Olympic Committee), it was declared that Germany was fit to host the Games and the decision was made that the US team would take part.

On July 18 th , 1936, the US team travelled over to Germany by boat. There was much camaraderie on board as the sportsmen and women socialized together, transcending any issues of colour or class. For this has always been the case in sport: it disregards superficialities and brings people together from all walks of life.

Jesse Owens was to take part in the 100m, 200m and the broad jump. His rival, Eulace Peacock, was unfortunately injured so couldn’t participate and a man named Ralph Metcalfe took his place.

   

The Berlin Olympic Games opened on

1 s t August 1936, signalled by a flock of 25,000 pigeons being released into

1 st August 1936, signalled by a flock of 25,000 pigeons being released into

the sky.

Things hadn’t quite been

 

thought through in enough detail

 

because as the gun salute occurred,

frightened all those flying pigeons, causing the raining down of much pigeon poop onto the spectators!

it

significant pain he was in. In fact, not only did he take part, but he set three new world records in the 220 yard sprint, 220 yard hurdles and the broad jump. He also equalled the 100 yard sprint record! To highlight the significance of Owens’ achievement, only two men at the London 2012 Games jumped further than his ‘Big 10’ jump of 26 feet, 8 inches!

relentless, disciplined manner.

It

was still an impressive spectacle

Meanwhile, Owens was losing his focus somewhat. He was enjoying the fame and notoriety as he travelled around to various competitions. As his form began to suffer, a new rival arrived on the scene Eulace Peacock. He began to beat Owens and after a number of wins, became the new favourite for a place in the American Olympic Team.

though, with the Olympic torch carried into the stadium for the first time ever (this tradition was started by the Germans).

Owens was due to compete on day two in the 100m. He set himself up at the start (without blocks in those

 

days they used to dig little holes with

After this success, Owens was almost guaranteed a place at the 1936 Games. These were ultimately held in Berlin although apparently, Adolf Hitler’s original opinion of the Olympics was that it was a, “Jewish n***er fest”. His advisor, Joseph Goebbels, convinced him that it was a chance to showcase his “master race”. Hitler warmed to this idea and he began to demand that the German Youth must be, “slim and lean”, forcing them to train in a

a

trowel to get their feet secure to

Owen re-focused. He returned home for a time, marrying his girlfriend Ruth, who was already mother to the first of their three daughters. He began a strict training regime and soon returned to form.

push off) and once the race began, he pulled away easily from his fellow runners to win the race in an admirable

time of 10.3 seconds, equalling the

world record. He was interviewed after his win and very graciously said:

“I’m very glad to have won the 100 metres in the Olympic Games here in Berlin. It’s a very beautiful place and

In the lead up to the Olympic Games, there was some doubt as to whether or not the USA would take part. There was growing concern about the

a

very beautiful city. The competition

was grand and we’re very glad to

come out on top. Thank you very

 

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kindly.” It was tradition for the leader of the host country to shake the winner’s hand but Hitler, as we all learn in our history lessons, refused. “Do you really think I’d be willing to be photographed shaking hands with a Negro?” he said.

 

Owens’ next event was the broad jump. He almost didn’t make it through the first round but before his last attempt, his main rival, German Lutz Long, gave him some advice about his take off and this resulted in a jump that took him successfully through to the next round. After that, the two rivals battled Owens with his unique style of landing and then doing a little jump forward onto his hands rather than falling backwards as is more common for jumpers. Owens eventually won the event, setting a new world record and the two rivals, Owens and Lutz, after the awards ceremony, walked arm in arm around the stadium (no doubt at the disgust of Hitler).

Owens also won the 200m, setting another new world record! He had definitely proved his astonishing talent. However, the end of the Games was tinged with some sadness as two of the original US relay team were told that they weren’t allowed to run and Owens and Metcalfe took their places. They won the race, but it transpired that the two who were due to run, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoler, were replaced under the orders of Hitler, because they were Jewish. This was upsetting for the whole team,

Stoler, were replaced under the orders of Hitler, because they were Jewish. This was upsetting for
 

particularly the two men who had trained long and hard to represent their country and were denied the opportunity at the last moment.

him when he made his threat. Owens had been stripped of his Amateur

point, Owens agreed to race horses, drawing in the crowds and earning

a

bit of money from that. It must

 

Still, Jesse Owens felt triumphant and whilst he’d been competing successfully, stories of offers from promoters in the States seemed to suggest that he would be worth a lot of money on his return. At the close of the Games, Avery Bundage was keen for team to tour to make some money and they visited various places, staying in very basic accommodation and getting little food or sleep. Owens was tired and missed his wife and made the decision to leave the tour in London and travel back to the States. This did not please Bundage and he warned Owens not to leave. Usually an amicable, compliant man, Owens chose to go against Bundages’ wishes and headed home.

Athletics standing and was suspended from competition.

Another kick in the teeth was his reception in America. For a few moments only, he was viewed as a hero, enjoying some brief notoriety and waving to fans from a car as he was driven through the streets. The truth soon established itself however:

have been quite humiliating for him but his daughter, Beverley Owens Prather, said this: “A lot of people said he wasn’t dignifying himself. But when you have a family to feed and you have no job then you do what you have to do to feed your family as long as it’s honest”.

there were no lucrative contracts for him none of the promotional offers that he had been promised whilst he was in Germany ever materialized. In fact, on his first night back in America he was denied several hotel rooms due to the colour of his skin until eventually one hotel allowed him to stay as long as he used the service entrance.

This was the position of the man who had proudly won four gold medals for his country. How was he repaid? Shockingly, he was eventually sued by the government for bad taxes and he declared bankruptcy.

In the mid 1950s, things finally took

a turn for the better. In the midst

of the Cold War, Jesse Owens was approached to become a Good Will Ambassador for the United States, given the task of endorsing and promoting his country. He agreed,

Soon after his return, Owens discovered that Bundage hadn’t been misleading

Owens had a family to support. He had a variety of jobs, including owning a dry cleaners. At a very low

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were properly recognized. However, deep, deep down in his soul the knowledge and memories of how he was treated by his beloved country remained.

A fellow athlete from the 1936 Games, Louis Zamperini, in a very poignant interview said this: “I was on a national television show with him [Owens] and he didn’t look too good. When I got back to California I said Jesse didn’t look too good, I don’t think he’s gonna live long. He died within the year and he was fairly young. But I think his heart was broken after winning all those gold medals he expected the nation to love him and here’s the greatest athlete in

America being treated shabbily”.

stating in an interview, “We feel we have the best way of life in the world today”.

Owens then began to once again become a familiar, much admired presence in the media. He was seen in various television adverts for Embassy tobacco products and American Express card. He made other television appearances and received several awards, including the Medal of Freedom, presented by President Gerald Ford and the Living Legend Award, presented by President Jimmy Carter.

In those latter years, his dedication to his country and his amazing talent

Jesse Owens’ life was cut short by cancer in 1980 when he was aged just 66.

Gladly, the legendary Owens lives on through the continued recognition of what he achieved both personally and for equality inside and outside the sporting arena. In 1980, his three daughters Gloria, Marlene and Beverley established the Jesse Owens Foundation, with the aim of promoting development of youth to their fullest potential. The foundation created the “Ruth and Jesse Owens Scholarship Program” at Ohio State University to provide services to graduating high

State University to provide services to graduating high P a g e 1 8 A u

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school seniors to help them realize their potential. This help is available for kids regardless

school seniors to help them realize their potential. This help is available for kids regardless of gender, age, colour or race.

Fellow American athletes paid tribute to Jesse Owens in the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, all wearing his initials “J.O.” above their hearts on their kit. This year, in September, the would-be one hundredth birthday of Jesse Owens was recognized with several acknowledgements in the press on his birthday. The American nation is keen to keep his memory alive.

If you were to travel to Alabama, you could take the opportunity to visit the Jesse Owens Memorial Park. This was set up by James and Nancy Pinion, with the blessing of Owens’ wife, Ruth. The purpose of the park is twofold:

firstly, to honour Jesse Owens and secondly, to “mirror his dedication to America’s youth by investing in the community”. Prior to the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, the Olympic torch was carried into the park by none other than Owens’ grandson Stuart Owens Rankin. There is also a museum in the park with all manner of memorabilia relating to Jesse Owens and the world of athletics during his lifetime.

We hope the memory of Jesse Owens lives on, both to inspire athletes and remind the world of how things were, how they have improved and how we should continue to strive towards unity.

Owens should also be remembered

for the magnificent man that he was, for his dedication, talent, good humour and allegiance to a country that, despite some mistakes, ultimately embraced him as one of their greats.

Sources

PBS “Jesse Owens” www.jesse-owens.org www.jesseowensmemorialpark.com www.chicagotribune.com www.biography.com www.wikipedia.org

Owens” www.jesse-owens.org www.jesseowensmemorialpark.com www.chicagotribune.com www.biography.com www.wikipedia.org

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“I always loved running

it was

something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights

just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”

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  hen I look back on the summer of were writing their own, very honest
  hen I look back on the summer of were writing their own, very honest
  hen I look back on the summer of were writing their own, very honest
  hen I look back on the summer of were writing their own, very honest
  hen I look back on the summer of were writing their own, very honest
  hen I look back on the summer of were writing their own, very honest
  hen I look back on the summer of were writing their own, very honest
  hen I look back on the summer of were writing their own, very honest
  hen I look back on the summer of were writing their own, very honest
 

hen I look back on the summer of

were writing their own, very honest blogs which were useful as well as very amusing to read.

