Comments from Natz and Sam confirmed my suspicion that I was the tallest Milo runner two Sundays ago (if there’s anyone taller than 6’3″, please let me know so I can correct this entry).

While I see a number of tall runners in races of shorter distance, I didn’t see them in the three full marathon races I have joined so far.  I get very interesting comments from spectators while I run.  The most recent of which being, “Oy ang tangkad mo, bakit ka nagja-jogging?”, during the Milo finals.

I play tennis, too, but I don’t get a lot of questions as to what I am doing in a tennis court as much as I do when I run.  Is it because running is not a sport for “vertically endowed” individuals?

My curiosity on the subject matter has led me to several sites and articles relating height to running and speed.  And checking how tall some runners are:  Usain Bolt 6’5″, Haile Gebrselassie 5’5″, Ryan Hall 5’10”, Samuel Wanjiru 5’4″, Paula Radcliffe 5’8″, Deena Kastor 5’4″, Kara Goucher 5’7″, Craig Mottram 6’2″, Lydia de Vega 5’7″, Elma Muros 5’6″.

(from community.livejournal.com)

(from community.livejournal.com)

These are just names I thought of randomly and whose stats are readily available online.  But, the fact is, there are successful short AND tall runners.

In the Ask A Scientist website, Scientist Burr noted that runners of average height usually are more successful because very short or very tall runners will find it more challenging when it comes down to striding. 

Scientist Matt Voss attributes flexibility as key to both tall and short runners but because short runners just can’t grow tall as easily as a tall runner can be more flexible, tall runners have a greater “stride potential.” 

He went on to say that stride is not everything because strength, flexibility and endurance are equally important, if not more important.  Both scientists agree though that sprinters are more muscular and shorter (tell that to Usain) and distance runners are taller (not Haile) and lighter in weight, but both with low body fat.

A study from Michigan State University on the Effects of Physical and Training Characteristics on Marathon Performance after doing an online survey on 1,371 Detroit Marathon finishers in 2005 came up with the conclusion that to run faster marathons it helps to be a tall, thin male, and run lots of training miles.  Obviously, one can’t do anything about gender (okay, generally…) or height, but changing the way one trains can spell the difference.

So I don’t think I’m in the wrong sport after all. 

That, of course, still depends on whom you ask.  And even if people tell me otherwise, I just can’t ignore how fun, rewarding and fulfilling running is to me as a sport.

So I’ll just keep training for my next marathon.

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