Sunday, July 15, 2007

Running anticlockwise - Can you answer this?

Kurian Pooppally of Singapore (actually he is from a prominent Syrian Christian family of Kerala) has emailed me a question to which I have not been able to come up with a conclusive answer. Perhaps you can.

The message is quoted below:

“I want to ask you about something that the people who answered me made me more confused. Maybe your fellow bloggers may have something on this.

The question is why the runners in stadiums always run anticlockwise? Why not clockwise? I have heard people say it has something to do with the rotation of the earth.

I surfed the net and this is what I found...

They run the same way in Australia, where any effect of the Earth's rotation should have the opposite effect. So this could be down to inherited tradition.

Most people are right-handed and thus right-footed. When running around a curve, there is the centrifugal force which has to be compensated. Running anti-clockwise makes this possible with the right foot.

People usually tend to the right when entering bounded spaces; thus when they enter the park and turn right, they move anti-clockwise.

In ancient stadia the races went anticlockwise, as the first races were for chariots. The right hand, which usually keeps the sword, had to be on the outside for ease of movement (similar to spiral stairs in castles). This is supposedly why races are still run anti-clockwise.

Anti-clockwise joggers will eventually succumb to an extremely painful condition known as 'Widder Shins'

And this one caught my eye..:

The obvious benefit to running is keeping fit or staying young. Maybe it echoes the notion of turning back the clock. We know that running everyday does add ten years to one's life - but those 10 years are spent running!”

Please do respond. You can either post your answer in ‘comments’ or email me at .


Also see:

Slow down on fast track

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