When I was younger, in my early twenties perhaps, my impression of yoga was that the people who practised it were long-haired hippy types who only ate lentils and carried with them a faint whiff of patchouli oil mixed with sweat. I’m not entirely sure where this image came from but I suspect the media and general stereo-typing had something to do with it. As I became more immersed in the fitness world, I met many yoga teachers and practitioners who were the complete opposite all wearing the latest exercise gear and looking super fit, well turned out and obviously using yoga (successfully) to stay in great physical shape. I was still blatantly missing the whole point of yoga, but I’ll come back to that.

a

couple of videos (yes, it was a

2013, I will remember it fondly as the time that I took on a yoga

2013, I will remember it fondly as the time that I took on a yoga challenge.

long time ago) and tested them out.

I

took me through some traditional

yoga sequences at speed and left me feeling like I may have pulled or torn something. Another was set in sand dunes and practised at a slower pace, but still challenging.

remember that one of them just

I

issue. The challenge was a yoga programme, called “Ultimate Yogi”, devised and taught by renowned teacher, Travis Eliot, lasting 108 days. 108 days of yoga, no rest days. On top of that, there was a simple nutritional plan to follow and a meditation session scheduled every day.

wrote briefly about this in the last

I

also decided to write a blog for my

enjoyed it I mean, I did it more than once so I must have done to

I

a

certain extent but the inner

cardio fiend in me was always trying to take over and the ‘mindfulness’ was a mystery. I didn’t shun it – I just didn’t understand it. And the videos didn’t really teach me.

journey (which turned out to be the toughest part of the commitment!) in the hope that it would inform and inspire would-be yogis who are considering taking the plunge.

When my DVDs arrived, I joined the facebook group full of other yoga practitioners at various stages of the programme. On the whole, I don’t spend much time chatting on facebook but I found this particular group to be supportive and inspirational. Some of them

So then there was more time spent

in

the world of fitness, networking

and doing courses. I became a

Pilates teacher, which at the time suited my body better. All the yoga I had done was very static (sometimes in a cold room, so it just hurt), whereas Pilates seemed

 

a

more fluid practice.

Anyway, in my world that consisted of hard cardio workouts I decided I’d try a bit of yoga to see if I could improve my flexibility. I got hold of

My interest in yoga was sparked again when I began barefoot running. I’d been continuing to

 

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practise it from DVDs and learning a little more about it. My own training was also morphing into something much more mindful and holistic (without losing any of the intensity) so I began to feel more open to it. Barefoot running can do that to you!

So, I would practise yoga on my ‘lower intensity’ days. Trouble was, the yoga I was doing is known as ‘Vinyasa flow yoga’ or ‘power yoga’ so it was, in fact, pretty high intensity. I reached a point around March/ April of this year where I was pretty exhausted and feeling in the need of…something.

One of the facebook members very wisely wrote: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. This is so true. As it turns out, many of the other group members were at a place in their life where they felt overwhelmed stressed out at work or over-training in their workouts and injured as a result.

I’d fairly recently purchased a Travis Eliot DVD with four, half hour yoga workouts on it and liked his teaching style. I looked online to find out more about him and that’s how I came across this 108 day programme.

I

found lots of amazing reviews about

takes the pressure off.

it

everyone seemed to have had

a

positive experience. I decided I

I’m not saying that yoga is anything

would give it a go.

magic. I’m not entirely sure that

I won’t go into all the details of the programme (if you’re interested, you

can read my day by day account through my blog) but there are a few things I’d like to share. First of all, I now have a clearer understanding

of what yoga is about. The goal of

yoga is definitely not any of these:

to push through pain

to become really bendy

to ‘tone’ your body

to only eat pulses

to cease caring about your appearance and hygiene

to become overly obsessed with your appearance and hygiene

Up until now, I’d been missing the real essence of yoga. I’m not saying that I fully understand the whole philosophy now that will take a lifetime (and beyond).

It teaches you to be ‘in the moment’. Those who worry tend to hold onto the past or panic about the future. Focusing on the ‘now’ is the best way to stay centred. ‘Letting go’ is also something that’s repeatedly encouraged in yoga; letting go of physical tension, but also letting go of other things negative thoughts, possessions that serve no purpose, letting go of overwhelming concerns about what other people think of you. Letting go of pointless obsessions:

“I must have that new pair of shoes“ or “that latest iphone” – why?

everyone would benefit, or at least have their life enhanced by it. I know athletes who are driven and train consistently and relentlessly with not

a stretch or chillout session in sight

and this has turned out to be the best road for them. The point is to

find what combination gives you a balance.

For me, the programme wasn’t all plain sailing. In the last phase, some days required me to do an hour’s power yoga, a separate 20 minute core class and 30 minutes of meditation! I’m not saying that’s impossible but it did test my time- management skills. I have to admit,

I wasn’t fully committed to the food

programme (by any stretch of the imagination my beer buddy will vouch for that) and although I began to get the hang of meditation, my longest session was 16 minutes.

I didn’t succumb to feelings of

pressure though and I think that was one of the fundamental messages of the programme. Most of us live pretty stressful lives so what’s the point of adding more?

Since finishing the programme, I’ve continued my yoga on a daily basis. Not because I have to but because

I want to. Running still has the edge for me in terms of pure enjoyment but the yoga has enhanced it.

From a purely physical point of view,

if I had followed the food programme

(no sugar, no alcohol, no stimulants,

no fried food, no white flour) I would be in tip top shape. To look at, anyway. I do think the body needs

a

certain amount of stress to keep

it

resilient and I believe in testing it

sometimes to keep it strong. The odd beer and portion of chips is a good thing! I did wonder if I’d lose strength or fitness, but my breath is more

controlled when I run or swim and

I have improved overall strength,

despite not doing any other resistance training beyond the first couple of weeks of the programme.

I think my conclusion is to remain

open. Don’t become regimented in your training plan. Don’t think the same combinations will always work be prepared to make changes and try something new. Definitely try yoga, I’m sure you won’t regret it!

I came to think of my mat as my safe

place. It sounds a little ‘out there’ but whatever life was throwing at me good or bad my session on the mat each day was a time for me to take myself away from that. Travis points out that this may seem selfish, but ultimately, if you set aside time for yourself each day, you’ll

have more to give the rest of the time.

I also know that most of us runners are driven by goals and can tend to view each run as a success or failure. Barefoot running can help change this attitude but yoga can really bring it home. It’s a continuous process of discovery and improvement and you can’t succeed or fail at something that is ongoing. Wow that mindset certainly

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David’s laboratory

Is it time for an equal playing field?

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n the world of sport the term ‘separate but equal’ is banded around frequently. Well,

n the world of sport the term ‘separate but equal’ is banded around frequently. Well, in terms of size, strength and speed women just can't compete on an equal playing field with their male counterparts. Right!?

The presumption until recently was that a number of ‘natural’ differences between the sexes meant that woman were just not capable of competing against men. We have been conditioned to believe that men are larger, quicker and stronger than women.

The physical differences, we've been told, are so great that the sexes need their own teams and often, their own rules. Rugby, football, wrestling, boxing and motorsport are too rough for females and even in non-contact sports like golf, running, swimming and tennis (to name a few), our conventional wisdom seems to be, “whatever a woman can do, a man can do better”.

But is it time that we rewrote the manual?

An Indiana University study looked at performance differences between male and female athletes in child- hood by analyzing data provided by USA Swimming that consisted of the best 50 yard freestyle performances for all USA Swimming-registered male and female swimmers of ages 6 to 19, who competed from 2005 to 2010 (comprising of 1.9 million swims). Researchers chose to analyze the children's performance in the 50 yard freestyle, due to the fact that their performances were less influenced by training and more likely to be influenced by muscle function. [1]

The study found no difference in swim performance in children younger than 8 and little difference in 11 and 12 year olds. However, the effects of puberty began showing in the older swimmers, as the boys began experiencing accelerated growth in height, weight and strength typical of age 13 and older.

Joel Stager, professor in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Indiana University Bloomington, said, “I’m not suggesting that boys and girls should compete against each other, but my findings indicate they could. It's the whole perception that girls can't compete fairly with boys," he said. "Well, at

certain ages, they can."

Carol Christensen, an associate dean and exercise physiologist at San Jose State, noted in Women in Sports:

Issues and Controversies, that “starting at puberty, relatively high levels of oestrogen in women are responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics such as deposition of fat in the breasts, buttocks, hips and thighs. High levels of testosterone make possible the development of greater muscle mass in men.” It is this greater muscle mass that most researchers agree gives men a distinct advantage in many sports. On average, women are about 66% as strong as men according to Christensen, with the greatest disparity being in upper- body strength (56%). [2]

It is this belief that leads some researches to rule out men and women competing in contact sports like rugby/American football, boxing, mixed martial arts and wrestling in head-to-head competition, due to the inherent physiological differences between the sexes.

However, anecdotal evidence seems to be breaking the mould!

Take Mount Greylock Regional High

School sophomore, Nikki Darrow, for

example.

from Lanesborough, Massachusetts, USA, at just 15, received many emails from boys asking the same question: How much do you weigh? Or, more accurately, how much will you be weighing in at the coming wrestling season? Why? Because she has countless trophies and medals as a member of the otherwise all-male high school wrestling team, including three invitational wrestling tournament championships wins. In the 2003 Mount Greylock Invitational Championship it was documented that Darrow pinned her male opponent in a highly impressive 51 seconds.

Darrow, a freestyle wrestler

No wonder the boys wanted to have a heads-up before Darrow entered the 110 pound weight class!

When interviewed however, Darrow suggested that such respect has not been universal. “There have been some people who didn't take me seriously," says Darrow. She has faced teasing as well as male opponents who refused to compete against her. One boy even quit the sport after a match. “I pinned him in 15 seconds," Darrow recalls. [2]

“Girls should be able to do whatever

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they want to do," states Darrow, who also happens to hold her high school's record for the most chin-ups - male or female!

