Since 1999 Bassirima Soro from the gold coast of Africa, now living in Arizona, was consistently winning the Tucson Marathon, and after having problems running in shoes in 1999, he ran barefoot for the next 3 years, consistently finishing around 2:20 or faster and winning, until….
Soro once again attempted running the Tucson Marathon in shoes in 2004 but was being led by another runner, Peter Vail. At mile 14 Soro removed his shoes, and finally passed the other fellow just as they crossed the finish line.
David Bluestein of Chandler AZ, sent me these pictures of Soro in 2004 as he swooped his hand down with the timing chip that was once on his shoe to be sure his finish registered.
Note the agony of defeat on the other fellow’s face as he was less than a second away from winning.
Though not barefoot for the entire distance, Soro had actually run faster in the previous years running the entire distance barefoot, but found it difficult to get sponsorship that way.
by Bryon Lee
“I had to use my experience, all my strategy to win,” he said after nipping C of Washington, D.C., at the tape to claim his sixth straight Tucson Marathon championship yesterday. That included shedding his bothersome shoes at mile 14 of the Oracle-to-Oro Valley course. Both runners registered a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, 21 seconds.
It was just like when Soro won his first title in 1999 after getting lost first and then going barefoot beginning at about the same spot in the race.
“I got back to my familiar pace then,” said Soro, who fell behind Vail in spots by 200 meters. “I was having problems. I don’t run as well with shoes.”
I went to Tucson in 2005, entering in the half marathon so I could finish in time to, hopefully to take pictures of Soro crossing the finish line barefoot once again. I had hoped Soro would see the “error” of his ways (trying to run in shoes). But sadly, he started out again with shoes, this time, instead of removing the shoes and finding his comfort zone as he had done in 1999 and 2004, he dropped out of the race at mile 16 with a pulled hamstring.
Still, we had rounded up several friends to take a road trip to Tucson, including Chris Runion visiting Southern California from the Pacific Northwest, Barely Barefoot Don, Michae Legalt (AKA: the sock runner in Barefoot Running Step by Step), Kea, and Zara, from the Brea CA chapter of A Snail’s Pace Running Club. Zarah wanted to qualify for Boston, and did, sort of. Her time was fast enough to qualify for the 2006 Boston Marathon when she would be in the next age division.
We met with my good friend David Bluestein at the expo – remember David? He had sent me the wonderful pictures of Soro winning the Marathon in 2004 (see above).
- 13.10 Mile
- 01:45:04 (official time)
- 13 Barefoot 13.10 Mile races from 1998 to 2005/12/04
- 269 Barefoot races (any distance) from 1998 to 2005/12/04
- My Distance=13.10 Mile
- My time: 01:45:04
- low temp: 32
- Age division (age = 50) : 16
- surface (0-10): 6
- hills (0-10): 7
- Description: asphalt
- Location: race course
- City: Tucson
- State: Arizona
- Cold at start (32F), mostly downhill,mostly smooth, but patches of rough pavement. nice easy run with Running Redhair
How to loosen up after running a marathon!