To the weary who completed the London Marathon in record temperatures, or like legend Haile Gebrsellassi who did not, there is some good stuff on the web this past 10 days to justify that we are in fact designed to run very long distances in the heat. The differences exist between those who think long periods of jogging are consistent with our ancestors, like Harvard anthropologist  Daniel Lieberman, or evolutionary fitness advocate Art De Vany, who thinks just grinding out the miles jogging and marathoning per se is actually bad for health.

The anthropologist is definitely a marathon apologist ;-) . There is some agreement with de Vany’s view that humans are designed for hunting in the hottest part of the day when other animals and predators are resting. See de Vany’s take here. De Vany favours punctuated running ie sprints combined with walking and rest.

A commenter on de Vany’s site links to a fantastic short video from a David Attenborough programme showing a group of Kalahari hunters tracking and chasing for eight hours. It conforms to de Vany’s stereotype in some respects, except that chasing an animal for eight hours must entail a lot of jogging. The ritualistic end to this hunt is very moving, except for our vegetarian friends, that is.

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