But it seems not enough because, whilst Darrow is dedicated (lifting weights daily, participating in cross-country runs in the autumn, training several times a week at the TNT Wrestling Centre an hour from her home), she has been plagued by the perception that wrestling is only for boys. The notion that girls can wrestle or, more than that, wrestle successfully - against boys, seems too much to bear for some, to such an extent that a state representative in Minnesota filed a bill to ban mixed- sex school wrestling. Fortunately, the bill died, but not before it ignited a debate over long-held beliefs about femininity, masculinity and the differences between them. [3]

Increasingly, however, female athletes from the likes of Darrow to professionals such as golfers Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie (who at the age of 13 and 6 feet tall could drive and often outdrive - from the men's tees) - are challenging stereotypes of female physical inferiority.

And yes, while golf is more skill than strength, there are women showing their ability in that respect too. An example is Emily Watts, a 35 year old mother of two American open water swimmer, who in 2002, won the 28.5 mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim

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in 7 hours 46 minutes. Her opponents included two men’s relay teams and she commented that, “people were surprised I won!” She also recalled, "One gentleman came up and was bowing to me. A woman came up with her daughter and said, ‘look at that! A woman won!’ I don't think it shocked me. I do consider myself as equal. Even in practice, even in other races, if I am swimming next to men, I am just another competitor." [4]

Yet another example of female athleticism is Pam Reed from Arizona USA who, at the age of 42, became the overall winner in the 135-mile 2002 Badwater Ultramarathon that begins in California's Death Valley and ends at the highest peak in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, beating the second place finisher by almost five hours.

And of course, let’s not forget that for many years, women were assumed to be physically incapable of breaking a 2:20 marathon time, but the record was shattered three times in 18 months and again in April 2003 when British marathoner Paula Radcliffe broke her own record, finishing in 2:15:25, only 9 minutes 47 seconds off the men's record and within seconds of the men's 1960 world record.

But in January 2004 the record was removed from the annals of marathon world records. Why? Because the London Marathon allowed women to run alongside male pacemakers and officials from the International

Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decided that running alongside these men makes women “artificially faster”. [5] However, this retroactive ruling struck a nerve and led to a chorus of protests forcing the IAAF to reverse their decision. "We realize that these performances were excellent performances," stated Helmut Digel, a council member of IAAF, when explaining why the IAAF backed down. [6]

However, it wasn’t an entire reversal of their decision. Their conclusive ruling actually means that women who run in marathons that feature a mixed group of pacers as in many of the world majors (including The London Marathon, Berlin and Chicago) - won't register times that qualify as the women's world record. The new rule also means that no woman can ever set another world record unless she's being paced by other women. [7] As a result, Radcliffe's old record was only referred to as "world best" up until recently when the decision was made to allow it as an official record.

This doesn’t seem entirely fair, considering that whilst men have shaved three minutes off record marathon times in the past 35 years, women have improved by 31 minutes. Not bad considering the scientific community up to the late 1960’s considered marathons too dangerous due to uterus dislodgment!

However, this was by no means the

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first time a sporting commission removed a female title. In 1938, German foil fencer Helene Mayer beat the men's USA champion,

but her title was taken away and

a ban was instituted on intersex

competitions. Why? Because Mayer had won in an unfair fight, according

to the USA fencing commission, because men can't go “all out” when playing against women. [8]

The USA fencing commission is only one of many to take this stance. In 1976, American Margaret Thompson Murdock competed at the Montreal Olympics in the small-bore rifle against teammate Lanny Bassham.

It went down to the wire, requiring

the judges to examine the targets more closely. Bassham was awarded the gold, but Thompson's performance was great enough to put pressure on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), primarily from Eastern European teams, to segregate the sport. [9]

So, is the male/female divide a fact of life or is it merely the result of a sexist, conditioned world?

To answer this question we have to go back in human history to some of the sources of female perceived ‘inferiorities’ - particularly when it comes to women’s reproductive organs.

In the seventeenth century physicians

viewed menstrual discharge as a “leak” within the uterus, making it the weakest part of the female body as it, “failed to hold its contents”. [10] Dutch physician and anatomist,

Dr. Regnier de Graaf (30 th July 1641- 17 th August 1673), actually compared blood leaving the uterus to wine seeping out of a defective barrel! [11]

And this ‘weakness’ in the womb seems, to some extent, to have formulated social standards and rules - that women need ‘protection’ both on and off the field, with girls being banned from higher education out of fear that intellectual work would draw too much blood to the female brain, leaving the uterus barren. An 1879 medical text informed adolescent girls to, "spend the year before and two years after puberty at rest" and, "endure menstrual periods in the recumbent position." [12] (This stance continued well into the 1970s, as girls were excused from physical education classes when menstruating thankfully a myth of incapacitation

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publicly busted in1996 when German marathon runner Uta Pippig won the 100 th Boston Marathon, crossing the finish line with menstrual blood running down her leg in a time of 2:27:12).

Weakness became a status symbol, as affluent women sought to distinguish themselves from the poor whose lives of cooking, cleaning, tending land and child care were physically demanding. Such physical work or sport was not ladylike.

These worries about females over- exerting themselves led to the USA Lawn Tennis Association in 1902 restricting women’s matches to three sets instead of five, which is still the norm today. [2] This banning continued throughout the sporting world, including distance running after the 1928 Olympics, when unfortunately several women collapsed during the 800m more

‘evidence’ that women need ‘protection’. Some distance restriction continued up until the marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, where Joan Benoit Samuelson took gold in 2:24:52.

The answer, it seems, may be more to do with our societal belief that women are the weaker sex and need to be looked after - and any situation that can lead to the destruction of this notion, e.g. an international male athlete being beaten fair a square by a ‘little lady’, is beyond acceptable for some.

We don’t have to look far to see that our society is constructed into the masculine and the feminine. Masculinity is defined as, “qualities traditionally associated with men”, including traits such as virility, vigour, manliness, strength, ruggedness, toughness and robustness. [13] On the

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‘masculine traits’ such as too much body hair, looking too muscular or an unusually deep voice.

The committee does not specify what testosterone level will disqualify an athlete, in part because individuals’ measures can fluctuate. Arne Ljungqvist, the chairman of the IOC’s medical commission, told the New York Times, “We’ll leave those decisions with the experts.” [16]

But there seems to be a flaw in their policy. There is insufficient evidence to set a benchmark for normal testosterone levels in elite female athletes, let alone persuasive research showing that testosterone levels are a good predictor of athletic performance. [17]

levels are a good predictor of athletic performance. [17] other hand, femininity is defined as a

other hand, femininity is defined as a set of attributes, behaviours and roles generally associated with girls and women, also called womanliness or womanhood, with traits such as gentleness, empathy and sensitivity. [13] Definitely not things which are associated with sport or even the boardroom! And maybe it’s this socially construed notion of how a woman should look and act that has for generations held woman back from achieving their full potential in the sporting world. Take the weak and slightly pathetic heroine in any 1950’s Hollywood movie that needs protection from the rugged hero as an example of the way women are still often portrayed in today’s society.

This portrayal and series of expectations bleeds over into sport. Consider that when women applied to The International Olympic Committee (IOC) back in the 1960s to compete in the Olympics, they were made to “parade” naked in front of a panel of judges who determined whether or not they appeared female enough to compete - a debasing exercise that their male counterparts did not have to endure. [14]

And today it still continues

New testing policies, adopted by the IAAF and the IOC since 2012, call for the use of testosterone level measurements to decide whether an athlete is “feminine enough” to compete as a woman. [15]

The IAAF and IOC policies state that female athletes with unusually high testosterone levels, a condition known as hyperandrogenism, may not be eligible to compete as females unless they “undergo medical intervention” to lower their levels and all female athletes with a condition leading to hyperandrogenism must report this knowledge to their dedicated sporting authorities. [15]

This policy includes a clause that any suspicions or complaint about a specific female athlete (something as simple as an athlete looking “too masculine”) can result in initiating a confidential evaluation including a possible combination of examinations:

a clinical exam, testing urine and blood for hormone levels and/or a full exam that includes genetic testing, imaging and psychological testing - all based on arbitrary concerns about

While high testosterone levels in women are often associated with athletic prowess in medical literature, indicating that women who make it to an elite level are more likely than others to have this hormone imbalance in the first place, it cannot be deemed as a game changer. In fact, the IOC only submits women to this degrading process who do not seem to fit with the societal ideal of

femininity.

counterparts who excel in sports such as ice skating and synchronized swimming will not be forced to under- go tests to determine their masculinity.

