A Harvard Prof Tells Runners: on Your Marx; Get Set; Groucho!

updated 09/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

This is not horsefeathers; this is a serious story with some scientific significance. Dr. Thomas McMahon, a professor of applied mechanics and biology at Harvard, has come up with a radical new Marxist form of jogging, which he calls Groucho running.

(Now that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.)

Groucho running involves lowering the pelvis, bending the knees and employing the gait that Groucho Marx made famous. You don't have to wear a morning coat, carry a cigar or waggle your eyebrows, although nobody's saying you can't.

Along with his scientific sidekicks, Gordon Valiant and Edward C. Frederick, McMahon published the results of his Groucho-running research in a recent paper of the American Physiological Society, complete with computer projections, graphs and words for which the duck will never come down and give you $100. To wit: "The deepest practical Groucho running, where the thigh angle at midstance is near 50 degrees, reduces the effective vertical stiffness to approximately 82 percent of the stiffness for normal running."

(Why, a 4-year-old child could understand this report. Run out and find me a 4-year-old child.)

McMahon, a big fan of the late comedian, argues that Groucho running is shock-reducing because it decreases body stiffness associated with normal running. McMahon also claims that this nouvelle exercise uses more energy (as much as 50 percent more), so it's a better workout. Of course, this causes you to run out of gas faster.

(If you run out of gas, get Ethyl. If Ethyl runs out, get Mabel.)

And if none of this works, there's always moon walking. Look what it's done for Michael Jackson.

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