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Standards Are "Sole" Supporters of New York City Marathon

Athletic Footwear Key for Success of Marathon Runners

New York, Oct 29, 2002

The first-ever New York City Marathon, a low-budget event held in 1970, attracted 127 runners who began a circuit of four-plus laps around the city's world-famous Central Park. Today, the event has grown to include a week-long celebration with a guest list of more than 30,000 athletes, 12,000 volunteers, thousands of city employees, more than 2.5 million spectators lining the course, and tens of millions more television viewers around the globe.

On November 3, the 33rd running of the New York City Marathon will be held in the five boroughs of New York: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Runners and wheelchair athletes will cruise through the streets in dozens of culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods, passing over five bridges, dodging a few potholes and crossing the finish line near the famous Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park.

It takes a brave and committed individual to train for and complete a marathon; long distance running is a rigorous challenge for the both the mind and body. Over the course of 26.2 miles (the length of the entire marathon), a runner's feet will hit the pavement approximately 40,000 times. Due to this concentrated impact on a runner's feet, the most important piece of equipment for a marathoner is athletic footwear. Training, nutrition and overall health will carry a committed runner through the course only so far, without the critical support of proper footwear.

Thanks to the efforts of members of the standards community, standards for use by the designers of athletic footwear can help to ease the tension and discomfort that may result during this long distance run, and perhaps improve performance. ASTM International, an ANSI member and ANSI-accredited standards developer [specifically, its committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities], has developed a series of American National Standards (ANS) for athletic shoes. This list includes: F539-01, Standard Practice for Fitting Athletic Footwear; F869-01, Standard Terminology Relating to Athletic Shoes and Biomechanics and F1976-99, Standard Test Method for Cushioning Properties of Athletic Shoes Using an Impact Test. These standards, in conjunction with work from organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (reference ISO 9407 Shoe Sizes), help to ensure that shoes fit their runners well on race day, and carry them over the finish line in comfort.

ANSI staff extends best wishes to the runners, organizers and volunteers of the 2002 New York City Marathon. Good luck!

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