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Bernd Heinrich on Running: Amazing Video

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.


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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. Oh I loved Why we Run, from the first page he had me, I loved his voice, his particular way of expressing himself. I am so happy to see this and hear his voice. What a beautiful person!

  2. Kyle Norman CSCS, MS says:

    Wow! Beautiful. Makes me want to check out Maine–and run.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Anywhere in northern half of Vermont, NH, or Maine. All beautiful, wouldn’t live anywhere else!
      Sent from my iPad

    • Sam Winebaum says:

      The North of VT, NH, ME is spectacular. Not sure but it looked like the Sugarloaf to Moosehead area. Fabulous new hut systems up there AMC and Maine Huts and Trails. And… the way to enjoy it in June-July is on the run or fast hike. The bugs especially the black flies are fierce and it takes a pace of better than 2.5 mph to keep them from lighting! August-September ideal months up there.

  3. Enjoyed his book, too! However, these Salomon vids are always too cheesy for my taste.

  4. This is great stuff! I bought that book when it was titled, “Racing the Antelope” and immediately it became my favorite. I saw this video the other day and decided to reread it. So many good things in there. Thank you, Peter!

  5. I stumbled across the video myself a few days ago. I was touched to see someone so moved by running. He has connected to it on a whole different level. I admit I haven’t read his book but since watching the video it has gone on my list.

  6. He was my husband’s biology professor at the University of Vermont and I remember my husband, Howie, teaching me about ravens behavior that he learned from Brend Heinrich. One of my good friends rented a room from him. She always was telling me about her professor roomate and his crazy ultrarunning adventures. I wasn’t keened into long distance running at that point in my life, and just thought she lived with a wacky professor. My loss, now I own a store that focuses on mountain running and fastpacking and I kick myself for not knowing who that guy really was when I had the chance to know him.

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