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GOING THE DISTANCE: Math 101 — running by the numbers

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Porter’s “Going the Distance” appears on the second and fourth Mondays each month in the Finger Lakes Times. Contact Porter with ideas and input at jscottporter@verizon.net.

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014 9:25 am

A couple of years back, while running a marathon, I saw a woman holding a sign at the halfway point. It said we only had 23,000 steps to go. Afterwards, I checked to see if that was accurate. Pretty much. If your average stride is three feet, it takes you 46,000 strides to run a marathon. I never knew that.

Here are a bunch of other things I didn’t know:

• Nike’s original name was Blue Ribbon Sports.

• The cheetah is the fastest land animal, achieving speeds exceeding 70 mph.

• The slowest? That would be the garden snail, clocking in at .03 mph.

• On the subject of animals, 50 mph is the top speed for a lion and 30 mph for a kangaroo. Usain Bolt is no match for a kangaroo. The fastest recorded speed from the world’s fastest human is 27.9 mph.

• The human approximating a snail would be Lloyd Scott. At the London Marathon, wearing a 110 pound deep-sea diving suit, it took Scott five days and eight hours to complete the course. Another time, he crawled the same course in a “Brian the Snail” costume. He completed the race in 26 days.

• Male runners are more likely to have daughters. Some researchers at the University of Glasgow — with way too much time on their hands — say that males who run more than 30 miles a week have a 60 percent chance of fathering a daughter.

• Human feet can produce a pint of sweat per day.

• Physically active people have a 60 percent lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease than couch potatoes.

• The heaviest person to complete a marathon is 430-pound sumo wrestler Kelly Gneiting, who “ran” the Los Angeles marathon in 9:48:52.

• During a run, the human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet.

• The largest running race in the United States is the Bay to Breakers, with over 100,000 runners annually.

• The one thing that the youngest and oldest persons to complete a marathon have in common is their last name. Budhia Singh, born in the slums of India, ran his first marathon at the age of 3 and is reported to have run 48 marathons by the age of 4. Sikh Fauja Singh was 100 when he ran the 2011 Toronto Marathon.

• It takes 200 muscles to take a step. Add that to the 46,000 steps, and it is 8.6 million muscle movements over the course of a marathon.

• Over 1 billion pairs of running shoes are sold worldwide each year.

• I knew that Alberto Salazar drank no water in his famous “Duel in the Sun” when he won the 1982 Boston Marathon in 80-degree heat with a time of 2:09. What I didn’t know is that his recovery required 1.5 gallons of intravenous fluid after the race.

• The average man burns 124 calories each mile when running, the average woman burns 105 calories.

• A recreational runner, training for a marathon, will run on average 880 miles.

• In the fifty years that has passed since Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile barrier and Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to climb Mt. Everest, about 3,500 people have successfully summited the 29,029 foot peak and just 1,325 people have broken four minutes for the mile.

• • •

Trail running is not a concept you associate with Seneca County, but there is a trail race Saturday in Seneca Falls. The trail is a stone dust path winding through the natural habitat that is the Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve, located on Black Brook Road.

The race is the 5K Race for Hunger, which benefits the House of Concern. Registration is just $15 and $20 on race day. Runners are asked to bring a non-perishable food item. Gift certificates ($100/$50/$25) are awarded to the top three overall runners, male and female, and there are age group awards. The race starts at 9:00 a.m.

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