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IBRD Day Sunday!

By | May 2, 2014 1:50 pm | 1 Comment

Just a reminder that Sunday is International Barefoot Running Day and Erie’s original barefoot runner, Tom Madura, plans to commemorate it at Presque Isle with a casual 5K run and is hoping that some of you will join him.

He writes:

 Don’t let the weather scare you off! There’s no snow, so it’ll be fine for running barefoot! :-) Come in shoes, min-shoes, Vibrams, or barefeet! All are welcome!

Meet near the new ERC Pavilion at Beach One at 9:00 this Sunday, May 4.  Details here.

Dan & I will be in Pittsburgh doing the ‘burgh marathon (1/2 for me, whole for Dan).

Save the date – IBRD – May 4

By | April 22, 2014 1:52 am | 1 Comment

I recently received this note from Tom Madura, Erie’s original barefoot runner (Tom was doing it wayyyy before it became trendy!).

It’s that time again!
The Barefoot Runners Society is once again promoting International Barefoot Running Day on May 4th, 2014!
Their website describes it this way:

The Barefoot Runners Society (BRS) is proud to announce the 4th annual International Barefoot Running Day™ (IBRD™) on Sunday May 4, 2014.

After our previous successes, we hope to increase our turnout again this year. IBRD is a grassroots, inclusive effort to promote barefoot running as a healthy and viable way to run. It’s also about having fun and delighting in the idea of running barefoot with thousands of people worldwide on the same day.

  • WHEN: Sunday, May 4, 2014
  • WHERE: Everywhere, Worldwide
  • HOW FAR: Fun runs of 1km and 5km; some locations may have other distances as well
  • WHY:
    • To bring awareness to barefoot and minimalist running
    • To show support for this sport we love
    • To have loads of fun in an worldwide moment of barefoot solidarity
Last year five of us from Erie participated, and I’d like that to grow this year!
We’ll meet near the new ERC Pavilion at Beach One at 9:00 AM on May 4th, for a very informal  gathering and fun run.
We’ll plan for a 5K run, but you can do more or less as you like.
All are welcome – PLEASE come out and give it a try – Even if you’ve never run barefoot and are just curious about it. Come and run in your running shoes, min shoes, Vibrams, or totally barefoot!
I hope you’ll join me on the 4th!
Here’s a group photo from last year:

Guest Post: Confessions of a lapsed runner (Don’t let this happen to you)

By | August 7, 2013 1:33 am | 0 Comments

Guest post

By Tom Madura

Hi, my name is Tom and I haven’t run in months.

Well, not quite true. I’ve run. A little.

But this is a story about what happens when you lose the drive, and how hard it is to get it back. See, I’ve been a runner for about 30 years, give or take, and I’ve had my ups and downs. But never like this.

I started running in my 20s, and now, in my 50s,  my PR’s are all behind me. My 1:44 in the Clarion River Half Marathon seems like a lifetime ago. (That’s the fore-runner of the Cook’s Forest Half for you young ‘uns). But that’s OK.  I don’t mind getting older and slower – as long as I can still run and enjoy it.

It’s been years since I ran with the express purpose of beating anyone or trying to continually improve my pace. I started running barefoot to reduce the stress on my knees, and started to run just for the sheer fun of it and to stay fit. I love running and I was having a ball.

But last summer something changed – a long stretch of hot, humid weather led me to take a few weeks off. “What’s a few weeks?” I thought. It’s happened before. As soon as it cools off, I’ll start puttin’ in the miles again.

Only I didn’t. “Just a couple more days”, I thought, and I’ll jump right back in. I promise.

And then I twisted my ankle while out boating. A running injury when I wasn’t even running. Just great.

So then I decided, “Well, with that ankle all swollen and sore I’d better not start running again until it feels better.”

Weeks stretched into months, and then it was almost time for the Turkey Trot – one of my favorite races, and one I have only missed once in the last ten years. I hadn’t run at all since August, and it was early November. I did a few 2-mile runs and felt pretty good so I signed up for the 5K. Afterward I felt great, but there was still a little twinge in my ankle, and it was a little swollen the next day. No big deal, I’ll just take a few more days off (this train of thought was getting way too easy!)

Next up was the Snowflake Run – another favorite. I ran it and felt great.

Then I started to find every excuse imaginable not to run. What was wrong with me? All winter it was “I’m busy tonight”. “It’s raining – maybe it’ll be nicer tomorrow.” “It’s too cold”, or “I had a long day at work – I‘m tired”, or “Boy that couch and fireplace sure look more inviting than a run in the snow.”

Problem is, there are ALWAYS long days at work, or it’s ALWAYS too hot or too cold, or too rainy, and the couch is ALWAYS there. These things never stopped me from running before. I just didn’t have the motivation. I’d lost the drive. I was in a slump. My wife bought me a running motivational calendar for Christmas – it’s hanging in my office – I read it every day.

