Happy Year of the Horse

Foot vs. Hoof – Happy Chinese New Year

“A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.” – Ovid


We are still a few days away from the official start of the Chinese New Year. But from where I’m sitting (somewhere in the middle of Taiwan), the atmosphere is already abuzz with the upcoming holiday. 2014 is the year of the horse according to the lunar calendar. It’s a reminder that we’re not the lone lovers of running on this earth. The horse, I believe, beats out all the other symbols when it comes to running.

With that said, we (humans) can still sometimes outrun a horse. As is proven in this short clip.

So, that might have been a little edited. But there are some real documented victories of man against horse. For example, in the Man vs Horse marathon, a human by the name of Huw Lobb won in 2004. This feat was again repeated in 2009 by Florian Holzinger. 

Western States LogoAnd we should also remember that the infamous Western States Endurance Run, was originally a horse race. It was 1974 when Gordy Ainsleigh stepped up to the starting line and changed the race forever. He finished the race in under 24 hours, proving that a human could indeed traverse the 100 mile, high elevation, multi-peak event. In the years that followed more and more human runners joined, and in 1978 the human run became a separate event.

The idea to run without the horse was inspired by the fact that Gordy’s horse went lame on the 29 mile marker in 1973. Ainsleigh, it should be noted, was already a champion marathoner in the “Clydesdale Division” (a category reserved for persons who weigh over 200 pounds). So perhaps, the suffering of the horse might have something to do with the decision to run on foot vs hoof.  

So Happy New Year! Run like or even better than a horse in 2014!

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4 comments

  1. horses are obviously bad ass runners. Here is some VO2 max numbers as reference.

    Thoroughbred racehorses: 180 mL/(kg·min)
    Average of elite male athlete: 85 mL/(kg·min)
    Average of elite female athlete: 77 mL/(kg·min)
    Lance Armstrong: 84 mL/(kg·min)
    Running legend Steve Prefontaine: 84.4 mL/(kg·min)
    Ultra runner Matt Carpenter: 92.5 mL/(kg·min)
    Cyclist Oskar Svendsen: 97.5 mL/(kg·min)
    Siberian dogs running in sled dog races: 240 mL/(kg·min)

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