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Spire currently produces lightweight racing shoes, neutral cushioning shoes and stability shoes for mild to moderate overpronators, all with the WaveSpring technology They come with three different spring configurations in the shoe; dual-spring (both springs in the forefoot) for forefoot strikers; tri-spring (two in the forefoot and one in the heel) for midfoot strikers, and single-spring (one in the heel) for heel strikers.
DO THEY WORK?
Our tester found that while the shoes looked and felt cumbersome in the hand, they were surprisingly light on the foot and did indeed provide a noticeably bouncier ride with no more effort than usual. However, the fore “oot springs could be felt thri ;ugh the sockliner, and some nay find this a slightly off-pL tying sensation when running I f only pogo sticks were admissible at races, we’d all be a lot happier, right? If you’re one of the many runners who wish e there was a way of i`m getting that little bit more for your efforts, then these new trainers may be for you.
WHAT ARE THEY?
Running shoes that operate on energy return system where the energy generated when your foot hits the floor is returned upwards, helping you push your foot off the floor and giving you greater forward propulsion.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
The midsole of the shoe contains stainless steel springs of different sizes and set to different tensions depending on what model of shoe you are wearing. The heavier the shoe, the bigger and tighter the tension of the spring. When your foot hits the floor the spring is depressed and as it uncoils it helps push your foot upwards.
Before trying your running shoes on, take care of your legs with laser hair removal method. Learn more how is laser hair removal permanent and how it works.
Ernst Van Aaken is one of the fathers of long, slow distance training.
“Since the year 1928,” wrote Van Aaken, “when I watched Paavo Nurmi at the Amsterdam Olympics warm up for two hours before a race, it had been clear to me that modern civilised man is not lacking in speed but in endurance.” An athlete himself, Van Aaken combined running, pole vaulting and gymnastics. He ran his first marathon at the age of 40. He founded the Olympic Sports Club in Waldniel, and in 196o set up the German Association of Veteran Long Distance Runners. He continued competing until 1972 when he was injured after being hit by a car while out training. Both legs were amputated below the knees, but Van Aaken continued coaching.
His champion runner was Harald Norpoth. He had an unusually long career, winning a silver medal in the 8000m at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and having a personal best of 13:2o over the distance.
Van Aaken always maintained that 90 per cent of Norpoth’s put post-heart-attack runners on. He was perhaps the first to advocate that cardiac patients should take gentle exercise, but should rarely exceed a pulse rate of 13obpm.
Norpoth was a legendary skinny runner, and Van Aaken preached that any endurance athlete should carry very little training consisted of runs done at a heart rate of around 130bpm. Van Aaken believed that you had to pump oxygen continuously around the body. This was to promote the growth of the heart and lungs. It was the same regime that he Van Aaken also included walk breaks in his training: repetitions of 35om followed by som of walking. Using this method, his athletes could cover very long distances in training, and he suggested that marathon runners of the fat. In his training books he recommended you should eat only around 2,000 calories per day of mainly natural foods, drink tea from ginger root to protect your health and that you should include days of complete fasting to get your body used to burning reserves of fat. Some of his best athletes fasted for 24 hours before running a marathon.
Women, he believed, have natural endurance, and he was decades ahead of his time in predicting the performance levels of elite women today. And the longer they run, the better women will do, he believed, because they burn fat as an energy source better than men. In September 1967, he organised a marathon in Waldniel, in which he had secretly entered two women – at a time when female marathon runners were still prohibited by the sporting authorities. One of them, 27-year-old Anni PedeErdkamp, finished third in a world-record time of 3:07:26 taking almost eight minutes off the existing mark.
Because running 100 miles through the Himalayas isn’t challenging enough on its own, athletes Tom Penfold and his wife Charlotte have also set a fundraising target of £50,000 for Mencap.
Tom was 2008 champ at the British Universities Sports Association Indoor 1500m, while 800m specialist Charlotte captained Team GB at the World Junior Games 2004. But how will they cope with an endurance event?
“When we were competing, we did a lot of reps on the track but our training now is as many long runs as we can fit in; pace doesn’t really matter,” says Tom.
Tom recognises that their fundraising goal is ambitious, “especially in the current economic climate”. Yet he is quietly confident about the couple’s chances: “We know it’s going to be hard but hope we can pull each other round.”
“The most nerve-racking element is flying back a day after the race, on Sunday,” says Tom. “Charlotte is teaching primary school on Monday – hopefully she won’t be too tired!” To sponsor Tom and Charlotte, visit justgiving.com/thomaspenfold.