Once again, their male

Katrina Karkazis, PhD, a medical anthropologist and senior research scholar at Stanford’s Centre for Biomedical Ethics said, “What makes sex testing so complicated is that there is no one marker in the body we can use to say, ‘This is a man,’ or, ‘This is a woman.’” She continued with, “These new policies try to get around that complexity by singling out testosterone levels as the most important aspect of athletic advantage. But what causes athletic advantage is equally complex and cannot be reduced to testosterone levels.” [18]

This policy leads to a select number of female athletes being discriminated against that don’t meet traditional notions of femininity, whilst, as Karkazis, PhD and her colleagues say, “distorting the scientific evidence on the relationship between testosterone, sex and athletic performance.” Karkazis, PhD is not the only one with concerns. Rebecca Jordan-Young, associate professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at

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Barnard College and Columbia University said, “Individuals have dramatically different responses to the same amounts

Barnard College and Columbia University said, “Individuals have dramatically different responses to the same amounts of testosterone and it is just one element in a complex neuroendrocrine feedback system.” [18]

The controversy centred round complaints from other competitors

 

Mariya Savinova.

that she was “too masculine”. Italian Elisa Cusma Piccione , who placed sixth in the race, said at the time, “These kinds of people should not

The American Journal of Bioethics warned in a published paper that such policies, “would not only be unfair, but also could lead to female athletes being coerced into unnecessary and potentially harmful medical treatment in order to continue competing”. [18] This is certainly a concern, considering the story in September 2009 reported by the Associated Press stating that Semenya was on suicide watch. According to the report, “officials were saying that psychologists were caring [for] the 18-year-old round-the- clock after it was claimed tests had proved she was a hermaphrodite.” [22]

run with us

for

me, she is not a

In fact, some researchers contend that, even if high testosterone levels were found to be a marker of improved athletic ability, it is not reason enough to bar women with naturally occurring high levels of the hormone from competing, a point I whole-heartedly agree with. [19] After all, if we bar women for the advantage of having too much of this naturally occurring hormone, then maybe we should consider all biological variations as an ‘unnatural advantage’. Several runners and cyclists have rare mitochondrial variations that give them extra- ordinary aerobic capacity, while 7 ft 5“ basketball player, Russian born Pavel Podkolzin and 6 ft 4” Brazilian mixed martial artist António Carlos Silva, have acromegaly, an uncommon condition in which too much growth hormone is produced resulting in symptoms including enlarged hands and feet. [20]

woman. She is a man”. [21]

These kinds of people should not run with us For me, she is not a woman. She is a man”.

 

Elisa Cusma (Italian middle distance runner)

These ideas about gender characteristics are little more than cultural inventions, mainly defined

 

by European and American cultures, where femininity is deemed important.

 

This media exposure forced Semenya to undergo tests that turned a private

 

Take the popular insult that someone, “throws like a girl”. We assume boys are genetically programmed to be better over-arm throwers than girls, yet a study that analyzed the results of children of both sexes, from different age groups (7-8 years, 9-10 years and 11-12 years) throwing with their non-dominant arms, revealed that age differences but not gender differences, were relevant in the force of the throws. [23]

The researchers surmised that boys

question of her personal identity into a humiliating and very distressful public spectacle. The IAAF ultimately ruled that Semenya is eligible to compete as a woman, but the experience led the organization to issue new rules when the sex of an

The new polices for testosterone testing arose from the controversy surrounding Caster Semenya, South African runner, who won a gold medal in the women's 800 meters at the 2009 World Championships.

athlete is in question.

The IOC then

adopted these rules, with some variation, in time for the London Games 2012, allowing Semenya to enter, where she took silver - just missing out to Russian world champion

 

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appear better, “natural” throwers due to cultural upbringing (playing ball with their fathers) rather than any evidence of a throwing gene on the Y chromosome.

Sports commentators too can often be found focusing on the feminine qualities of female athletes, especially when female athletes portray masculine qualities like that of Semenya, as well as their appearance and attractiveness, instead of just focusing solely on their skill or athletic ability.

Some of you will remember the media sensation over footballer Brandi Chastain who removed her jersey after winning the 1999 World Cup, revealing an unrevealing sports bra. While her team’s victory did not generate much media attention, her “strip teasing” antics caused a media frenzy, including repeated comments by a KABC commentator about this so-called “Striptease”. Sadly, these kinds of comments remove the focus from a great athletic success. [24]

More recently, there was controversy over Sky sports host commentator Richard Keys’ and pundit Andy Gray’s disparaging remarks about female linesman Ms Sian Massey (when they thought their microphones were off) both deciding that “women don't know the offside rule ". [25] Sky Sports

don't know the offside rule ". [25] Sky Sports stated that the ‘off - air’ remarks

stated that the ‘off-air’ remarks were, "not acceptable" and the Football Association statement said it had made, "real strides in encouraging both male and female match officials

to enter the game at every level and will continue to offer every encouragement to all officials within the football family to progress to

the highest levels possible". They continued with, "We are proud to have some of the world's best match officials, both male and female. Overall the number of female referees in England (Levels 1-8) stands at 853 and climbing and all of our female match officials act as fantastic ambassadors for the game.” [26]

act as fantastic ambassadors for the game.” [26] But my favourite was only recently aired, concerning

But my favourite was only recently aired, concerning the Red Bull women’s cliff divers on Sky channel “Dave”. It was the first ever women's event to be held in the World Series, from a height of 20m, rather than the 27m from which the experienced men jump. The male television commentator suggested that, in fact, the female divers were unable to perform off the 27m platform due to them not being, “physically capable” of withstanding the forces of impact that their male counterparts contend with, due to their female frames. Yet, when co-presenter Bonita Norris (who in 2010 became the youngest British woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest at the age of 22, until 2012 when it was broken by Leanna

(Source: Getty Images)

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Shuttleworth, aged 19) interviewed 39 year old American diver Ginger Huber about the necessity to

Shuttleworth, aged 19) interviewed 39 year old American diver Ginger Huber about the necessity to perform off a lower board, Huber replied, “It’s not that we [female divers] are unable to jump from that height woman have done it in the past! It’s more that we [the Red Bull competitors] have never really had the opportunity to. After all, there are not too many training facilities for us.” A sentiment aired by former Red Bull Cliff Diving Champion Joey Zuber. [27]

In short, the language used by sports commentators, along with media and social perceptions, contributes to this marginalization and lack of belief in female athletes, relegating them to the position of ‘other’. Ask yourself why the men’s finals are always placed on the last day of all tennis Grand Slams or that the final Olympic event is the men’s 100m? In fact, the women’s finals of both of these examples are not even on the same day as the men’s, instead being demoted to the day before!

heavy television exposure, the more an audience views it as being important.” And if younger generations consider

complete shift in social, political and economic power, as well as a more liberal attitude towards the genders, considering that an individual’s

female athletes to be second class, will it inspire them to compete? [28]

A prime example of this ‘second class’ in action took place in 2003 when in May of that year Annika Sorenstam became the first woman in 58 years to compete in a Professional Golfer’s Association event. Fellow Fijian golfer Vijay Singh asserted that, “she had no business there”. [29] And unfortunately, he wasn't alone. Many radio callers and online chatters trashed Sorenstam for daring to compete, leading to even Sorenstam herself, who didn't make the cut but played respectably, to take an apologetic stance, saying she would, "go back to my [Ladies Professional Golfers Association] tour, where I belong", implying she was inferior, despite outplaying some top male golfers under public and fellow scrutiny. [3]

Conclusion

gender might more accurately be considered on a sliding scale rather than just being either male or female.

At the heart of the matter is the presumption that there are vast "natural" differences between males and females. Males, we're conditioned to believe, are bigger, faster and stronger than females and their physical differences, we've been told, are so great that they need their own teams and rules.

However, the notion that male athletes are always superior is constantly being tested. Gail Devers finished one heat of the indoor 60m hurdle event in 7.74 seconds at the 2003 USA Track and Field Championships, setting a new American record, while during the men's initial heats, only 3 out of 23 ran times that were faster. In 2002, British free diver Tanya Streeter descended 525ft into the water while holding her breath, breaking all the existing men's and women's depth records. This record still stands today.

Do we, as Morgan, Shanahan, & Signorielli suggest, attach more importance to male athletes? “The more prominence an athlete or sporting event receives from

Will male and female athletes ever compete against one another? It is a more complex question than one would first think. It requires a

 

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Female athletes are constantly breaking records and assumptions, whether it’s marathon runner Paula Radcliffe or 5ft, 45kg American climber, Carolynn Marie "Lynn" Hill, who was the first human to free climb the treacherous "Nose" of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California, using finger strength only to scale its face, with ropes only for safety.

When interviewed, Emily Watts saw herself as "just another competitor," while Nikki Darrow didn’t entertain any thoughts as to what a woman shouldn’t do, but rather what a talented athlete could.

After all, if we truly believe that sports should be segregated due to dominant physical differences then as a society we would have to consider race as well. White athletes dominate swimming based disciplines, including Triathlon, while running based disciplines tend to be dominated by black athletes; fortunately this type of segregation would be deemed unacceptable!

Lynda Ransdell, associate professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, USA, stated, “Is gender segregation the right way to go here? In the process, women are closing the gender gap. [3] If you consider both sexes athletic performance as bell- shaped curves, one beside the other, along the same axis, you would see

that as women have gained access to better facilities and better training, the bell curves have moved closer together." She continued with, “The ironclad belief that men are better athletes now looks suspect. More than sex, raw athletic skill matters more!”

If we care to look at some of the female athletic performances over the years, then we must ponder the question: How much better can and will females athletes get, considering their late emergence into the majority of sports? Growing participation has led to more positive opportunities and with scholarships, expert coaches, training and mentoring, female athletic performance has improved. But more should and must be done, starting with more exposure of women’s disciplines in the media to equal that of their male counterparts, removing the ‘superior’ elements of men’s sport. After all, how can female runners using male pace makers be deemed ‘unnatural’ – isn’t all pace making, by definition, unnatural?

