Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fast Food...Literally

If you're as loyal to Runner's World magazine as I am, you've likely received the April 2009 issue and read the "Shrimp Scamper" mini-article, highlighting the amazing four-hour treadmill trek of a very athletic, four-inch shrimp.

Oddly enough, this experiment was conducted in 2006, but it just began receiving significant media attention when the video of the shrimp running on the treadmill was leaked to the World Wide Web. Researchers began by injecting a pathogenic bacterium called Vibrio campbellii into a shrimp with the intent of observing how it influenced the organism's performance. Of course, there was also a healthy control shrimp, which is the star of numerous YouTube videos, running to triumphant tunes like "The Final Countdown." A duct tape backpack was even fashioned to try slowing down the relentless crustacean runner, who kept at it for a great while despite the added weight. It was apparent that the sick shrimp's endurance was significantly reduced in comparison to the healthy shrimp.

From these results, Pacific University scientist David Scholnick concluded that infection impedes on the shrimp's "ability to migrate, find food, and avoid being eaten." The experiment also has a great coorelation to many prominent environmental issues of today and their potential implications.
Human-related activities and agricultural run-off have significantly increased the amount of bacteria found in ocean water, which, as the study illustrated, could decrease the shrimp and other sealife's survival capability. Thus, conservation of water and other resources and general should be a higher priority on everyone's list, for the sake of not only marine life and their habitat but the coming generations of humans as well.

With this in mind as I lathered up my hair with shampoo in the shower, I sped up, shaving about two minutes from my usual shower time. I may have even set a shower PR! I am taking blog space to encourage you fellow runners to take small measures to conserve in a sport where water is generously used (in hydration, showers, and washing dirty running clothes), shoes are frequently thrown out, and gas is often consumed (to/from races and/or trails).

To all skeptics, environmentally-friendly measures do not include the trots you may have left to the soil on a gastrointestinally-upsetting run. Even the slightest bit of energy towards this cause, if exerted by large numbers of runners, would add up into a much more positive result overall.

Although I still have wide room for improvement in my efforts to conserve, continuing to take action towards this cause may just put me on the road to becoming the Usain Bolt of showering. You may not want to "go green," but I encourage you to "go blue" in an attempt, however minute, to better the habitat of our wee shrimp friend and all future generations of runners.


  1. i read that article last night. it seemed like such a random study, but pretty cool. haven't searched for the video(s) yet though.

    great point about being green (or blue). i make an effort regularly mostly to keep my utility bills in check, but also with a little hippy/conserve our resources mindframe.

  2. Yep, I agree, great post! We can all find ways in our everyday lives to be greener (or bluer). Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Next race is April 5. Big D Marathon!

    Thanks for checkin in on ole' Bama! :)

  4. Every little bit helps. Thanks for the reminder.