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Review: Run Bare(foot) Presentation

Last night (Wednesday, the 28th of April 2010), I attended one of REI’s free “events”. I actually lucked out that I found this “Running Barefoot” class in time (I received the email blast on Tuesday and the class was for the next day). After I signed up then tweeted about it, I guess they filled up fast because when I got there, only a handful of seats were left (compared to when I attended a free bike maintenance class, and there were over ten open seats). I got a seat all the way up in front, which turned out to be great cos I saw *everything* (LOL you’ll understand as you continue reading).

Anyway, the event was really a talk by the founders of the Run Bare Company ( to get you inspired about barefoot running, its benefits and how to get started. The guy who co-founded the company, Michael Sandler, literally got into barefoot running by accident.

Michael Sandler was not your weekend-warrior sort of athlete — he was a sponsored-by-Rollerblade speed-skater and cyclist at the pro-level. As epiphanies go, his occurred by accident because of an accident! Eek. At the event, as he spoke about and described what happened to him, and as he went into some detail about his surgeries after that ill-fated day, I began to cringe — especially when he showed us his scars! Double-eek! *Faints* You can read more about his story here. Long story short, he was/is a living testament of how barefoot running got him back to running (when his doctors said he wouldn’t be able to run anymore) and most importantly, the joy of running.

Demonstrating forefoot landing

Demonstrating forefoot landing

Having done my own research about running barefoot (how it truly re-activates the dormant/atrophied muscles in your feet), I thought I knew quite a bit about the subject until this mostly inspirational and lightly instructional talk last night.

Michael went into the differences in heel and forefoot strike, shared experiences with his injuries before turning to running barefoot, covered how Vibram Five Fingers shoes can be integrated into your runs, also some exercises one could do to strengthen their foot muscles, and so on. The keyword for that evening was to take baby steps when transitioning to running bare… It was sound advice that I could have used when I started getting into this barefoot thing! ^_^

Anyway, both Michael and Jessica Lee (the other founder of the Run Bare Company and according to the book, Michael’s inspiration to starting all of this) were down-to-earth and were extremely and genuinely enthusiastic about getting other people to experience going bare. They didn’t just want people to treat this as a fad, but as something that they would consider doing the rest of their lives. Of course, they also weren’t discouraging everyone to just ditch their shoes, though Michael (answering a question from the audience) did mention that he hardly wore shoes any more!

Both Michael and “Jessie” will be on the road, to encourage more people to realise that running barefoot will do their bodies some good in the long run (pun intended ;)). If you happen to be living in the city that they visit, and have nothing else to do, I’d definitely recommend you attend their event. If not just to meet some really cool runners. 🙂

I took some photos using my mobile phone (a change from taking photos of food! LOL) so please forgive the quality of the posted pics.

Michael Sandler and the Vibram Five Fingers shoe

Michael Sandler and the Vibram Five Fingers shoe

Enthusiastic presentation

Enthusiastic presentation

Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee

Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee

Founders and I

Founders and I

I also picked up their book (which I’ll be referring to, as I delve deeper into barefoot training) and got a copy for my big sis, cos she wants to get into barefoot running, too. Oh, I got both copies signed… FTW! ^_^

I leave you now with the message Michael Sandler included when he signed my book:

Feel the ground to run light, keep your strides nice and short and above all else, have fun!

Now I just gotta commit this to memory and somehow put “have fun” on my body for my 18-miler this weekend cos I’m gonna need some reminding!


  • Pingback: The man wants to go barefoot in the Ohio State House | digguk

  • 30 April, 2010 - 17:43 | Permalink

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks so much for blogging about us!

    By the way, we are happily signing away using the handy dandy mini permanent maker you gave us. Just signed a book heading to Australia!

    Let us know how your barefooting progress goes!

    ~Jessie & Michael

  • 30 April, 2010 - 20:57 | Permalink

    How fun is it to meet the Run Bare Company founders at the REI event. Glad you had fun & have inspiration for future marathons. 😛

  • 3 May, 2010 - 23:46 | Permalink

    @Jessie — aw, you’re most welcome! best of luck with your tour and will definitely keep you both posted on my barefoot running adventures ^_^

    @Amanda — yeah, it was AWESOME. whenever you’re ready, you know who to contact if you need a running buddy

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