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Tuesday, November 1, 2011
The Barefoot Runners Society Turns Two!
[Just a short one for you on this grand occasion. This post was inspired by (and artwork taken from) a great piece by my friend Nyal Davidsson, who writes a very well done blog called Caveman Diaries.]
On this day two years ago, a bunch of weirdos set a little idea into motion. They were the few that had formed the Runner's World Barefoot Forum just a short time before. They saw that was a good first step, but already inadequate for their mission. These were the dreamers. Their mission was to "change the world, one odd look at a time". And thus, the Barefoot Runners Society was born.
I became a member of BRS shortly after it came into being, and accepted the job of President for the Minnesota Chapter shortly thereafter. It's been amazing to see the organization grow over the past two years. BRS went from just a handful of refugees from the Runner's World to over 90 chapters and 3600 registered members worldwide.
In the past two years, we've certainly developed quite a global community of barefoot runners. It's a loose system that winds itself through the local clubs, the national website forums, and various facebook pages and blogs. We are increasingly more connected and able to share news, information, and get together to have a good time. Thanks to BRS, I don't feel alone anymore. When I first started barefoot running, I felt like I was on an island. Now I have friends all over the country who I can talk to about my favorite sport on a regular basis.
But BRS has never been just about increasing the number of barefoot runners in the world though. It's about changing the perception of the benefits of barefoot running. I certainly think it's succeeding there as well. When I first started barefoot running, I was the weird guy in the neighborhood. I still am, but at least people know why I'm doing what I'm doing. Everyone has heard of the health benefits of barefoot running. Everyone knows someone who owns a pair of those "toe shoes". I don't hear people say "you're going to break your feet" so much as I hear them say "they say it's really good for you".
One might even say that the BRS mission statement doesn't really even make sense any more. The looks I'm getting aren't so "odd" anymore. People are starting to pay attention. They know what the barefoot movement is about. They know that it's not just a fad. Barefoot running is here to stay.
In the meantime, before its next anniversary...I think BRS needs a new slogan. And that's a good thing...
Thanks to everyone who keep BRS going strong!