Kim Smith of NZ is an elite marathoner whose goal was to win the Boston marathon in record time. Would you ever want to have the physique of her? She looks like a stick figure vegan that we see a lot of.
This relates directly to the thread about paleo and running here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/33314/cross-country-running-and-paleo#axzz1JuNiAY92
100 meter Sprinter Usain Bolt. Looks like a guy that is going to live a long time with long telomeres.
Chris Johnson, running back, Tennessee Titans, 4.2 secs for 40 yards. Fastest runner in the NFL. Fastest sprinter also.
For balance as asked for by poster Payam...Mirinda Carfrae, Iron Man Champion. She looks a little spindly to me. How long are her telomeres? Only time will tell.
Chrissie Wellington Iron Man Record Setter.
To be an elite runner, with all the training miles, do they all have to look a bit undernourished? Or do the two Ironman ladies look like what our ancesters looked like before the invention of agriculture? and the invention of dwarf wheat ground into flour?
And just for Payam, I put up this guy. Don't know who he is, but I expect he is a marathoner. Long telomeres in a marathoner? What do you think ladies? Long telomeres in a potential?
And finally, Marathoner, Grete Waitz, the splendid Norwegian runner who set a world mark in her first marathon, in New York City in 1978, died of cancer on Tuesday in Oslo. She was 57. She was an elite runner all her life. How long were her telomeres. Did she shorten them by running? Lots of people die of cancer every day. But did running cause her life to be shortened. We will never know. But one would think that elite athletes are the epitome of health. Maybe true...maybe not.
WTF is up with all the hate on runners. I got the Paleo Evolution and he said that running was useless, caused cancer, male pattern baldness, global warming and the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Running is a critical cross training component for almost all sports.
As for the stick figure people you are posting I agree with the person who said you cherry picked the hell out of them. Go to a marathon yousrself and look at the lead group take off. You might see some Skeletors, but most look very strong and fit.
Many sports put requirements on your body that hurt you long term. Do I want to look like a stick? Uh no, but I also don't want to look like a 350 lbs lineman, or a sumo wrestler either.
I aspire to find a girl who looks like Kara Goucher, who finished 5th at today's Boston Marathon. As Dr. K hinted at, cherrypicking sometimes only gets the sicklier berries.
I don't aspire to be an elite runner, but I do enjoy running. I have fun running 5Ks with my friends and doing sprint triathlons. I like to push myself to do things that are new to me and challenge my fitness. I don't expect to win any of them. Though I did win 3rd in my age group once, LOL.
I gained weight while training for my first couple 1/2 marathons because I really loved the excuses to eat crap that carb loading gave me.
I've actually found this year that my 5k time has improved now that I'm doing LESS training. I've sped up by a full minute per mile and I attribute that to the fact that my body is not in a constant state of fatigue.
Anyone here look at Brian MacKenzie. The guy is ripped and does 100 mile ultra-marathons. Granted he doesn't run the mileage others do. He follows Crossfit Endurance. I think there is definitely some more balance with runners.
Also, the Inuit will run 20 to 30 miles with the dog sleds through snow. And they don't look like Vegan sticks. Maybe there's a diet connection. lol
and again we are going into judging people's health based on their looks. Cherry picking is a very poor way to prove anything.
I had a friend who was into rock climbing (as many other of my friends years ago), he was stick-thin, very tall and you wouldn't say he was athletic even. But he could climb very difficult paths and could do pull ups on his middle fingers only.
Looks can be deceptive. Both directions (too skinny, too muscled-up, too fat, too think etc.)
I have never aspired to be a distance runner. Boring and uncomfortable. Sometimes I run a bit. I bike to get where I need to go (not far).
I will have the OP know that I have the same body type as those marathon runners no matter what (I will say I think I look more filled-out and youthfully pretty than the examples you chose). I have a spindly-armed extra-lean upper body and only gain mass in my hips and legs. I lift heavy, eat primal with tons of calories and about 1g of protein per pound bodyweight, and do very little cardio. I look just like my father.
I would prefer to be a muscular, proportionate person like an elite sprinter, yes. But I always going to be small and thin, the type of body which lends itself very well to distance running since we have so little to carry.
The question wasn't about "running" or "running a marathon". It was about being an ELITE distance runner. Big, big, big difference.
ELITE runners are self-selecting by their genes, not by their desires. If you have the correct body makeup (meaning, you chose the right parents) to be successful as a competitive marathon runner AND you also train like hell, you can do it. If you don't have the body makeup and you still train like hell, you could be what they call "sub-elite" which means you could win local races and the like.
This says NOTHING about damage that may be done or your career's longevity.
All it says is that 99% of folks are not "allowed" to choose to be an elite marathoner. Those of us who like running but failed the light&lean lottery definitely can get wistful when seeing the genetically gifted sail through a race, longevity hindrances or no.
My god is there a lot of unfocused rage at running here. It's also shockingly ignorant. Distance running has been shown to increase telomere length in more than one study, while sprinting and weight training have not. In fact older people putting in an average of 50 miles / week prevent 75% of normal age-related telomere shortening.