As an Amish tour business owner and guide, I’m interested in learning more about the Amish culture. While I was going through the mail a few days ago I found my daughter’s April 2012 subscription to Runner’s World magazine. A caption on the front cover caught my eye, “Bart Yasso Runs With the Amish (And They’re Fast!)”. If you are a runner or not, it is an interesting read regarding Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country Anabaptists producing strong, fast runners. Anabaptists are Christians that practice adult baptism instead of infant baptism. They adhere to humility, hard work, and a simple life. Yasso mentions meeting and running with Mennonites, more progressive Anabaptists, and Old Order Amish, a very conservative branch of the Anabaptists. The Mennonites would wear the usual running apparel, but the Amish men had to wear black pants with suspenders and button-down shirts while running–typical dress for Old Order Amish. He stated that an Amish lady ran wearing a long skirt and a head covering. But, they could all wear running shoes. Another interesting part of the story was that they ran by the light of the moon.
I could tell you more about the article, but I want you to read it for yourself, therefore, I’m including a link to the article: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/1,7120,s6-243-297–14236-0,00.html
Yasso does a great job of explaining the Pennsylvania Amish culture. The Amish of SE Minnesota are a more conservative group of Old Order Amish also known as the Swartzentruber Amish. I’m not sure if their elders would allow them to participate in marathons like the Amish out east. I will have to check with a few of the local Amish to see if any are interesting in running for sport. If it draws attention or shows pride, they probably are not allowed to do so, but if it is for exercise and encourages others to run for fun, maybe it would be allowed.
All this reading about running almost makes me want to become a runner . . . time will tell!