A few years ago, I was your typical office-worker: stressed out, uneven energy, overweight, and inconsistent complexion. Now I'm just your typical 28-year old urban hunter-gatherer on a quest to be healthy, and having a few adventures along the way. See my full bio.
NYCBR 2011: Photos and recap
Wow, what a weekend. The 2nd Annual NYCBR was a huge success.
We had 405 people register for the run, up from 265 last year. And we had more people come just for the clinics and talks on Saturday. People traveled from 11 different countries around the world: US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Iceland, India, and Belgium. It was the single largest collection of top barefoot runners in the world -- aside from recess at a Kenyan elementary school.
This photo didn't fit close to everyone. You can see the Statue of Liberty directly in back.
Jason Robillard, Maggie Durant, Lee Saxby, Dan Lieberman, Erwan Le Corre, John Durant, Chris McDougall, Barefoot Ken Bob, Barefoot Ted, Michael Sandler. Not pictured: Daniel Howell, Mark Cucuzella, Esther Gokhale
One of the biggest hits of the entire weekend was Barefoot Ted and the Luna Sandal's rickshaw. Custom-built just for the event, it was designed to be put together and taken apart without tools -- a brilliant piece of engineering.
Why a rickshaw? Glad you asked. In a 1949 paper called "Survey in China and India of feet that have never worn shoes", it was found that barefoot "rickshaw coolies" had "more perfect" feet than others.
"One hundred and eighteen of those interviewed were rickshaw coolies. Because these men spend very long hours each day on cobblestone or other hard roads pulling their passengers at a run it was of particular interest to survey them. If anything, their feet were more perfect than the others. All of them, however, gave a history of much pain and swelling of the foot and ankle during the first few days of work as a rickshaw puller. But after a rest of two days or a week's more work on their feet, the pain and swelling passed away and never returned again. There is no occupation more strenuous for the feet than trotting a rickshaw on hard pavement for many hours each day yet these men do it without pain or pathology."
We kicked off the run with a special announcement: two of the participants had planned their engagement around the weekend. We put the two of them in the rickshaw, and Barefoot Ted pulled them through a gauntlet of runners to start the race.
The kid's run was awesome. They put on a clinic for us.
The prior night was a blast too. The venue overlooked the Brooklyn Bridge and Governors Island. Merrell really went all out, decorating the place in orange and even making Merrell / NYCBR beer steins for all the participants. All of our sponsors were fantastic: VIVOBAREFOOT ran the running clinics, Injinji sponsored the food during the run, Luna Sandals sponsored the rickshaw fun, Barefoot Wine and Smutty nose contributed wine and beer, JackRabbit Sports was hugely supportive, and Vita Coco had coconut water on hand all weekend.
And thank you to all of our incredible volunteers. Our core team that helped with planning: Sanjay Amin, Melissa Bybee, Jeanne Davis, Lindsey Goble, KC Goyer, Chris Hawson, Rob Mathews, Lee Rawlings, and Trey Shelton. And all the volunteers who helped us execute: Becca Alper, Lea Bentzen, Jeff Bierly, Richard Chin, Jessica Clarke, Brad Dodson, Clark Durant, Taylor Durant, Gareth Field, Lis Holmdahl, Mathias Holmdahl, Paul Koczera, Suzie Marlow, Cody Marsh, Abe Medenilla, Maggie Meehan, Chris Moffet, Jonathan Muhirad, Satchel Paige, Brianna Pollock, Jimmy Ross, Jenna Shannon, Amanda Shantz, Chris Stokes, Nick Sweeney, Tim Torba, Francis Werner, Jenna Wilson-Ashby, and Kris Wood. And last but not least, my sister, Maggie Durant, who did far more work than anyone else, including me.
This event wouldn't have happened without you.
Dan Lieberman, as usual, gave the best talk. He spoke about the cause of running injuries. We got a preview of some cool results based on the Harvard Track Team -- expect them to be published soon. Heel-strikers don't fare well. Lieberman's hypothesis: your footwear matters less than your foot-strike. In some cases, minimalist footwear might be even more damaging than running barefoot, because footwear still muffles the pain signal and proprioception that encourages good form (forefoot strike), but doesn't provide any cushioning. Heel-striking in a pair of VFFs ain't a pretty site.
We also heard talks by the other kudus on various barefoot related subjects. One of my favorite moments of the evening was honoring Barefoot Ken Bob and the other long-time barefoot runners who have been doing this long before it was cool. Long before the studies, style section pieces, and the best-sellers, a few crazy people decided to take off their shoes and run barefoot.
Here's to the crazy ones. We'll see you next year.
Photos by Keith Goldstein.