British newspaper The times He reported Wednesday that World Athletics will likely ban shoes and introduce a rule to limit the depth of a shoe midsole.
De Castella, 62, who still holds the Oceania marathon record, said shoes should be banned to prevent a “flood” of technological advances that could threaten the “simplicity and beauty” of running.
“The concept of running with foot springs is ridiculous: it must definitely be addressed,” he said. “I am not in favor of technology, as it provides an unfair or unnatural advantage.”
A recent study in The New York Times They discovered that more than 40 percent of marathons completed in less than three hours last year were runners wearing a version of the shoes, either Vaporfly 4% or Next%.
De Castella said that when he set the Oceania record in 1986, running the Boston marathon in just two hours and seven minutes, the technological advances at that time focused on making the shoes lighter.
“Road shoes have evolved dramatically, but they never reached the point that there was an artificial performance improvement,” he said.
Olympic gold medalist Libby Trickett said the controversy was reminiscent of the swimsuit debate in 2009, which saw the full-length suit worn by the great Olympic Ian Thorpe banned by the governing body of the sport.
“Returning to 2009 with the super suits, it was clearly a performance improvement,” he said. “The reason they frustrated me is that not everyone had access to those particular suits, and I think that’s where a lot of the problems come from.”
The shoes have generated particular concerns with athletes not sponsored by Nike and rival brands.
“I think that’s where it gets quite complicated,” said Trickett. “Unless the sport as a whole accepts it, it cannot be rectified. What an athlete uses should be only 1 percent of his ability.”
Former indoor sprint world champion Melinda Gainsford-Taylor agreed that the shoes provided an unfair advantage.
“Everyone wants to improve and be the best these days,” he said. “I don’t think it should be part of the sport … it’s about human ability if you want to be the best, it’s about how hard you can work.”
Sarah is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.