www.runBARE.com, the barefoot running school is title sponsor of the Barefoot Running Club, based in Boulder, CO. The Barefoot Running Club offers free introductory courses and fun group runs for people curious about getting into barefoot running. More advanced instruction can be found at www.runBARE.com
Michael Sandler, former speed skater and professional level cyclist, suffered multiple injuries over the course of a lifetime, the last of which occurred just over 3 years ago. Weeks before a planned inline skating world record attempt across the country (LA to NYC) to raise awareness about ADD/ADHD, Michael experienced a life altering accident. While inline skating down Boulder Creek Trail, a father teaching his toddler how to walk stepped in front of Michael's path. To avoid a collision, Michael threw himself backwards, landing in mid-rotation on concrete. The result - a broken arm, broken hip, shattered femur and spike which had to be drilled through his knee. Doctors told him the usual story - he may not be able to keep his leg... he may not be able to walk again... he most definitely would never be able to run again.
Fortunately, Michael doesn't believe in limitations. He'll be the first to tell you he doesn't believe in the word, "Can't". Slowly but surely, through a combination of determination, meditation, trust in the universe and the power of nature, Michael became a walking miracle.
Only a week out of his living room hospital-bed, he set the record for finishing the Bolder Boulder on crutches (and a broken arm). Two weeks later, Michael finished the Denver Half Marathon on crutches (second to last) and became the only person to ever complete the half marathon on crutches.
When he finally got off his crutches, Michael gradually worked himself into barefoot running. He was still being told he couldn’t run anymore, and with a ‘leg length discrepancy’ of over 10 millimeters, struggled to find balance and overcome nagging pain. Known as ‘Mr. Plantar Fasciitis’ from before the accident, when he needed custom orthotics just to walk across the living room floor, going barefoot was a major leap of faith. The first day, he ran 100 yards. Then he iced his feet for 2 days. The second time, he ran 200 yards. Then iced for another 2 days. And so it went. Today, Michael can be seen barefoot running up Flagstaff Mountain passing road cyclists. He's capable of running 50+ miles barefoot and is currently averaging 80-100 miles barefoot running a week.
To Michael, barefoot running is not running at all. He says, "I don't run anymore. I dance." The benefits are multifold. Barefoot running activates many more small muscle groups than running with shoes. It allows us to run as our hunter-gatherer ancestors did - the natural way our body was intended to run. It heals old sports injuries and by promoting a more natural form, giving us greater feedback with the ground, and by keeping us lower to the ground, prevents new injuries. Barefoot running naturally promotes better, more efficient running posture and allows runners to surpass any speed they were ever able to attain with shoes. While the body heals, strengthens and economizes, the spirit heals and awakens. There's something to be said about feeling the earth beneath one's feet - feeling connected and grounded with nature. Suddenly, you're thinking more clearly and you're on top of the world.
Michael and I want to share the beauty of barefoot running and its healing power with the world... starting with one bare foot at a time. Come out and join us. We'd love to see you in whatever shape, size or form. ---All Levels Welcome, Runners and Non-Runners Alike---