Before there was “Born to Run” there was “Why We Run.” The latter, a book written by Bernd Heinrich, was the first running book I ever read, and it was one of the launching pads for my interest in running science. In the book, Heinrich mixes his life story with elements of animal physiology and a lot of running content, including the first mention I had ever read regarding the idea that human beings evolved to run.
Heinrich is a bit of a hero of mine – he’s a comparative physiologist (my background is comparative anatomy), he studies animals (mainly insects and birds for Heinrich; I studied amphibians for most of my academic career), he’s from northern New England (Vermont for Heinrich, New Hampshire for me), he’s an experimenter (I love his story of using beer as a energy drink), and he’s a distance runner. In addition to Why We Run, Heinrich also wrote one of my favorite books, “A Year in the Maine Woods,” in which he recounts his experiences living in his small, remote cabin in Maine.
A few days ago I got an email from Lynn Jennings alerting me to a video that Salomon had produced featuring Bernd Heinrich (they are good friends, and I almost had a chance to meet him this summer while coaching at Craftsbury but it didn’t work out). The video is beautiful, and I absolutely love his philosophy on running. His passion for the sport is so strong that he is moved to tears just talking about it. Watch the video and I can guarantee you’ll want to drop what you’re doing and go for a run before it’s over.
“Movement is the essence of life…The essential things is to run. Period.” -Bernd Heinrich.