Ep. 15: Who was Diogenes and why should we care?

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By Tony Fletcher. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

On this Episode, I go for a "bush wack'" hike up Rusk Mountain in the Catskills to disengage from the American elections. Guiding me on the climb through the snow is Ken Posner, whose minimalist approach to outdoor activities takes inspiration from the Greek vagabond-philosopher Diogenes. Ken frequently sets off on marathons, hikes, climbs and other adventures without food, water, navigational tools of any kind, and often – as on his 24-hour ‘Diogenes Challenge’ through nine Catskills peaks this last summer – without shoes.


On our climb, Ken has me lead us up the trail-less, heavily wooded mountain to find the canister at its true summit, using only the knowledge I came with and my instincts. Along the way we discuss the drawbacks of relying on technology, the dangers of the modern athletic diet, the various ‘stressers’ we can healthily put ourselves under to improve our overall well-being, and such people as Wim Hof, John Muir, Henry Thoreau. And Ken enlightens me as to why Diogenes was the founder of both Cynicism and Stoicism.


Ken has some major accomplishments to his own name. In 2013, he achieved what was then the Fastest Known Time (9 days) for Running The Long Path through New York, and wrote a book of that name about the experience. The following year, he set a still-standing FKT for the Badwater Double, a 146-mile, near 15,000-ft climb from the lowest point in the Continental US to the highest point, at the top of Mount Whitney – and back again, covering the 292 miles in under 4 days.


This episode is intended to encourage all of us to leave not only our worries behind when we get outdoors, but to leave technology behind as far as possible, and return to our natural state - one that, as ever, is capable of much more than we typically credit.


You can find Ken Posner at https://thelongbrownpath.com

His blog post on Diogenes:

https://thelongbrownpath.com/tag/diogenes-of-sinope/

His blog post on the Diogenes Challenge:

https://thelongbrownpath.com/2020/06/21/the-diogenes-challenge/

His account of running the Badwater Double and lessons learned:

https://marathonandbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/18.6_EditorsChoice.pdf

One of his blog posts on barefoot running & hiking, with comments towards the end on "natural running" and the risks of overreliance on technology:

https://thelongbrownpath.com/2020/01/25/5000-miles-barefoot/

His book Running The Long Path:

https://www.amazon.com/Running-Long-Path-Discovery-Excelsior-ebook/dp/B01M01B96Y

Ken also recommends:

Best book for beginners on barefoot running - Barefoot Running Step by Step by Ken Bob Saxton:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00504TLYC/

Waterlogged by Tim Noakes -- great research on the myths of dehydration and the risk of overhydration:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0081U6WWG/

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