Didn’t help.

I read Heather’s blog every day for motivation and envied her drive to train for her Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania marathon.

Didn’t help.

It was just becoming easier and easier to NOT run.

Winter turned to Spring and I was really starting to miss running.

Oh, I finally started to go for an occasional 2 or 3 mile run, but getting back into a regular running routine was turning out to be harder than I thought. I did a few after-work runs at Presque Isle, and did 3 miles on International Barefoot Running Day in May. But by then it had been almost nine months (nine months!) since I had run on a regular schedule, and time I had previously set aside for running had now been taken up with other things – yard work; staying late at work; going out with friends. My schedule was full! Was this a permanent change in my life? Was I becoming an ex-runner?

N0. Damn it. I just need to focus on this and motivate myself – it’s for my own good and nobody else is going to do it for me. And I ENJOY IT! Why is this so hard??

As they say – it’s all in the mind. Just Do It.

So last week, on a cool rainy day, after a long day at work, I told my wife that dinner would have to wait a little bit tonight, and with only a passing glance at the couch as I headed out the front door, I did my first 3 mile run in weeks. And I’ve done 3 more since.

And most important of all, I finally WANT to keep doing it again! I’m looking forward to my next run.

I’m back! And it feels great!

I’ll see you on the road.

~ Tom

Shoe show

By | July 19, 2013 1:46 am | 0 Comments

shoes - ramon

“These are my Mizuno Wave Inspire 9′s …. I LOVE my Mizunos !! I ran (and placed) my first 10k in these bad boys.”  — Ramon Patron, Jr.

shoes 0 karen

“These are my lucky racers!! Broke them in during the Buffalo half!” — Karen Groshek


shoes - ginny

Ginny Sackett has just a couple pairs of shoes to chose from! LOL.

shoes -0 amy

“Asics Kayano right after a easy 4 in this Erie heat!” — Amy Cronk


shoes - kristen

“My shoes after the color run!” — Kristen Comstock


shoes - leann

My friend Leann sent me this after we all bailed on a recent track workout….the week after I took the photo below. She wrote, ‘One is the loneliest number.’  LOL.


I always have a camera and can never resist taking pictures of colorful running shoes after a group run:



AND….from Tom Madura, Erie’s barefoot runner:
“My favorite summer and winter shoes”:


“Oh, and they make great hiking shoes too!” 

tom - hiking



Things I Found — 7/4/13

By | July 4, 2013 1:22 am | 0 Comments

Worth Reading

* The New York Times’ Room For Debate: Addicted to Endorphins “Is all this emphasis on exercise healthy, or dangerously compulsive? Can exercise like running be addictive?”  Some interesting food for thought here.

* A 12-Million Step Recovery Program. Don’t know how I missed this when it was published in the Washington Post in May, but…it’s an amazing story. “Walter Barrera chose ultra long-distance running over crack cocaine, he was able to slowly start putting his life back together.”

* 5 No-Cook Recipes for Summer.

* Turns out runners aren’t the only athletes embracing the minimalist shoe/barefoot movement.

* Kara Goucher: You Can’t Always Get What You Want. (Love this woman!)


T-shirt of the Week

Screw calm….


Guest post: Barefoot meet-up report

By | June 28, 2013 7:59 am | 0 Comments

Today we have a guest post by Tom Madura, Erie’s original barefoot runner, who recently met up with Internationally-known barefoot runner, Ken Bob Saxton in New York:

Barefoot Guru encounters

By Tom Madura

On Sunday, June 23rd, Ken Bob Saxton stopped by Forrestville, NY as part of his Runbarefoot Tour of the Northeast.

For those who may not know, Ken Bob is one of the most prominent figures in the barefoot running community.

When I first started running barefoot, he had the only website dedicated to it and was a huge source of information and advice. He has since run 79 marathons and a host of other races on roads and trails, all barefoot. He is the co-author of “Barefoot Running Step by Step”, and he has been the subject of numerous interviews and magazine articles (including multiple appearances in Runner’s World), and is prominently mentioned in Christopher McDougall’s book, “Born to Run”.

His Western NY appearance was hosted by Lee Parker, a member of the NY Chapter of the Barefoot Runners Society.
There were seven attendees, including four of us from Erie. 

Under a canopy set up in Lee’s front yard (a beautiful rural setting about 10 miles east of Dunkirk), Ken Bob entertained and informed us with his multimedia presentation on the benefits of walking and running barefoot.

