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May 26, 2011

Beautiful Barefoot Running Style: Dr Mark Cucuzzella

I had grand intentions for this post, which was originally scheduled to be an in-depth review of a product I’ve gradually warmed up to over the past several weeks. Unfortunately, I’m stuck in one of those time vortexes (or is it vortices? Anyone?) where everything throughout the day is a blur, until I finally look up at the clock and realize it’s two hours past my bedtime, and I have to wake up again in five more hours. Sleep, wake up, repeat – and so it goes.

Accordingly, I’m delaying that review for a few days, which gives me an opportunity to share a tremendous video that I’ve been saving for just such an “I gotta make this quick before I fall asleep at my keyboard” occasion. It’s been making the Internet rounds over the past several weeks, and features Dr Mark Cucuzzella, who is gradually becoming one of the most well-respected proponents of barefoot running in the United States.

Along with being a family practice physician, clinical researcher, race director, Air Force Lt. Colonel, and remarkable barefoot runner, Dr Cucuzzella is also the founder of Two Rivers Treads Center, the nation’s first all-minimalist shoe store. In the mesmerizing video that follows, brief snippets of natural running advice are superimposed over continuous scenes of him (as well as 19-year-old Cody Marsh) running at full speed with naked feet. Some of the tidbits are overly pedantic – unless you happen to use phrases like “impact transient” in everyday conversation – but for the most part, the film is the video equivalent of a picture being worth a thousand words. In just over four minutes, you’ll probably have a similar appreciation of natural running as you’d get by reading a whole textbook on the subject.

Truthfully, I’m not sure what aspect of this video is more delightful: the tranquil and historic backdrop of Maryland’s Antietam National Battlefield, the beautifully playful violin soundtrack, or the wonder of observing somebody run so fast and seemingly effortlessly while going completely barefoot. I will say that I’ve watched it several times now, and still find something new to impress me each time. Hopefully you’ll find it equally instructive and impressive.

“Barefoot Running Style” by Jason Smith (click to play):

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misszippy 5/27/11, 12:11 AM  

I am lucky enough to know Mark and have benefited from so much of his advice. It is a fantastic video, no doubt, and he'll be happy you posted it!

JimDog 5/27/11, 6:48 AM  
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JimDog 5/27/11, 6:49 AM  

Great Vid! You're right though, I'll have to watch it several times. I found myself watching their form so intently that I missed several sentences. Then I found myself enjoying the music and/or background so much that I missed both their form and the sentences! LOL

Cherylrunner 5/27/11, 9:55 AM  

Thanks for posting this beautiful video. Did you know that Mark is a student and supporter of Danny Dreyer’s ChiRunning? Leaning from a relaxed ankle is a unique ChiRunning hallmark. I am glad to see Mark emphasizing the distinction that it’s about running form (style) and not running barefoot. People don’t need to run barefoot to learn proper technique.

Chris Szumigala,  5/27/11, 7:16 PM  

Thanks. now I just had to jump over and buy Shira Kammen's hauntingly beautiful album after watching that!

ZeFreds 5/28/11, 10:18 AM  

Amazing video.
They truly look graceful, while running at a solid pace!
If we'd judge running, I'd give them a definite 5.0!
Thanks for posting that, Don.
A reference to go back to frequently.

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