The Scottish Barefoot Run

The second Scottish Barefoot Run and Conference took place on Saturday 14th September 2013. The information and video below offer a short taster of what happened on the day.

“The second annual National Conference and run for the barefooters and natural runners. This years event was very well attended with Barefoot Ted from Chris MacDougall’s Book ‘Born To Run’ in attendance, all the way from Seattle. Joe Warne research scientist mid way through PHD at Dublin University on Sports Physiology but doing research into barefoot running adaptation relativities. Jae Gruenke from New York’s Balanced Runner speaking on the Fieldenkrais method which is very interesting. This movie only shows the main events and not the full presentations which were exemplary.”

The Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference 2013 from BarefootworksTV Channel on Vimeo.

Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference

The second Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference takes place on Saturday September 14th in Edinburgh and features none other than Barefoot Ted.

Based on the New York City Barefoot Run, an almost free run around the main sites of Scotland’s Capital, hosted by Colin McPhail and Donnie Campbell who are building on the success of last years event. £10.00 entry on the day purely to cover costs, any profits go to The British Heart Foundation

Event will include:

  • 11.00am The Scottish Barefoot RUN. Course as last year 5.25miles.
  • 13.00 Lunch at the venue Bruntsfield Links.
  • 14.30 Conference Featuring BAREFOOT TED, Joe Warne & Jae Gruenke. Venue TBA
  • 17.30 Golf Tavern for a few Barefoot Merlots

Amendments may be made to the timetable which is in draft just now.

Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference

The second Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference will take place on Saturday September 14th 2013 from 11:00 am until 7:00pm.

“Based on the New York City Barefoot Run, a free run around the main sites of Scotlands Capital. Hosted by Colin McPhail and Donnie Campbell who are building on the success of last years event. This year we have Mr Lee Saxby coming along for the run and also our keynote speaker. Lee is recognised globally as one of the worlds top barefoot running coaches. His claims to fame are in teaching Daniel Lieberman (Harvard) and Chris MacDougall (Author) how to run naturally.”

Event will include:

  • 11.00am The Scottish Barefoot RUN. Course as last year 5.25miles.
  • 13.00 Lunch at the venue Bruntsfield Links.
  • 14.30 Conference Featuring Keynote Speaker Lee Saxby and other prominent speakers from the barefoot world. Venue TBA
  • 17.30 Golf Tavern for a few Barefoot Merlots

Amendments may be made to the timetable which is in draft just now. A donation to the nominated charity, The British Heart Foundation (Scotland), is requested from those attending the event.

Barefoot Bonanza

Lots of barefoot/minimalist links this morning. Why not start off with issue 2 of Barefoot Briefs from where, amongst other things, you can win a copy of RunBare The Movie, win a free pair of Xero shoes and even get involved in some barefoot research! (Barefoot Briefs, Issue 1) Then check out Barefoot Running Magazine, 75 pages of barefoot and minimalist information including tips, reviews, Q&As, and various other minimalist features pulled together by Anna Toombs and David Robinson. Finally, the movie of the inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run is now online, and even includes a brief appearance form yours truly lol! Happy running.

Proprioception – Making Sense Of Barefoot Running

Anyone with an interest in minimalist/barefoot running will likely have heard of Harvard University Professor Dan Lieberman and Chris McDougall, Author of Born to Run. However, you may not have heard of Lee Saxby.

Here’s what Dan Lieberman and Chris McDougall have to say about Lee:

“I’ve never seen anyone better able to diagnose and correct a runner’s form, and he has that ability — special to good coaches — to translate his advice into words that make sense and which you can follow.” (Dan Lieberman)

“The first time I saw Lee Saxby was the last time I ever had a running injury.” (Chris McDougall)

With comments like these, you know that you should take note of what the author has to say and, it just so happens, you can have a read of exactly what Lee does have to say thanks to ‘Proprioception – Making Sense Of Barefoot Running’ a completely free 32 page eBook introduction to minimalist running.

“Lee Saxby is at the forefront of applied barefoot science. He has been coaching movement for 20 years and has spent the last 10 years coaching barefoot technique to help runners overcome injury and increase performance. The coaching drills he uses are based on a deep understanding of the biomechanics of movement and his extensive practical experience with athletes of all abilities from beginner to elite levels.”

