FT 011-N Theory and Lore of Running
J. Gregory Redding, Department of Modern Languages
Human beings were born to run. That, at least, is the theory proposed by contemporary evolutionary scientists Dan Lieberman and Dennis Bramble, and it is the premise with which we will begin our liberal arts inquiry into the theory and lore of running. We will use tools from biology, anthropology, history, literature, film, coaching and more to understand how and why people run. And we will also run! We will supplement our classroom knowledge with actual running activities that are appropriate to our abilities, and we will write and discuss how our own running experiences inform our theoretical understanding of the subject.
Today we are in the midst of an unprecedented recreational running boom. People are not just running in greater numbers than ever before, but they are also running farther. Nearly half a million people will complete a marathon this year in the USA, and twice that number will run a half marathon. We will attempt to understand this mania by participating in it. All students in this course will be challenged (but not required!) to complete a half or full marathon by running, jogging, or walking. Our target race will be the Veterans Marathon and Half Marathon in Columbia City IN, which allows 6 hours to finish the marathon and 4 hours for the half. Oprah Winfrey once completed a marathon in 4 hours and 29 minutes. If Oprah can do it, then so can you!
Participants in this course will NOT be evaluated on running ability. Final grades will be based on written and oral work. Texts for the course will include Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, Why We Run by Bernd Heinrich, The Four-Minute Mile by Roger Bannister, and Once a Runner by John L. Parker. Films will include Endurance, Without Limits, Saint Ralph, and excerpts from documentaries.w
Redding, J. Gregory