The parkrun is a weekly 5k run held in over 2000 locations at 8AM on a Saturday morning all over the world (COVID restrictions permitting). I have run a few and volunteered at a lot. I mostly do the one here at Mullum Mullum in Mitcham. These events do not go ahead without the volunteers
Why do I hope no one from parkrun reads this? I enjoy my Saturday morning interactions with the runners and walkers. I enjoy chatting with them. They have no idea of my interest and expertise in running, running injury and running shoes. I chat to them about what drives their shoe choices, how they managed with their injury, etc. It gives me insight into these issues. I do not generally give my advice. I like it that way. That is why I hope none of my new friends from the Mullum mullum park run see this post!
For those with an interest, please find a parkrun near you and give it a go at running it and helping out as a volunteer.
One big thing I get from running the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camps is the feedback that I get when clinicians change their clinical practice based on what I teach on the course and its works!
One of these is the treatment of anterior compartment syndrome. My previous clinical experience in dealing with this problem is an almost 100% failure in its treatment. It really was a challenge. Anterior compartment syndrome is when the muscles expands its volume as it normally does on exercise and the fascial compartment that the muscle is in is particularly tight, so it hurts. Nothing really used to seem to help except the surgical outcomes were always pretty good.
In 2013, this study was published and I immediately started doing it in clinical practice and teaching about it in the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camps. By changing from a heel strike to a more midfoot or forefoot strike with a lower touch down angle meant the activity in the anterior tibial muscle did not have to work so hard (but keep in mind that to do this requires other muscles to work harder and put them at increased injury risk if this is not done carefully).
This means the rationale was there. Even more surprisingly was that the results were often quite dramatic clinically. It worked. I enjoyed the feedback from course participants who went back to their clinics and tried it and contacted me to tell me it worked.
There is no doubt that Abebe Bikila is a legend. He was a late selection for the Ethiopian team for the marathon at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Because of his late inclusion the teams sponsor, Adidas did not have shoes in his size, so he decided to run barefoot. On September 10, 1960 he got the gold medal. It was no fluke as he then went on to win the 1964 Olympic marathon in Tokyo. He ran faster in this one wearing running shoes.
My interest in him is two-fold: Firstly, he really is a legend and his running achievements are legendary.
Secondly, it has been interesting to follow the use of that legendary status by the barefoot running community during the fad on barefoot running. He was held up as a hero of that community for his barefoot achievements. He was used to promote the benefits of barefoot running. That is fine and he is anecdotal evidence that a marathon can be run barefoot. What you never see mentioned in that barefoot community that he subsequently ran faster to win the Tokyo marathon wearing running shoes. I did point that out on a number of occasions and all I got in response was hate mail. What does that tell you?