The setting was the 4th annual Team Unbreakable CameronHelps road race in support of teen suicide prevention. The location was the Port Credit, Ontario, Canada lighthouse on the Credit River & Lake Ontario. The goal (beyond raising funds & awareness for this most important cause) was to set the new Canadian record for the most bare-foot runners completing a road race. The date was Father’s Day, Sunday, June 17 at 9:00 a.m.
The morning broke clear & warm with little wind – perfect for bare-foot running! My TOTTers ‘toed’ the line & ran wonderfully throughout. First in was James who finished in the top 10 of 300+ runners. Mark followed James 2 minutes later & Jack came in 2 minutes after Mark! Shawn came in next followed by Aneta & Tina. Yours truly (coach Jeff) rounded out the 7 bare-footers by running in with young Aneta. To put this into perspective, the previous high for bare-foot runners finishing a Canadian road race was FOUR!! We blew that out of the water – everyone finished strong, injury-free & bare-foot committed. A new Canadian record was in the books!!
Most impressive was 9 yr. old Aneta who had NEVER run 5 kms before & had NEVER run barefoot. She happens to be my neighbour & had been bugging me to show her how to run bare-foot. With her mom’s permission, I said, “ok, join me on Father’s Day”. Well, lo & behold, she showed up, ran the whole way with me in tow & finished in 31:12!! She thought the medal & race T-shirt had to be returned! Ah, the innocence of youth! Also, young Jack (age 15) completed his 1st bare-foot race in fine form. Jack had done some bare-foot hill training with me…but not much! The rest of the team were part of my Transition Running clinic & performed wonderfully. NONE had completed a road race bare-foot &, as a matter of fact, none had run bare-foot prior to my clinic.
Next race, we’ll break 10 in the bare-foot category & continue to grow from there!