Although we didn’t do any actual running, we did practice Ken Bob’s mantra of “relax, relax, relax!” as a way to comfortably navigate rough surfaces with bare feet by standing and walking on gravel.
He also sold and signed copies of his book (complete with adding his own footprint!), and then we sat around and swapped stories, questions, and answers about our barefoot running experiences.

It was not only a good learning experience, but a rare opportunity to get to know one of the “gurus” of barefoot running and an all-around great guy. A good time was definitely had by all.  

And thanks to my wife Cindy, the experience was captured in photos:



Ken Bob “foot-o-graphs” my copy of “Barefoot Running Step by Step”


Ken Bob’s faithful companion “Psycho” Herman.


The guru speaks!


Barefoot runners in learning mode.

Learning to relax on gravel

The barefoot group!


Barefoot pro appearance on for this Sunday

By | June 21, 2013 8:16 am | 0 Comments

A note from Tom Madura, Erie’s barefoot runner on an event in nearby New York this weekend:

 I just got word that Ken Bob Saxton’s appearance in Western NY is back on for this Sunday, June 23rd at 3:00.

He even has it posted on his website now!  See here:

Here are the details from my previous post:

This event will take place at the home of Lee Parker, a member of the NY chapter of the Barefoot Runners Society.

The address is 795 Waterman Rd, Forestville, NY 14062.

Here is a quote from Lee’s posting at the BRS website:

“There is nothing better that [Ken Bob] would like to do than to tell people (you) about the benefits of going/running barefoot. He does a “free” presentation on the health benefits of going unshod (he wouldn’t mind selling a couple books). I am trying to drum up some interest so I can set up a venue in my area for his presentation. Folks, he ran 79 marathons barefoot without injury. He knows and lives what he talks about. This presentation is for barefooters, barefooter wannabees, and the just plain curious.”

Barefoot report

By | May 8, 2013 5:17 am | 0 Comments


Last Sunday (May 6) was the third annual International Barefoot Running Day (IBRD), sponsored by the Barefoot Runners Society.

According to the official website, "IBRD is a grassroots, inclusive effort to promote barefoot running as a healthy and viable way to run. It’s also about having fun and delighting in the idea of running barefoot with thousands of people worldwide on the same day."


Bare feet make you smile! Notice Tom's awesome official IBRD T-shirt!

We got the following report from Erie’s original barefoot runner, Tom Madura, who invited Erie runners to join him (sans shoes) for a barefoot run at PISP on Sunday.

About the having fun part - mission accomplished.

This year Erie had five participants! Mike Lawrence joined me for an easy 3 barefoot miles. This was Mike's second IBRD run, having eagerly participated last year. Mike is a definite convert to barefoot running - he races mainly in minimal shoes but has been doing a lot of barefoot training for several years. It is apparently paying off, because Mike came in second place overall in this year's ERC Winter Series with a total 28K time of 1:57:44. Woo-hoo!

Also joining us for this year's IBRD were long-time ERC member Dale Werner, his godson Cody Martinez, and Cody's girlfriend Alexis Lyons. Dale walked a mile barefoot, and Cody and Alexis walked/ran a little over 3 miles. All were enthusiastic and enjoyed the benefits of barefoot running and walking on such a beautiful spring day. I hope Cody and Alexis will be up-and-coming barefoot runners and we'll see them at some future ERC events!

Congratulations and thanks to all the participants! Mark your calendars for next year - the first Saturday in May, 2014 for the Fourth Annual IBRD! Hopefully our group of barefoot runners will continue to grow!


Cody, Alexis, Mike, Tom, and Dale

Go bare Sunday

By | May 2, 2013 10:47 am | 0 Comments

Want to try out barefoot running? Check out this invitation from Erie’s original barefoot runner, Tom Madura

Okay, so here’s the thing.

I have spent most of the  winter nursing an ankle injury (NOT caused by running, in case you were wondering) and have just started running again after about three months, so I’m not up to anything major.

However, this Sunday is the Third Annual International Barefoot Running Day (IBRD), sponsored by the Barefoot Runners Society. And, I do plan on doing a slow 3 miles on Sunday to commemorate it.

Anyone who runs barefoot, or in minimal shoes, or just has an interest in trying barefoot running, is welcome to meet up with me Sunday morning.

I’ll be at Presque Isle at the first parking lot on the Bay side at 10:00 AM.

Come and run as little or as far as you like.

You can read about last year’s event, including three of us from Erie, here .

Hope I’ll see a few folks there!

— Tom

Things I Found — 4/4/13

By | April 4, 2013 1:29 am | 0 Comments

Worth checking out

* 14 Things Every New Runner Should Know

* Water stop rules

* Why you can’t lose weight (pretty solid stuff here)

* Pondering a switch to minimalist running? Some things to consider.

Just for fun

human body

T-shirt of the Week


Available here for $25