Category Archives: barefoot running

Here I am running barefoot to the finish line at the Shifter’s 5K in Waltham, MA.

Runners at the Shifter’s 5K in Waltham, MA

First Barefoot Trail Run

I love running barefoot.

Love running trails.

So what could be more natural than to run trails…barefoot?

I know some amazing trail runners who run without shoes.  I’ve been running on the roads without shoes for years…and there’s a trail near my house that I’ve often run (in shoes.)  So this morning it occurred to me:

Why not run that trail…bare?

Too tempting to resist!

I tied a red bandana on my head and ran out the door.  Jogged a mile or so to the trail, sure that this would be the next step in my evolution as a runner:

He doesn’t just run!  He doesn’t just run BAREFOOT!!  He runs TRAILS barefoot!!!

At the trailhead I could see how it would be.  I’d glide on a cool shaded path through the woods, barefoot like my great-great-great-great….grandfather…

….effortless and graceful.  A pair of shorts and a high-tech bandana the only clue that I’m the son of a modern, industrial era.  I’d run like our African ancestors…

Soft.  Silent.  Swift.

It’s a beautiful image.

But it didn’t turn out that way!

The trail was a ribbon of sharp-edged rocks.  Ouch!  Ouch!  Ouch!  A quarter-mile of dancing and prancing on jagged scree brought me to the summit of the hill: a blessedly-smooth granite dome.

Then down the other side, on painfully pointy rocks, annointed occasionally with glittering glass.  Trees closed in overhead and in the moist darkness, mosquitos must have broadcast a Tweet that an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet was approaching.  So I no longer had the luxury of focusing  on my feet: the insect world was zeroing in on my head like a swarm of WWII dive bombers and I had to wave them off.

But of course waving didn’t keep them away.  So as I ran, or jogged, as carefully as I could on the detritus of the last Ice Age, I smacked one hand and then the other against my head, hoping to discourage the hungry airborne hordes closing in all around me.

Buzz…

….Smack!

………RING!!! (as my open palm slapped against my ear, setting off a resonant tone in my head like a giant tuning fork.)

Buzz…

….Smack!

……..Ring!!!  (Nope.  Not a tuning fork: now each smack against my ear was like a church bell, a metallic thunderclap inside my head.)

All the while trying to avoid stepping on the sharpest of the stones underfoot.

It lasted a LONG time.  I don’t think I’ll ever do it again.  Running on trails is pure joy—in shoes.  Running barefoot is pure joy–on a road.  But running barefoot on a trail is just nuts.

(c) 2011 by Ken Skier.  All rights reserved.

AGN Turkey Tune-Up 5K

The AGN Turkey Tune-up is a scenic 5K around the “Great Neck”–a quiet peninsula jutting into the Atlantic from Ipswich, MA. There are many hills…but each time we reach a summit, we get a new view of the ocean.

“Go, Barefoot guy!” I hear from other runners and a few hardy spectators. They seem to be impressed that I’m running barefoot. This is my 21st barefoot race, all but four of them since Labor Day, so running barefoot is no big deal for me…but the cold temps and brisk wind have driven the wind chill down to the 30’s, making this a bit tough. Not tough on my feet! It’s just tough to be out here in this cold wind wearing only a singlet and shorts.

Brrrrr!

Fortunately, there’s hot chocolate after the race, and awards for some of my friends. Another beautiful day in Ipswich!

Come! Run with me now…



(I took this photo, and the others below, while running.)







All right! Let’s get to the good stuff–an HD video that puts you right in the middle of this race. Go ahead! Click the ‘Play’ button below. (And be sure to view the video in Full-Screen, so you’ll see the race in panoramic, high-resolution.)

Were you at this race–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the race…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2010 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.

Lisa’s Lung Cancer Awareness (LCA) 5K

Lisa’s Lung Cancer Awareness 5K (“Lisa’s LCA 5K”) in Lowell, MA has a fast course, burgers and beer after the race, and a great raffle…but what sets it apart is the warmth of the people who make this race happen. They make you feel special the moment you arrive.

This race and its cast of terrific volunteers touched my heart the first time I ran it, two years ago…yet somehow it gets better each year!

Barefoot running:

This is the 20th race that I’ve run barefoot–all but four of them since Labor Day. The roads are smooth and I feel as if my feet never touch the ground.

Come! Run with me now…



(I took this photo, and the others below, while running.)









All right! Let’s get to the good stuff–an HD video that puts you right in the middle of this race. Go ahead! Click the ‘Play’ button below. (And be sure to view the video in Full-Screen, so you’ll see the race in panoramic, high-resolution.)

Were you at this race–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the race…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2010 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.

Genesis Battlegreen Run

The Genesis Battlegreen Run in Lexington, MA offers runners a challenging 5K or 10K course through one of the most historic towns in America…

…and then rewards us with some of the best post-race food you will find at any race.

Come! Run with me now…



(I took this photo, and the others below, while running.)









All right! Let’s get to the good stuff–an HD video that puts you right in the middle of this race. Go ahead! Click the ‘Play’ button below. (And be sure to view the video in Full-Screen, so you’ll see the race in panoramic, high-resolution.)

Were you at this race–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the race…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2010 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.

Superhero 5K

Falling on Halloween, the Superhero 5K is not so much a race as it is a costume party that stretches the length of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I’m running barefoot today, as I have in more than a dozen races since Labor Day. Often this attracts attention…but today I don’t draw a second glance as I run past witches and warlocks, men and women from Krypton, and…amazingly…a large fish!

I went to college and worked for many years in Cambridge. During that time I bicycled hundreds of times from MIT to Harvard. But never did I enjoy those few miles as much as I do now, running in my bare feet alongside a talented guy who is juggling–

Yes! Juggling!

as he runs.

Come! Run with me now…



(I took this photo, and the others below, while running.)









Go, Joggler!

All right! Let’s get to the good stuff–an HD video that puts you right in the middle of this race. Go ahead! Click the ‘Play’ button below. (And be sure to view the video in Full-Screen, so you’ll see the race in panoramic, high-resolution.)

Were you at this race–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the race…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2010 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.

Witch Way to the 5K

The “Witch Way to the 5K” is a Halloween-themed race at the Lurgio Middle School in Bedford, NH. Kids and adults race while dressed as witches and superheros. Their capes flow gracefully behind them as they run.

It’s got a good-sized hill so no one is likely to set a PR (Personal Record)…but it’s a fun race, followed by a great buffet and a very good raffle.

Come! Run with me now…

(I took this photo, and the others below, while running.)







All right! Let’s get to the good stuff–an HD video that puts you right in the middle of this race. Go ahead! Click the ‘Play’ button below. (And be sure to view the video in Full-Screen, so you’ll see the race in panoramic, high-resolution.)

Were you at this race–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the race…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2010 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.