BIBA LLOYD AND JEMMA KING FAMILY VALUES
When two sisters decided to run the London 10K on July 12 in honour of their dad Mike Parry, who died from lung cancer last November, they kept it in the family. Their running team included 18 relatives -19 if you count Jemma King’s unborn child; she was five months pregnant by race day.
Jemma, 29, had previously run the London Marathon, finishing in 4:59:23, back in 2006. She stopped running for a couple of months because of her skin problem. She was on a special rosacea treatment. Learn more what rosacea causes and how to deal with it. While excited about the prospect of another race in aid of CHASE children’s charity, of which their dad was a trustee, she admitted beforehand that she wouldn’t break any PBs this time round: “It will probably be more of a waddle.” “The 10K seemed a great way to continue to support CHASE as my father did,” says 35-year-old Biba.
The running team members included the two women’s husbands, Will Lloyd and James King, while their mother Suzie was on hand to provide an enormous family picnic for everyone afterwards.
Choosing to run when it would be easier to quit is an achievement in itself my knee. I could have told myself I just didn’t have a runner’s body, or that it was too late for someone like me to be a runner. I could have. But I didn’t.
Every time I had to start over (which was always because I pushed too far or too fast), I started over. I’d open up a blank page in my log and begin from scratch.
I knew, at some level, that running was both creating my life and saving it. After 25 years of smoking, drinking and eating more than my share, I realised that running was the only path that would lead to a new and better me. And I never wanted to stray from that path again.
Eventually, though, I realised the cycle of starting over, training hard, getting injured, recovering and beginning again couldn’t last forever. I feared there would come a time when I couldn’t start over. I had to recognise that while running was a healthy activity, my obsession with it was just as unhealthy as every other obsession had been. It wasn’t as obvious as smoking, or abusing drugs and alcohol, but the damage I was doing to myself by not listening to my body was similar.
The great lesson that I learned from running – because I wanted to run for the rest of my life – was that I had to accept that fact.
As my 18th year as a runner comes to a close, I find myself reflecting back on what I’m most proud of. Given that I’ve spent my running career in the back of the pack, you might not think there’d be much to brag about. But there is. I placed second in my age group once, at a small duathlon in Indiana. Never mind there were only two competitors in my age group and the first-place guy finished an hour ahead of me a trophy is a trophy. I got help from my testosterone therapy before the race.
I’m also proud I’ve completed 43 of the 45 marathons I’ve started. Not a bad finishing percentage. I walked off the course in Huntsville, Alabama, because it was cold and windy and with nine miles to go, I just didn’t have the heart to finish. And I limped off the course at mile 20 in Tucson after it became clear my IT band was not going to cooperate for those final six.
I’ve set PBs along the way. A 4:35 marathon in Dallas. A 1:51 half in Nashville. A 24-minute 5K in Kentucky. As special as those were, it’s not the PBs or awards that make me most proud. I take the greatest pride in the fact that I’ve kept coming back to running even when it would’ve been easier to give it up. And for someone like me with limited talent, there have been lots of opportunities to quit.
I could have quit before I got the third cortisone shot in my hip, or the second in limits of my body. I had to adjust my goals to match the reality of my abilities. I had to understand that if I wanted to run forever, I might have to not run today. Taking a day, a week or a month off, if necessary, might be hard, but it wouldn’t mean giving up.
Of all wild animals, shrews are the ones most frequently found lying dead, particularly after thunderstorms. A shrew far from home, soaked by rain and unable to find food quickly, loses heat and dies of cold. Or, after a hectic lifespan of perhaps 16 months, in which it may have reared three families totalling as many as 20 young, it simply drops dead of old age. It never lies up in a corner, but hunts eagerly until its very last moment.
Vipers, weasels and stoats eat shrews, in spite of their distasteful scent glands. Shrews’ biggest enemies are tawny owls, buzzards, kestrels and ravens, which have little or no sense of smell.
The shrew’s scent glands, on its
flanks, enable it to retrace its route home after a hunting expedition, warn others off its territory—and, as the buds burst open on the trees and primroses fade to make way for the lush grasses of summer, inform potential mates of its presence.
The female shrew in courtship lives up to a word which this irascible creature has given to the English language. She is shrewish. Her oestrus lasts less than a day, and if the male approaches her at a wrong moment she rounds on him with chattering, blazing fury.
