Today, running 5KM took a lot out of me. This can be squarely blamed on a more sedentary lifestyle than is ideal. This doesn’t mean I can’t. We’re all Born to Run in our own ways. Some hypotheses even suggest that we should take that pretty literally.
For example, look at the Rarámuri peoples - 5KM might feel like a lot, but they’re known to long-distance running. Extremely long-distance running. Up to 320KM in one session, often over the course of multiple days. That isn’t even on flat surfaces, either. It’s through canyon and brush, with rather significant elevation changes and rough terrain.
What’s more, the Rarámuri also have competitive aspects to their running, such as the game Rarajipari - a game of kicking and chasing a ball. Even casual games will go on for several miles. However, after some serious all-night partying they will do equally serious matches which go on for thirty to fourty miles.
While much of that can seem extreme, it’s led many to lean into the Endurance running hypothesis - that certain human characteristics can be explained by our need to run extended distances. Sure, it’s just a hypothesis, and there’s definitely some areas where it falters - but it’s interesting nonetheless.
For example - we have shorter toes than other primates. For grasping, this makes us greatly inferior. We lost overall strength and gripping capabilities. With such short toes, how am I supposed to hang from the monkey bars with just my toes? However, shorter toes mean less mechanical work is needed to support weight. Less exertion is put on the joints, and we can support 75% of our body weight on just our toes. In running, this is incredibly important - as we often will end up landing on our toes - and those longer toes would cause injuries.
What does it all mean, though? Well, you might not run 300KM in a single go today - but I’m sure 5KM is a good start on it.