Renowned women's sports doctor and co author of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide, Carol L. Otis, summarized my point perfectly by writing, “Conditioning and access to training and facilities, many argue, is key to improving female performance. But for years, men have been the

female performance. But for years, men have been the paradigm into which women were forced to

paradigm into which women were forced to fit. From the design of athletic shoes to medical matters, women have been treated as small men.” [30]

But while some expects are starting to address these problems, the majority of our society applies continuous pressure on women to conform to its image of femininity. It’s not good enough that a woman can achieve greatness in their chosen sport; they have to also fit our society’s criteria and verify their womanhood. And this pursuit of femininity by the younger female population is driving many away from the sporting field completely. It seems to be acceptable to be a footballer’s WAG, a trophy wife, but not an actual footballer! But when you consider that the average wage for a female England footballer in this entire year was reported to be an embarrassing £18,000, [31] while the men’s team individually earned over £9,000 per game, why would they? [32]

With many commentators, pundits and media outlets downplaying the image of an independent, confident and athletic woman, preferring to market the sexual side of women’s sports, are we, as a society, creating more pressures? Comments such as the one made by BBC Radio’s John Inverdale: “Do you think [Marion] Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little, ‘you’re never going to be a looker. You’ll never be a [Maria] Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight,’” are certainly not helpful. [33]

Edward Martin Kian, of Florida State University, calls this type of behaviour “masculine hegemony”, which is, “The general acceptance of masculinity as the primary characteristic of our society that places women in positions below men”. He believes, “it is still obviously evident in today’s sports world. Sports continue to reinforce this dominance and many of the perceptions of women in sports culture.” [34]

Things are changing slowly but having researched this topic, much more needs to be done to allow women to compete in a fair environment.

Overleaf:

Just a sample of the women who have broken the mould

Photo courtesy of Toby Melville/Reuters

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Ana Carrasco Gabarrón, Motobike Racing

Ana Carrasco (born 10 th March 1997 in Murcia, Spain) is the first female motorcycle racer to score points in the Moto3™ class when, at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix, she took 15 th place in a dramatic fight to the finish line, collecting the final point and beating Francesco Bagnaia by just over one tenth of a second. She is also the first female rider to score points in any class since 2001. She went on to improve on that result with 8 th place at the Valencia GP.

Carrasco began riding motorcycles at age three and made her first career move in 2001 in mini-motorbikes and later competed in 70, 80 and 125 CC where she also made history by becoming the first woman to score points in that category. All this, plus her entry into Moto3™ in 2013 happened before she reached 16 years of age!

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Babe Zaharias, Golf

Mildred Ella Didrikson "Babe" Zaharias (born 26 th June 1911) in Texas) claimed to have acquired the nickname "Babe" (after Babe Ruth) upon hitting 5 home runs in a childhood baseball game but, in reality, her Norwegian mother had called her "Bebe" from the time she was a toddler.

Her sports achievements began playing basketball for an amateur "industrial team", The Golden Cyclones, governed by the Amateur Athletic Union, leading the team to an AAU Basketball Championship in 1931. She first received attention as a track and field athlete in the 1932 AAU Championships where she competed in 8 out of 10 events, winning five outright and tying for first in a sixth, setting four world records in the javelin, 80m hurdles, high jump and baseball throw in a single afternoon. Her performances were so amazing her ‘team’ won the championship, despite her being the only member!

By 1935 she had taken up golf and in 1938 she competed in the Los Angeles Open, a men's PGA tournament, a feat no other woman had ever tried. Unfortunately she missed the cut, but did meet her husband-to-be, teammate George Zaharias.

She continued on to win the 1946 U.S. Women's Amateur, the 1947 British Ladies Amateur and three Women's Western Opens, winning 17 straight women's amateur victories. In 1947 Didrikson turned professional and dominated the Women's PGA.

In January 1945, Didrikson played in three PGA tournaments and whilst she missed out on the three-day cut, she did make history by being the first woman in history to make the cut in a regular PGA Tour event. She continued her qualifying streak at the Phoenix Open, where she finished 33rd and at the Tucson Open, finishing tied in 42 nd place.

In 1948, while attempting to be the first woman to qualify for the U.S. Open, her application was rejected by the USGA who stated that the event was intended to be open to men only. By 1950, she had won every golf title available, totalling 82.

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Seana Hogan, Ultra Cycling

Seana Hogan is a legend in the sport of Ultra Cycling.

In 1991 a friend, training for RAAM, invited her to ride the 300 mile option of the LA Wheelman's Grand Tour while he rode the 400. After her 300 miles she reportedly said, "I do not want to sit in the van for 6 hours, I will ride too." She finished the 400 mile option in less than 24 hours.

That same year she decided to race in the RAAM Open West. However, during training in late July she had a serious accident, breaking a clavicle, eight ribs, and fracturing her pelvis. This didn’t stop her as she went on to win the women's division and 6 th place overall in the October event. The following year she returned and achieved her first outright win.

In 1994 Hogan set her first American transcontinental record, then in 1995 was overall winner at the Furnace Creek 508 and a year later set the overall ultra cycling record time for the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco in an incredible 19h 11m - a time no one (man or woman) has ever beaten.

20 years on Hogan is still showing her dominance. In 2012 she

broke the overall women's 24-hour outdoor track record.

successfully beat all women to win the Furnace Creek 508, established a new women's course record at the HooDoo 500 and 50+ Race Across the West, as well as winning the 24-Hour Time Trial World Championship and the NorCal RAAM Challenge.

She

She is set to compete in the RAAM 2014, where she hopes to set the women's 50+ transcontinental record.

hopes to set the women's 50+ transcontinental record. Anna Rose "Rosie" Napravnik , Jockey In 2011,

Anna Rose "Rosie" Napravnik , Jockey

In 2011, New Jersey (USA) born, 23 year old jockey, Rosie Napravnik, became just the sixth woman in history to compete in the Kentucky Derby. None of the first five female competitors finished better than 11 th place.

Aboard “Pants On Fire”, Napravnik didn't win, but she did make history as the first female jockey to ever crack the top 10 by finishing in 9 th place. In that same year she competed in the Kentucky Oaks where is she claimed second place.

Her career has since gone from strength to strength. She became the first female jockey to win the 2012 Kentucky Oaks on her return aboard “Believe You Can” and only the second woman to win a Breeder's Cup race by winning the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile on” Shanghai Bobby”.

Her Belmont Stakes ride was not as successful in that year, only finishing 5 th aboard “Five Sixteen” and she continued with a 5 th place at Belmont, riding “Mylute”.

This year Napravnik rode the filly “Unlimited Budget” to a 6 th place finish in the 2013 Belmont and rode “Mylute” in the Preakness Stakes for the first time, finishing third.

In doing so, she was only the third woman to ever ride in the Preakness and had the highest-placed finish for any woman jockey in that race. Adding the Preakness to her 2011 Kentucky Derby and 2012 Belmont races, she is now the first woman ever to have ridden in all three US Triple Crown races.

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Dame Ellen MacArthur, Sailing

British sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur first came to prominence in this male-dominated sport around 2001 when she took 2 nd place in the Vendée Globe Solo round-the-world Yacht Race, earning her an MBE for services to sport.

In 2003 she captained a crewed round-the-world record attempt in the yacht Kingfisher 2, but unfortunately they were halted with a broken mast in the Southern Ocean.

This didn’t stop her. On 28 th November 2004, she began her attempt to break the solo non-stop round-the-world record, during which time she set records for the fastest solo voyage to the equator, past the Cape of Good Hope, past Cape Horn and back to the equator again.

She crossed the finishing line on the 7 th February 2005, beating the previous record set by Frenchman Francis Joyon, by 32h 35m 49s (covering 27,354 nautical miles in 1718h 18m 33s). Joyon later reclaimed the record in 2008.

MacArthur has been appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in recognition of her achievement, making her the youngest female recipient of the honour in modern history.

Katie Hnida, American Football NCAA Kicker

American footballer Katharine Anne "Katie" Hnida (born 17 th May 1981 in Colorado) became the first woman to score in college football's highest division, the NCAA Division I-A. She accomplished this as placekicker for the University of New Mexico Lobos on 30 th August 2003 by kicking two extra points.

Hnida’s career started after Rick Neuheisel, University of Colorado football team coach, invited her to join as a walk-on placekicker due to her success in high school. When Neuheisel left in 1998 his replacement, Gary Barnett, kept the offer open but Hnida didn’t see any playing time. Eventually, Hnida transferred to New Mexico as a walk-on placekicker where she played in the 2002 Las Vegas Bowl against UCLA.

Controversy surrounded Hnida when, in 2004, she told Sports Illustrated that she had been sexually abused by some of her Colorado teammates. Later that same week, her former coach, Barnett, stated, "We have not done anything wrong, there isn't a shred of evidence to this date to back up any allegations that have been made, and there won't be." He went on to say, "It was obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful. You know what guys do? They respect your ability. You can be 90 years old, but if you can go out and play, they'll respect you. Katie was not only

a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no other way to say it. She

couldn't kick the ball through the uprights." These comments,

along with other actions, saw Barnett suspended.

In 2010, Hnida became the kicker for the Fort Wayne FireHawks in

the Continental Indoor Football League, becoming the league's first female player and only the second female professional football player in history. Hnida played in the first three games of the team's season but was released later that year after developing

a blood clot in her kicking leg. She continues to play semi-pro

football, kicking for the Colorado Cobras in the Colorado Football Conference and the KC Mustangs in the Interstate Football League.

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Fabiola Da Silva, Inline Vert skater

Nicknamed Fabby, Brazilian professional inline Vert skater (Vert competitions are held on a Vert ramp which allows the competitors to fly into the air and land back on the ramp) Fabiola da Silva (born June 18 th , 1979 in São Paulo) competes on the LG Action Sports World Tour and has received over fifty medals in the LG Action Sports World Tour events. These include seven X Games gold med- als and one silver, making her the most decorated female athlete in X Games history (in seven years she has only lost one X Games event, finishing second in 1999).

Her dominance against other women was so great that she forced the hand of the Aggressive Skaters Association in respect of limited gender integration and in 2000, the sport's officials created "Fabiola Rule", which allowed women to compete in the formerly all-male Vert competition.

