Monday, February 15, 2010

Global Barefoot Marathon

I have never run a marathon.  I never considered myself a runner. But lately I have grown to enjoy the rhythm of running, the pureness, and the simplicity of putting one leg in front of the other.

It is with this in mind that I propose to run my first marathon on the 20th June 2010.   Want to join me?

Here’s the deal.  I know there are a lot of passionate runners out there all around the world, and I want to share this run with them.  While we cannot share the run with a physical presence, we can share the spirit of the run by all running together – a global marathon, synchronised, with people participating in the experience from around the world.

How will it work?
Think of this event as just an informal run with friends, who may happen to be running at any place on the planet.  There will be no centrally planned event program.  Anyone, from any city, can take a lead and map out a route.  Post a comment and a link to the map in the comments section and at the Facebook event page, and anyone looking for their city can search this page for their city name.  I suggest using Google maps to estimate the route length (should be 42.195km, but close enough is good enough) and then double-checking by riding the length with a good bike computer.  My map for Brisbane, Australia is here.   You can save your own maps and make them available on Google Maps.

Two laps is a good idea so that people can run a half-marathon if they choose (maybe with a delayed start to have more finishers come in together, and maybe they can pace their friends for the second lap of a full marathon).

The time and date for some of the major cities around the world is in the table below.  Don’t worry if your town starts in the middle of the night.  When you post a map, propose a more convenient starting time.  Our European friends might like to choose a 4pm start instead, and our East Asian friends might like to wait until 6am.

Start Time
8am, Sun 20th June
Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne
6am, Sun 20th June
Perth, Beijing, Singapore
4am, Sun 20th June
Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam
10pm, Sat 19th June
London, Barcelona
9pm, Sat 19th June
New York
4pm, Sat 19th June
San Francisco
1pm, Sat 19th June

Why barefoot?
Bare feet are not compulsory, but if this guy can win the Olympic marathon barefoot, and this guy can run ultra-marathons barefoot, why not?  But it is more than that really.  It is more a symbol of simplicity and a rejection of the commercialisation of running (and sport in general).  Why can’t we just run? After all, weren’t we Born to Run?  In my mind I imagine running together with my young son at the park, barefoot, free, a simple pleasure.  That is what I mean by barefoot.

If you run barefoot, or in minimal shoes, good on you.  If you don’t, that’s fine too of course. 

What now?
If you are interested in running with me, find out if a marathon is already held in your town or city, and either adopt their course or map one out for yourself.   Save the map in Google Maps and post a link in the comments.  Find some friends, and make sure to spend some time celebrating together at the finish line with some delicious treats and thirst quenching beverages.

There is also a Facebook event.  I would love it if the world ran with me, so please pass on the message to anyone who may be interested.  Once you have a proposed route in your city, maybe start a new Facebook page for your town to coordinate lifts to the starting point, lifts home, and who’s bringing the beer.

There is no Global Barefoot Marathon website.  It would be nice, but I’m not that great with computers.  Also, if it is just friends around the world running together for the fun of it, do we need one?  There’s no formal time keeping, no traffic redirection, no sponsorship.

Afterwards, we can all share photos and stories on the Facebook page.

I hope you can join me, but in any case, I will be out there running my first marathon just for the simple challenge of it.


  1. Nike have tried to do this with their ipod running device.

  2. I don't have an iPod, or Nikes, so I guess I missed that one. Not to worry, there is plenty of interest on Facebook. So far there is a Dutch, Turkish, German and British contingent. Let's show how people can run together without corporate dependence.