What an awesome, awesome weekend. I'm very pleased (and relieved) to announce that the 1st Annual New York City Run was a great success. I'm kind of blown away because it really could not have gone any better. The event logistics went off without a hitch, the weather was unbelievable, the enthusiasm from participants was off the charts, the running clinics with Barefoot Ted and Jason Robillard were packed, Dan Lieberman's presentation and panel discussion were a home run, and the run itself was a blast. It was all just so, so good.
- About 265 people ended up registering for the run, and we had around 300 people at the run itself. I don't know if this qualifies as the largest official barefoot or minimalist running event, but it well may. (If you don't count recess at any number of Kenyan schools.)
- Over 25% of participants came from outside the tri-state area (NY, CT, NJ), which is awesome. Truly a destination event. Arkansas, California, Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Alabama, Sweden, one guy even re-routed his trip from Israel through NYC for the run.
- From conception to execution, we pulled off the event in about two and half months. And we only had the site up for people to register for about one month. Not bad…makes you wonder what we can do next year when we actually have some time to plan and promote!
- Barefoot Runners NYC was founded on November 7th, 2009…less than a year ago. What a year.
- Terra Plana ended up raffling off over $2,500 worth of shoes and apparel. With contributions from Tip Top Shoes, Injinji, Luna Sandals, and all of our barefoot running leaders, we had well over 50 prizes. (As someone joked, it's not that lucky people won something — it's that unlucky people didn't win.)
A few memorable funny moments:
- In Daniel Howell's excellent Saturday AM talk, he compared wearing shoes to smoking cigarettes…while in a shoe store surrounded by shoe salesmen. I thought he was going to get a shoe horn to the head. Possible to use a different metaphor, Daniel?
- Barefoot Ted found a crabapple tree during the run, and started passing out crabapples to runners. Also, Ted ran part of the course backwards backwards…which is definitely not the same as running it forwards. (Said another way, he was running backwards, around the course in the wrong direction.)
- Dan Lieberman ran one of the longest distances of any of the 250+ runners. 17 miles or so, gearing up for the New York City Marathon. Now that's an academic who doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walks. (And runs the run.)
- Erwan Le Corre kindly helped me carry cases and cases of bananas up six flights of stairs to my apartment. Let it be known that Erwan's banana carrying capacity is double mine. Not that there was any doubt…I just wanted to quantify (in bananas) how much stronger Erwan is than I am. 250 bananas stronger.
- Jason Robillard wore his running kilt to the run. Apparently when we told Jason that Governors Island was going to be breezy and to dress accordingly, he did. Think Marylin Monroe, but more Scottish and manly. But just as sexy.
- I fell deeply in love with my new ThunderPower 400 Megaphone. (Tagline: "You WILL be heard!") Even if the event had bombed, I still would have had this wonderful, wonderful toy. You'll see the megaphone surface in a few of the blog reviews.
Comments, blog posts, and reviews:
- Barefoot Ted: "First Annual NYC Barefoot Run was a HUGE success. Loved it and look forward to going again next year."
- Jason Robillard: "Attention all barefoot/minimalist runners- start making plans to attend the 2nd annual NYC Barefoot Run. This has been an amazing experience thus far!"
- Daniel Howell: "What an amazing 1st NYC barefoot run. If you didn't make it this year, you MUST make it next year!"
- Erwan Le Corre: "Fantastic people, event, weather, experience: 1st annual NYC barefoot run, beautifully organized by John and his sister Maggie Durant."
- At Birthday Shoes: "I plan to be back next year." (And we want you too next year, Justin Owings.)
- Paleo Playbok: "The star of the show was Dan Lieberman, the Harvard University scientist who studies the anatomical efficiencies of human locomotion. In a truly remarkable presentation, he covered the science behind the sport from early human history up to Newtonian physics."
- Fifth Ape: "It was an amazing event."
- Hunt Gather Love
- Nathan Matthews
- Barefoot Fresca
Photos and video:
I'll let you know when we have official video and pictures ready, but here are a bunch of participant pics and video. I've also put a few down below.
And some very essential thank you's:
Dan Lieberman, Barefoot Ted, Erwan Le Corre, Jason Robillard, and Daniel Howell – Thank you for taking a risk on an unproven event! You helped set the tenor of the run as: scientific and skeptical, collaborative, educational, and fun.
– Our volunteers were the best. From ordering bibs and banners, carrying boxes of bananas all over the city, finding a store that sells ice on Sunday at 6am, selling t-shirts, registration, hosting out-of-town runners, doing bag check, pounding in signs, everything. Couldn't have done it without you. Barefoot Runners NYC
- Patty and Ralph at Terra Plana were awesome. They approached me at our Christopher McDougall run about this, and they immediately got the vision of what this event could become. The Lieberman lecture and panel discussion at their store was truly exceptional. My only regret is that the Terra Plana store isn't going to be large enough to host talks next year, because we filled the store this year with 100+ people.
Tip Top Shoes
– Danny and Lester Wasserman wrote us a check in our first year, with no track record, and about a month before the event. They have a history of spotting things that could be big: they were the first independent retailer in NYC to stock VFFs, their account number at Birkenstock is 150 or so — so they actually looked forward to being first. We'll be running out of Tip Top this winter.
Injinji and Vita Coco
– Both Injinji and Vita Coca stepped up at the last minute to contribute product to the run. Injinji donated a bunch of socks to the raffle, and Vita Coco contributed some delicious coconut water (that disappeared very quickly).
My sister, Maggie Durant – Maggie put more time into this event than any other person, including myself. I could not have pulled off a world class event in just two months without her.
Barefoot Ted said just after we met on Saturday, "I like the optimism and boldness in calling it an annual event." Damn right. We'll see you back here next year for the 2nd Annual New York City Barefoot Run. It's on.