It was a Cold Dry December Afternoon
It was a cold dry December afternoon in Las Vegas. I was in the Mandalay Bay resort. My wife and I had already picked up our race numbers, timing chips, and goodie bags for the Las Vegas Marathon. Now I was waiting to meet some Canadians, belonging to the CBC mob (Canadian Broadcasting Company). My wife, Cathy, was scoping out the rest of the resort for sharks.
The Mysterious Barefoot Ken Bob
I overheard one of the Canadians, talking on her mobile phone about meeting some dude called Barefoot Ken Bob. I knew there would be two other barefoot runners here, Todd Byers, from Long Beach, and Julian Romero, of Pasadena. But, who was this mysterious Ken Bob? … And why does he have two first names?
A Drive out to the Desert
I got the drop on the Canadian, but, she called for the rest of her gang, and they drove me and my wife out to the desert to shoot us.
I was hoping the Canadians didn’t find out that I was wearing a wire. So far, they hadn’t checked. Perhaps it didn’t matter. We were already heading for the desert outside of Las Vegas to be shot. What more could they do to me.
The Canadians found a parking lot in Red Rock Canyon, and as soon as the van stopped, I tried running away. They started shooting me! Then they made me turn around and run toward them. They shot me some more. I ran away again, and back toward them again, and away again, and back again. They just kept shooting me.
Pitter Patter of Little Feet
One of the reasons they spent so much time shooting me, is that the crew wanted to get recordings of the sound of my feet landing on the ground. My feet were not cooperating. The audio person had to turn the gain all the way up, and hold the boom microphone right next to my feet, as she followed me running. They didn’t have this problem when filming the shod runner this morning. She made so much noise it was easy to record.
Then they put me up against a fence and grilled me. Asking all sorts of questions about that Barefoot Ken Bob dude. I pretended to be ignorant. It wasn’t difficult.
I talked about running barefoot, foot sensitivity, pounding while running, and how shoes were just too comfortable for people who really wanted to be aware while running, and learn to run smoothly, gently, and efficiently. I wasn’t sure if they were buying my story.
Kidnapping of Cathy
The Canadians took my wife and put her in the van, and drove away. I ran after them, but they started shooting me from the back of the van! What did these people want from me???
Finally, they slowed down and stopped, and I jumped back in the van, and we went back to Las Vegas.
Hotel Reservations and Biker Gang
We stopped at a hotel. I had reservations, and sure enough, this turned out to be the wrong hotel. So the Canadians took us back to the Mandalay Bay Resort to let some bikers look at our mugs, so they could keep an eye on us Sunday, during the marathon.
Then Cathy and I went to the hotel, this time the hotel where we actually did have reservations. It had been a busy day, and though it was still early in the evening, we ate, showered, and went to sleep.
Early Wake-up Call
Sunday, at a very early 3:30am, the phone rang. It was our wakup call. So we woke up. We drove back to the Mandalay Bay, following a convoluted route, to make sure no one was following us, and to avoid the marathon course, which was now closed to automobile traffic.
A Precipitous Day? Not!
I checked the weather forecast for Las Vegas a week earlier, and it was predicted to be about 31F, and 30% chance of rain or maybe even snow on Sunday, the day of the Las Vegas Marathon! Fortunately, the forecasters had modified the forecast, and race morning, was not so bad, about 45F in the morning, and no rain or snow. Though, I did see some dark-gray clouds in the mountains, threatening to come this way and precipitate on us. But the wind angled the clouds away from the marathon course.
By the time we got to Mandalay Bay, it was filling up with Elvis’s (“Elvi”) and Brides and Grooms.
Then the fireworks really began. Really! Fireworks! After all, this is Las Vegas. The fireworks were followed by the start of the wheelchair race. Then the two elite women runners, who had accepted the challenge to try to stay ahead of the male runners, started running.
The Blue Man gang was shooting strips of paper all over the Las Vegas strip. Then the Canadians started shooting me, again. A horn sounded, and I started running. I knew they would try to catch me again, somewhere along the course. So, I went out way too fast, considering I still had 26.2 miles to run today.
New York City, and Camelot
My first encounter with Barefoot Julian
In less than 15 minutes, I was at mile-2. A runner with no shirt passed me by. He might have been barefoot (or wearing tan shoes), but all I could think about was how cold it must be without a shirt. Maybe that was Barefoot Julian, one of my other barefoot contacts. Well, even though I was going too fast, Julian was going even faster, and there was no way I could catch up, and still be able to finish the full marathon.
Finally, after 38 minutes, I was slowing down, considerably, to a reasonable pace, but, I had already run 5 miles, and used up a great deal of energy. I would really need that energy in another 15 miles or so…
As Barefoot Todd had promised (He had run here the previous year), the course was smooth. Even when it looked like it was going to get rough, it wasn’t nearly as rough as it looked.
At mile-10, I had already been running just over 1 hour and 21 minutes. Still, that was too fast. I had another 16.2 miles to run yet, and I was already beginning to get tired!
There they are again. Those blasted Canadians, shooting at me again. They claimed to have shot me at mile-7, as well. But, they must have been hiding, because I hadn’t seen their mugs.
Well, anyway, I survived all the shootings, and finished the marathon in 4:21:18. Barefoot Julian, finished in 2:55:30. He did run without a shirt, so I suspect Julian was indeed the shirtless runner I saw pass me early on. I guess at that scorching of a pace, staying warm wasn’t a problem. Barefoot Todd finished about 15 minutes after Cathy, my wife.
Forgetting to Leave a Dollar in Vegas
Oh, and I forgot to gamble while I was in Las Vegas. I was planning on putting only $1 in a slot, and see what happened. But, I didn’t want to win a whole bunch of money before the marathon, because it would probably screw with my head, and I would be thinking about what to do with the money, instead of focusing on running. So, I figured I would wait until after I finished. But, by then I was pretty tired. Though I’m quite certain I had enough energy to put a dollar in a slot, and pull a lever. But, as I was walking through the resort, when I got to the slot machines, instead of thinking, “Oh, I should put a dollar in one of these”, I thought, “Oh, I was supposed to turn left just before the slot machines, to get back to the parking structure.” So, I went to my car, ate some food, changed my clothes, and waited for Cathy to finish the marathon, before driving home, no more wealthy than I arrived, but also, not much poorer, either.
- 26.20 Mile
- 04:21:12 (official time)
- 56 Barefoot 26.20 Mile races from 1998 to 2006/12/10
- 291 Barefoot races (any distance) from 1998 to 2006/12/10
- My Distance=26.20 Mile
- My time: 04:21:12
- Overall place: 2381
- Age division (age = 51) : 151
- surface (0-10): 7
- hills (0-10): 1
- Description: asphalt, ceramic tiles, concrete
- City: Las Vegas
- State: Nevada
Other Barefoot Runners
- Barefoot Julian Romero, Pasadena Ca. 3rd place male 18-24
- Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton, Huntington Beach, Ca. 151st male 50-54
- Barefoot Todd Byers, Long Beach, Ca 594th male 40-44