In 2010, “Barefoot Paul” Peterson excelled at mountain running qualifying for the Men’s US Mountain Running Junior Team and competing at the World Championships in Slovenia. His success running in Vibram Five Fingers is truly amazing! Read Paul’s recap of his season and why he prefers Five Fingers after the jump.

Barefoot Paul running in the Barr Trail Mountain Race. Cool Shirt!

Hi! My name is Paul Petersen, I’m 18, and just competed in the World Mountain Running Championships in Kamnik, Slovenia on the US Mountain Running Junior Team, and placed 41st overall all while wearing my KSO Treks. My journey began in the Vibrams in June, when I competed in the Mount Washington Road Race, and won my age group in a time of 1:14:30. I continued my journey running in the Vail Hill Climb, placing 16th overall, followed by the Barr Trail Mountain Race, where I placed 20th overall in the KSO treks.

I continued to run the Eldora Trail 11k in Sprints (KSOs had a defect) and placed 5th overall. My summer season ended with the 26th World mountain running championships in Kamnik, Slovenia, where I placed 41st overall.

I first took off my shoes 1 year ago, and fell in love with the feel. I had no pressing physical conditions, I just chose to run the way my feet and body felt most comfortable with. Especially for trail running, Vibrams have allowed me to carry on this barefoot style of running on literally any surface. People constantly ask me, “Do your feet hurt?” and “Don’t the rocks hurt when you step on them?” And at first my answer was yes, of course it hurts. But over time, my feet got stronger, and every rock I went over was just another part of the course, not an obstacle. Running trails in the Vibrams connects you with the earth, your foot molding and morphing to every pebble and branch for the most intimate running experience possible. I’m on a mission to prove that barefoot running isn’t just a fad promoted by a funky looking shoe, but a true alternative to shod running that is capable of producing competitive results. Thanks for your time!

Paul Petersen
aka Barefoot Paul

Paul, thanks for sending in your story. Congrats on your awesome finishes and we applaud your work spreading the message about barefoot style running.