From the monthly archives:

March 2011

Naked Tour, LA: April 10

by Christopher on March 31, 2011

Yes, running through a canyon with Barefoot Ken Bob AND Scott Jurek is too much to ever wish for…
unless you make it to Griffith Park on Sunday, April 10. Not only can you run with the legends, but also get your barefooting tuned up by Eric Orton, endurance coach extraordinaire.
And that’s just the knuckle-cracker. After the run, it’s Naked Cabaret time at Book Soup. I know, hard to believe it’s all one day.
Naked Run and Demo
Featuring: Scott Jurek, the legendary Barefoot Ken Bob, Eric Orton, and Christopher McDougall
When: 1:00 p.m.
Where: A Runner’s Circle Running Store
3216 Los Feliz Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca 90039
Fantastic location, right across from the hills and canyons of Griffith Park. We’ll meet at A Runner’s Circle for a barefoot running workshop with Barefoot Ken Bob and coach Eric Orton. Try out a great selection of the latest in minimal footwear, including Inov-8, the New Balance Minimus, Vibram FiveFingers and more. Then we’ll head into the park for a run in the hills. Don’t worry about pace or distance — Barefoot Ken Bob is personally scouting out a variety of interlocking loops, so you can pick your distance and still stay with the group. Come barefoot, nearly barefoot, or laced and cushioned to your heart’s content.

• Naked Cabaret
When: 5:00 p.m.
Where: Book Soup (310.659.3110)
Christopher McDougall
Scott Jurek — The ultra-god who has won just about every really hard race in the world on a vegan diet.
Eric Orton — the coach who first persuaded me I could transform myself, and then he made it happen. He’ll be with me in Boise, San Fran and LA, leading naked runs and teaching the same technique that got me down to the Copper Canyons. Like this:

Marshall Lewy — The screenwriter working with actor and debut director Peter Sarsgaard to adapt Born to Run for the screen.

Naked Tour: San Fran updates

by Christopher on March 31, 2011

New events added in SF on April 8-9, including a Naked Run right to the doors of the bookstore:
Friday, April 8: Naked Demo
5-8 pm

429 S California Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Phone: 650-325-2048
We’ll have product experts and special guests to explain what it means to run minimally (or even naked). Get a signed copy of Born to Run and hang out with the Zombie crowd. ZombieRunner has a great selection of the latest in minimal footwear, including Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot, New Balance Minimus, Merrell Barefoot, Vibram FiveFingers and more!
Try out the latest barefoot-style footwear
Learn proper technique from coach Eric Orton
Celebrate the paperback release of Born to Run
Meet author Christopher McDougall
Ask Sunny Blende about endurance nutrition
Get free samples and product demos

Saturday, April 9
• Naked Run
3 p.m.
Meeting point: Book Passage, Corte Madera

Join Christopher McDougall, Eric Orton, and Sunny Blende for a run before the Born to Run event at Book Passage. Come barefoot, nearly barefoot, or laced and cushioned to your heart’s content. Don’t worry about pace or distance — you can go as far and as comfortably as you please.

The Naked Run will take place on the beautiful bike path right outside Book Passage. Rather than running to the store from Presidio, as we’d contemplated, we’ll minimize the logistical hassles and do and out-and-back run which begins and ends right at the bookstore.

• Naked Cabaret
When: 4 p.m.
Where: Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA (415.835.1020)
Space is limited, so click here to reserve your ticket now.

Eric Orton — the endurance coach extraordinaire who trained McDougall for the race with the Tarahumara and still coaches him today.
Sunny Blende — the endurance sport nutritionist, Marin County masters athlete, and every bonking runner’s best friend

Troubling story in the New York Times about federal prosecutors’ full-court press to squash ultrarunner Charlie Engle while letting Countrywide Mortgages’ ultra-slime slide.
Weirdest twist: the feds even sent Jessica Rabbit after Engle.
Scariest: if you drive a nice car, you could be next.
Charlie has been blogging from prison. You can also see his less appealing side by watching the bizarre final scene of the documentary “Running the Sahara,” or reading Marshall Ulrich’s soon-to-be-released memoir, Running on Empty.

Eric Orton, the Naked Coach

by Christopher on March 28, 2011

Eric is the coach who first persuaded me I could transform myself, and then he made it happen. He’ll be with me in Boise, San Fran and LA, leading naked runs and teaching the same technique that got me down to the Copper Canyons. Like this:

BornToRunChris on Twitter and other updates

by Christopher on March 27, 2011

Keep an eye on BornToRunChris on Twitter for up-to-the-second details on The Naked Tour. I’ll be posting from the road to let you know where we are, who showed up, and what’s going on.
For instance:
**Scott Jurek just send word that he’ll be at both Boston events — Harvard on April 15 and Boston Public Library on April 16.
**Barefoot Ken Bob is personally scouting locations for the Naked Run in LA.
**The Naked Run in San Fran now has a kick-off party at Zombierunner on Fri, April 8
50 hours in and no one has solved the Born To Run free paperback quiz question. Tomorrow, I up the stakes. Stay tuned.

Naked San Fran. With Naked Zombies

by Christopher on March 27, 2011

On Friday, April 8, we’ll be holding a Naked Run Party at Zombierunners, the world’s coolest & smartest running store (Seriously. The Zombies’ shop is a vintage movie theater; they were on to minimalism before anyone else; and the Zombies were the first running store in the country to carry Born to Run).

All kinds of stuff will be cooking that night. We’ll be holding a Naked Demo, signing books, and raffling off prizes. You can sample the newest barefoot footwear, pick up a ticket for Saturday’s Naked Cabaret at Book Passage, and learn more about the logistics for Saturday’s Naked Run across the Golden Gate Bridge. Note: we’re looking for two runners to volunteer as sweeps for the Naked Run. Your job is to run at the very back of the group and make sure no one gets lost or needs help. In return, you’ll be presented with a smokin’ hot limited edition Naked Tour race tee.

