Todd Byers’ 300th Marathon
On Sunday, 2013 January 20 Sunday, I will be participating in what I anticipate to be my 300th marathon (26.2 miles) finish at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon in Phoenix (though I try to never count my chickens before they hatch!).
Todd Byers’ 114th BAREFOOT Marathon
Of note especially for us barefooters is that it will be my 114th barefoot marathon!
Just as the 300 milestone is at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon, it was Barefoot Guru Ken Bob Saxton who accompanied me to Phoenix for my 100th BAREFOOT marathon in January 2011.
Ken Bob was there for my first unshod marathon at the San Diego (now Carlsbad) Marathon in January 2004 also, and had guided me to that point in running sans footwear since our first meeting in January 2000 at a photo shoot for the Los Angeles Times. I recall that he was especially proud at my first barefoot marathon. As we ran along, Ken Bob would loudly expound to no one in particular “This is Todd’s FIRST barefoot marathon!” … then sidle up to a nearby runner and quietly state “Of course, he has run over 150 others, but this is Todd’s first BAREFOOT marathon!!” because, obviously, none of the others were as important!
Just as I had no firm intent to run any more marathons after my very first marathon in April 1986, I actually intended to complete the Carlsbad Marathon without shoes but had no idea where that journey would lead. With 299 marathon completions in the books (with an ever-increasing percentage of them being sans shoes) after so many bewildered looks and disbelieving comments throughout those years regarding our chosen tools for running (or lack thereof!), it now turns out that it is hard to argue with success and that some of us were, as the saying goes, doing it before it was cool!
Nearly 27 years after my first marathon completion – and especially with the curiosity generated by not wearing shoes, I again realize that marathoning truly is more about the people I have met along the way and the experiences we all have shared. It is humbling to know that during the journey I have visited much of the world, seen hundreds of sights, and shared marathons with literally over a million participants. Friends, acquaintances, rivalries and, yes, even lovers, have been made (and lost!) over the miles.
There will be many friends and well-wishers on hand to offer support and encouragement which I certainly appreciate! I trust I will do them proud …