Runners have always irritated me because I’ve never been a runner and cannot believe that some people actually like to run. I’ve always suspected there’s a running gene missing in my genetic code.
However, stories of long distance runners do interest me – probably out of envy. This first quote is taken from Edwin Tunis’s book Indians: “[Indian] Men, women, and children lived strenuous lives that lasted about as long as ours, and probably longer than those of Europeans at that time. They could accomplish remarkable feats of endurance. Any young Indian runner could cover a hundred miles in a day, and there are attested cases of their doing considerably more. The Penobscots kept certain of their young men in strict training for running down deer! This was a matter of staying power, not speed.”
Well, call me skeptical, but I decided to do a little research about a human running down a deer. The May 2006 issue of Discover Magazine contained an article “Born to Run” which had the drop-head “Humans can outrun nearly every other animal on the planet over long distances.”
It goes on to explain that “not only can humans outlast horses, but over long distances and under the right condition, they can also outrun . . . dogs, wolves, hyenas, and antelope, the other great endurance runners . . . Our anatomy suggest that running down prey was once a way of life that ensured hominid survival millions of years ago on the African savanna.”
Makes me mighty thankful for grocery stores where even I can run down dinner.