polo outlet legends Marathoner to hit streets of Waco in his bare feet
Sunday’s Miracle Match Marathon will be his 50th barefoot marathon, and 68th marathon overall. The 54 year old Kansas City resident is the featured guest of this year’s Waco marathon, which includes a half marathon, marathon relay, 5k race, one mile run and a children’s run. New this year, and in honor of “Barefoot Rick” himself, is the barefoot division.
Roeber says he’s not afraid of stepping on glass, pebbles or any other jagged bumps in the road. He even runs barefoot in the snow, slush and ice.
Since he began running barefoot in 2003, he says he’s suffered fewer running injuries and strengthened areas of his legs that running with shoes never affected.
Harvard biologist and runner Daniel Lieberman has to agree. Lieberman recently conducted a study on people who run without shoes and found that people seem to be born to run barefoot.
People who grew up running barefoot such as boys in Kenya’s Rift Valley province, which is known for endurance running champs tend to land mostly on the front or middle of the foot when they touch ground. And when these runners do use shoes, they continue to run in that way.
Runners who have always worn cushioned shoes typically hit the ground heel first.
The difference in the way the foot strikes the ground is important. Lieberman’s study examined the physical stresses on feet with different types of running and found that people with running shoes strike the ground with the mass of the entire leg, nearly 7 percent of the body. That’s more than three times the weight of impact for barefoot running.
“It’s really about how you hit the ground,” said Lieberman, who specializes in human evolutionary biology. “When you hit the ground, some of your body comes to a dead stop.”
For runners in cushioned shoes, “it is literally like someone hitting you on the heel with a hammer,” Lieberman said. But, he said that “the way in which barefoot people run is more or less collision free.”
But runners should be cautious about ditching their shoes or using new ones that mimic barefoot running, Lieberman said. If you change the way you run quickly “you have a high probability of injuring yourself,” he said. In general, changes either in running shoes or distance should be no more than 10 percent a week, he said.
Roeber describes the bottoms of his feet now as “moccasiny,” but warns new barefoot runners of blisters.
Lieberman has looked at the evolution of long distance running; 2 million years ago our pre human ancestors used that approach to wear out prey during prolonged hunts. He found that the 1970s invention of the modern running shoe changed our strides. And it wasn’t necessarily for the best.
Dr. Pietro Tonino, chief of sports medicine at the Loyola University Health System in Chicago, wasn’t part of Lieberman’s study but said it makes sense because of what he sees every day.
“When you look at runners, the most common thing they have is, in most cases, heel injuries,” Tonino said. The No. 1 foot injury that Tonino sees is plantar fasciitis, a painful irritation and swelling of the bottom of the heel.
Tonino said cushioned running shoes work against evolution which developed the foot properly for endurance running.
“Your body is basically just very passive in the running activity compared to probably what it was designed to do,” Tonino said.
Tonino doesn’t recommend barefoot running for Americans who have gotten used to modern running shoes, but said for people who do not have foot injuries, less constrictive shoes might be a good idea. at Indian Spring Park by the Waco Suspension Bridge. Prices vary. Proceeds of the Miracle Match Marathon go to the Scott White Marrow Donor Program. The marathon course starts downtown, loops around the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Baylor University, then follows Austin Avenue to the hills near Ridgewood Country Club. From there, the course proceeds along Lake Shore Drive until its final phase of challenging inclines through the McLennan Community College campus and Cameron Park. Sunday.