Click here to find out more.

Today’s Born to Run Quiz

by Christopher on March 25, 2011

Let me stress, Rocket was not harmed in the shooting of this video. He totally loved the attention.

Fire in your answers to

****UPDATE: Wow. Matt the Barefoot Joggler already has an answer:

Amazing how easy today’s question was. The stumbling part for a lot
of people will be the term “head”, not knowing that it’s not an anatomical head you are referring to, but rather a toilet.
The creature — a kitten
The instrument — Ken’s own hand
Where is the creature now — living in Ken’s house
I hope that the cat isn’t used in a juggling act.

Not even close, of course. But it does open the door to legitimate alternate answers in the event that Ken has actually pulled a live creature out of toilet not his own.

****Further updates — Incorrect answers so far include:
a botfly,
a tick,
a maggot,
a “starving brain sucker”
or, “limitations,” removed with a recording of Herb Brooks speech from Disney’s “Miracle on Ice.”

And the debut BTR Quiz Show winner is…

by Christopher on March 25, 2011

My sentimental favorite for first place is E. Stewart Moritz, who not only got the answer, but really got it:

Mark Twain just springs off the page, doesn’t he?  Nobody else writes quite like that. Alas, it’s google-able, and I only just checked my RSS feed, so I know I’m too late.
Still, what a great passage — flip it around and you can see running man stalking a confused animal that can’t figure out how that slow-jogging upright thing keeps catching up to him!
Very much enjoyed your book.  And, no coincidence, I’m enjoying running again, so thanks for that.

Stewart is dead on: The correct answer is Mark Twain, in Roughing It.

But what Stewart gained in literary appreciation he lost in speed. He came in a few places out of the running, as did ex-NBA superstar Allen Iverson

until I took a second look at the name and saw it was Adam.

Kim McManus would have been third. But Kim, keep in mind for future quizzes that you really can’t end an answer with “I think.” Nor preface it, Nils Krutzfeldt, with “Sounds like.” Or, Carl de Leon, answer a question with a bunch of other questions: “jack london?” “mark twain?” You step into this Battle Royale, be ready to fight.

Ryan Berg made an admirable showing, considering the question popped up for him at around 7 in the morning in Taiwan, where he’s also dealing with the stigma of being the lone Fivefingered cowboy in his running posse.

But our winner is ….
Daniel Greenberg, whose strategy of nixing any kind of niceties in his email and blazing straight to the answer probably gained him the crucial few minutes necessary to edge out Michael Pinkney of Canada’s teamrunningfree.

Ok. Thanks to Stewart’s heads up about Google, today’s quiz will be utterly (or almost) uncrackable by Internet. I’ll be posting it in a video here and on Youtube a little later this morning.

The paperback release for Born to Run is in 5 days on March 29.
That calls for a little gift-giving. First to email in with the answer to this question gets a free signed copy. So let’s see, what do I need… something trivia-ish but not trivial. Get-able, but not Google-able.

Okay, I think I’ve got it.
Who wrote this description of a coyote racing a city dog?

But if you start a swift-footed dog after him, you will enjoy it ever so much–especially if it is a dog that has a good opinion of himself, and has been brought up to think he knows something about speed.

The coyote will go swinging gently off on that deceitful trot of his, and every little while he will smile a fraudful smile over his shoulder that will fill that dog entirely full of encouragement and worldly ambition, and make him lay his head still lower to the ground, and stretch his neck further to the front, and pant more fiercely, and stick his tail out straighter behind, and move his furious legs with a yet wilder frenzy, and leave a broader and broader, and higher and denser cloud of desert sand smoking behind, and marking his long wake across the level plain!

And all this time the dog is only a short twenty feet behind the coyote, and to save the soul of him he cannot understand why it is that he cannot get perceptibly closer; and he begins to get aggravated, and it makes him madder and madder to see how gently the cayote glides along and never pants or sweats or ceases to smile; and he grows still more and more incensed to see how shamefully he has been taken in by an entire stranger, and what an ignoble swindle that long, calm, soft-footed trot is; and next he notices that he is getting fagged, and that the coyote actually has to slacken speed a little to keep from running away from him–and then that town-dog is mad in earnest, and he begins to strain and weep and swear, and paw the sand higher than ever, and reach for the coyote with concentrated and desperate energy.

This “spurt” finds him six feet behind the gliding enemy, and two miles from his friends. And then, in the instant that a wild new hope is lighting up his face, the cayote turns and smiles blandly upon him once more, and with a something about it which seems to say: “Well, I shall have to tear myself away from you, bub–business is business, and it will not do for me to be fooling along this way all day”–and forthwith there is a rushing sound, and the sudden splitting of a long crack through the atmosphere, and behold that dog is solitary and alone in the midst of a vast solitude.

Shoot your answer to

Death of “Born Again Smitty”

by Christopher on March 24, 2011

From David Aronson, who also knew the cave-dwelling ultrarunner and one-time mentor of Caballo Blanco:

I met Smitty, mentioned in your book, on Maui back in the early 70’s. He was experimenting with different foot coverings at the time such as duct tape, gauze and Thorlo socks in addition to his barefoot running. I even tried going barefoot, motivated by him, but gave it up after a few too many kiawe thorns in my foot! (Even then I liked running off road if I could.) Anyway, Smitty was a great guy who would always greet you with an open heart. I believe he inspired a lot of people and was quite the character also. Enclosed is an article from the Maui News about his sudden death.