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  • Mountain Marathon GRIPE!

    I just got invited to enter the Scottish Lowe Alpine MM with my pal for the first time ever and I got all excited and then --

    they told me Vibrams weren't allowed!

    *extreme irritation*

    edit: anyone have links to published stories about champion athletes doing mountain marathons or mega-off-trail, heavy navigating hill races in their VFFs? so far Google's come up a bit blank, but I'd like to send the organizer some polite links for him to reconsider in future race years.
    Last edited by Bananabonobo; 04-24-2012, 01:43 AM.

  • #2
    What is it to do with the organisers what you wear on your feet, or nothing at all? What is their rationale for banning particular brands of footware?

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    • #3
      It's a regulated race over a 2-day course, and they do kit checks for safety and adequacy. That is, they won't let you do a two-day race with an overnight camp without bringing an actual tent, for example. Footwear is also prescribed in advance.

      ..but I'm negotiating.

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      • #4
        OMG. I realize there are like no replies to this thread whatsoever, but I'm so flabberghasted at the email correspondence I'm getting from the race organizers that I had to share. One of them emailed me back this:

        "I think they work in theory if you start young but if you start after 20 plus years of trainers you're heading for injury. The physio hates them as he only sees the unsuccessful stories. They work make you use a good running style but most of us have no arches and foot strength now so are going to get injured."

        So... we should all use faulty conventional footwear because we're all injured already, so we might as well continue to wear conventional footwear so we stay injured and future racers can get injured, so they can also wear conventional footwear? WHAT?

        I'm impressed with myself for the very pleasant, polite, and informed argument I made in response, rather than being like, WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?

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        • #5
          I would put this in the same line as calling it off due to heat here in the States. Personally, I've raced many a Summer marathon and have been fine. I've slowed down an have been fine. That being said, it's their race on a course that they have gone over and it's their privelige and responsibility to have rules. I couldn't imagine racing long distance over fixed or loose rock without a hard, stiff toe box and support in the shank for downhill landings while running. If the race is remote and you are going all night, you are out there and a major problem if you become unable to make it at least to the aid station under your own power. They can't exactly cart you out of an area on most mountainous single track trails. I wouldn't allow them on the loose rock here and we don't have any mountains involved. Just lots of toe busting, face plant and blister causing loose rock. Golf ball, baseball, softball sized and up. You want to allow them. Start your own race and deal with the problems.

          Comment


          • #6
            Pace2race, don't you think that should be up to me, as the informed racer, to decide? It's not like this is unfamiliar territory to me. (As you say, you've raced marathons in heat... so too have I covered this ground in Vibrams.) Furthermore, I and anyone else is likely to get injured in any old way on that terrain, so rescues are likely (and planned for) regardless of footwear.

            Finally, much as I hate to be a "what would Grok do" purist, ...humans are capable of covering tough ground without shanked, stiff, foot-corsetting boots. I draw the line at steep and solid ice. Where do you draw yours? Would you apply your argument to, say, pavement?
            Last edited by Bananabonobo; 05-03-2012, 06:20 AM.

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            • #7
              Yet Grock adapted and one of those adaptations, across a staggering number of cultures and races is shoes. Grock did'nt have toilet paper either. Montrail Hardrocks and North Face Rucky Chuckys are hardly the boots you describe. It's their race. Reasons for rules include certifying organizations like USTAF if your race is part of a series, permitting Government agencies, local emergency responders, insurance companies and sometimes, just plain old common sense. You have fewer injuries to treat if runners aren't slamming their toes into fixed rock or having repeated hard landings on sharp, pointy rock without reasonable support.
              Last edited by pace2race; 05-03-2012, 11:48 AM.

