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Thoughts on running vs. walking

Allen James wasn’t surprised to learn about a new study that suggests brisk walking likely has more benefits than running. He’s seen those results play out on the world’s biggest athletic stage.

James, 49, of Sanborn, competed as an Olympic racewalker in 1992 in Barcelona and four years later in Atlanta. See how he did, and what he eats, today in WNY Refresh.

"The average lifespan at that elite level is maybe four or five years for a marathoner. The walkers, we’ve had dozens of them, their careers spanned three or four Olympics.

"The marathon is going to break down your body just because of the impact, whereas with walking, though it looks more peculiar, it’s much more efficient and less impacting on the body. Your bones and your joints aren’t feeling the weight of the impact every time.

"There’s fewer injuries, there’s less everything from walking, so long-term, you’re going to have more benefit from walking."

James, a Seattle native, moved to Western New York 10 years ago to work as State Parks spokesman for the Buffalo-Niagara region. Since 2008, he has sold scoreboards and sports equipment for Toth’s Sports. The Tonawanda City School District is among his clients.

He tends to eat pretty well – and walk up to 40 miles every week – but does admit to a weakness for pizza and chicken wings, generally about once a week.

"Buffalo has the best pizza around," he told me. "I think it’s better than Chicago or New York."

What did I tell him?

"You certainly have turned into a Buffalonian."

See the results of the recent walking vs. running study – and local walking events this summer here.

– Scott Scanlon

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