National Running Day: Portraits of Speed, Grace and Power – A Picture Story from LIFE

For millions of people all over the world, running is such a natural, enjoyable and even somewhat addictive form of exercise that it can be jarring to encounter photos that remind us just how weird it is. After all, if walking is a form of “controlled falling,” as one well-known description has it, then running can perhaps be characterized as an endless series of narrowly averted catastrophes. Bipedal hominids strolling casually around their environment is evolution in action; hominids jogging for miles at a time, or sprinting at breath-taking speeds for hundreds of yards, is something else entirely.

People run for any number of reasons. They run for their health. They run because they want to push their own physical limits. They run because they’re neurotic. They run because working out at a gym is too confining, too smelly, too boring. They run because it makes them happy (or because it makes them forget, for a while, that they’re sad). They run because their friends run, and the sense of camaraderie one gets when running with a group of kindred spirits is one of life’s simple, abiding pleasures. They run to cheat death.

Whatever the reasons, on National Running Day LIFE.com offers photos by a pioneer of stroboscopic photography, Gjon Mili, that neatly illustrate the melding of grace and power one applauds — but rarely ever really examines — in the very best runners. Granted, most of these pictures are of speed rather than distance runners, but the elemental beauty, the smooth flowing movement of the enterprise pertains to virtually all types of running.

(There are, however, differences in the temperaments of different types of runners. For exmaple, as Ian Holm’s character, the trainer Sam Mussabini, points out in Chariots of Fire, sprinting is a sport “tailor-made for neurotics.”)

Read more: http://life.time.com/sports-culture/national-running-day-photos-of-speed-grace-and-power/#ixzz2VgwLoRFn

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Author: ASHOK M VAISHNAV

In July 2011, I opted to retire from my active career as a practicing management professional. In the 38 years that I pursued this career, I had opportunity to work in diverse capacities, in small-to-medium-to-large engineering companies. Whether I was setting up Greenfield projects or Brownfield projects, nurturing the new start-ups or accelerating the stabilized unit to a next phase growth, I had many more occasions to take the paths uncharted. The life then was so challenging! One of the biggest casualty in that phase was my disregards towards my hobbies - Be with The Family, Enjoy Music form Films of 1940s to mid-1970s period, write on whatever I liked to read, pursue amateur photography and indulge in solving the chess problems. So I commenced my Second Innings to focus on this area of my life as the primary occupation. At the end of four years, I am now quite a regular blogger. I have been able to build a few very strong pen-relationships. I maintain contact with 38-years of my First Innings as freelance trainer and process facilitator. And yet, The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

4 thoughts on “National Running Day: Portraits of Speed, Grace and Power – A Picture Story from LIFE”

  1. a man entered a shoe shop and asked the assistant for assistance. He took hi around the shelves. Here, these are casual shoes.These are running shoes. These ones are walking shoes. Ok, are there any for standing or sitting?
    The pictures are stunning.

      1. lack of shoes is also important. Famous artist F. M. Hussain never wears shoes, Here and in Australia you often spot normal people going about their life bare footed with no inhibition. A character in one of Naipauls novels wore a two piece suit with no shoes! But yes normally you can determine the personality of a person from his shoes (polished?) as well as from his general attire.

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