Throwing Down the Gauntlet! Barefoot Half Marathon!

On Sunday October 14, 2012, I will be running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 1/2 Marathon  BARE-FOOT yet again!

Only this time, I am calling out to ANY bare-foot runners to enter & race.

The goal is to set a new Canadian (and maybe WORLD) record for the number of bare-foot racers to start & finish a 1/2 marathon completely barefoot. My educated guess is that we only need 15 to 20 to set the new record but let’s go for 45 to 50!!

Further, my goal is to go under 1:40 which I believe would be the fastest bare-foot 1/2 Marathon time currently in Canada. I may be incorrect; if so, please respond via twitter or to this blog. You can also e-mail

The bare-foot running world is gradually growing in North America, whereas it never SHRUNK anywhere else on Planet Earth. It’s just that the so-called industrial world has done a better job of screwing up our feet (and thus, the rest of our bodies) by outfitting us in ‘stylish’ COFFINS (shoes that deaden the natural proprioceptive firing of the feet).

Let’s keep the bare-foot running movement growing.

It’s about time we got back to running safely, efficiently & at one with Mother Earth!

Coach Jeff


5 thoughts on “Throwing Down the Gauntlet! Barefoot Half Marathon!

    1. I started 12 years ago by going 3 to 4 kms barefoot @ the tail end of 11 to 14 km runs. I simply carried my shoes of the time (some form of ‘coffin’). I also did 35 to 45 mins of bare-foot off-road training to strengthen my feet & toughen up my skin. I still do this today.
      I also developed a technique that I call the ‘squat/scoot’ that allowed me to transition safer & easier to bare-foot running. Finally, I ran on the toughest areas I could find no matter the country. This forced me to toughen the skin & perfect my s/s technique – there was no place to hide. Also, of course, I ran much slower BUT am now able to go under 1:40 for a 1/2 marathon etc. @ age 59.
      As you can gather, this is NOT an easy process for those of us who have grown up being conditioned to wear ‘coffins’. In many parts of the world, they laugh at us!
      Make the transition!!

      coach Jeff

      1. Thanks so much for replying! I think the hardest part for me is not having someone to look too to see if I am running right? I am so use to running heel to toe that making the first switch to running on my forefoot is really hard. I have found that I am over doing it and running only on the toes of my feet instead of letting my heel kiss the ground on each step. Any tips to keep in mind to help my form? I am so envious that you are able to run with no shoes. I don’t know if I will ever be able to go totally without, but I definitely want to stay away from traditional running shoes. Moving more towards minimalist or barefoot shoes. Living in such a hot climate it is just not an option. I would burn the bottom of my feet running. OWWW!

      2. Actually, I look for hot asphalt to singe my soles. It’s the fastest & best way to toughen the skin for bare-foot running. Heck, I wish our climate was hotter year-round. It’s impossible to run bare-foot in Canada @ -25C with ice, snow & sleet on roads! Running in the minimalist footwear is not nearly as safe, effective & efficient as bare-foot. Do whatever you can to make the transition – even if you need to run earlier or later in the day &/or mix in running on cooler surfaces (grass, gravel, trails etc.).

        coach Jeff

  1. Yes, I agree that hot asphalt to singe the soles is the best way to toughen skin for barefoot walking, even before barefoot running.

    I stand before walking to build up maximum tolerable heat, and then make it a point when walking to singe them red, stinging for a moment after burning them red, still feeling hot for a while after barefooting is done for the day, and ideally even enough to make them tender enough that walking is slower and more delicate. I also have started using rubbing alcohol on the soles to dry them out as part of also making them tougher, especially if they were singed that much, but not more than only one week specified on the bottle and I wait two weeks before restarting the rubbing alcohol treatment for a week again.

    Then there’s the grating, grating the feet in diagonal directions against the grain to make rougher calluses, then retraining those calluses for the same amount of heat as before the grating. I generally grate once a week when it’s the low 90’s but not at all when it’s high 90’s to low 100’s. If done correctly, hard enough to make lines on the soles but not enough to cut especially on the toe pads, there are nice crosshatched diagonal lines that really show when the calluses are first that much rougher.

    Blisters should be avoided to prevent being set back a few days, but even then if they blister then whether the blisters reattach or slowly peel away, those parts of the foot are just as tough and heat tolerant as those that didn’t blister. In my case, even though standing for longer than a few seconds on hot blacktop asphalt in 100 degrees F peak afternoon heat BURNS enough that I often have to roll back and forth on both feet, I have been able to cross even longer hot parking lots walking at normal speed, and without needing to go for shade. Not sure if I can tolerate Arizona summer and crossing parking lots (yet, if it is possible at all without getting third degree burns) but at this point I find I don’t actually blister until extended walks on blacktop asphalt in 105 degrees F peak afternoon heat.

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