Vibram Five Fingers Boston Barefoot Running Clinic and Boston Marathon News Round-up

A recap of the All-Star Barefoot Running Clinic in Boston sponsored by City Sports and Vibram Five Fingers and led by Christopher McDougall, Daniel Lieberman, and Corrado Giambalvo.

For all of us who weren’t able to be in Boston this past week, here is a round-up of what went down so you can live vicariously through others.

Last Saturday April 18th Vibram and City Sports Boston hosted an All-Star barefoot running clinic. In attendance at the clinic were reps from Vibram, Christopher McDougall, Daniel Lieberman, and a hundred to two hundred enthusiasts who braved a chilly morning (Rainy and in the 40s) to be there.

As luck would have it, a small supply (what seems to be a “mini-release”) of Vibram Five Fingers Bikila landed to show off at both the All-star clinic and many eager fans were able to either try them out or actually get a pair.

For all of us who weren’t able to be in Boston this past week, here is a round-up of what went down this past week.

The All-Star Barefoot Running Clinic hosted by Vibram FiveFingers and City Sports

The first live word I got from an attendee at the clinic came from Bobby Love (@MilesBehindMe) via his tweeted photo that BirthdayShoes was there “in spirit and in stickers!” Indeed! Bobby posted about the clinic at his site and described the Lieberman and McDougall session as, “totally laid back, consisted of brief talks by each McDougall and Lieberman, a short barefoot run in the commons, then a Q&A session and book signing.”

Daniel Lieberman speaking at the Vibram CitySports Barefoot Running Clinic in Boston wearing BikilasAnother firsthand account of the All-Star clinic was posted at RunnersWorld by “BFR Heretic” (He took the photo of Daniel Lieberman in Bikilas to the right).

BFR Heretic noted that, “Christopher McDougall, Corrado Giambalvo, Dr. Dan Lieberman and his colleague Adam Daoud (as well as a representative from Vibram, whose name I didn’t get) each led a group of runners on a run which went through the Boston Public Garden … Pretty much everybody there either had VFFs on or made this the occasion to buy them. I got the sense they were impressed with the presentation but were up-to-speed on the whole concept to start with.”

It sounds to me like this was likely the biggest Vibram Five Fingers fan meet-up ever. I wonder if anyone managed a “low-five.”

You’ll find a great recap of the clinic over at the City Sports Blog. Check these two quotes:

“Throughout history, running has been an activity that has been associated with vitality and freedom. Only recently has it been associated with pain and fear.”

— Christopher McDougall

“This is a project in self-experimentation . . . The greatest aspect of this movement is re-educating your feet and re-experiencing the joy of running.”

— Corrado Giambalvo

full-size photos and more at the City Sports Blog! also had a great write-up on the clinic, which is worth checking out if you’re interested — seems Giambalvo had some helpful tips on upping your running cadence:

“You need to start slowly because if you don’t you will injure yourself,” Lieberman advised. “It’s a relearning process, but when you emerge on the other end you’ll wonder why you ever wanted to heel strike in the first place.”

Giambalvo, a veteran marathoner and running coach in his native Italy, used a metronomic beeping device with his group to teach proper cadence as a warmup exercise before heading outside to practice running barefoot on the sidewalk alongside Boston Common. He encouraged runners to be light on their feet and to use quick strides. Running in such a way, he said, lessens the likelihood of injury and increases the enjoyment of the activity.

The Boston Marathon

Of course, the All-Star Barefoot Running Clinic wasn’t all that was going on last weekend. Monday was the Boston Marathon, and though we’ve already heard from one Vibram Five Fingers fan who ran the marathon in 3:25, seems Nick over at FiveFingers on the Run ran the race in 3:06:02, a new PR for Nick by 29 seconds!

And then, of course there was Corrado Giambalvo, who ran the Boston Marathon in Bikilas. For that matter, below is a great video released by Vibram that features a fun, informal interview by Tony Post, CEO of Vibram USA, of Corrado Giambalvo.

Tony Post notes about Giambalvo’s debut of the Bikila in the Boston Marathon that, “Whatever you do today you’re gonna set the world record for a run in Bikilas!”

And since Tony Post also mentioned that it’s been four years since Barefoot Ted McDonald first debuted Vibram Five Fingers at the Boston Marathon, I’ll point out that Ted just published an article for the Christian Science Monitor titled Boston Marathon and beyond: Running is ready for a barefoot revolution. When you reflect on the incredible growth in awareness about both Vibram Five Fingers, generally, as well as natural running, specifically, it is remarkable just how far things have come.

Isn’t this fun?

Finally, I know there were others who ran the race in Vibrams, and if you did, please leave a comment about the experience below!

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

3 replies on “Vibram Five Fingers Boston Barefoot Running Clinic and Boston Marathon News Round-up”

The running clinic was such a great event. Getting the chance to run next to Chris McDougall and mimic his stride and get advice from him was amazing! Also I am in the photo at the top of this page! I am the guy with the blue knit cap, green vest, and blue sleeves wearing a backpack just under the arrow pointing to Lieberman. Cool!

I’m from Hell Kitchen NYC, planning my running the upcoming Brooklyn 1/2 Marathon (Prospeck Park to Coney Island) in my near 3yr old VFF. Was hoping to get a pair of the new Bikilas before the race, but doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Would have loved atleast being at the clinic. Thanks for the update and photo/video.

Hello everyone. My name is Rolando and I’m from Madison, WI. I love the video of Tony and Corrado. I do have one question though, where is my sponsorship from the VFF? Corrado’s time was 3h and 35 min. My time was 2hrs and 55 min and we both ran in the Bikilas. I’m just saying. VFF rock!! If you don’t have a pair get one. It will change your life and your running career. Peace

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