Since then, she has been placed several times in the top ten in events where she competed against men and in 2005 became the first woman ever to land the double back flip on a Vert ramp.

She continues to pursue a world championship.

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22. Smith, A. D. Fears for Caster Semenya over trauma of test results. The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/

Euro-2012-England-set-100k-bonus.html#ixzz2mkjXY4QZ.

2nd June 2012.

sport/2009/sep/13/caster-emenya-gender-testresults.

33.

O'Carroll L. John Inverdale's Marion Bartoli comments 'wrong', says BBC news chief: James Harding responds

12th September 2009

23. Raudsepp L. & Paasuke M. Gender Differences in Funda- mental Movement Patterns, Motor Performances, and Strength Measurements of Prepubertal Children Pediatric.

 

after presenter's claim that player 'was never going to be

a

looker' results in almost 700 complaints. The Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/jul/09/john-

Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.Exercise Science, 1995, 7,

inverdale-marion-bartoli-bbc. 9th July 2013

294-304;1995

34.

Kian ETM. Will a New Medium for Sports News Offer Less Trivialization of Female Athletes? Examining Descriptors and Traditional Stereotypes in Internet Articles on the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournaments. 2007

24. Hammond C. From Sports Bras to Ponytails: Media Sexualizes Female Athletes in Post-Title IX Era. 5th April

2007

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Outside the lab

Outside the lab uisa Giles, exercise physiology researcher at the University of British Columbia and avid
Outside the lab uisa Giles, exercise physiology researcher at the University of British Columbia and avid
uisa Giles, exercise physiology researcher at the University of British Columbia and avid cyclist, decided
uisa Giles, exercise physiology researcher at the University of British Columbia and avid cyclist, decided

uisa Giles, exercise physiology researcher at the University of British Columbia and avid cyclist, decided to investigate the benefits and hazards of cycling in polluted air after developing some tightness and wheezing in her chest.

investigate the benefits and hazards of cycling in polluted air after developing some tightness and wheezing
 

There is obviously no doubt that cycling in cleaner air is better; polluted air can cause inflammation in the lungs and oxidative damage that spreads to the rest of the body.

The results of her study showed that the heart rates of those exposed to pre-exercise pollution were 6 or 7 beats higher than those not exposed, suggesting that the body does suffer after effects after ingesting fumes and has to work harder for a period afterwards. Giles also noted that a previous study carried out on mice suggested that the body can adapt to pollution if exposed over a period of time.

Her findings also interestingly indicated that harder exercise proved more beneficial than moderate exercise in adverse air conditions, with lower intensity exercisers using more energy than their higher intensity counterparts when exposed to fumes.

The conclusion: cycle in clean air where possible but if you get caught in a polluted zone, pedal harder!

to fumes. The conclusion: cycle in clean air where possible but if you get caught in
esearchers have found that measuring the levels of a particular gene in the DNA in

esearchers have found that measuring

the levels of a particular gene in the DNA in blood of skin cancer sufferers

could help doctors find out how advanced their cancer is and whether it has spread.

Identifying the gene, known as TFP12, can lead to faster diagnosis and treatment; treatment introduced during the earlier stages of the disease has proved to be more effective, so this latest discovery is extremely beneficial.

As well as providing doctors and sufferers with more information, this discovery may also lead to new treatments.

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study conducted by Victoria Leavitt, PhD and James Sumowski, PhD has shown that aerobic exercise
study conducted by Victoria Leavitt, PhD and James Sumowski, PhD has shown that aerobic exercise
study conducted by Victoria Leavitt, PhD and James Sumowski, PhD has shown that aerobic exercise

study conducted by Victoria Leavitt, PhD and James Sumowski, PhD has shown that aerobic exercise helps to increase hippocampal volume in MS sufferers and therefore improve their memory.

Memory impairment affects about 50 percent of those with MS and is one of the many debilitating symptoms of the disease. In this particular research study, two participants took part in an exercise regime: one carried out 30 minutes of stationary biking, 3 times

a week for 3 months, whilst the other performed low

level stretching exercises.

The aerobic exercise resulted in a 16.5 percent increase in hippocampal volume and a 53.7 percent increase in memory function. The ‘non-aerobic’ stretching produced non-significant gains.

In the absence of effective pharmacological

treatments for memory impairment in MS, this study warrants further study on a wider scale because aerobic exercise is low cost and has overall health benefits as well as those specific to memory.

overall health benefits as well as those specific to memory. research project, conducted by US and
overall health benefits as well as those specific to memory. research project, conducted by US and
overall health benefits as well as those specific to memory. research project, conducted by US and
overall health benefits as well as those specific to memory. research project, conducted by US and

research project, conducted by US and German researchers, has suggested that women who exercise during pregnancy will produce offspring with a better cardio-respiratory systemin later adult life. The study was carried out on pregnant pigs, which were put

in later adult life.

The study was carried out on pregnant pigs, which were put

through 20-45 minutes of moderate, treadmill exercise five days

a week (the current recommended US guidelines for pregnancy),

with a control group doing no exercise. Their offspring were measured much later on in their adult life and showed significant alteration and improvement in the vascular smooth lining of their arteries.

Previous research has only investigated the short term impact of exercising mothers on their children and this is the first study to look at how a mother’s exercise regime can promote the health of her children well into their adult years.

On the whole, the NHS neither promotes nor advises against exercise

in expectant mothers, but hopefully continued studies such as this

one will begin to encourage more mothers-to-be to remain active

during pregnancy.

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Book review

The Summit Seeker by Vanessa Runs (reviewed by Alene Nitzky)

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recently had the opportunity to review a book on ultrarunning. I'm not really sure what prompted the author to contact me and ask

 

me to review it, but I'm glad she did.

I

wrote a shorter version of this post

as a book review for my running column in our local paper, it will be published on December 8th.

I

wanted to say more and the

newspaper column only allows so many words. I also wanted to expand a little more on the places where her book took me, personally. So this version is a book review with

my own personal commentary inserted here and there, on what it meant to me, and the memories her book brought back to me. Because it touched me a lot more than most books on running ever do.

There has been a mini-

proliferation

of books about ultramarathons and

ultra athletes in recent

years, mostly

written by or about the fastest and most recognized names in the sport.

The Summit Seeker is different. Written by Vanessa, a young woman new to the sport, she describes a life experience that differs from many ultrarunners, who are often from middle-class backgrounds, have mainstream jobs and careers, generous disposable income, and fairly conventional lifestyles.

parents, who crossed two borders with her to land in Toronto, where

Shacky, with whom she still lives in an RV along with their dog and cat. They travel the country and run as many trails as they can find. Along the way, Vanessa finds herself comfortable and at peace.

Ultrarunning is a sport that demands confidence, self-reliance and outrun- ning fear. While none of us are ever completely in control of our lives, Vanessa is in control of who she is. She experiences the anxiety of being new in the sport and exploring new distances, but enters them fearlessly, because she knows who she is. Grounded despite her nomadicism, she is determined to live life simply, being true to herself, and enjoy it without guilt, qualities that are rare.

Vanessa has the refreshing voice of a young woman expressing herself in a way that’s self-assured. She embraces the uncertainties of life and plows ahead anyway, she’s a great example to so many people who get sidetracked along the way by unimportant things: appearance, weight, competition, and what other

In running as well as other sports, much attention is paid to the statistics:

the fastest and most competitive. Unless a person is a high-achieving athlete by these standards, it is rare to hear the human story of what drives them to become an ultrarunner. Those stories need to be told.

I

Vanessa grew up under conditions of economic and emotional poverty.

After losing her mother at age nine and growing up with a father who imposed his strict religious standards and expectations on her, she became a caretaker for her siblings,

think that people are afraid of telling their own stories. They are afraid to share their fears, mistakes, and rough spots. People want so badly to conform and fit in, because they see the pain inflicted upon those who don’t.

Then there are the ones who are always seeking, looking for what’s out there, to go beyond the fences and limits that don’t really exist. When they express themselves fearlessly, they can pay a price in going against the grain, but the beauty of a diamond in the rough is worth the price.

and had very little given to her in nurturance and support.

Her inner strength drove her to pursue means of escape whenever possible, her restlessness tempered by self-reliance. She made mistakes along the way, but gained wisdom and perspective in her physical transience, resulting in maturity that often comes later in life.

Her desire to run took her to the streets and cold lakeshores of Toronto until she ran a marathon and decided to break free. She left for San Diego, discovering a new social world among ultrarunners on the trails.

Vanessa tells her story of growing up with El Salvadorean immigrant

She eventually met her partner,

 

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people think.

when I'd go backpacking with other people, once we got to our destination, I'd always go off exploring on my own.

When I started running ultras in my 20s, about the same age as Vanessa was, there were very few women running ultras. It was just something they didn’t do, didn't even think of, had never heard of, and/or didn’t have time for, with families, jobs, expectations.

running outdoors, alone, hearing the wind, seeing the landscape, and taking it all in, unadulterated by others' voices and perspectives.

Reading Vanessa's book, there were several times I found myself so emotionally moved by her words that I found myself crying, at the cruelty of her childhood: the dog that despite her best efforts as a child, got neglected, losing her mom at a young age, how her dad treated her, the hypocrisy of religion that she discovers, her intense restlessness and desire to escape.

Women often have a different experience when running ultras than men do. Despite so many changes in our cultural attitudes toward women, some things are still unchanged. Women are held to certain standards and expectations, which varies with many factors. Women are still told what they should and shouldn't do, or can and can't do. To resist means you have to exercise your strength and independence, which does not always gain approval.

If

I wanted running partners, I had

I love that Vanessa explores places

to run with the guys, or I ran alone. Usually I ran alone, and all these years later, I still do. I've been lucky over the years to make some great friends through ultrarunning - in the many hours of covering trails and roads you learn so much about each other.

without fear.

