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Did Abebe Bikala run a marathon without running shoes?

The marathon is a tough distance to run; it is 26.2 miles of hard running. It can be hard on the body, particularly the feet which is the reason all marathon runners pay so much consideration to what is on their feet. Marathoners invest considerable time getting the appropriate running shoes and lots of money is associated with running shoes. Back at the 1960 Rome Olympics, the Ethiopian, Abebe Bikala arrived for the marathon and there were no shoes remaining in the teams supplies that would fit him, so he ran the marathon without shoes and went on to win the gold medal. This is often commonly acclaimed as a incredible accomplishment. In recent years there's been a group of athletes that are recommending the running footwear is not all they may be claimed to be and are recommending that running should be carried out barefoot, just like nature made us for.

After all, we were not created with shoes and historical humans had to run long distances without shoes to stay alive as animals needed to be hunted on foot over long distances. Running shoes are actually only a quite recent invention. Runners who advocate the barefoot method of running love to point to the achievements of Abebe Bikala as further validation that we don't need running shoes. There are certainly a number of other justifications both for and against barefoot running, with hardly any scientific research supporting it. Whilst Abebe Bikala getting the gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics without running shoes obviously suggest that it is possible, what those who like to tout his successes as evidence often leave out that he subsequently went on to win the gold medal and break the world record in the marathon at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games. Abebe Bikala was able to set the world record this time wearing running shoes; in other words he could actually run faster when he was using running shoes. We may well have evolved to run barefoot, but we also evolved in an environment before concrete and hard surfaces emerged. While the successes of him were extraordinary, making use of him as proof that it is better doesn't stack up to scrutiny.