Eschew the shoe by Sam McManis
Sacramento Bee newspaper article link here
Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, December 20, 2007
Story appeared in SCENE section, Page E1
Title: Eschew the shoe: Runners go toe-to-toe with the competition
By Sam McManis
Sam called me about a month ago and interviewed me for this article. Here's what he wrote about me:
'Barefoot Ted' on a missionCurrently, barefoot running hardly qualifies as a "craze." Though a hardy community of barefooters has congregated on the Internet, where one Web site boasts 1,000 members, the practice still is considered alternative and marginal.
That soon will change, if "Barefoot Ted" McDonald, a serious marathoner from Sun Valley, near Los Angeles, has his way. McDonald's blog charts his odyssey of being a shoe-saddled runner who couldn't go an hour without intense pain to a shoeless runner who has completed the Boston Marathon in under 3 hours, 20 minutes, and completes 100-mile endurance races with no pain.
McDonald, in a phone interview from Southern California, recalls his first barefoot run five years ago as a "religious" experience.
"It was so mind-boggling to me," McDonald says. "It was like, 'Oh my God, I was running ball-heel-ball with no pain.' Within a year of running barefoot, I finished a marathon. Within another year, I had qualified for Boston barefoot. It's been a rapid and wild transformation."
So, if running barefoot can be so beneficial, why don't more people do it?
"Because the sports shoe companies make us believe that if we don't wear these specialty shoes, we'll get hurt," McDonald says. "It's one of the highest profit-making businesses in the country.
"But if people will only try it and ease into it, they'll find there's something elemental or spiritual in (barefoot running)."
If it seems at times that barefoot runners are zealots for their cause, it's because they firmly believe in a shoeless society. Most of the barefoot runners contacted for this story go shoeless full time.