I did that from

 

childhood and I can completely relate to going out in places where people would be freaked out by a woman being out there alone. I trust my sixth sense, too, and I don't let other people's fears hold me back.

My own similar, parallel experiences growing up, I believe, also led me to my own restlessness and desire to escape, and eventually, pushing my own physical limits, living in the back of my truck with my dog in the woods, my independence and the things I did that were far from the norm for women.

Vanessa describes life in her RV, and I remember the times of resisting the mainstream lifestyle, in my 20s moving

It's a chance to spend time with

As a kid I loved exploring the woods in Pennsylvania, and later, the desert and forests in Arizona, whenever I had the opportunity to go off by myself, or with other people who shared an appreciation of the outdoors. Even

a

company, shared scenery, and shared pain, experiences we rarely share with other people all at once,

person, shared effort, shared

in

any place in our lives. But I equally,

if

not more, love the solitude of

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The Summit Seeker By Vanessa Runs Paperback: £8.24 $11.69 Language English Publisher: CreateSpace Independent
The Summit Seeker
By Vanessa Runs
Paperback: £8.24
$11.69
Language English
Publisher: CreateSpace
Independent Publishing
Platform (February 2013 )
Paperback: 186 pages
ISBN-10: 1482502933
ISBN-13: 978-1482502930

to Crested Butte and waiting tables, running and mountain biking, living on as little as possible, trying to avoid ‘getting a life’.

But when I finally caved and ‘got a life’, I tried three different times to fit into the ‘life’ and each time I ended up depressed, miserable, and frustrated. There is more to life than conforming. Growing up gifted with many talents it’s hard to find your place in the world. And if you are outspoken, people take it personally and they don’t take criticism well. I'm happy for Vanessa and the life she lives and speaks of, and what she has to say. I hope she lives it as long as she wants to, and keeps saying it.

As I read her book, I remembered some things lost in my memory, that I hadn't thought of in years, and my favourite experiences: an enchanted solo run for hours through a blizzard to the base of Paradise Divide in Crested Butte, the magical night sky in the Lean Horse 100, the stars

reflecting along with bioluminescence

in the water in the Sea of Cortez on

a kayaking trip years ago. And the

unmatched wonder of the Death Valley landscape.

The book is a glimpse inside her mind, a beautifully written personal tribute to ultrarunning and all that it means to her. It’s a gift to the sport, contributing her perspective and voice in a time where the voices of everyone but the fastest get lost. It’s written through her uncluttered view of life, from a person who has managed to keep the crazy world from obstructing her vision or blocking her path.

The Summit Seeker will inspire anyone, regardless of running experience. Vanessa prompts us to listen to the instincts of the human animals that we are. Like running barefoot on a trail, it restores our contact with the earth so we can remember what is most important, not necessarily the comforts, but the things that truly enrich our lives.

the comforts, but the things that truly enrich our lives. Alene has been running since 1984
Alene has been running since 1984 and began running ultramarathons in 1991. Since then she
Alene has been running since 1984 and began running ultramarathons in 1991. Since then she

Alene has been running since 1984 and began running ultramarathons in 1991. Since then she has completed numerous U.S. ultras with multiple wins, has finished the Badwater ultramarathon twice including a 270 mile road Badwater double in July of 2011. She finds adventure in all of her daily runs on the roads and trails of Fort Collins, Colorado, where she lives with her husband and their two dogs. She is a member of the Pearl Izumi Colorado grassroots regional running team.

Alene is a writer, blogger, and pastel artist. Writing on topics of running, health care, and nurse advocacy, her work has appeared in print and online in Runner’s World, Kevin MD, Oncology Nursing Society Connect, Fixing Your Feet Blog, Ultrarunning Magazine, and The Coloradoan. She writes her own blog, Journey to Badwater, http://alenegonebad.blogspot.com Running through the desert and mountain landscapes of the south western U.S. gives her inspiration for her artwork and writing.

An oncology registered nurse and health coach, she founded Sunspirit Wellness Services, LLC, where she works with people who have been through cancer treatment to restore their overall health and well-being. She can be contacted at sherunnoft@gmail.com

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123456789987653212

Questions & answers

123456789987653212 Questions & answers Send your running questions to Anna & David and they will endeavour
Send your running questions to Anna & David and they will endeavour to answer them
Send your running questions to
Anna & David and they will
endeavour to answer them for
you: letters@bfrm.co.uk

I haven't run for a very long time, but a colleague who is a barefoot runner tells me that everyone is designed to run. He is quite confident that I could learn to run barefoot, so I think I'll give it a go, but need to find out more first and get fitter. I take it that there isn't an age limit?

Hi Gail

(Gail, via email)

No age limit at all! The only rule is that you need to be patient and progress slowly.

It’s also worth getting some tuition from a professional to help you get started. If you’re based in/ near London, David and I teach individual sessions and have a workshop coming up in 2014 (it doesn’t matter how fit you are or how much running you’ve done).

sessions and have a workshop coming up in 2014 (it doesn’t matter how fit you are

If you’re not near London, I can probably put you in touch with an instructor in your area.

There are also several books that you might find useful ours is called ‘Run Strong • Run Free: An introduction to the science and art of barefoot running’. You can get a copy here:

www.trcpublishinguk.com

You don’t need to be fit to start. You can get fit whilst doing it. Start with walking barefoot first to strengthen your feet and when you’re ready to run, just try a few minutes on a hard, smooth surface first. The golden rules are keeping you cadence (strides per minute) quite high, making sure you don’t overstride and, most importantly, staying relaxed!

All the best with it and hope you find lots of helpful tips in the magazine.

Hi

All the best Anna
All the best
Anna

I've been running barefoot now for 4months (I say barefoot - I actually run in Vibram Fivefingers because off the of road running I do). I have slowly built up to doing 6 miles now mainly on trails and so far my knee injuries that I used to suffer no longer bother me. But recently I seem to be suffering from pain in my arch of my foot and along the edge. Any suggestions on stretching to help this? Or any other advice welcome, thank you

(Joe, Surrey)

this? Or any other advice welcome, thank you (Joe, Surrey) Hi Joe Thanks for your email

Hi Joe

Thanks for your email and glad to hear you’ve been building up slowly.

In terms of your symptoms, rolling

a golf ball underneath the sole of

your foot and using a foam roller or rolling pin on your calves will be helpful. You could also just massage your feet with your hands. There are plenty of useful clips on youtube if you just search ‘foot rollering with golf ball’ and ‘calf rollering with foam roller/

rolling pin’.

However, it’s worth noting that there’s an underlying cause for the pain. Something that’s happening mechanically is making your plantar fascia (the tissue running along the sole of your foot) overwork. You mention you feel pain in the arch and along the edge does that mean the inner edge of your foot? This is quite a common problem, particularly if you’re doing a lot of off road running. The uneven ground challenges your stabilizing muscles more and if they’re weak, other muscles will work harder to compensate and become fatigued.

You need to make sure you have adequate mobility and stability in your feet and ankles, as well as further up your body. It’s difficult to give you very specific exercises without seeing you, but general mobility and balance exercises should help.

Vibram FiveFingers, as you say, are not the same as bare feet. They will still interfere with your natural movement, so it’s worth trying to do some running or exercises/drills completely

Plantar fasciitis Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of
Plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) involves pain and
inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar
fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and
connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis is
one of the most common causes of heel pain.
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually
occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your
foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally
decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing
or after getting up from a seated position.
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The latest National news

Questions & answers

Rear-foot Mid-foot Fore-foot
Rear-foot
Mid-foot
Fore-foot

Foot strike patterns

barefoot.

and it will open up. You then need

very useful and you don't necessarily

Good luck!

If you can find a movement coach to prescribe you some exercises to practise once they’ve

Our book offers a series of drills

to make it full screen, using the square-like icon at the bottom right. This will bring up a bar along the top of the magazine, which includes

need lots of sessions - one or two should suffice.

assessed your movement, that would be your best bet.

and exercises to help improve your running, as well as explaining anatomy and running technique.

a slider to make the magazine bigger/smaller. There's a 'send' button on that bar (square with an arrow in it) and if you click on that, several options will appear, including the option to download as a pdf.

Hello

I thought I was supposed to run on the balls of my feet but I see that you’re running almost flat footed?

Of course, it may just be general

Hope this helps!

Of course, it may just be general Hope this helps!

Hope all that makes sense!

Is that how I should try and land?

fatigue, so you could also try taking a few days off running and

Let me know how you get on.

just making sure your diet and

 

(Greg, Canberra)

lifestyle are as healthy as possible (adequate sleep, adequate hydration, limited processed

Hello,

Most barefoot runners don’t land

foods, limited sugar intake, limited stimulants, limited stress!).

When I run at some point either one or both knees on the outside hurt like hell. I think it is the lateral

on the balls of their feet. They tend to land on the middle, springy part of their foot and the toes and heels come down almost immediately

Hi Folks ,

collateral ligament. I have done the stretches my orthopaedist recommends but it doesn't help. Anyone have this issue and what

afterwards. David is more of a rear- foot striker, so he lands towards the back of his foot, slightly on the outside.

I am interested in the barefoot magazine but would like to read it in pdf format so I can keep a copy. Can you help?

have you done to alleviate it? It really affected my 5k race last Sunday. It happens about 1.5 -2 miles into my runs. Is it my running style? It pains enough I have to

We try to encourage our clients to focus less on their feet. There is an obsession about foot strike when really the important things are

Also, think about lifting your feet off

 

Cheers

stop and walk.

happening above the foot! The main thing to be concerned with is

(Mark)

(Gwyneth, via facebook)

that the rest of your body is moving

Hi Mark

Difficult to say without seeing you

well and in terms of feet, it’s usually the case for most people that they need to strengthen and mobilize

You can download the magazine from ISSUU as a pdf at the moment - it's just a bit convoluted! You need to 'create an account' in issuu (www.issuu.com) first, which is free of charge.

