What Vibram 5 Fingers Did To This Olympic Champion Will Piss You Off

Vibram Rips Off Barefoot Olympic Champion's Family.
Vibram Rips Off Barefoot Olympic Champion’s Family.

It’s September 10, 1960 and Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila, is leading the pack in the Olympic Marathon in Rome, Italy. Morocco’s Abdesian Rhadi is chasing closely behind, but Rhadi can’t catch the remarkably fast barefoot Ethopian, who finishes in about 2 hours, 15 minutes, taking the gold and shattering the Olympic marathon record by almost eight minutes.

Bikila wasn’t even supposed to race that hot day in September-he was a last minute addition to the Ethiopian team when their star runner got sick.

Despite Bikilia’s amazing victory, his story doesn’t end happily. In 1969 a terrible crash leaves him paralyzed; when asked about the accident, he says:

“Men of success meet with tragedy. It was the will of God that I won the Olympics, and it was the will of God that I met with my accident. I accepted those victories as I accept this tragedy.”

He dies of complications, just a few years later.

There is no doubt that Bikili is a champion in every way. He epitomizes determination and the runner’s spirit.  In 2010, on the heels of the barefoot running craze, Vibram Five Fingers decides to make the barefoot olympian the poster child for minimalist running, introducing the Bikili line of five finger running shoes, trademarking the Bikili name to protect their golden goose. There’s just one problem: Bikila’s family never gives Vibram permission to use Bikili’s name in any way shape or form. When the family discovers that Bikili’s name is being used without permission, they sue Vibram in U.S. District Court, seeking monetary damages.

Unfortunately, Judge Ronald Leighton dismisses the case, leaving the family out in the cold.  The lawyer for Bikili’s family writes, “The fact remains that Vibram has never asked the Bikila Family for permission, nor compensated them for using Abebe Bikila’s personality….We hope that the parties can ultimately resolve their differences and the Bikila family can continue to promote the legacy of Abebe Bikila.”

Is this really what Vibram wants to be remembered for? Stealing an olympic champion’s legacy.

Everyone’s Guide to Running a Marathon

Cover of "Marathon: You Can Do It!"
Cover of Marathon: You Can Do It!

Feel the delightful ecstasy of running 26.2 miles. It’s time to Lose Weight, Get Fit & Healthy this Summer training for a marathon. It’s an agonizingly long, long, long distance, even for veterans. But it’s not impossible, every year, seventy year old grandma’s and middle aged managers cross the finish line. It’s not easy, but it’s achievable. If you can walk and jog a mile, you can run a marathon.

Here’s a quick beginner’s guide with a training plan to get you started:

Google Marathons & Pick One

Just enter the following search:

marathon (your city, your state)

Check the date of the race. For a first timer, you should give yourself at least 2 1/2 to 3 months to train. If you already run 20 + miles a week, you might be able to skate by with a little less than two months of training.

Register for the Marathon

This is the big trick. It’s super easy, yet very challenging.  The alarm whistles in you head will scream, the butterflies in your stomach will flitter about, but it doesn’t matter. Whenever you’re terrified and thrilled at the same time, it’s always a good sign. Realize that in a single keystroke, you can overcome your doubts, blasting out the weakness with a single solid action, an action that officially puts you on the path to fitness and health, taking you one step closer finishing the gold standard of endurance: the marathon!

Use Jeff Galloway’s Free & Easy Marathon Training Plan

This is your first marathon, don’t waste time searching for complicated marathon training plans, just  use Jeff Galloway’s Marathon Training Plan. It is free, easy; safe enough for your seventy year old grandma and challenging enough for a Boston Qualifier. Jeff uses walk breaks and despite what you may think, WALKING IS NOT CHEATING. The walk breaks give your body time to recover and make the longer run much more enjoyable. Also, the breaks don’t slow you down as much as you think. This plan is also very merciful with your busy schedule: you’ll only running about three times a week, and two of those days are thirty minute sessions, which means that you only really need to carve out one day for you long runs. I trained for my first marathon while I was working three part-time jobs. One of my jobs required a two hour commute, yet I was able to hit all of my runs. If I can do it, so can you!

If you signed up for a marathon: Congratulations!!! You’re on the path health and wellness and soon you’ll have a medal hanging your wall, attesting to your athletic prowess, making you one of the elite 5% of Americans with enough vigor to endure the gratifying ordeal that is the marathon.

Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 19

I should have more to say about my long runs. I ran thirteen lucky miles today. Each one was mostly joyous. I sipped some homemade energy drink and ate a PowerAid gel. The gel wasn’t tasty, but it worked. I’m well within in my target pace.