90 Steps per Minute: Structural Dynamics of Marathon Running

 418559_218559227_Medium500 feet to go – Don’t fall down now!

Many of you who read my earlier blog entry, 26.2: The Engineering of Marathon Racing, are aware that I was training for the Chevron Houston Marathon.  To those who wondered how I fared, I am proud to say that on January 17 I completed my first (and last!) marathon with flying colors.  If anyone is looking for a challenge in life, I cannot recommend a more rewarding experience than taking on your first marathon.


26.2 miles is a long time to be out on the road, a long time with nothing to do – besides putting one foot in front of the other 42,000 times – but people watch (after all there were 13,500 other equally crazy people huffing and puffing in front of me).  People watching is the easy part, since marathon runners tend to skew toward the physically fit and the attractive, with nearly half of the runners being women.  As I watched lady after lady run past me over the course of several hours, I gradually realized that a marathon could provide a perfect teachable moment for any engineer interested in better understanding structural dynamics.

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