Barefoot Rick's Spirit of St. Louis Marathon Report - April 9, 2006
I had such a good time! And to think I almost didn't go. I was having second thoughts when my wife and daughter weren't going to be able to make a weekend of it with me. Saturday morning I was vacillating back and forth whether to go. Finally, I decided to "just do it" and I hopped in the car about noon and headed out on the 245 mile trip between Lee's Summit and St. Louis.
Spring is gorgeous in Missouri! The Redbud and Dogwood trees are blooming all over the hills along I-70. It was a great drive with lots of beautiful scenery.
I got to the expo late in the afternoon, picked up my packet and had a look around. I was wearing my Vibram FiveFinger shoes so those got a lot of questions and comments from passer-bys. Met a vendor named Laurie at a booth called Marathon Charms & Gifts. Laurie knows Barefoot Todd of Long Beach, with whom I have ran a couple of California marathons. I told her that I would tell Todd that Laurie said "hi". Consider it done! Shortly afterward, I left the expo and headed to my motel in West County.
Sunday morning, arrived at the Union Station area around 6:30 a.m. The weather was perfect! Skies were totally clear with a temperature of 39 degrees! I parked the car and proceeded to cut through Union Station in search of a restroom. I was accosted by a security guard as I walked barefoot through the building. I told him I was on my way out, that I was just going to hit the restroom and be on my way. After my restroom break, I headed to the start line where the National Anthem was being sung. Almost 7 a.m. and I needed to get up to the start line. I made it up there and got positioned just as the race started.
Couple of pics right before the start!
I really had no expectation of running any particular time for this marathon. Remember, I almost didn't go and I was just looking to finish and have fun. I was expecting probably a 4:30 marathon. Well, anyway, the first few miles were packed with half and full marathoners. I had lots of fun talking to folks about barefoot running along the way. The sun was really starting to come up strong when we entered the Anheuser-Busch Brewery at about mile 4. One of the horse trainers had a few of the Clydesdales out for us. I shouted to the trainer, "You don't put shoes on those horses, do ya?" He laughed and said "Sure we do!". I thought to myself, "Hmmm ... the only other mammal (other than sled dogs) that wear any type of foot (or hoof) protector. Things that just make you want to go "Hmmmm".
I was feeling very strong and was running pretty consistently an 8:35 pace the first 10 miles. I was doing a lot of hand slapping with the spectators and we all were really getting into it. At about mile 10 in Forest Park, I hear a guy yell, "Hey, Rick, we're Roebers, too!" Apparently, they had read my article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch identifying me as Rick Roeber. Now, for me to hear that someone has the same last name as me is rare. There are only a couple of thousand families in the United States. I said I got to have a picture of us all together, so I stopped and had a friend of Russ Roeber snap a picture of all of us. How fun!
Russ Roeber and family with Barefoot Rick Roeber.
Hmmm ... Do you see any family resemblance?
Still feeling strong, I left Clayton and continued back through Washington University. Whenever I got the chance, I would do a short dance whenever there was a band. There was a school marching band really "gettin' it" in Forest Park on the way back. I had to stop and dance a bit. Same thing at about mile 23. There was a bagpiper playing some type of Highland Jig. I had to stop and do my best rendition of a jig (which wasn't very good, I'm sure). Nonetheless, a passing bicycler asked if that was a marathon jig I was doing. We both laughed.
Coming into the final mile, I had a lot of fun hand slapping the spectators. I was still feeling pretty good when I crossed the finish line. My 3:45:35 finish is the second fastest barefoot marathon out of 15 barefoot marathons. I was very pleased, first and foremost of all that I had fun, and second that I still ran a respectable time.
Overall, the Spirit of St. Louis Marathon is a fine road race and the City of St. Louis should be proud of a wonderfully organized event and a beautiful course!
Chip Time: 3:45:35
Overall Place: 374
25th out of 122 in the 50-54 AG
34th marathon - First 18 with shoes, the last 16 barefoot.
Ran the entire distance -- did not walk any of the course.
Ran a 7 minute negative split
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