Friday, August 3, 2007


Man wins marathon in controversial EP shoes

David Cheruiyot set a course record in winning the 2007 Ottawa Marathon in Canada in a pair of shoes manufactured by controversial shoemaker Spira Footwear, according to a news release. Cheruiyot, 37, completed the course in 2:10:35, a personal best by over 2 minutes.

The shoes, which contain Spira's patented WaveSpring technology, ran afoul of USA Track and Field Rule 143, which specifically bans spring technology in footwear for competition. The shoes may also violate IAAF rule 143, which bans any technology that provides an "unfair advantage."

Spira submitted its shoes to the IAAF for review and approval in September of 2006, but the worldwide governing body for Track and Field has been unable to provide Spira with an answer. Spira recently initiated a lawsuit in Federal District Court in El Paso, Texas, against both the USATF and IAAF alleging that their rules which bans spring technology constitutes a restraint of trade in violation of Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

Cheruiyot, who has been training and racing in Spira shoes for Advertisement 6 months, credits the shoe company for his success.

"I am far less fatigued after racing and training in Spira compared to any other shoes. As a result I have suffered no injuries and can train and race at more intense pace, and I find that my recovery time following a race or a hard workout is greatly reduced," Cheruiyot said in a news release.

"I had no soreness of any kind after the marathon. At 37, I expected my best racing days were behind me. Now I think I can eventually run 2:08," Cheruiyot said.

As a result of his victory in Ottawa, Cheruiyot was awarded $15,000 first prize and $4,000 bonus for setting the course record. Two other runners, Hilary Kimaiyo and David Karanja finished in 5th and 8th place in respective times of 2:11:13 and 2:17:01.

Cheruiyot, Kimaiyo and Karanja are part of growing contingent of elite runners who have elected to defy the ban and race in Spira. Keith Pierce, a high school track coach from Krum, Texas won the 2007 Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon in the shoe, winning by over 12 minutes.

Oleg Strijakov recently won the masters division at the 2007 Boston Marathon. Kevin Coch, a recently finished second in a 5,000 meter race in Michigan, in a personal best time of 13:55, a 23 second improvement over his personal best.

"There is no question that Spira is helping me run faster and farther. The first week I received the shoes, I ran 187 miles. I could not believe how great I felt," said Coch, a United States Olympic hopeful.

Spira Chief Executive Officer Andy Krafsur, himself a former collegiate distance runner, is hardly surprised by these experiences.

"After years of competition and extreme training, I was unable to run more than one or two days a week. With this shoe, I can run in complete comfort everyday if I like. This is reason we started the company," Krafsur said.

Spira shoes are sold in about 1,000 stores in the United States and in eight other countries.