A recent trend in the running world is a return to basics: running barefoot. With the trend sparked largely by the publication of Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run, runners across the country have begun to embrace the trend of running without shoes. The book highlights groups of people that ran for thousands of years without the benefits of modern-day shoes. In particular, the Tarahumara people of Mexico’s Cooper Canyons are highlighted. Apparently, thin-soled, canvas shoes have much lower rates of injury than normal jogging shoes. 

So should you ditch the shoes for good? The short answer is “it depends” on who you listen to. One Harvard University professor touted the benefits of barefoot running, claiming he runs through Cambridge at least once a week without shoes.  Other doctors are more skeptical, claiming the number of running-related injuries has increased dramatically as their clients lose the shoes in favor of barefoot running.

Another columnist found a more practical reason standing in her way. She opted against running through streets barefoot, instead trying a local park. However, the number of dogs and homeless people led her to question what she might step in and she’s scaled back her running barefoot.

As with most trends, there is profound disagreement about the benefits of running barefoot. Still, if you’re up for an extreme challenge, this might be just the ticket.

Whatever your choice, running a Spartan Race requires training, so get to it!

Picure credit: CNN,  runmyroute.

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My name is Kristen Schell and I have been doing Spartan Races for about two years now. Although I have been busy as a full time student and working a full time job, I’ve still managed to find tome for some races.  I have a great one from last year’s Palmerton Race!

I arrived at this even with no sneakers. I suppose I forgot to pack them as I was in such a hurry…don’t ask me why I was so stupid!  It was almost a disaster!

Despite the drastic oversight, I decided to suck it up and run the race barefoot.  Yep, barefoot.  I’ve never done that before!  It took me almost two hours to complete, but the amazing people I met along the way made it all possible for me to stumble across the finish line.

One particular girl around my age was passing me until she noticed I was wearing nothing on my feet…and the next thing I know she had her arms around me, helping me stumble down the rocky hill – I never did catch her name.

I have never even ran barefoot in my life (well, maybe in the backyard chasing my dog when I was 8).  Let me tell you, this was not the easiest trail, either. I think half of the course was gravel…ouch.  It was certainly a new experience! But, I finished, I could hardly walk, but I made it…with the help of some hot water and Epsom salts, I was walking like normal (three days later.)

Never say I can’t. Because you will amaze yourself one day. That is my Spartan Story.

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