Homing Instinct. Gestation takes up to three weeks, during which she prepares for her succession of families. Carefully she constructs all the exits in her maze of tunnels above water drainage level, then blocks some of the entrances to confuse intruders. Dragging dry grass and leaves into the nursery chamber, she piles it all into a loose ball. Jumping into the middle, she hauls in more and more material, using her muzzle to weave the walls of a warm, secure home.
Our young shrew begins life as one of two to nine hairless, bright red babies each weighing less than one-fiftieth of an ounce. Even before his eyes are open, on about the twentieth day, he begins to explore the nursery chamber and its tunnels. At first his mother tirelessly fetches him back, gripping him by any part of his body she can reach. Later she encourages him to keep walking and waits for him if he falls behind.
Most endearing are the white-toothed Channel Island shrews : as they set out on their first outing, the nearest one grips its mother’s tail in its teeth, the rest grip each other’s tails, and off they all go in a little family crocodile.
By the time he is about three weeks old, the shrew must be completely self-supporting. His mother is readying for her next brood. Left to fend for himself, the shrew makes the most of the senses evolution has given him.
He discovers that his long sensitive whiskers are invaluable for locating small moving prey, and that his saliva is toxic and will partly paralyse his victims, so that he need only give them a quick sharp bite, then carry on hunting and round up his provisions later.
As he grows older, the shrew knows that a rain shower stimulates many soil creatures to head for the air in the top layer. Then is the time to burrow along just below the surface, poking up his snout every few inches like a periscope, not only to snap up that extra spider, beetle or woodlouse but also for a breath of fresh air. More than anything else, the shrew learns that the surest way to find enough food is by virtually stumbling over it in ceaseless, bustling activity.
Perhaps the shrew’s most amazing talent is its ability to cope with winter. Unlike many small rodents and mammals which store food, put on fat, become torpid or hibernate,
it cannot slow down in the harsh months.
For years naturalists were puzzled as to how the shrew manages when live prey is scarce. The secret, first revealed less than 3o years ago, has since been further explored by a Polish biologist, Zdzislaw Pucek. He studied 655 shrews and found that during October, as winter closes in, most of the shrew’s major organs, including the liver and kidneys, start to shrink dramatically in size. Body weight drops as much as 3o per cent, and even the skull and some skeletal bones are partly reabsorbed. The heart, though, stays the same, and because it now pumps blood round a smaller and lighter body, it can slacken from its usual incredible i,000 beats a minute. In addition the shrew’s fur thickens, increasing heat-loss insulation by nearly a fifth.
So, in the most difficult hunting period, the shrew’s food and energy needs fall. Then from mid-March onwards it enjoys a glorious spring growth. The increase in some organs is spectacular—the spleen expands to five times its winter size—new bone tissue grows and parts of the skeleton enlarge ready for the rigours of hunting to come.
Country folk used to fear the shrew because they believed it could drill into the human body with its snout. They also thought it dangerously venomous, and that it could cause lameness if it ran over a farm animal’s leg.
In fact the shrew is one of the gardener’s best and most industrious allies. It doesn’t damage crops, raid food stores or invade buildings. A single shrew can kill more than a million insects and other creatures, many harmful to man’s husbandry, and by feeding on insect larvae in winter prevent the procreation of billions more.
No need to tame the real shrew. This courageous mite is itself one of nature’s finest controllers. And it’s doing fine by us where it is—free in the wild.
Meet the shrew—one of the smallest and
most ferocious wild animals in Britain
ONE rainy afternoon I was sitting on a boulder by a sloping patch of bare earth near my home in the Scottish Highlands when a quick twitching of the grass and a series of high-pitched squeaks told me that a shrew was coming– at speed.
Like a miniature battering-ram, a grey-brown, mouse-like creature burst excitedly from the grass, clasping a plump beetle in its jaws. Ignoring what was obviously the usual entrance to its burrow, the shrew at once made for a smaller hole, scarcely bigger than a worm’s, and neatly switched the beetle lengthways so that it wouldn’t jam. Then, kicking lustily, the shrew squeezed itself inside. As it vanished, all the
rain ran from its sodden fur, as if it had been put through an old-fashioned mangle. Astonished, I realized the shrew had deliberately used the smaller hole solely for grooming purposes on days like this.
The shrew is Britain’s smallest mammal, with species measuring from three to just over six inches, nose to tail tip, and weighing up to two-thirds of an ounce. Despite its size, the shrew has one of the most voracious appetites of any mammal in nature. With bulbous snout and little black eyes that seem made for pince-nez, needle-sharp teeth and absurdly long toes, it bustles across the woodland floor, now and again standing on its haunches, impatiently tossing leaves, moss and earth aside to probe every inch for beetles, insects and larvae, for worms and slugs. Size for size, the shrew is more ferocious than a tiger.
