There are temptations, and then there are really good temptations. The latest really good temptation to come my way is to run the Sarasota Half Marathon, in Sarasota, Florida, on March 11, 2012.

Why, you might ask, would I travel approximately 2,200 kilometers to run 21K, when there are lots of good half marathons here at home? Well, here’s the most compelling reason.

This is what the view from my front door looked like in the middle of March last year:

March, 2010

(That’s a colour photo, by the way.)

And here’s what things looked like at the Sarasota Half last year, at about the same time:

Sarasota Half Marathon 2010

Choose? Are you kidding?

Another good reason is that, if I do the Sarasota Half next March, I’ll be doing it in the company of fellow dailymilers – and barefoot runners – Chris G. and Julie R. As far as I know, the Sarasota Half doesn’t have an official “barefoot” category, so we’d sort of be making history.

I’m in the process of checking out flight and hotel schedules and costs, and will decide sometime soon whether to give in to temptation or not.


  1. Hello Alan,

    Thank you for the blog post and email. I’ve entered your email address into our database. Should anyone else be interested in joining they can simply email me at info@sarasotahalfmarathon.com

    Love the post and the pictures. Please reach out to us for great hotel discounts as well and get out of the snow next a week next March. There are a few barefoot runners that participated last year so you won’t be alone. I look forward to meeting you in March if not in Toronto this coming October. I’ll send you my contact information in an email for any questions that you or your blog readers may have.

    Javier Sanchez
    Race Director, First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon & Relay
    March 11, 2012

    1. Many thanks, Javier! I’ll create a post with your kind invitation, so that others are aware of it.

      Any idea when the hotel discounts will be appear on the event site? And can you advise when I should register so as to be sure of getting a place in the event?

      Look forward to getting your contact info!

      1. The hotel should be up very soon as we’re just waiting on some final tweaks from the web technical side. The event does not sell out just yet however the earlier you register the more you save.

    1. The Niagara race is a definite possibility. Pluses: closer than Toronto for US visitors; the Falls, for those who have never seen them; Buffalo, which is one of my favourite small US cities (the Albright/Knox Art Gallery, Frank Lloyd Wright houses, great art deco architecture int he city core, very funky art/food district). On the downside, there have been negative reports of poor organization and admin.

      Another strong possibility is the Toronto Waterfront Marathon (http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/), which also includes a half. Usually takes place in mid-October, and is, in fact, the race I have targeted (in 2012) as my first barefoot marathon. Pluses: a world-class event in terms of organization, numbers, participation by elite marathoners, neighbourhood participation; Toronto is an incredibly good city to vist, with a huge number of wonderful things to see and do. Only downside I can see if that it’s a little further to travel for US folks who are driving up.

      1. In my limited experience, I find I get irritated with a poorly organized race. This one looks great. Since you’ve already been eyeing this race – do you know if this one fills up? And if so, about when does it? If you’ve not checked this out yet, I can do it a little later today. I like that you’ve already been looking at this one as your first barefoot mary since that’s what I’m thinking (figure you’ve done your homework 🙂

      2. Agreed about the effects of poor organization. I too would go for the Toronto event. I don’t know when it fills up, but will try to find out. I do know that there’s a cap of 5,000 for the marathon, and 10,000 for the half.

      3. If a race sells out early I usually see a not to that affect, which I don’t see for the Toronto marathon. The also continue to take registrations relatively late, another good sign. And I just went through the initial registration for the marathon this year and I wasn’t told that it was sold out, of course it’s not uncommon for some sites to make you go through the whole process of entering your information just to tell you it’s sold out when you try to confirm at the end.

        Did you have any other races in mind? Because this one looks damn good.

  2. I do like the idea of heading up that way, might even make it a longer vacation. I’d be fine with either a half or a full marathon. The idea of a full is appealing really appealing to me because I believe by then I’d be comfortable enough to run that distance barefoot – it be a fantastic goal to train for in 2012. A half marathon, on the other hand, might interest more people.

    Perhaps we can assemble a short list of both, and then try to get a sense of what kind of interest there might be. Regardless, I’m already sensing the idea of running something up there in the fall next year solidify in my mind.

    I do remember you running that ultra in 2010, but I didn’t know/remember that you ran it in 2009. If I remember correctly, I think you had arranged for your wife to have your Vibrams on hand at some predetermined distance “just in case”.

    This is good, and we just came up with in 🙂

    1. When I ran the 50K last year, my wife couldn’t come as support after all. As it turned out, I only ran 35K of the 50, but did them all barefoot. My father had died a couple of days before the race, and I’d had precious little sleep in the previous two weeks. Full story here.

      Re running together next fall: I’ll make a short list of half and full marathons that are happening near here int he fall of 2012, and make that a post and invitation. If you were also to post that short list, and each of us encouraged others to share it via DM, FB, dailymile, and BRS, we might strike up some interest. What do you think?

  3. Funny, I’ve been thinking about how great it would be to my fellow DM minimalist runners somewhere for a run. So when I saw this post, I immediately thought maybe I too could join the group. Unfortunately, reality pulled me back :/ Perhaps if there’s something later next year or even the following year.

    I hope you’re able to do it Alan 🙂

    1. It’s a shame you can’t make it to Sarasota. Are you sure?

      Maybe we could start looking for something in the latter part of 2012, either here in southern Ontario or in your part of the US. There are loads of great races in the fall.

      1. Well, I’m sure as long as my plans don’t change from now to then 😉

        I’d be up for something later in 2012. Didn’t you run something near Niagara Falls? That’s something I can drive in less than a day, so a little further wouldn’t be a problem either. Yeah, the more I’m thinking about it the more I like it.

        Plus it’s far enough out where we might even be able to get a good group together.

        OK – I’m in 🙂

      2. Cool! I ran a 50K ultra near Niagara Falls twice – once in shoes (2009) and once barefoot (2010). See http://www.welovetorun.com/newsite/Niagara_Ultra/ultra_index_7.html for more info. Bu that happens in mid-June. I’m only an hour and a half away from Niagara Falls, and Toronto is only a further 45 minutes. There are good marathons, half marathons, and shorter races in this area in the fall. Or we could put something together closer to you.

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