The eBook consists of 5 chapters which cover everything from evolution to human locomotion, body posture (kinematics) and the subsequent loading of the body’s structure (kinetics) to a look at proprioceptive feedback from the feet and tips on how best to transition to minimalist running.

  • We Have Forgotten How To Run
  • The Human Foot Is An Evolutionary Masterpiece
  • Proprioception: Our Sixth Sense
  • Footwear That Makes Sense
  • Reawaken Your Innate Barefoot Running Skill

Head on over to and you will find a variety of additional resources, from videos to an iPhone/iPad app.

Since the recent inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run reawakened my interest in minimalist running, I have been looking at improving not only my technique but my knowledge and understanding of the issues involved. ‘Proprioception – Making Sense Of Barefoot Running’ is insightful, concisely written and easy to read and has helped me on the road to fully appreciating the importance of the foot.

When I started reading the document, after being pointed in the right direction by Lee’s colleague Ben Le Vesconte, I did not expect to find myself squatting, a movement that, with my tight legs, I find does not come easily to me. However, squatting is cited as one of the stages of transition, aiding balance, strength and flexibility and, as such, I now find myself attempting to ‘master squatting’ with the ultimate aim of improving my running.

If you read only one thing today, make sure it’s ‘Proprioception – Making Sense Of Barefoot Running’.

Inov-8 Trailroc Review

I was lucky enough to try the new Inov-8 Trailroc 235 trainers at the recent Scottish Barefoot Run and was impressed with both the roomy fit and excellent grip of the shoe. I was surprised at just how sure footed I felt ascending and descending Salisbury Crag and wondered how the shoes would perform on longer runs.

The guys over at Ultra168 have answered that question. Testing the 245 and 255 versions of the new Trailrocs, the reviewers came to the conclusion that, “like much of the Inov-8 range, it serves one purpose and one purpose well, to go long”.

Barefoot To Strike Again

The success of the inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run has made it to The Scottish Running Guide:

“The inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run and Conference proved such a success that plans are already underway to host the event again next year. Barefoot and minimalist running enthusiasts were greeted by sunshine as they took to Edinburgh on Saturday (15 September) for the run which is based on the New York event and aims to help promote the natural running movement.”

The article even includes a ‘quote’ from me, taken from my blog post:

“Another runner, Jonathan McIntosh (Mackintosh), said: ‘An excellent, highly informative day was had by all and we even got a glimpse of what summer should have looked like, albeit a slightly windy version from our viewpoint over Edinburgh from the crags underneath Arthur’s Seat.'”

Inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run Summary

A collection of photos showing future Merrell Product, Inov-8 Trailroc 235s, and the route of the Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference, mostly in and around Salisbury Crag.

New post at The Running Bug, ‘Inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run Summary‘.

An excellent, highly informative day was had by all at the inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run and we even got a glimpse of what summer should have looked like, albeit a slightly windy version from our viewpoint over Edinburgh from the crags underneath Arthur’s Seat.

The event got underway at 11am with registration and the opportunity to view current and future product from the likes of Merrell, Vibram Five Fingers, Vivobarefoot, Inov8 and Pearl Izumi.

Vibram Five Fingers and inov8 offered participants the opportunity to try out some product while out on the run and I opted for a pair of the new Inov8 Trailroc 235 with a 0mm drop.

The run was from Bruntsfield Links down to Holyrood Park entering by the Commonwealth Pool, up on to Salisbury Crag and along the top, providing excellent views of the Castle and the rest of Edinburgh, then down to the Palace and on to the Royal Mile at The Scottish Parliament. The route then headed up to the Castle and dropped into the Grassmarket. From there, it was up some old town steps to Lauriston Place past the spectacular Heriots School, into Middle Meadow Walkway and back to Bruntsfield Links.

With a perfect mix of terrain, taking in the sights and sounds of Edinburgh (pipers on the royal mile for that traditional Scottish sound) and a distance of just over 5 miles (not including the slight ‘detour’ my wayward group took!) the run had something for all tastes and served to promote Edinburgh as a potential running destination. I think there were more than a few of us left wishing that we had somewhere as cool as the Crags to run on a daily basis, especially given the close proximity to the city.

