Today I saw a guy running past my house and I literally did a double-take. One of those cartoony ones. Why? Well, the guy wasn't just running, he was running backwards!
I zipped to my computer and did some research: sure enough, backpedaling isn't just for those occasions when you've stuck your foot in your mouth. People are doing it for fun and exercise!
According to Backward Running Backward, the "Chinese [have used] retro movements (backward running and backward walking) for thousands of years. In the Chinese Philosophy, forward running is Yang and backward running is Yin..."
Apparently it's huge in Italy too, where more than 40 new Retro Running Races have been organized since 2001.
Here in the US, it seems the guy outside my house isn't the only one getting in on the act either, as this recent article in the Chicago Tribune attests:
...backward runners supposedly burn a fifth more calories than traditional joggers. And blindly running glute-first can increase balance, hearing and peripheral vision,according to a story about Timothy "Bud" Badyna, who set Guinness World Record for fastest backward run in a 200-meter race (32.78 seconds).
Turns out, "Backward Bud" also held the record for completing the backward marathon in 3 hours 53 minutes, though he's recently been edged out by Xo Zhenjun of China, who beat him by 10 minutes.
As for me, I'm looking forward to giving it a try, too, though maybe not on the treadmill at my gym.