Sunday, October 21, 2012

Running with horses

After running the Madrid Corre Por Madrid 10K on my last day in the country, I threw out my running shoes.  I had bought those shoes my senior year of high school, so they had lasted me six years and were in dire need of replacement.  There was also not space in my two suitcases.

I've almost been back in the states for a full month, and have not yet done any physical activity (other than biking to work a few days, but that doesn't really count).  No running. No ultimate.

That needed to change, especially with such little time left before the temperatures drop for good.  I planned to bus out somewhere and buy new running shoes this Saturday.  In the end, the sister ended up being home this weekend, so she and mother came downtown.  We had lunch, and then they took me shoe and grocery shopping.

When I finally settled on a pair at Berkeley Running Company, the shoe guy asked me how often I run.  I told him that I hadn't run at all in the past month, due to leaving my old shoes in Madrid.  Upon hearing this, he said "There's a guy that works here who's from Spain.  Hold on a second." and he went in a back room.  I became giddy with anticipation, excited to see a Spaniard in Madison.  We met and spoke (in Spanish) for just a few minutes.  I walked out of there happy and with these in a box:

My new running shoes, chosen by the feel not the look
Today I'll put the new running shoes to the test when I go to CC's place in Blue Mounds with the civil engineer this afternoon.  While talking with CC on the phone just now before heading out to her place, I mentioned that I was planning run out on her land.  This somehow turned into a conversation about humans' ability to run in comparison with other animals.  CC said she thought she'd heard once that humans can outrun horses (over longer distances) because our endurance is greater.

After our phone call I did some googling to see if this was true.  My search stopped when I found out that there exists an annual "Man vs. Horse" marathon.  Really?!

I'm just going to summarize from wikipedia now:  This marathon (which is just slightly shorter than an official marathon) takes place every June in the town of Llanwrtyd Wells (Wales).  Riders on horseback have been competing against runners in this marathon since 1980.  In the past 33 races, a human has won the race only twice: in 2004 and in 2007.  A horse has been the victor all of the other years.

I had no idea such a race existed, and my mind had never before wandered to the possibility of fast animals having less endurance than we do.  So I'm sharing my new knowledge here and hope someone else enjoys learning of this marathon too.
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