Barefoot Trail Running

The above is an excellent illustration of how to run barefoot on a trail. Not just that, but on a somewhat technical trail!

I’d like to be able to run like this on the Vulture Bait 50K on October 19. OK, I’ll have to admit, I’m not going to be as quick or as graceful. But this video has given me encouragement that I can do it. And, from what I’ve been able to learn about the Vulture Bait course, I think it’s barefoot-doable.

The Vulture Bait website describes the course terrain as varying, “with sections of wide, pine chip trail, rugged single-track sections, some grass and a few short paved sections.” There’s a cutoff time of 7 hours, which means, that, if I pace myself correctly, I’ll be able to run slowly, run carefully, and accomplish something truly remarkable – a barefoot trail ultra.

So now, it’s up to me to do two things in the 54 days remaining between now and the race. One is to build some barefoot trail running skills. I’ll be starting from zero on this one. The other is to build the confidence and mindset I’ll need to do the job. That’ll just be a continuation of what I do each time I go for a run, as each new run is an adventure and a learning in itself. I’m also going to drive to Fanshawe Conservation Area in London, Ontario (the location of the race) a few weeks before the event, and explore the course, so I can do some skin-to-ground testing of the concept.

Then, on October 19, I’ll have a go at running barefoot on stuff like this. (Both of these photos are from previous editions of the Vulture Bait.)

Vulture Bait trail

And this…

Vulture Bait water crossing

It’ll be fun. I think.


  1. Nice article. Looks like you have found yourself a new adventure. Since you have built up so much strength and endurance your mind may be free to get the best from this experience. I shall enjoy seeing your progress. All the best.

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