On the Move. Every second of the day and night is vital; it dare not rest for long. With one of the highest metabolic rates of any British mammal, failure to find food can mean death in less than two hours. A shrew will devour its own weight in food daily. Nursing females eat up to twice that amount —the human equivalent of getting through about two hundredweight!
The British Isles have five shrew species. The common shrew (Sorex araneus), mainly a woodland dweller, is the most abundant, but missing from Ireland, the Isle of Manand some of the other islands, including Shetland and the Outer Hebrides, where the pygmy (Sorex minutus) is the only shrew. There are two species exclusive to the Channel Islands and the Scillies : the “Musk” shrew (Crocidura russula) and the “Scilly” (Crocidzira cassiteridum). These two have all-white teeth, unlike the other species whose teeth are tipped with orange-red enamel. The mainland’s biggest —and rarest—species is the water shrew (Neomys fodiens), some six inches long from nose to tail, often living in burrows near slow-moving streams; it thrives on water insects, snails and crustaceans, and is ferocious enough to tackle frogs and even small fish.
Shrews have fascinated me ever since I kept two as a bov in Sussex. For my first captive shrew I put a tin lid of drinking water in its box—and discovered that because of its long muzzle and short underjaw and tongue it couldn’t lap, as a mouse does. It had to thrust its nose deep into the water, swish it round and then hold it up, swallowing the drops as they ran down. I have since watched shrews in the wild deftly slaking their thirst by sipping dewdrops from grass.
My second shrew gave me an awesome demonstration of its extraordinary powers of hearing. I blocked off the shrew in the wooden box where it had its nest, scattered three inches of earth over the rest of the box floor and dropped in a large worm, which promptly worked its way out of sight. I released my shrew. It ran up and down suspiciously; then, locating the worm by the very faint clicking noise of its bristles as it expanded and contracted through the earth, the shrew dug swiftly with its front feet. A small hole made, it pushed in its snout, wriggled it sideways and, scratching more frantically, was completely under the surface—and catching the worm—in less than a minute.
On another occasion one of my shrews, despite its weak eyesight, actually caught a greenbottle fly which was buzzing about near its food. Waiting under some hay, it leapt out at exactly the right moment, snapping the fly with unerring aim.
Quite the most hilarious sight I ever saw in the British wilds was a shrew “fight” which took place on a heath in Surrey. I noticed a shrew earnestly foraging through the surface grass tunnels which, like all shrews, it had prudently made on its territory to enable it to move fast under cover if danger threatened.
Confrontation. Suddenly I heard a rustle; another shrew was heading towards the first. The two poor-sighted creatures collided, but when the home shrew squeaked loudly, leaping straight up in the air and landing in exactly the same spot, the strange shrew didn’t back off. Instantly they were standing on their toes, boxing and clutching each other with tiny forepaws.
Screeching shrilly, they tried to bite each other’s muzzles, their heads turned sideways because of the length of their snouts.
Next, each was trying to nip the other’s tail and whirling round in a blur like a spinning top. Suddenly, they both hurled themselves on their backs, squeaking with rage and kicking out with all four feet until finally the intruder gave up and fled.
Voicing an Opinion. Such serious bouts are rare. Most encounters consist of whisker contact and a leap apart. Two shrews who hear each other at opposite ends of a tunnel will stop and hurl insults down it. Often they decide matters with squeaking contests. He who squeaks loudest wins the day.
In Banjul (formerly Bathurst), capital of the Gambia, I met a group of Gambians. They told me how for centuries the history of Africa had been preserved. In the older villages of the back country there are old men, called griots, who are in effect living archives. Since my forefather had said his name was Kin-tay (properly spelled Kinte), and since the Kinte clan was known in the Gambia, they offered to help me.
They charged towards me. She took her baby and almost roughly thrust it out at me. The gesture meant “Take it!” and I did. Whereupon the woman all but snatched the baby away. Another woman did the same with her baby, then another.
A year later, a famous professor would tell me : “You were participating in one of the oldest ceremonies of mankind, called ‘the laying on of hands.’ In their way, these tribespeople were saying to you, ‘Through this flesh, which is us, we are you and you are us.’ ”
Later, as we drove out over the back-country road, I heard the staccato sound of drums. When we approached the next village, people were packed alongside the dusty road, waving and shouting : “Meester Kinte ! Meester Kinte !” In their eyes I was the symbol of all black people in the United States whose forefathers had been torn out of Africa while theirs remained.
