If you’re one of the many runners who have discovered the joy of barefoot running, one of the best ways to share the experience is by taking part in a barefoot running race. In some areas of the country, particularly on the west coast, minimalist running shoes or going completely sans shoes is becoming common place, but in a few regions of the U.S. naked foot runners still get quite a few strange looks.
Joining a race is a wonderful way to feel the camaraderie as well as the freedom of naked running – naked foot running, that is. It presents a great opportunity to meet up with a wide variety of different runners who’ve found that barefoot running works best for them, as well as to exchange advice and maybe even find an ideal running buddy.
Signing up for a race is also a great motivator to keep you going, especially during the rainier and colder winter months. By registering for a race in early spring, runners are far more likely to get out and train, even when the weather is far from ideal.
If you’d like to join a barefoot race, there are still a few you can sign up for before winter is officially here and there are also quite a few open for registration this coming spring.
The Naked Foot 5K
Scott and Lauren Jones are a couple who took their love of travel and running on the road earlier this year with a goal of organizing and participating in nine Naked Foot races across the country. Their motto is not just about minimalist running, but to “get back the feeling you had as a kid – running through the grass barefoot or kicking off your shoes and running through the sand on the beach.
If that sounds like something you can relate to, you still have time to join them in Santa Barbara, California on October 27 at Chase Palm Park in the final race of nine in 2012. In addition to the “Naked Foot” race, participants will be treated to a “Bare Life Expo” featuring many of the latest minimalist shoes and other as well as the latest accessories, apparel and gear for an active lifestyle along with green and natural products and services.
The event even features live music, raffles, demos, kids’ activities, foot massages and more. In September, I took part in the Seattle Naked Foot race and can attest to the fun and excitement as well as the great feeling of being among fellow barefoot runners.
The 3rd Annual 2012 Barefoot Benefit
In Maryville, Tennessee the 3rd Annual 2012 Barefoot Benefit will be held at the Lambert Acres Golf Course on Sunday, October 21. This is a 5k run, and an ideal race for beginning barefooters to get their feet wet with the lush, soft grass surface.
The event includes live music from noon to 4, and also serves to benefit Samaritan Place. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to this great charity that provides shelter, nourishment and intensive case management for homeless seniors.
A few events coming up in 2013 to help keep you motivated throughout the cooler seasons include:
The 3rd Annual NYC Barefoot run
This event is said to be one of the best barefoot running race experiences in the nation, according to barefoot aficionado Barefoot Max. The second annual race was held just last month, so you’ll have to be a little patient for the third which is expected to take place in September 2013.
Siblings John and Maggie Durant organized this run with a mission to “Reclaim our birthright, make running fun again; teach about barefoot running and natural movement, to build a community and to explore human movement in all its forms.”
The event includes lectures, clinics and more in an entire weekend of educational, social and athletic events for the growing barefoot running community.
Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival
Runner’s World named the Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival in New Gloucester, Maine as the best barefoot event in the nation. Held annually every Memorial Day weekend at this working farm, the barefoot 5k takes place on a rolling course of smooth grass and dirt sprinkled with pine needles. The event encompasses two days, seven races, and draws over 1,200 participants across the nation and overseas.
Born to Run Ultramarathon
If you want to do some serious training for a fun and difficult challenge, the Born to Run Ultramarathon will be held in beautiful Los Olivos, California – in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley wine country – on May 18, 2013. Runners will enjoy the mild spring climate found on the central California coast, with this year’s event featuring a barefoot division.
Barefoot runners can take part in 10 mile, 50K, 100K or a 100 mile marathon through gentle rolling hills that include pristine trails ideal for running sans shoes.
Now is the time to plan ahead, stay motivated – and most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!