Dec 22, 2013

“fortitudinem in patientia” (strength through endurance)

And now, the politics of feet and running with them!

Anyone remotely interested in Foot Fitness has got to be impressed with the “ultimate” Ultramarathon in the world–the Badwater 135 in Death Valley, CA. I have been one of the official racecourse photographers for the Badwater and Furnace Creek 508 Ultracycling Race the last few years. These photo assigments for Badwater and the Furnace Creek 508  are some of the best times of my life. I am very disturbed to learn that the Death Valley National Park service has cancelled ALL running and cycling events in 2014 for running and bicycling. As cited by Race Director Chris Kostman of AdventureCORPS:

“AdventureCORPS and Chris Kostman have hosted 89 events since 1990 under DVNP special event permits without ever being refused a permit by DVNP, the Department of Transportation, or Inyo County. There have been no deaths, no car crashes, no citations issued, and only a few evacuations by ambulance after literally millions of miles covered on foot or by bike by event participants.”

I have been attending athletic events for decades. I cannot think of any one person that would go above or beyond what Chris Kostman does with AdventureCORPS to run and administer a professional, SAFE, and amazing endurance event! Having been on the race staff for years, it is a monumental task that everyone takes very seriously no matter what their staff support role.

Beyond an incredible safety record for ALL events in Death Valley and beyond, AdventureCORPS brings an incredible amount of money into the race areas for local businesses. Hotels are booked out, vendors stock up and sell out important supplies, many racers and crews spend extra time before and after the event increasing economic value even more. Many families like my own return to Death Valley throughout the year on their own due to the direct influence of AdventureCORPS events.

The most important issue? We are losing something beyond racing and trophies–we are losing part of the ultraendurance soul of America. Badwater and other AdventureCORPS events serve a noble purpose as they inspire the human race to go beyond adversity and difficulty to achieve. We all walk away from Badwater better people with more respect for the planet.

The Badwater Ultramarathon is good for humanity, good for America, and GREAT for the local economies involved. We do not want our fitness freedoms taken away by a sweeping government bureaucracy. 89 events since 1990 without a serious mishap in very challenging circumstances. Why? Because Chris Kostman, AdventureCORPS staff, racers, and crew members know how to compete, behave, and respect their surroundings.

With everything bad going on in America, Badwater is great and uplifting–and should remain. We change the world for the better through endurance. LET US RUN!!!

"Spirit of Badwater" Photo by Ron Jones Copyright 2011

“Spirit of Badwater”
Photo by Ron Jones
Copyright 2011

For more facts and official response, please see the Badwater Ultramarathon Statement on NPS Issue.

Dec 22, 2013

My #1 recommendation for “custom” hiking boot measurement and fit in Southern California is Adventure 16 Outdoor Outfitters.  I go to the A-16 West LA location off 405 and Pico Boulevard near Santa Monica.  While there are many great stores that stock hiking boots, I feel A-16 has a more experienced boot-fit staff.  I’ve taken clients into A-16, and the boot staff has taken 45 minutes to professionally measure their feet then bring out the best boots to fit their specific foot volume and hiking needs. A-16 also has some great presentation workshops too–some are even on feet and shoes like the one Michael Sandler of “Barefoot Running” did recently.

For custom boot repairs, A-16 recommends Quality Shoe Repair in Santa Monica. A good pair of hiking boots might be well worth refurbishing and repairing before discarding or replacing.  Ask for Rubin if going to Quality Shoe Repair.

Dec 18, 2013

Here’s an interesting Foot Fact–the very first shoe to use a heel or platform was the ancient Greek “Cothornos” (also kothornos).  It came from Greek theatre and was said to have been introduced by the Greek dramatist Aeschylus around 450 B.C.E. to help distinguish actors by height. Remember, this was before fancy microphones and PA systems, so actors used many methods to add drama between characters and plot. The higher the platform Cothornos, the more distinguished the actor, and thus the tradition likely began where height via shoes was viewed as a status symbol. The ancient Cothornos platforms were as high as six inches.

Interestingly, at one point in history, only upper class people were allowed to wear large heeled shoes and platform shoes while the peasants were relegated to low (lowly) shoes. The added height allowed upper class people to “look down their noses” at the lower class people. A “well-heeled woman” also came out of status and height as women with high heels were only upper class socialites at one point in history in some cultures.

*(Source: William Rossi, D.P.M.)

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