Guest post by Cory Haugen.
When I contacted the Ragnar Relay headquarters about running the Las Vegas Ragnar Relay barefoot, they were more than supportive.
“You’re free to run however you want. Enjoy the race!”
The Las Vegas Ragnar is a 195 mile, 24+ hour, 12 person relay race around the Las Vegas Valley. The plan was to run all three of my legs, 15 miles total, barefoot. Then I started looking closely at the course. Most of it was on the side of major roads, and therefore on asphalt. I can handle asphalt, I trained on it; but a majority of my legs were also strewn with glass and other debris. Fortunately, I had my Vibram Five Finger Sprints with me.
Once I started running, I realized I was not the only Ragnar runner in Vibrams. In fact, there were a surprising number of runners – and a lot of them on elite teams – wearing Vibrams. There were questions about my choice of footwear from traditional runners, but a majority of the questions were very running specific, questions like “how does it affect your stride?” and “does it throw you off when you step on a rock?”
I also heard a lot of “I love your shoes!” from the volunteers manning the watering stations and exchange points.
This was my first official race as a barefoot runner and I have to say that I am extremely happy with the results. My pace was consistent and fast (for me) and my recovery time was a fraction of the time I needed after last year’s Ragnar Relay; one I ran in a pair of nice running shoes. I look forward to running many more races in my Vibrams, or preferably, without any shoes at all.
Cory Haugen is a teacher and barefoot enthusiast living in Las Vegas.