Monday, June 3, 2013

Never Listen to the Naysayer

Since running my first 50-mile race, I have been pondering what races and distances I will do next. I have some personal goals to reach in the realm of running. Some of which I will eventually share on this blog.

However, I recently received comments from several people that basically said that running ultra distances barefoot was unrealistic or ridiculous.

It got me to thinking about the "naysayer."

A naysayer is a person who likely hasn't accomplished much, if anything, in their lives. In addition, they try and tell you that your dreams, goals, and aspirations are ridiculous, impossible or just cannot be done. It could be your business idea, a job, a college you wish to attend, or a marathon.

It made me think of all of the great people throughout history who have achieved some momentous goal despite what others told them. Examples can be found with Columbus attempting to sail around the world, Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mount Everest, or in running with Roger Bannister breaking the 4-minute mile barrier.

People may say that running an ultramarathon is ridiculous, insane, or flat out stupid. I used to think ultra runners were a bit crazy. Perhaps they (we) are. That was before I became curious about how far I could push myself. How far could I run? Oddly, these questions came to me only after I began running barefoot.

It is the same question that is asked of every person who wants to attempt something seemingly unattainable - Why would you want to do that?

To sail around the world - To see if it can be done.
Climb Mount Everest - Because it's there.
Break the 4-minute mile - To push beyond apparent human limits.

There as many answers as there are challenges.

A runner I know, who does a lot of barefoot running, is attempting the SD100 mile race in a week. I don't think he is doing it barefoot, but that is besides the point. He wants to know if he can achieve the seemingly "impossible dream" of running 100 miles in a single day. I believe that he can. Why? Simple. Because HE believes it. Best wishes for a safe and successful race, Andrew!!!

Back to my original premise of the "ridiculousness" of barefoot ultrarunning...

When I was chatting with the guys at Trail Runner Nation, one of my favorite parts of that interview is when Don Freeman says something like "here we are, 3 men sitting in a room saying, 'This man runs with no shoes? How is this possible?'" Followed by Scott Warr's comment that "in all of human history, people running in shoes is like a blip."

Will I stop running barefoot?


Will I attempt longer distances barefoot?


Will I find an upper limit to the endurance of the human "bare" foot?


I say to all of you that have a dream, goal, or aspiration (especially all for of you ultrarunners out there, barefoot or shod) - focus, work hard, strive to achieve it! Perhaps you will fail and hopefully you will succeed, but NEVER, EVER LISTEN TO THE NAYSAYER!


  1. Way to go!!! Keep up the running.

  2. I have been having some similar thoughts as I begin to train for my first marathon (planning on doing it barefoot) at the age of 53, having completed my first barefoot half marathon last week. Reading this has encouraged me.

    Laura, aka happysongbird on BRS

  3. Hi happysongbird!

    Congratulations on your first barefoot half marathon! Also, best of luck on training for your first marathon too!!!

    I'm glad I could be of some encouragement as you set your sights on the marathon distance. Oddly, I have yet to do a barefoot marathon. It is on my "to do" list for the fall. I've completed every other distance from 5K o 50 Mile.

    I hope that as you train for your marathon, you find the miles easy and the journey fun!