Yet another study on the health benefits of running was released this week and it rocketed around the internet with all sorts of implications. The study, actually a survey of 55,000 healthy adults conducted by researchers at Iowa State, concluded that running for less than hour a week, or less than six miles, can result in a significant health boost. So much so, that those participants who ran, were 45 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared to the non-runners in the survey.
Dr. Kasper Andersen of Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden told Reuters Health: “The findings are very encouraging since the study suggests you don’t have to train for a marathon in order to obtain the health benefits of physical activity. You can interpret this as every time you go for a run you are putting savings in your own health bank. It’s an investment that gives you a longer life.”
If so, Central Texans are big investors. That is, those of us who run, are certainly investing in our future. No question about that. We know we’re leaner, in great cardiovascular shape and fighting off all the typical health issues—namely obesity—that plagues so many others.
It’s a given that running is good for us. But even if regular running didn’t provide a cornucopia of health benefits, I have always wondered just how many of us would run. To take that one step further, suppose running but didn’t do any more good for us than say, bowling, pool or my favorite, curling.
Would you still run?
I certainly would. I’ve been running practically my entire life, since third grade, long before I knew of any health benefits. Then, I ran for transportation and because it was something I was good at and found a sense of freedom which was more satisfying than just about anything else I did.
It still is. The only difference is now, I care about the health benefits running bestows on me. I don’t want to be fat or die prematurely from heart disease. Nobody does.
Even so, I doubt very many of us pound out the long runs during our hot summer just because we think we’ll live longer, more productive lives. (According to the study, runners live about three years longer than non-runners.)
Those might be ancillary benefits, but running is our passion because of the sense of achievement and community it provides. I don’t know if I would term running as “fun”, but it provides a level of deep satisfaction few other recreational sports can provide.
More than anything, we’re a self-propelled, high motivated, achievement-oriented people who are drawn to this sport for a variety of reasons. It’s certainly nice to know that all the hours and miles we put in are good for us, but we already knew that–in more ways than just pure health.
O Scott MacPherson, the former and still occasional Austinite, is getting married on Sunday in Eugene, Oregon. MacPherson, who finished 19th at the most recent Boston Marathon, is getting hitched to his long-time girlfriend Casey Jo Magee. They met at the University of Arkansas (she’s a gymnast) and is now an assistant gymnastics coach at the University of Missouri where the couple live. MacPherson, 27, still runs for Rogue Elite and it seems like half the team will be up in Eugene for the wedding this weekend.
O Parker Stinson, the former Cedar Park HS star, who finished his collegiate career at the University of Oregon by finishing eighth in the NCAA 10,000, is staying put in Eugene. He’ll finish up his philosophy degree by the winter term next year and will still have an indoor season of eligibility left. Stinson’s hoping to land a shoe contract after he completes his eligibility, but he’ll probably stay in Oregon and continue to be coached by UO distance coach Andy Powell.
O While still dreaming of the cooler climes of Eugene, a ton of Texans were up there last weekend for the Eugene Marathon. It wasn’t exactly frigid, but conditions were decent (mid-60s, warming up to the 70s) for this great race which finishes on Hayward Field. Leading the Texas contingent was Gabe Lucido (2:53:38) and Jay Wimberly (2:55:44) of Corpus. They were followed by my buddy Ken Turlington in a PR of 3:26:32, Mason Wheeless (3:27:35), Ted Kundivich of Cedar Park (3:27:49), Alexa Garcia-Ditta (3:31:05), Jeff Gjertsen (3:34:13), Jill Gajkowski (3:37:16), Melissa Hein of Round Rock (3:45:51), Michelle Garel (3:47:13), Carrie McDonald (3:48:38), George Dunn (3:56:05) and Scott Finnell of Georgetown (3:57:28). San Antonio was well represented by Cecilia Jones (3:32:08), Regan O’Brien (3:35:02) and Robert Wilson (3:47:03).
O Eli Asch, who has been a key figure at Conley Sports, serving as logistics director of the Austin Marathon and other races, is leaving our fair city. Asch has just been named director of race operations for the Sacramento Running Association which owns and operates the California International Marathon which will be held December 7th this year. Asch will be the marathon director. Our loss, Sacramento’s gain.
O Kendall Baisden, a sophomore-to-be at UT, won the World Juniors 400 meters last Friday night in Eugene in 51.85. Baisden, who was third in the NCAAs a month earlier in Eugene, also anchored the victorious 4 x 400-meter relay on Sunday. It was the seventh straight time a USA team has won the event at the World Juniors.
O It’s still July (for one more day), but the Frankenthon Marathon on October 18th up in Cedar Park is almost full up. Race director Frank Livaudais announced that he only has 25 spots left in the race which he expects will be gobbled up quickly. If interested, go to www.frankenthon.com.
O A new marathon in semi-nearby Fort Smith, Arkansas was announced this week. The Fort Smith Marathon will be held for the first time on February 8th on an out-and-back course which starts in downtown Fort Smith at the Riverfront Pavilion. The course is described as “scenic, but hilly.”
O The Leadville Trail 100—the famed Race Across the Sky in Colorado—isn’t until August 16th but already some flatlanders from around here have headed up to altitude to see if they can get acclimated in a hurry. Austin-area runners who are getting ready for the challenge include Greg Wilkerson (Manor), Monica Alas, Jesus Amaya, Denver Fredenburg of Dripping Springs, John Hale, Dean Harvic, Tim Fleisher and Andrew Stephens. San Antonians are Liza Howard, Scott Marshall Jr., Mark Thompson and Jason Conine of Boerne and Larry Pearson of Helotes.
O Congrats to our friends Albert and Karen Saenz on the birth Tuesday of their second daughter, Pauline Adele. She weighed in at 7 ½ pounds and with a full head of hair. Mom and daughter are both doing well. (Mom was running as late as two weeks ago.)
O What I’m listening to this morning, “Slowhand” by the great Eric Clapton. (BTW: his new album– “The Breeze”–a compilation from various artists (including Willie Nelson) of J.J. Cale tunes just came out this week.)
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