The marathon is really a hard distance to run; it is 26.2 miles of hard running. It is hard on the body, especially the feet and that's why all marathon runners pay such a lot of consideration to what exactly is on their feet. They spend considerable time deciding on the suitable running shoes and lots of money is involved in running shoes. Back in Sept 1960 at the Rome Olympic Games, the Ethiopian, Abebe Bikala arrived for the marathon and there were no running shoes left in the teams kit which would fit him, so he ran the marathon barefoot and won the gold medal. This is often commonly praised as a incredible achievement.
In recent years there's been a group of runners who are implying the running shoes are not all they may be believed to be and are promoting that running must be done barefoot, the same as nature made us for. After all, we were not created with shoes and historical humans had to run great distances barefoot to survive as animals had to be hunted on foot over great distances. Athletic shoes are actually only a quite recent invention. Those who promote the barefoot method of running like to point out the achievements of Abebe Bikala as further validation that we do not need running shoes. There are obviously a number of other justifications both for and against barefoot running, with hardly any scientific research underpinning it. Whilst Abebe Bikala getting the gold medal at the Rome Olympics without running shoes obviously suggest that it is possible, what those who like to tout his triumphs as proof often leave out that he subsequently went on to get the gold medal as well as break the world record in the marathon at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games. Abebe Bikala managed to set the world record this time wearing running shoes; in other words he had the ability to run faster when he was wearing running shoes. We might well have evolved to run barefoot, but we also evolved in an environment prior to concrete and hard surfaces came along. While the accomplishments of him were outstanding, using him as evidence that barefoot is better does not stack up to scrutiny.