Usain Bolt

A Sprint through History 

Photography (above): Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Why nature got mankind on the move, and how the urge to run has evolved down the years.

3.5 BILLION YEARS AGO

Single-celled micro-organisms – or protozoa – learn that by moving towards their food source, their appetite is sated more quickly

3-4 MILLION YEARS AGO

Early Hominids move from all fours to two feet. This helps them see further and improves their sense of balance

1829 BC*

The Tailteann Games give residents of pre-Christian Ireland a chance to test their speed, skills and strength

*earliest date (one of many) suggested by historians

776 BC 

The Greeks run for the King of the Gods in the first ancient Olympics. Winners receive laurel wreaths

Run

After running the first “Marathon”, Pheidippides died.

© Fine Art Images

490 BC

Pheidippides, a messenger, runs 26 miles to Athens from the battle in Marathon, announces victory, then dies

2,000 YEARS AGO

The Tarahumara, a people indigenous to Mexico, become known for their long-distance running ability. Some are said to run up to 93 miles a day 

1600s

Noblemen in England keep fit for duels by going on endurance runs. How that helps their aim is unclear

Jesse Owens

US athlete Owens wins 4 gold medals.

1897

Fifteen runners take part in the first-ever Boston Marathon, now the world’s longest-running annual marathon

1936 

Jesse Owens, the U.S. track star, wins four golds at the Berlin Olympics and makes Hitler and the Nazis look pretty stupid (see video above)

1960

Abebe Bikila wins Olympic marathon in Rome, running barefoot. Defends his title four years later, in shoes

Abebe Bikila

The Ethiopian double Olympic marathon champion wins barefoot.  

Bowerman

Jogging

Bill Bowerman’s “Jogging” was the first published manual for runners.

 

1962

Bill Bowerman lays the foundation for outdoor running with his book, Jogging

1967

Kathrine Switzer becomes the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, ignoring doctors’ warnings that her uterus could fall out

1972

The Trimm-Dich-Bewegung, a health initiative in Germany, sets out over 1,500 running paths (most long since disused)

2003

Robert Garside is the first man to officially run around the world, taking almost six years to go nearly 37,300 miles

2009

Usain Bolt breaks the 100m record at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, with a time of 9.58 seconds

2014

The Wings For Life World Run is launched on May 4, with simultaneous races in 34 locations

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05 2015 The Red Bulletin

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