With the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the country, it was no surprise that the races I’d signed up for were all canceled. However, one of the organizers offered up a “virtual” option, allowing you to run the distance you’d signed up for, in whatever location you happened to be, within a few weeks of the event date. At first I dismissed this as a pointless exercise. But after a week of sheltering at home, I was eager to get outside and cover some miles. So I picked Saturday morning to execute the virtual option, deciding to run my marathon at a local university track.
By way of background, I’d registered for this race a year ago, curious about the trail, only to find out a few weeks later that it was canceled. Evidently the Knob Hills Trail is maintained by mountain-bikers, and when conditions turn muddy, they close the trails to prevent erosion. The race was rescheduled to January 18, 2020, and my prior registration rolled over automatically.
For barefoot runners, the nature of the trail matters for the obvious reason that smooth dirt or sharp-edged rocks have different implications for speed and thus goals and strategy. Since this race would take place on the northwestern shore of Grapevine Lake, I imagined a mix of sand and dirt with some crumbled limestone strata, which is what I’d experienced on the lake’s southeastern shore, where I’d participated in the Rockledge Rumble…. Continue reading “Knob Hills Trail Race”
In December 2018, I’d run the BMW Dallas 1/2 marathon without shoes. A year later, it was time to take on the full distance, which if successful would be my first barefoot marathon….
In the last few weeks a little bit of chaos has been spreading through my life, or so it seems (maybe it was always there). I attribute the chaos to excessive business travel, but some amount of disorder is inescapable, whether in daily life or in ultramarathons for that matter. Here’s my account of the Rockledge Rumble 50k ultramarathon, a recent race along the Northshore Trail in Grapevine, Texas, together with the travel, logistics, planning and other headaches that led up to and spilled into race day, and how I tried to manage them….
A few notes from the Batona Trail Races 33-miler, October 12, 2019, which was notable for being the first ultramarathon I’ve run without shoes…
The sixth edition of the SRT Run is now in the books. The event celebrates the values of self-reliance and endurance, and we congratulate every finisher… Continue reading “2019 SRT Run Race Director’s Report”
Note: Ben Leese won the 70-mile division of the 2019 SRT Run with a new course record of 16:28:16, eclipsing the prior record by almost two hours. More info on the race at www.srtrun.com
Ben’s 2018 SRT race report here
Shawangunk Ridge 70 miler
Last year was my first attempt at the SRT and my first attempt at running anything longer than a marathon. After missing my goals at a succession of road races over the preceding couple of years I was thrilled to achieve my main objective of grinding out a finish. But the experience was brutal. The distance was of course a big part of that, but I’d made a number of rookie errors as well and as soon as the chafing had healed and the toenails had regrown I began to think about ways to improve in 2019.
On May 27, 2019 I completed a slow-paced trail run in the Catskills, which incidentally marked my 4,000th mile of barefoot training. I reported previously on the 3,000th, 2,000th, and 1,000th miles, and this post is my latest update on what has turned out to be a fascinating journey.
The story of the last thousand miles is a return to running, after a series of injuries in 2016-2017 that limited me mostly to hiking, and then a gradual recovery in 2018. But the main theme is getting better, and slightly faster, especially on rocky trails. And what fun it is to get better!
I’m still a relative newcomer to barefoot running, having started the practice four years ago, a short period of time when compared to forty years running in shoes.
Over the last twelve months I’ve started racing barefoot at distances ranging from 5k to 1/2 marathon, almost ten events, and each one a memorable experience not only on account of the variety of surfaces, but also because of the reactions of my fellow participants.
On March 17th, I woke up at 5:38 AM, a few minutes before the alarm was set to ring…