Hands before my face, I began crying—crying as I have never cried in my life. It was all I could do.
I went then to London. I searched and searched, and finally in the British Parliamentary records I found that the “king’s soldiers” mentioned by the griot were a group called “Colonel O’Hara’s forces,” sent up the Gambia River in 1767 to guard the then British-operated James Fort, a slave fort.
I next went to the Public Record Office, where I pored through the records of slave ships that had sailed from Africa. I was going through my 1,o23rd set when I picked up a sheet that had on it the reported movements of 3o slave ships. My eyes stopped at No. 18. This vessel had sailed directly from the Gambia River to America in 1767; her name was Lord Ligonier. Records showed that she had arrived at Annapolis (Naplis) on the morning of September 29, 1767.
Exactly 200 years later, on September 29, 1967, there was nowhere in the world for me to be except standing on a pier at Annapolis, staring seawards across those waters over which my great-great-greatgreat-grandfather had been brought. And there in Annapolis I inspected the microfilmed records of the Maryland Gazette. In the issue of October I, 1767, on page three, I found an advertisement informing readers that Lord Ligonier had just arrived from the River Gambia, with “a cargo of choice, healthy slaves” to be sold at auction the following Wednesday.
In the years that followed, I did extensive research in 50 or so libraries, archives and repositories on three continents. The book took me ten years and more. I called it Roots because it not only tells the story of a family, my own, but also symbolizes the history of millions of American blacks of African descent. I intended my book to be a buoy for black self-esteem–and a reminder of the universal truth that we are all descendants of the same Creator.
BBC TV’s screening of Roots, the saga of an American Negro family through generations of slavery, brings fresh recognition of the remarkable achievement of author Alex Haley.
The story he tells is of his own family. It was pieced together after years of painstaking research and an odyssey of personal discovery that took him to many parts of the United States, to London and the Gambia, until he traced the family’s deepest roots, his African ancestors.
Fired by his vision, in 1966 Reader’s Digest began contributing to the cost of his quest. Eight years later this magazine carried the first published version of his book Roots.
Since then the book has become a best-seller in the United States, where in less than six months more than 1.25 million hardback copies were sold. And last month, after launching Roots in Britain, Haley flew to the Gambia to set up an educational foundation with some of the royalties he has earned. Roots has also made American television history : its dramatization, screened on eight successive nights last January, attracted an unprecedented 130 million viewers.
In this article, Alex Haley recalls how he started the search that led to the phenomenon of Roots.
THE earliest memory I have is of Grandma, Cousin Georgia, Aunt Plus, Aunt Liz and Aunt Till talking on our veranda in Henning, Tennessee. At dusk, these greying old ladies would sit on rocking-chairs and talk, about slaves and “rnassas” (masters) and plantations—pieces of family history, passed down across the generations by word of mouth.
The furthest-back person Grandma and the others ever mentioned was “the African.” They would tell how he was brought over on a ship to a place called “Naplis” and sold as a slave in Virginia. There he mated with another slave, and had a little girl named Kizzy.
When Kizzy became four or eve, the old ladies said, her father would point out various objects to her and name them in his native tongue. For example, he would point to a guitar and make a single syllable sound, ko. The river that ran near the plantation, he’d call “Kamby Bolongo.” And when other slaves called him Toby, the name given him by his massa, the African would strenuously reject it, insisting that his name was “Kin-tay.”
Kin-tay told Kizzy he had been near his village in Africa, choppingwood to make a drum, when he had been set upon by four men, overwhelmed, and kidnapped into slavery. When Kizzy grew up she told her son these stories, and he in turn would tell his children. It was his granddaughter who became my grandmother.
When at the age of 37 I became a full-time writer, I remembered still the vivid highlights of my family’s story. Could this account possibly be documented for a book? During 1962, I began following the story’s trail. In plantation records, wills census records, I documented bits here, shreds there.
By 1967, I felt I had the seven generations of the US side documented. But the unknown quotient in the riddle continued to be those strange, sharp, angular sounds spoken by the African himself. I sought out a linguistics expert who specialized in African languages. The sound “Kin-tay,” he said, was a Mandinka tribe surname. And “Kamby Bolongo” was probably the Gambia River in Mandinka dialect. Three days later, I was in Africa.