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              • #8
                That's none-they-business what, if any, kind of shoes you wear. It's not like you're bringing along a bicycle or anything.
                If I just said LOL, I lied. Do or do not. There is no try.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by pace2race View Post
                  Yet Grock adapted and one of those adaptations, across a staggering number of cultures and races is shoes. Grock did'nt have toilet paper either. Montrail Hardrocks and North Face Rucky Chuckys are hardly the boots you describe. It's their race. Reasons for rules include certifying organizations like USTAF if your race is part of a series, permitting Government agencies, local emergency responders, insurance companies and sometimes, just plain old common sense. You have fewer injuries to treat if runners aren't slamming their toes into fixed rock or having repeated hard landings on sharp, pointy rock without reasonable support.
                  You talk like I don't know what I'm doing. I did mention the race is on territory I've covered before, in Vibrams, right? I'm not going into this blind or thinking barefoot is magically going to protect me.

                  ...you do know how barefooting works, right? running in such as way as to reduce hard landings, no matter what the surface? Put more padding in, and you start adding impact and other injuries - including sprained ankles due to the loss of proprioception you get from padded shoes and boots alike. (Have I been there? Yes I have. For YEARS. And yet I haven't sprained an ankle, lost a toe, broken a foot, or suffered anything worse than the occasional blister after going barefoot/VFF-clad, and that includes in the race territory.) Any shoe technology on par with Rucky Chuckys is no more than 10 generations "in" to human evolution, but feet have been in for millenia. Furthermore, you clearly aren't familiar with the territory here - Ruckys are a *terrible* idea that would have you sliding back down the hill.

                  I don't really think much of your "ban everyone from a public race who doesn't conform" idea. It's a bit too close to the idea of banning saturated fats or banning something else "convention" doesn't deem healthy. I'm asking to wear footwear that confers no advantage and merely prevents me from getting injured (am I phobic about spraining an ankle again? you bloody well bet I am), on territory that I've covered before, and with which I'm very familiar. Moreover, I've just gotten a sympathetic email from one of the race organizers mentioning historical English fell racers who were completely barefoot, before the days of the Nike Cortez and simply because they thought hobnail leather boots (the major option of the day) were too heavy. Should we retroactively ban them too?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bananabonobo View Post
                    You talk like I don't know what I'm doing. I did mention the race is on territory I've covered before, in Vibrams, right? I'm not going into this blind or thinking barefoot is magically going to protect me.

                    ...you do know how barefooting works, right? running in such as way as to reduce hard landings, no matter what the surface? Put more padding in, and you start adding impact and other injuries - including sprained ankles due to the loss of proprioception you get from padded shoes and boots alike. (Have I been there? Yes I have. For YEARS. And yet I haven't sprained an ankle, lost a toe, broken a foot, or suffered anything worse than the occasional blister after going barefoot/VFF-clad, and that includes in the race territory.) Any shoe technology on par with Rucky Chuckys is no more than 10 generations "in" to human evolution, but feet have been in for millenia. Furthermore, you clearly aren't familiar with the territory here - Ruckys are a *terrible* idea that would have you sliding back down the hill.

                    I don't really think much of your "ban everyone from a public race who doesn't conform" idea. It's a bit too close to the idea of banning saturated fats or banning something else "convention" doesn't deem healthy. I'm asking to wear footwear that confers no advantage and merely prevents me from getting injured (am I phobic about spraining an ankle again? you bloody well bet I am), on territory that I've covered before, and with which I'm very familiar. Moreover, I've just gotten a sympathetic email from one of the race organizers mentioning historical English fell racers who were completely barefoot, before the days of the Nike Cortez and simply because they thought hobnail leather boots (the major option of the day) were too heavy. Should we retroactively ban them too?
                    Yet if you're putting on an event that is part of or sanctioned by an organization like the International Skyrunning Federation for example, you comply with their guidelines. That was the point. Athletes competing for a series or trying to qualify for championship meets seek out sanctioned events. I ran Pikes Peak Marathon with 1,500 other runners. Guess what? ISF Guidelines were part of it. Nobody is stopping you from running your way any day of the week you like. Go to a race that allows them No one is trying to get you injured or take away from your running experience. You are the one asking for the exception. They can bar you or disqualify you from their race. They ban vibrams, they ban running with dogs, headphones, kids in strollers, they enforce cut off times and anything else deemed to be in the spirit or safety of the event they have fronted the time and money to promote and organize. You asked, they answered.
                    Last edited by pace2race; 05-04-2012, 12:13 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Are you secretly one of the race people? And did you bother to read the bit where I mentioned that they're reconsidering, for future races if not this one?