Once you've done that, search 'Barefoot Running Magazine' which will bring up all the issues that we've uploaded so far. Click on the issue you'd like to download

run, but it's probably something mechanical. I would think you'd need specific exercises other than or as well as stretches, but certainly think about shortening your stride and increasing your cadence (not your overall speed) and think of leading with your knee rather than your foot. It's worth seeing someone who can assess what's going on - hone your technique first before you think about speed! Some professional input would be

the feet and ankles. Allow your foot to land beneath your centre of gravity and it will land naturally the position varying slightly from person to person.

the ground rather than focusing on the landing; this will lead to a lighter stride.

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Season in pictures

A showcase of what you have been up to for the past 3 months

Alan Thwaits crossing the finishing line at the Milton Half Marathon, Milton, Ontario, Canada
Alan Thwaits crossing the
finishing line at the Milton
Half Marathon, Milton,
Ontario, Canada
line at the Milton Half Marathon, Milton, Ontario, Canada Tracy Longacre demonstrating beautiful running form P
line at the Milton Half Marathon, Milton, Ontario, Canada Tracy Longacre demonstrating beautiful running form P

Tracy Longacre demonstrating beautiful running form

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First UK Trail Ball event, England Vs France. France won! Patrick Sweeney executes his friend
First UK Trail Ball
event, England Vs
France. France
won!
Patrick Sweeney
executes his friend
somewhere in Mexico.
And we thought he
was a nice guy!

Ricardo D’Ash and Ian Hicks doing their version of the Run Strong , Run Free book cover!

doing their version of the Run Strong , Run Free book cover! B a r e

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Injury Corner Calf Flexibility Sans Stretching: No More Calf Wall Stretches by the Sock Doc

Injury Corner

Calf Flexibility Sans Stretching: No More Calf Wall Stretches by the Sock Doc

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common warm-up or cool-down ritual, particularly in the running community, is the straight-leg calf stretch.

common warm-up or cool-down ritual, particularly in the running community, is the straight-leg calf stretch. Of the many ways you can warm-up your calves, runners tend to like to push against a wall or other vertical object to get a good stretch and give them a feeling of security, as false as it may be. After all, most runners have tight calves, and most think it’s completely normal and comes with the total package of being a runner. Some feel the need to stretch in order to temporarily “loosen” the calves and be able to run while many more mistakenly think that the more they stretch the calves the less their chance of injury. Yet, stretching the calves in such a static “hold and stretch” manner is not associated with any reduction in injury and definitely not any faster healing time of injured tissue. Calf wall stretches, however, are a great isometric upper body exercise if you’re training to push something or someone over.

where you become a better athlete.

Actually, the more you choose to stretch the calves while leaning against the wall the weaker these tendons and muscles will become resulting in increased injury rates.

 
 

“Actually, the more you choose to stretch the calves while leaning against the wall the weaker these tendons and muscles will become resulting in increased injury rates”

Stretch More, Stabilize Less

Some runners are even taught to perform this and many other silly stretches after they run to “retain the flexibility” which they hopefully gained during the run. Are you kidding me? So if you hold a stretch for 8-20+ seconds then all of a sudden your body magically locks in the

Stretch and hold all you want but as a runner you’ll not effectively lengthen the muscles and improve stability at the same time to the point

increased flexibility you got from your run. This is assuming you’re running efficiently in the first place, (probably not if you feel the need to stretch), and are actually creating some increased and healthy flexibility. It’s also assuming that you ran in the Land of Magic where post- exercise stretching for some short predetermined time now all of a sudden prolongs gains just by adding this little extra gimmick.

Functional Movement

Movement should be functional which means not only should it be in-line with the type of activity you’re trying to perform but it should also benefit your activity/lifestyle in a positive way. Your body is never in such an elongated position as the straight-leg wall stretch position while running. Your foot is never flat on the ground with your leg back in an almost completely extended position. What are you trying to develop a longer stride where you’re pushing off at the point where your glutes (the power muscles of running) are no longer engaged and you’re relying on your Achilles tendon for power? It’s a very compromised position and if you’re really feeling

a very compromised position and if you’re really feeling B a r e f o o

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a “good stretch” while doing this movement then you’ve got issues that need to be

a “good stretch” while doing this movement then you’ve got issues that need to be addressed.

you’re unable to touch your toes yet you force yourself to do it, (or have someone push your back down or legs up to accomplish the task), then you’re going beyond your current

ridiculous drill anyway.

Eccentric Heel Drops? Let’s Make It Better

More is Not Always Better

functional ability. Nothing good can come from doing this type of

If you want to naturally elongate your calves and create strength and stability at the same time some recommend eccentric heel drops. Though these are definitely better than the wall stretch as now you’re elongating in a (hopefully) controlled manner under an eccentric (lengthening) load, I feel there are better methods. Plus, if you’re dropping your heel off a step and holding the calf stretch at the bottom then you’re right back to the disadvantages of stretching as you’re simply trying to make something longer that either does not need - or want - to be lengthened.

Longer, in regards to muscles, is not necessarily better unless the muscle has shortened due to some muscular imbalances; and stretching will never correct muscular imbalances anyway. Simply stretching a muscle and holding it to try to make it longer and “looser” simply decreases stability while compromising function. When you lack stability you’ll increase your chances of injury and decrease performance. Flexibility is a reflection of health and fitness and is also accomplished in part by performing activities that develop normal range of motion relative to the level at which you currently function. In other words, stretching to the point of a traditional “deep stretch” beyond your means is a bad idea. Let me explain more.

stretch; it’s too much for your body. (Yeah there are exceptions for other athletes but we’re not talking about those specifics sports here). The same thing goes for if you feel the need to stretch your calves in such

a

straight-leg wall stretch manner.

If

you feel like getting your leg out

to a certain length and pushing your foot down is going to improve anything, you’re mistaken. You

should be able to perform such a “stretch”, or movement, as I’ll call it now, without it being too difficult if your calves are naturally flexible. Simply put if you feel the need to do the wall stretch and you get a good stretch then I say that’s

a

stretch because you’re only going to cause problems by doing it. If you don’t feel the need to do the movement then why do it because you’re already beyond such a

great indicator NOT to do the

Create Flexibility, Stability, and Strength in Your Calves

Flexibility can be increased in a healthy manner if you develop it within the confines of your current fitness. So if

Simply wearing a shoe with less heel height will start to “stretch” your calves and Achilles tendon and

 

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naturally elongate this area. This is why if you transition too quickly to a lower

naturally elongate this area. This is why if you transition too quickly to a lower drop shoe or barefoot walking/ running then you’ll often have sore calves the next day. Even worse, if you progress faster than what you’re capable of you’ll actually injure yourself in this transition period. Check out “Lose Your Shoes” on my website for more on this.

Many people are doing wall stretches to try to lengthen the calves yet they cannot even walk barefoot or in a zero-drop type shoe without issues. If your body can’t handle this normal (or what should be normal) stress to the calf under load then why do you want to put it in a compromised position by doing a wall stretch? This is like trying to run before you can crawl. Pushing on a wall in traditional shoes with heels is just plain silly; you’ve shortened your calf while you’re trying to lengthen it.

Once you can handle some barefoot and zero-drop shoes, the next step to help with foot and lower leg mobility and stability is to work on your deep squat. I won’t get too much into that here as you can watch the video (via the link on my website). Full body squats are a great functional exercise to help you move better overall, especially if you’re a runner.

Another great way to develop strength, stability, and flexibility in

your calves is to run backwards.

Again, this eccentric loading training

is like a weighted stretch but of course

your heel can never go past the

plane of the ball of your foot. But by landing on your toes and lowering your heel down in a controlled fashion, yes, you’re getting a good “stretch” without the many disadvantages of stretching. Do

a few sets of these for 50-75’ and

see how your calves feel the next day.

Finally, and this is the most advanced though it may look simple walk on

a 2X4 board as I show in my YouTube

video: Calf Flexibility Sans Stretching:

Don't Stretch Your Calves.

This will further improve your strength, stability and flexibility in your calves. Add in a deep squat on the board too – it’s much harder than if you were on the ground.

Can you do all these drills? If you can, then there’s no reason to ever push on a wall to do a calf stretch because your body is so far advanced you would achieve absolutely nothing beneficial from such as stretch. Now of course, if you’re bored and don’t want to chit-chat before a race yet want to blend in, then find a tree, stick your back leg out really far, and lean.

Otherwise known as the ‘Sock Doc’ because he advocates being barefoot whenever possible and socks
Otherwise known as the ‘Sock Doc’
because he advocates being
barefoot whenever possible and
socks as the next best thing, Steve
Gangemi is a highly experienced
physician and coach. He is a
chiropractic physician and has
training in functional neurology,
biochemistry, acupressure meridian
therapies, applied kinesiology and
dietary and lifestyle modification
methods. Steve is also a certified
MovNat coach.
His approach with his clients is
holistic, addressing the whole
body when looking at movement
function, as well as taking into
account lifestyle and nutritional
habits.
Steve practises what he preaches
which is evident in his admirable
athletic achievements, including
20 Ironman competitions and
numerous triathlons. Steve runs
a busy clinic in the US as well as
generously offering many fantastic
articles and insights through his
website.
www.sock-doc.com

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Technical tip

Prepare to run! by Anna Toombs

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