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Running (cont.)

More Famous Runners

Kip Keino

Keino may be most famous as the first champion runner from Kenya who paved the way for many of his countrymen to also pursue dreams of world championship running. Keino set the 3,000-meter world record by over six seconds at his first attempt at the distance and won two gold medals in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters at the All-Africa Games in 1965. Later that year, he broke the 5,000-meter world record, and at the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, he won both the mile and three-mile runs. He won the 1,500-meter gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City (defeating American Jim Ryun in a memorable race), and four years later, he won the 3,000-meter steeplechase and 1,500-meter silver medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. In 1987, he was one of seven recipients of Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the Year" to honor their achievements as "Athletes Who Care" (for his work with orphans), and in 1996, he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.

Jim Fixx

Although not as accomplished as the previous runners, Jim Fixx, along with George Sheehan, was one of the athletes who put running, fitness, and health, on the map in the 1970s. Like Dr. Sheehan, he turned his life around with running. Before he started running in 1967, he weighed 214 pounds and smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. Ten years later and 60 pounds lighter, he wrote the classic book, "The Complete Book of Running," which sold more than 1 million copies. His books (he wrote seven) and his appearances on television talk shows extolling the virtues of exercise inspired millions of Americans to take up running and fitness for their health. Regrettably, his most dubious honor is that he died of a massive heart attack shortly after a run at the age of 52. The autopsy determined that he had significant narrowing of some of the major arteries in his heart, and it was reported that his father had also died of a heart attack at age 42. There were some who argued as the result of his death that running was dangerous, while others suggested that running added years to his life. But no matter what, he is legendary for putting running on the map and inspiring millions to take it up.

Hit the Road!

According to Drs. Bramble and Lieberman, the researchers who studied running in ancient hunter-gatherers, we all have the genes for running (Bruce Springsteen thinks so too!); it's just a matter of tapping into them. The first step can be the toughest, but you can do it. And you don't need to be a superstar Olympian like the athletes I mentioned, but let their stories inspire you! Running is healthy and rewarding for just about everyone. Go ahead and give it a try!

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Therapeutic Exercise »

DeLateur defined therapeutic exercise as the prescription of bodily movement to correct an impairment, improve musculoskeletal function, or maintain a state of well-being

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