Inaugural International Barefoot Running Day™ by Paleo


International Barefoot Running Day
May 1, 2011
By Paleo

With the first runners starting at 9:00 a.m. local time in Canberra, Australia, International Barefoot Running Day sprinted to a global success on May 1. Moving with the sun, May Day brought over 300 people together in a show of barefoot and minimalist solidarity. IBRD amounted to 48 separate events, spread out over 5 continents*, and over 13 countries. In addition, we are still receiving reports that many others ran individually to celebrate IBRD, since there was no organized meeting in their area. (If you also ran on May 1, please record it here.)

The media did take notice of the event, with reports appearing in print and video from Indiana to Slovenia, where even the national television turned out. Strangely enough, not everyone had heard that it was International Barefoot Running Day. But in Georgia, when bystanders asked whether the group was really going to run barefoot, TJ naturally informed them, "Of course! Haven't you heard? It's International Barefoot Running Day!" This fact was also confirmed in Portland, Oregon, where someone spied Joshh and migangelo barefoot and asked, "What, is it barefoot running day or something?" To which they were able to respond, "Well, actually, yes!"

Quite a few events hosted workshops to teach the uninitiated about barefoot running. Judging by the pictures, participants showed keen interest everywhere. At some events, like San Diego, barefoot veterans exchanged wisdom about form and other subtleties. While at others, newbies and the curious showed up to tap into the knowledge of the organizers.

In addition, runners also formed friendships, with some groups deciding to meet regularly in the future. All of the local organizers posted comments about the feelings of solidarity, good will, and mutual support.

We are still waiting for reports from about one-third of the organizers. (It's a bit like election night. The results are not yet final, but, we know that barefoot running was a winner!) In any case, here are some stats and facts:
  • Number of runners at current count: 330
  • Total distance run (using some assumptions): 2218 kilometers / 1353 miles
  • The oldest runner turning out: 80 in Siesta Key, Florida
  • The youngest: Slovenian tot of about 18 months
  • Largest event (at current count): Slovenia with 60 runners
  • Furthest known distance traveled to attend event: 430 Km by Chelsea from Frankfurt to Munich
  • Longest reported distances: 38 Miles by Pat, 33 by Chris in So. California and 51Km by BF_Willie_g in Külmbach, Germany
  • Number of marathon or more distances run: at least 7
  • Number dogs running barefoot that day: billions worldwide, likely
  • Number of dogs wearing the IBRD-Logo: at least 1, in Munich
Watch this space! I will be editing the numbers as the final results come in.

* We believe that we also had an event in Asia, namely in the Philippines, who ordered 40 IBRD T-Shirts. So, aside from Antarctica, we got all the continents covered!


And, barefoot runners at the event in Danville, California (San Francisco Bay Area) took part in the Workday Devil Mountain Run, a fundraising event for Children's Hospital Oakland. The California-San Francisco chapter formed Team Barefoot Runners Society for the race.With 11 members, the team raised over $3,200 for the hospital!

Naturally, we turned a few heads and spurned a few comments from the astonished. Two of the funniest were: Look, there's another guy with no feet; and the announcer at the Devil Mountain Run, who stammered out as Barefoot Terry and his two cohorts crossed the finish line: And here come three guys into the. . . well, . . . but. . . there's three. . . umm. . . and. . . bu. . . . There's three barefoot runners crossing the finish!!!!

We all owe a big thanks to Barefoot Ken Bob and Susan Altieri at Fair Winds Press, who donated copies of Ken Bob's new book, Barefoot Running: Step-by-Step to all of the U.S. and Canada events to hand out as prizes. (We were unable to arrange shipping to the other countries in time for IBRD, with deep apologies from Ken Bob and Susan, as this idea came late in the planning.) The books were a real hit with the winners. Other supporters like Jill Murphy of Good for the Soles gave out store discounts for the participants. This generosity is the kind of spirit upon which the BRS is based. Fantastic!


TJ and I extend our gratitude to the Supporters, who posted the IBRD logo and helped spread the word. And, we also owe special thanks to a few individuals who lent a hand in special ways: Nathan (Inbetweenmytoes) Smith for the winning IBRD tee shirt design, as well as all of those who submitted artwork for the contest, Krista (Zapmamak) Cavender for designing the Logos, AJB422 for managing the T-Shirt contest, Jason Robillard for getting us connected to the Supporters, but most of all, we want to thank all of the local organizers for doing so much to put together the events in their local areas. Without them, this think global, act local event would have just remained a whimsical idea.

We're looking forward to next year. The Second Annual International Barefoot Running Day will be held on the first Sunday in May, which will be on May 6th in 2012, everywhere! See you there!

NOTE: This is a summary of the day's events. We plan to have a newsletter highlighting all of the events, pictures, and reports shortly. If you are able to help with this project, please contact TJ at [email protected]. Thanks!

Jamie, a.k.a. Paleo
Event Director, Main Coordinator, International Barefoot Running Day

Very cool, Pat!
Bump for posterity's sake. :cool:
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