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We aren’t pretty, but we can run for hours

How humans learned to outrun the competition

Unlike graceful gazelles and blazing-fast cheetahs, human beings aren’t always the most elegant runners, but evolution has outfitted us for endurance. Across the globe, native cultures have survived by running down prey and running away from danger.

On March 15, The Perfect Runner, a brilliant documentary film by Niobe Thompson, comes to a Canadian network near you. He explores how running is built into our genes and how we can all benefit from a better understanding of this inheritance.

Documentary summary:

How did our ancestors survive the shift from trees to land, and evolve to dominate the planet? The answer lies in a remarkable ability we evolved far earlier than our powerful brains: humans are nature’s perfect endurance runners. Gemini-winning anthropologist Niobe Thompson (Inuit Odyssey, 2009; Code Breakers, 2011) takes a journey of personal discovery back in evolutionary time, in conversation with leading evolutionary biologists and immersed in cultures whose survival still depends on endurance running. From the highlands of Ethiopia, to the most remote place in Arctic Siberia, to the world’s toughest ultramarathon in the Canadian Rockies, The Perfect Runner weaves cutting-edge science with gripping adventure, and leaves the viewer with a new and inspiring understanding of our common evolutionary inheritance as the running ape.

Canada 2012, 45 mins. HD, Dir: Niobe Thompson, Clearwater Documentary Inc.

The Perfect Runner will have its first broadcast in Canada on March 15th 2012, at 8pm on CBC TV’s The Nature of Things, Canada’s blue-chip nature and science strand and the longest running program on Canadian television. Broadcast to follow on ARTE in German and French in September 2012.

Exclusive Advance Screening with Q&A

March 14th 2012, 7:30pm at Garneau Theatre, Edmonton, Canada

Learn more and buy the DVD (from March 15, 2012) at www.theperfectrunner.com

Niobe Thompson at the Canadian Death Race in the Rocky Mountains of Grande Cache, Alberta

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Uploaded by Chris Surette