Lalita Babbar broke the national record at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon by finishing it in 1:10:52 around 6 minutes after her Indian Male counterpart. I wondered reading the news whether she could beat that time. That got me thinking on woman and long distance running , more so because of my recent read “Born to run” by Mr. Cristopher McDougall.
I have time in hand , nursing my ankle injury ,so catching up on all the literature on running. On the point of Woman and Man and endurance running Christopher has an interesting part where he talks about the research done by Dr. Dennis Bramble on Mankind and history of running. In that context he quotes Dr. Bramble about woman and running.
““Women have really been underrated,” Dr. Bramble said. “They’ve been evolutionarily shortchanged. We perpetuate this notion that they were sitting around waiting for the men to come back with food, but there’s no reason why women couldn’t be part of the hunting party.” Actually, it would be weird if women weren’t hunting alongside the men, since they’re the ones who really need the meat. The human body benefits most from meat protein during infancy, pregnancy, and lactation, so why wouldn’t women get as close to the beef supply as possible? Hunter-gatherer nomads shift their camps by the movements of the herds, so instead of hauling food back to camp, it made more sense for the whole camp to go to the food”
Wow puts a whole new perspective to women and endurance running. Are we made to run equal to man; the answering staring at me is “yes”. There are examples to prove that woman can run equal and maybe even beat men, e.g In 2002, Tuscon, Arizona's Pam Reed won the 146-mile Badwater Ultramarathon outright. She beat all the men, and repeated her win a year later The legendary Ann Trason and the Leadville 100 are just a few. Woman are strong even if after child bearing , like Emily bear who ran 2007 Hardrock 100 breast feeding her infant at every aid station beating 90 other competitors and finishing eighth overall,
So why do we shortchange ourselves, will there be enough examples to cover a book and more. If you were to dive deep into the reasons, you will see a lot of this is to do with some deeply embedded thinking in our head. Personally I have always thought in running, men will always be better than woman. How can you beat something if you have already in your head declared the result?
Biologically woman and man have evolved to be equal compared to a lot of our other mammals , be it weight ,height or structure . However we need to realize that endurance running is a brain activity as much as it is a physical one. Hubby dearest in my early running days (not that I am a pro now) always said running is head game. Brains are programmed for efficiency and not endurance . So I need to get the mind game right if I ever plan to achieve some amazing PB’s. Born to run was a eye opener in a lot of ways. All I want to do is tie my laces and run but have to wait on till the ankle heals. I may even want to test barefoot running next year. Do I see the next year’s resolution propping up, no music, no shoes just pure running. Well time will tell but sure sounds like a plan. What about you, could you out run the guy next to you?