Running trends come and go, and the latest and greatest is running with no shoes at all.
Saturday at 9 a.m., runners — barefoot and shoe-clad alike — will have the opportunity to participate in The Naked Foot 5K, a race located at the Big Cottonwood Park in Salt Lake City.
The Naked Foot 5K is not just for those who run barefoot, said Lauren Jones, the director of the race, explaining that about half of the participants run with shoes. She said if runners don’t often run barefoot it is best to wear shoes.
The race coordinators are donating a dollar from every race fee to HELP International and Soles for Souls. Both programs are non-profit organizations that help relieve poverty. Soles 4 Souls gives new and used shoes to those who can’t afford them.
“The race is symbolic because we have people running barefoot,” Jones said. “And we are asking participants to donate a pair of shoes so Soles 4 Souls can send them to those in need all over the world.”
Once $2500 is raised, Soles for Souls will be giving away a trip to Haiti to help deliver shoes, Jones said, continuing that many aspects of the race are aimed to be educational.
Jones said this race is unique from others because massage therapists are available after the race, as well as running experts who will give tips on running form. Additionally, minimalist shoes, green and eco-friendly products will be sold.
Johnny Patterson, the local race coordinator, said they will also be having local acoustic bands, booths, prizes, raffles and more. “It’s going to be a great event for the community,” said Patterson.
Jones said the course will feel great on your feet. “The participants will run over grassy hills and on a trail. It is a cool cross country course,” Jones said.
Doug Wendt, the director of marketing and communications for HELP International, is a barefoot runner himself and is excited to race on Saturday.
“Once you go barefoot it is hard to go back,” Wendt said. “If you are a barefoot runner or just want a fun 5k, this is the race to be in.”
The children’s 1K starts at 8:30 a.m. Children under 12 run for free, and college students run for $20 if they enter the code “runSLC2012” online when registering.