Some interesting recent studies are referenced in this new Atlantic piece:
What do you think?
Yes, ethiopeans are surely there already. Sololia may have great talent, but we'd never know. Just shear numbers and ethnic diversity: USA, china, Russia, India.
Adam C wrote:
Do you think another "ethnic" group (for lack of a better term) will someday supplant the Kenyans as the world's greatest distance runners?
Yesterday I was talking to a Kenyan runner that just happens to be in my emt class. When I asked if he ran to school he just laughed and said, "No no that would make me sweaty and gross." He also mentioned that, including him, only 5 people in his village ran.
There is a book called "More Fire. Running the kenyan way". It is a pretty good book that goes through and discusses why the kenyans are dominant distance runners. Yes, genetics are involved to an extent. Yes elevation helps, yes starting to run early helps. One of the keys the book mentions is that they run because they have the best motivation...a better life. The money they get from winning a major marathon is a huge deal and can set them up for life in kenya. I read recently a large farm in kenya costs 6000. Interetheirly enough once their careers end, the book says that most don't run anymore. Its a business. Another neglected reason is the way they train as a pack in such large groups of other talented runners that push each other. Just some more thoughts for what its worth.
It's genetics, stupid.
There's also no doubt that two groups of East Africans (both of which are awesome at running) have body types that couldn't be more different from each other:
2) Genetics--There is no denying that the body type of East African runners is different than the vast majority of people of European descent. East African runners are thin but strong. Their muscle mass is ideal for running, it seems. Some non-East Africans seem to be gifted with this type of body, (thinking Galen Rupp/Verzbicas) as they resemble East Africans in their body type/form when the run. (Also read somewhere, and this seems very controversial so I am not too convinced of it, that the reasons East Africans are naturally skinnier than Europeans is that they have lived in warm climates for the entirety of their lives, so have never needed to develop as much fat storage as people of colder, European heritage).