Friday, October 9, 2009

Barefoot Division for Clinton Race?

I'm considering adding a barefoot running division to the Clinton Lake 30-Mile Trail Run. I've become infatuated with minimalist running (barefoot, five finger shoes, racing flats, sandals, etc). It would be cool to encourage more barefoot runners...and also generate lively discussion...by adding a special category to the race. Maybe it would simply be a random prize available only to bare footers. I haven't really figured out the details, but I like the idea. It would probably exclude racing flats, but include barefoot, sandal/huaraches, and Five Finger shoes. Anything that frees your toes from the prison of shoes!

I posted to the Google minimalist runner group and received a lot of support and comments regarding having a barefoot division for a race. I don't know of any trail ultra that has such a division. I think there are a couple road races that have such a division. I would need to check with the race insurance company to verify that no rules are being broken. Policies often have restrictions like no dogs, no headphones, no strollers, but I've never seen a restriction on "type of shoes" or requirement for shoes. Hmmm...

I've been running a lot more in my Vibram Five Finger shoes and I love them. Occasionally I also go completely barefoot. The new gravel and rocks on my local trail make the barefoot running a lot harder than before, but it's still possible. I can tell my feet are stronger than they were just 3 months ago. My running has been fairly slow and easy, but I'm feeling good. Once I add a few more long runs and a little speed to my workouts, I'll be set for the fall racing season. I hope to complete a full trail ultra in my Five Finger shoes next year. Maybe a local 5K road race too.

So, think it would be cool to add a barefoot/sandal/five finger division to the Clinton Lake ultra?

12 comments:

Heidi said...

I say why not! Maybe I'll run it....someday. My barefoot running has been sorely lacking lately.

Jerry Davison said...

Chris ... after reading "Born to Run" and buying FFs ... I feel like a snob when I see "running" shoes in stores. What are you using for training flats when NOT running barefoot or in your Five Fingers?!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a barefoot runner...But I definitely support the creation of a barefoot runner class!! DO IT!

Chris said...

Jerry,
My "racing flats" are the NB 790s (just ordered the new 100s) and the Mizuno Revolver road flats. I hope to move to only barefoot and FiveFinger shoes, but I'll have the NB 100s for colder days and rockier courses. I can see using all three in a single trail ultra race! I usually rotate pairs of shoes in a longer ultra anyway, why not have a bit of pure barefoot mixed in with the Five Fingers and a racing flat?

GTI said...

Hey! you'll all be pleased to learn that i saw three different guys out on the Chicago Marathon course today in their Five Finger shoes. Oh, and a kid with a support sign that read, "my daddy runs barefoot."

Chris said...

Very cool--hope to see more barefoot and Five Finger runners at other races.

Sean Reeder said...

Do you plan on running in your VFF's this winter on snow covered trails?

I've been intrigued with trying them since seeing them on someone at the race this year (or was it McNaughton?)...just wondering about cold, wet, slippery conditions...

Jerry Davison said...

I have a buddy that ran with them at Clinton and he ran with me for one lap at McNaughton. He loved them and in spite of the mud at McNaughton he felt like they handled pretty well.

Andy said...

I have conflicting plans for Clinton next year, but the "barefoot division" may resolve my conflict. That would be marvelous.

r2thekesh said...

I might be doing the race barefoot. What are the age divisions for the race?

Chris said...

The general age divisions for the race are: Under 40, 40-49, 50-59, and over 60. Barefoot/FiveFingers would be an extra division (no age groupings) with a special prize (and those folks still compete in the regular age groups). It might be a couple of random prizes for those people or based on finish time.

Jerry Davison said...

The more divisions, the better. Maybe I'd have a chance at a trophy for the 50-59 year old male barefoot clydesdale division. Sounds like I just described bigfoot. Or maybe I should shut up and sign up!