The Physical Performance Show: Assoc Prof Mike Crawley: ‘Ethiopian Running Culture’

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Mike Crawley

In episode 274 of The Physical Performance Show Brad Beer shares a conversation with Assoc Prof Mike Crawley: ‘Ethiopian Running Culture’ on this Expert Edition episode. 

Mike Crawley is a 220 marathoner, who has competed internationally for Scotland and Great Britain. Mike is currently an Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology at Durham University, in compiling Out Of Thin Air, he spent 15 months in Addis Ababa in the surrounding regions of Ethiopia integrating into the running lifestyle and ways of the Ethiopian running culture.

Dr Mike Crawley will share what he determined to be the heart and soul of Ethiopians running culture, he shares the rich history and institutional support that was forged off the back of Abebe Bikila’s heroic and historic 1960 barefoot victory on the streets of Rome at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games. At the time, that was the first gold medal won by a sub-Saharan African and off the back of that the running culture in Ethiopia has really ensued and flourished.

Mike shares around how dreaming is still very much alive in Ethiopia, beliefs around running surfaces, running locations, rest and recovery, fueling, and the curious yet compelling habits of zigzagging when running, avoiding the road and so much more.

To listen to Episode 274:


Click the icon to listen to the interview on iTunes or listen using the Soundcloud player below

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Listen in as we delve into the following:

  • Welcome to Assoc Prof Mike Crawley
  • Drills
  • Observing and experiencing the Ethiopian culture
  • Heart and Soul in Running in Ethiopia
  • Story of Wami Biratu
  • Observations on Ethiopian Runners
  • Running in the ‘forest’
  • Elements of Danger
  • Recovery and nutrition
  • Running surfaces
  • Encounters with Hyenas
  • Long and short hill sessions
  • Strength and conditioning for runners in Ethiopia
  • How the running system works in Ethiopia
  • Challenge Questions
  • Top 3 Tips
  • Physical Challenge

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“Being able to have a confidence on easy days is interesting.”
“Never neglect your speed”

To follow Dr Mike Crawley

Instagram:  @mikecrawl
Twitter: @mphcrawley
Book: Out of Thin air

Out of Thin Air


00:00 Start
05:30 Welcome to Assoc Prof Mike Crawley
07:08 Drills 
10:00 Observing and experiencing the Ethiopian culture
15:09 Heart and Soul in Running in Ethiopia
19:09 Story of Wami Biratu
21:09 Observations on Ethiopian Runners
24:25 Running in the ‘forest’
27:36 Elements of Danger
35:53 Recovery and Nutrition
41:37 Running surfaces
46:13 Encounter with Hyenas
48:48 Long and short hill sessions
52:43 Strength and conditioning for runners in Ethiopia
54:50 How the running system works in Ethiopia
1:00:19 Challenge Questions
1:00:58 Top 3 Tips based on Ethiopian running
1:04:01 Physical Challenge
1:11:51 Finish

People Mentioned

Zain Robertson – Zane Robertson, NZ Olympian – Part 2 Live from Ethiopia, , Episode 252 of The Physical Performance Show
Haile Gebrselassie – Retired Ethiopian long-distance track and road running athlete
Wami Biratu – Legendary Ethiopian long distance athlete
Jemal Yimer – Half marathon record holder
Kenenisa Bekele – Ethiopian long-distance runner
Mo Farah – British long-distance runner

For questions and comments about this Episode

Send to the show host @Brad_Beer (Twitter) or @brad_beer (Instagram)

The Physical Performance Show

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