The above photo is of "Minimalist Evan" — a.k.a. Dexter_Morgan23 on the BirthdayShoes Forums. Evan is also the proprietor of Minimalist and Loving It. Evan wanted to share his experience running a half marathon for the charity Barefoot Farm.
Read more about Barefoot Farm and see how Evan preformed in the race after the jump!
Where it all began:
Race Report by Evan:
My route to Half Marathon-dom began with Christopher McDougall believe it or not. If it wasn't for him, I would not have had my first experience on the trail, and be a part of an awe-inspiring organization.
It was all because of that one post that Christopher McDougall wrote about the need of the Tarahumara bringing Barefoot Farm to my attention and helped to inspire me to use my connections I made through my blog to help the people that practically inspired minimalism.
I knew I wanted to help but I didn't know how or even where to start. I thought about putting on a race, but it was quickly pointed out how unrealistic that was, especially with everything I had on my plate as is. I talked to a running friend of mine who ultimately gave me the idea I ended up running with. He said, "Setting up a run is a huge amount of work. you could merely dedicate your run to it and get sponsors—i.e. if you complete the race they will donate $10 or something."
And that I did. I ended up hitting every single company that I have ever had ties with through my blog, even getting companies who already donate to the Tarahumara (be it towards Norawas or Tarahumara Children Hospital). It is companies like that, that "get it". They donate because they can, not because they have to or because they get something out of it. I feel if we were all a little more like that we would all be that much happier, and better people.
To be honest, I didn't expect for it to be as well received as it was. I didn't expect to have more than 5 companies donate. It ended up with 10 great companies/people donating to one great cause. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to: Invisible Shoe, Luna Sandals, Leming, Smoky Mountain Water, McMinnville Physical Therapy, Skora Running, Gage Hutchings, Soft Star, Youth Villages, and Birthday Shoes. Thank you to everyone for helping out these amazing people.
Barefoot Farm is what many of the charities today need to strive to be. They do not spend money on a minute and a half commercial that comes on when most people are not even awake, and they don't spend money on a thirty minute Youtube video. Every donation they receive goes straight towards helping out the Tarahumara, not making bracelets. A charity that is spread via word to mouth says ten times more than going out and filling media with their message, at least in my eyes.
Here's what Barefoot Farm does:
Barefoot Farm directly assists Tarahumara farmers by providing them with native maize seeds, basic tools, and assistance with water resources and land protection. 100% of all farm proceeds and donations go directly to the Tarahumara Seed Fund, which provides Tarahumara farmers with native maize and bean seeds, tools, and farm microloans.
We have spent many years with the Tarahumara, modeling our own farm after their practices. We have also built relationships with the people, enabling us to provide direct assistance to the Tarahumara farmers who need it most. Drought, logging, and soil erosion have made subsistence farming even more difficult for the Tarahumara, and many farmers lack the resources to continue growing their ancient varieties of corn. We provide the seeds and tools to enable Tarahumara to continue their traditional farming and running culture.
And they do exactly that. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Now lets be honest, you cannot dedicate your race to a Tarahumara charity with a road race. That would be like opening a bakery and selling bacon. Trails all the way for this run, and man it kicked my ass! This was my first morning race, trail run, and half marathon, so it is safe to say it was a triple whammy. The race started out at a bright and early 8 am, much to the dismay of a friend and my mum; however, the trip went well since we didn't get lost this time compared to last time, maybe because my mom wasn't driving (haha love you, mom!), and made it before they were even done setting up the pavilion. Come to find out it had been raining like crazy for the previous 2 days so the trails were a disaster.
I had all my shoes with me so I could decide what to wear once I got there and ultimately decided on my Altra Samsons. Given the fact it was on trails I didn't want to go with something like my KSOs because lets be honest, they are not very forgiving on rocks. I didn't want to go with my Newtons because there is too much protection for me and with my last run in them ending up with a shin splint. Which would be the very first one I have ever received while in zero dropped shoes.
First of all, I have to give my props to Altra with their Samsons, they handled better than I could have imagined, and given the fact everyone was slipping around, including people in trail shoes I could not have been happier. Nice and airy, and cooling when running through water crossings . Until I get trail specific shoes, there are no other shoes I would ever want to wear on a trail. It has easily jumped to my favorite pair of shoes after many washings to get the dirt off the shoe.
The first aid station was two miles after the starting line which makes no sense whatsoever for the people doing the half marathon, since we were not making a loop around. So I skipped that aid station and hopped on the trail, which I quickly found out it is very different from the road. To anyone who has never ran on a trail it is 340.407% different from the road (yes that is a scientifically verified percentage). Me and about 15 other runners got lost and came out at the wrong spot on the road to the second aid station. Nevertheless we got to the aid station and drank our fill. I was unsure of how to go about refilling my water bottle since it was my first big race, and the first race I actually had the need to carry my handheld bottle, so I carried on hopping back on the trail and carried on my way, not knowing that decision was going to end up being detrimental to my finishing.
About twenty minutes after hopping on the trail I had finished what was left of my water, so I shrugged it off thinking nothing much of it, knowing I was over half way to the finish. I continued running and took a GU which in the state I was in seemed to drop like a brick in my stomach. After I fell back from the pack I was running with my motivation slipped and ended up walking more than I was running. It was at that point I realized I was no longer sweating, it was then I realized I was dehydrated. Which as Scooby Doo would say, it was a rut roh moment. Luckily I found an amphipod bottle that fell out of someone's running belt that had about 4 ounces in it. Gulped that down and had a bit of energy and got back to running. After about another ten minutes I made it to the final aid station. Which is about half a mile from the finish line. Which yet again, makes no sense whatsoever. I drank 2 of those dreaded mini-cups of water and went back to shuffling off. All of a sudden I saw someone walking towards me and it turns out it was our friend (Leslie) who rode with us. They were both getting nervous because it had been almost an hour since the time I said I should finish by, so he had come to find me. Around the same time, a friend from the running group I participate in drove by and gave me a bottle of water, which I hastily gulped much to the dismay of Leslie. Leslie ended up running with me for the last little bit before I saw the orange cones I thought "OH! The finish line!" and took off sprinting. I was wrong, it was only the start line. So once again I went back to my shuffle, as my stomach cramped up again. A few seconds later I heard the announcer giving out awards so I took off sprinting for the second time in about 90 seconds. Man! When I came into view sprinting as I was, I thought I was in the Olympics or something! With how everyone was cheering for me, whooping and clapping... That is until I slipped on the grass and slid; they soon turned into "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!" But it didn't matter I jumped to my feet and ran across the finish with yet another round of cheers.
Even though I ended up dehydrated, sore, heat stroke, and tired, I still did what I set out to do and that is to bring Barefoot Farm into a few minds. Being a part of this makes me want to be more involved in this charity. I truly believe this will be a charity I will be a part of for the years to come. Ambassador of sorts, who knows what the future will bring!
Evan has come a long was since he first started running. He has gone from never competing in a race to having finished this half marathon. I must commend him for his determination and the effort involved in reaching a goal of this magnitude. If you want to read about Evans first race experience you can find the post here.