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Public event on tap for runners

By Staff | Jan 28, 2011

Running experts from around the region and world will be in Shepherdstown this weekend for a three-day conference to exchange ideas to treat and ward off running injuries.

But community members can participate in a slice of what they have to offer.

Tonight industry leaders will host a free event, “The Re-evolution of Running: Discover Pain Free Movement for Life,” at the Bavarian Inn from 7 to 9 p.m.

Freedoms Run organizer, family physician and Two Rivers Treads owner Mark Cucuzzella organized the conference and public event and said they will focus on new research in injury prevention and gait analysis.

Cucuzzella said 60 percent of runners injure themselves.

“And there’s no data showing where we’re reducing injuries,” he said.

Cucuzzella said while most of the time athletes treat the symptoms, runners and walkers need to go beyond that and look at all of the factors involved.

Jeff Horowitz, editor of Competitor Magazine and marathoner, will speak at tonight’s public event.

Horowitz, who has ran in more than 100 marathons by the age of 46, said some runners fail to realize that injuries are connected. Years ago when his foot was giving him trouble, he went to doctor after doctor who treated that symptom. But, Horowitz believes in looking at the bigger picture.

He finally found a doctor who pinpointed the problem in his ankle.

“When you’re younger, you can get away with more,” Horowitz said. “When you’re an older runner, there’s less margin for error.”

Cucuzzella hopes that attendees can learn not only from these individuals’ anecdotal experiences but from their professional ventures, as well.

Dr. Ray McClanahan is a podiatrist out of Portland, Ore. and inventor of Correct Toes, footwear placing runners’ feet in a natural position.

As a podiatrist, McClanahan is no stranger to treating foot injuries brought on by the shoes runners choose.

“Most runners today have their toes pinched together, narrower than the ball of their feet,” he said in an email interview. “This creates a whole host of the injuries that I treat in runners.”

Physicians and innovators will also share nontraditional ways of treating injuries and promote efficiency in running, Cucuzzella said.

One person who will be in attendance is Daniel Kuland of the U.S. Air Force. Kuland was the first to come up with water running in the 1970s, Cucuzzella said. Then there is Dan Dreyer, the author of Chi Running and Chi Walking, who promotes a pain free and natural running techniques.

Cucuzzella believes the public will get a clear message of safe and effective ways to engage in their everyday running activities.

“In our local community, we’re trying to make this region a center for healthy walking and running,” he said. “I think it’s a privilege to hear people who have been in the field.”

Peter Larson, a professor of biology at St. Anshelm College in New Hampshire and author of runblogger.com, said he hopes people leave knowing that the sport can be both fun and healthy.

“Our goal is to just make people do it in a way that makes it sustainable,” he said.

With experts coming from both coasts, Canada and even Austrailia, Shepherdstown seems like a unique place to host such a conference and event. Horowitz hopes to see this topic remain on the cutting edge of the public’s interest.

Others look at Cucuzzella as a true visionary in the field.

“He’s doing something with his store that’s not really being done anywhere else,” Larson said.

The public event is sponsored by Two Rivers Treads, the Bavarian Inn and the Running Clinic Canada. For more information, call 304-876-1100 or visit its website www.trtreads.org.