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Did Abebe Bikala ran a marathon barefoot?

Yes, he did. The marathon is a challenging distance to run; it is 26.2 miles of hard running. It can be hard on the body, especially the feet which is the reason all marathon runners pay such a lot of attention to exactly what is on their feet. They will spend considerable time deciding on the best footwear and plenty of money is involved in running shoes. Back at the 1960 Rome Olympics, the Ethiopian, Abebe Bikala arrived for the marathon where there were no shoes left in the teams gear that would fit him, so he ran the marathon without shoes and won the gold medal. This is often commonly praised as a remarkable accomplishment. In recent years there has been a group of athletes who are implying the running footwear is not all they can be believed to be and are advocating that running ought to be done barefoot, much like nature intended. After all, we were not created with shoes and historical humans had to run long distances without running shoes to survive as animals needed to be hunted on foot over great distances. Running footwear are actually only a relatively recent creation.

Those who endorse the barefoot way of running like to point out the achievements of Abebe Bikala as additional validation that we don't need running shoes. There are obviously a number of other justifications both for as well as against barefoot running, with hardly any scientific data underpinning it. While Abebe Bikala  winning gold medal at the Rome Olympics without running shoes undoubtedly suggest that it can be done, what those who like to promote his triumphs as proof often omit that he later went on to win the gold medal as well as break the world record in the marathon at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games. Abebe Bikala managed to set the world record this time wearing running shoes; to put it differently he had the ability to run faster when he was wearing running shoes. We may well have evolved to run without running shoes, but we also evolved in an environment ahead of concrete and hard surfaces came along. While the achievements of Bikala were incredible, making use of him as evidence that barefoot is better doesn't stack up to analysis.