I ended up running for a while with top Vibram Barefoot Coach Helen Hall and her partner, and benefited greatly from advice offered both directly to myself and to others. I immediately felt the benefit of some of the tips, including:

  • Adopt a similar zig-zag approach on descents as you would while skiing as this saves the legs and lets you better control your descent
  • Stand tall and push from the rear – avoid slouching forward
  • Rotate the upper body
  • Aim for a high cadence with lots of little steps. Your feet should land underneath your body rather than far in front of it which helps to avoid heel striking

After a leisurely lunch out on the Links, the group decanted to the Eric Liddell Centre for the afternoon’s events, the conference element of the day. The conference was excellent, with 2 great presentations, each with a slightly different focus. Both Ben le Vacant from Vivobarefoot and Matt Walden from Primal Lifestyle, official distributor of Vibram Five Fingers in the UK, delivered informative, engaging presentations that kept the audience interested and, more often than not, amused. I particularly liked the point that 3.6 million years worth of evolution can’t be wrong!

All participants received a pair of TEKO Socks and there were various other freebies on offer from buffs to keyrings.

The event finished with a Q&A session which, I am sure, could have run on a lot longer had time permitted.

This looks likely to be an annual event and a Facebook group has been set up to promote minimalist running in Scotland.

Thanks to event organisers Colin McPhail and Donnie Campbell for an excellent day, and also to all of the helpers on the day. Thanks also to all the companies who came along to instruct and to let participants see and use both current and future products.

The Scottish Barefoot Run High Speed

The following video, prepared by Colin McPhail, shows the route that was taken on the day.

Inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run Update

Further details have been made available regarding this Saturdays inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run & Conference:

11.00 am Registration opens, everything is free but we need the disclaimer signed
11.15 am Coaching with Helen Hall from Vibram Five Fingers
11.30 am Fitting of barefoot shoes from Inov8 and Brooks
11.40 am Run and safety briefing, Donnie Campbell
12.00 pm Run starts in waves depending on numbers
13.00 pm Lunch, homemade sandwiches and bananas, water is on tap all day
13.30 pm Head to The Eric Liddell Centre

Free socks will be handed out on entry to the conference

14.00 pm Barefoot Conference Opens with a welcome from Colin McPhail and an introduction to Matt Wallden from Vibram 5 Fingers and Ben Le Vesconte of Vivobarefoot
15.30 pm Toilet Break
15.40 pm Open Forum with Vivobarefoot, Vibram Five Fingers, Inov8, Merrell, and Pearl Izumi
16.20 pm Close of Conference and off to Pub (Golf Tavern is always worth a visit)

From the event organisers:

We are excited about the attendance of the barefoot trade, especially that of Ben Le Vesconte and Matt Wallden who are both highly respected in the world of natural running. Guy Russell from Inov8 is another of the barefoot worlds well ken’t faces and has a wealth of knowledge to share with us.

Try on a Barefoot Shoe: May sound like a contradiction of terms but there are many types of shoes which work in a variety of ways to assist us with our quest in more efficient forms of running and are delighted to welcome Guy from Inov8 with a small representation of natural running footwear. Don’t forget to take a look at some of the transition shoes that Pearl Izumi and Merrell are also showing.

Coaching: We are delighted to welcome Helen Hall who works closely with Vibram Five Fingers and is one of the country’s top natural running coaches. We hope you will all get a chance to meet Helen and discuss your form; hopefully some very useful tips will be exchanged. Donnie Campbell is arguably Scotland’s top coach and is also on hand to help you with your form.

Socks are very important and we are extremely lucky to have discovered TEKO a Scottish based company who’s environmentally produced garments cannot be beaten. They are kind enough to hand out a pair of these to everyone attending the conference at 2.00pm in the Eric Liddell Centre at Holy Corner

Thanks to all helpers too many to mention individually and especially to:

Hope to see you all there – be sure to introduce yourself and say hello. A report on the day will follow in due course.

Inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run Update

Helen Hall, top Vibram Barefoot coach who has worked with many of the top barefooters will be on hand to introduce newcomers to the art of efficient running. Sign up to the attendance list and let them know if you are interested in getting some coaching.

Find out more via: