We’re at D minus 6 till show time:
It may teeter toward undignified, but for sheer showmanship I have this hankering to wheel Barefoot Ted on stage for the Reinventing Running cabaret in a handcart wearing a Hannibal Lecter mask. As for one of our other featured speakers — urban paleo explorer John Durant — I hope he gives his entire talk thru that bullhorn. He looks like he’s unleashing troops on the beaches of Normandy.
Seconds before I got on stage for this talk, I had a totally different speech in mind. But I’d just gotten back from Leadville, where I’d run with Barefoot Ted for the first time in years, and damn if he didn’t seize control of my brain. I’ve got fresh material for my Nov 5 talk at the “Reinventing Running” cabaret, so now I just have to steer clear of Ted before showtime:
One of the featured speakers at our “Reinventing Running” event at the New York City Marathon is Eric Orton, the coach who first tempted me with the idea that it was possible to transform yourself from an injured, discouraged, busted-down ex-runner into an ultramarathoner in just 9 months. He did it then, and he’s done it again: Eric and I reunited to train for New York, and holy moly if I’m not feeling even better than I did before Caballo’s race.
If you want to know how he does it (because I’m not sure I can explain it myself), come ask the wizard in person on Nov 5.
Thanks to Dr. Lieberman, who talked me into it, I’ll be running my first marathon this fall since I gave up running for good 10 years ago. That was before meeting the Tarahumara, and Caballo, and lots of other stuff that ended up becoming Born to Run. I had zero interest in running New York, to be frank, until Dr. Lieberman very cleverly talked me into it. I’ll be telling the story of why I didn’t want to run and how he persuaded me in an upcoming story for the New York Times’ “Well” section.
And you’ll be able to spot me during the New York City Marathon because I’ll be sporting one of these on my arm, courtesy of the unbelievably speedy work of tatsandtags:
You can get one of these temporary tattoos for yourself at our “Reinventing Running” event on Nov. 5. They’re free, but as limited as the tickets. First come, first serve.
So here’s the backstory of this event: As our way of celebrating the New York City Marathon, we decided to try re-creating on stage some of the processes of discovery I went through while researching Born to Run. This won’t be a book talk, or a barefoot-running lecture, or a go-get’m motivational speech. Instead, we’ll be putting a mic in the hands of people who first made it dawn on me that everything I knew about running was wrong, and that it could actually be a pain-free pleasure instead of a punishment for pizza. That’s why I enlisted Dr. Daniel Lieberman, who taught me that distance running is the one natural gift that made all human accomplishment possible; and Barefoot Ted, who made me smirk when he appeared in the Copper Canyons wearing the first pair of Vibram Fivefingers I’d ever seen but gradually converted me from a skeptic into an admirer and believer; and Eric Orton, whose mastery of endurance training still leaves me baffled — I keep getting stronger and faster, although I can’t figure out exactly how he does it; and John Durant, who has immersed himself in the transferable skills of a Tarahumara-like, hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
Each speaker will tackle a different topic and have 10 minutes to hit you with their best shot. I’ve asked them to explore whatever new developments they’re most intrigued by, so I’m in as much suspense as anyone to find out what they’ll say. I’ll also be speaking, as will The Mystery Guest With Awesome Embargoed News and a few other guests who are coming aboard right now. As for the finale… well, if this guy pulls it off, he’s a genius.
Plus, there will be more than talk — Vibram and Paragon Sports have offered to host the event, so we’ve now got the wallet for giveaways, a special event raffle, some hot Hawaiian hip-shakers, and a piano which could be our crowning glory or a total fiasco.
Tickets are 10 bucks, but limited. You can buy them online while they last, or pop into Paragon Sports and pick one up in person.
NEW YORK SOCIETY FOR ETHICAL CULTURE
2 West 64 Street
New York, NY Time and date: Friday, Nov. 5 Doors open at 6pm. Door Prize You’ll Get Nowhere Else And Never Again: No leis at this luau: the hula ladies will personally guss you up with a killer “Born to Run” temp tattoo.
The streets of Washington DC get mighty cold on Halloween and 26.2 miles hasn’t gotten any shorter, but Bob Ewing is still planning to run the Marine Corps Marathon in his bare feet. He’s not just rallying in support of his mother’s battle with lymphoma — he’s also mustering foot soldiers for a more universal cause. Check out his video, if not for simple humanity then at least for the Barefoot Ted outtake at the end. It worked for me: as soon as I finished watching it, I put my swab where my mouth is and signed up for the bone marrow registry.
If you didn’t, grab a ticket while they last and don’t miss out again.
On Friday, Nov. 5, we’ll be staging a TED-like theater of the mind devoted to “Reinventing Running: The Thrill is Back.” I’ll be hosting an evening of guest speakers who will re-examine our first fine art — distance running — and discuss how to re-discover the adventure without fear, spongy footwear, or false limitations. We’re modeling the night after the wildly successful TED conferences, with an added twist: the speakers will condense their talks to 15 intense, fast-moving minutes, but for a finale, all the speakers will gather on stage for a wide-open audience Q&A panel. So if you’ve ever wanted to ask Barefoot Ted face-to-face about The Urine Incident, or quiz Prof. Lieberman about chatting old bones with Alan Alda, opportunity is knocking.
Guests speakers so far include:
*Dr. Daniel Lieberman, Harvard’s “Barefoot Professor” and co-creator of the “Running Man” theory of human evolution.
*Coach Eric Orton, the wizard from Born to Run who rebuilt me in time for the epic race against the Tarahumara.
*Barefoot Ted McDonald: is any introduction necessary? For the first time ever on stage, BFT will be simultaneously demonstrating how to craft your own pair of Tarahumara-style racing sandals while describing his years-long exploration of indigenous footwear in search of the perfect minimalist running shoe.
*John Durant: fresh from his star-turn on The Colbert Report and a national leader of hunter-gatherer athleticism. John was at least half the brains behind that wild moving street party of the Harlem run and recently staged the gigantic First Annual New York Barefoot Run on Governor’s island.
*Fast and Female will be making a special presentation
* Plus a special mystery guest will be on hand with exciting Born to Run news (more on this soon. Really soon).
*AND hula dancers! Vibram FiveFingers giveaways! Personalized book signings! A raffle for a special event: Saturday In The Park With McDougall and Barefoot Ted. Raffle winners will be personally fitted and presented with a pair of Vibram FiveFingers, then join Barefoot Ted and I for a run in Central Park followed by muffins and coffee.
Check back here or here, because we’ll be updating with new speakers and info every day.
NEW YORK SOCIETY FOR ETHICAL CULTURE
2 West 64 Street
New York, NY The time: doors open at 6pm The price: 10 bucks.
Tickets are seriously limited, so I’d suggest you move fast. You can buy them online thru Eventbrite, or in person at Paragon Sports.