                      1) The pro-barefoot race you're describing doesn't exist. I don't have the resources to start one (that's kind of a ridiculous suggestion).

                      2) I'm not here to debate their point, rather to rant and to possibly recruit attention to the problem of lack of respect for the barefoot community. Like the paleo movement as a whole, barefooters are still a bit "fringe" in the minds of many conventional athletes (including these race organizers) and I think it's polite agitation the way I've been doing with them that will help bring it into the mainstream in such a way that these prejudices don't happen, more barefooting products are made, and people aren't constrained by the marketing crap of conventional footwear.

                      3) I can't be the only person in the world with feet that simply don't work in conventional footwear. Therefore, "you can't race in shoes that work" = "you can't race anywhere ever." I bet that if someone told you that you couldn't wear your shirts of choice in a race because it was somehow inappropriate, you'd be pretty raging too if you couldn't wear what they deemed appropriate. I don't see my foot size and shape as a handicap, but telling me I have to wear something that is injurious and doesn't fit suddenly makes them such.

                      4) The biggest point I want to make with them is that their risk assessment (and as it turns out, your risk assessment) of racing barefoot is inaccurate. If don't correctly, it's safe; ergo ban = misled.

                      Incidentially, I also just did 6 hours on a sea level-900m hill on the west coast of Scotland over miles of bog, heather, a steep scree and grass gully, bare granite, and woodland. In Bikilas, naturally. How are my feet, one might ask? Fine and dandy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't pretend to know much about rules and regulations for trail races and other off-road events, as I am mostly a road runner, but the few local trail races I'm involved in seem to allow any sort of footwear one deems appropriate, even to the point where I saw a guy set out to run a tough 50-miler on technical trails in Crocs (he didn't finish). It would seem that races w/rules regarding footwear are in the minority and would be easily avoided if one didn't choose to comply w/those rules. Now, I'm in the US and the event you're talking about is in Scotland, so perhaps things are different, but it seems to me there must be other races that DON'T have this footwear rule. I would have to agree with pace2race that you have voiced your complaint to the appropriate folks at this particular race and, for this year at least, the answer is no. They do have that right, like it or not. In your shoes (or out of them!), I would simply set my sights on a different race.

                        It seems that your statement regarding how "you can't race in shoes that work" = "you can't race anywhere ever" might be a little overstated, as I have to imagine there are any number of other races that allow you total freedom of choice regarding footwear or the lack of it. I have seen barefooters in virtually every local road race I have run in recent years as well as while running non-local events like Boston and the Twin Cities Marathon. Boycott races that don't allow Vibrams/barefoot! Voice your opinion to the organizers clearly, intelligently and respectfully and do not participate. You may miss your chance to run this particular race this particular year, but disappointments happen to runners all the time--an injury prevents training well or prevents one from even racing, bad weather rules out a good performance, illness affects the outcome, and so on. Write it off as something that just won't happen this time around and move on to the next goal.

                        Best wishes in the future!
                        Last edited by honeypig; 05-07-2012, 05:10 AM.

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                        • #13
                          it's their race, they get to set the rules. I think they're over-subscribed most years, so they can probably call it successful.

                          They ask for shoes with enough grip for off trail, not full hiking boots or similar, so how about splitting the difference and getting some inov-8 baregrips or similar?

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                          • #14
                            Honeypig: that's the plan for now. mikeyt: if you read the whole thread, i've said a couple of times that I LOVE BARE GRIPS and i would totally have a pair - but they won't fit on my sasquatch feet. hence the rage.

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                            • #15
                              Actually, all you have to do is show up wearing whatever you want. They aren't the police. The worst they can do is deny you official recognition.
                              Crohn's, doing SCD

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