Reviewed By: curraheeeasyc Date Reviewed: 08/06/2011 Review Type: Race Barefoot Friendliness: 2 Above Average Location: Port City Trail Across from Vision Bank Highway 71 Port St Joe, FL See map: Google Maps Picture: Pre Race: The race registration occured over the internet. The race registration form was located on the Gulf County Chamber of commerce website. After conferring through email with the race POC, I printed the form and completed it. I scanned it and emailed it back, although I could have mailed it in too. Pre-race registration was $10 and day of race registration was $15. Pretty affordable. Since I pre-registered I was able to pay $10 in cash the morning of the race. There were about 50 runners, and I easily walked up the the registration table to pay, and they handed me my shirt and race number. The Race: Several people noticed my barefootedness, and some whispered among themselves, but volunteers and race organizers only made positive/encouraging comments about it. The course was brand new smooth asphalt (called the Port City Trail), which was perfect for barefoot running. There were two wooden bridges crossing small streams, but they were new and had no semblance of splinters or old wood to damage the feet. The path starts in a wooded area, then moves into a park type area. It continued through another wooded area following this, and through several meadows. It was an out and back course, and although the path was a little narrow, the runners were few and far between enough at that point that there was no space crunch. The three or four minor road crossings were manned by volunteers, and there was water available around the 1 mile mark. Conclusion: Registration could have been easier if done through an automatic site such as active.com, but it was fine, and actually a little nice to have interaction with a real person when registering and inquiring about the race. The course was excellent for barefoot, especially first timers or newish runners, since it was smooth and generally debris free. No map of it was available ahead of time, since it's fairly new and this was the first time the 5k was held on this path, which caused some mild trepidation, but this will probably not be an issue in the future. The shirt was a nice cotton shirt with sponsors on the back and the logo of the scallop festival on the front with the words "5K Scallop Run & Fitness Walk" at the top. Overall I'd say it was an above average course for barefooters. There were no negatives in that regard, but no specifically signifigant accomodations or categories that would make it excellent in my mind. Below is my personal account. Personal Account: I ran my first barefoot 5k today in Port St Joe, Fl. It was on a brand new trail of smooth asphalt, so perfect conditions for my first one. Last night, just before falling asleep, I realized with a jolt that we'd be going from central time zone to eastern, since we live about 30 minutes west of the time zone. So I had to reset my alarm clock so that I got there on time, not an hour late. We got to the race about 15 minutes before start time, and there were probably 40-50 runners. I heard two girls whisper behind me, "is he going to run barefoot?", then a few minutes later a couple of guys noticed as well and began to discuss the merits and limitations, such as, "It's only 3 miles" and "Yeah that guy on Discovery does it but that's in nature". So, at the start a little bit of skepticism, but not too bad. As the run began, I started from the back so I didn't get in the way, and also so I didn't let my adrenaline kick in and start me off to fast and with bad form. After a quarter mile or so I began to pass the slower folks, and continued to pass people for the rest of the race, never getting passed myself. So that's one benefit of starting slow, since it's way more fun to pass people (especially barefoot) than to get passed. One guy said, as I pulled even with him, "How do you do that barefoot?" to which I replied that I started slow and toughened up my soles. He said his feet were too tender for that, and I laughed and said everyone's are at first. Then I continued past him. One kid about 10 asked why I was running without shoes. I told him I liked it better than running with shoes, and he said, "Hmm, that sounds pretty smart"! Probably my favorite moment. One guy said as he passed me going the other way "Way to go barefoot", so that was cool, since he was a superior runner. In the last mile or so I passed about half a dozen more runners, and I felt good feet/muscle wise. I finished in 24:58, which I was completely surprised and happy about. I told my wife I was shooting for under 30:00 (maybe to keep myself from pushing too hard and hurting my feet), so I'm happy with my time. I didn't really feel like I pushed myself either, since I haven't been running fast during my transition, and my wife thought I looked far better at the end of the run than I used to in shoes. In April I ran my best 5k time (in shoes) at 23:09, so this was not far off at all given the heat index factor. Anyway, here's some pictures, and I'm very happy about my first race. I am in gray shirt and black shorts to the far right of the big lady Dodging the unseen cone. In the distance (on the left) just before the finish. I wanted to catch that girl but sadly did not.