The barefoot man: Char Richards put three small signs in her in-laws’ Devereaux Road lawn to inspire her husband, John, during his half-marathon run – “You can do it!” “Go John” and a photo of John, who runs barefoot.
Four years ago, he read how running barefoot prevented heel spurs and other injuries. Running barefoot involves starting strides on the front of foot rather than the back.
“Anyway, shoes are expensive and he went through a lot of them,” Char Richards said.
When John Richards sprinted by his wife before the six-mile mark, he tossed her a pair of his running pants. “Now the shorts!” Char Richards shouted. Fortunately, the only things he kept bare were his feet.
Most runners gave Luke smiles and thumbs-up. A few even stopped to get their licks in before grabbing a cup of water or Gatorade. When he stopped, runners asked Luke to play – especially on their second time around the course. “It makes me happy,” said Luke, his cheeks covered with powdered sugar from a doughnut. “I liked helping.”
“The whole idea is that we get in a zone,” said Salmon, who has run in three marathons. “It doesn’t always look like it, but we appreciate it.”
GU (pronounced goo) is the brand name for a gel with vitamins and carbohydrates in a small foil pouch. The flavors available at the Brennen Elementary School station were mandarin orange, chocolate outrage, vanilla bean and blueberry pomegranate. Volunteers fanned out several pouches in the hands as the runners came by.
Runners preferred orange and all but shunned the chocolate and blueberry – some even stopping to make sure they grabbed the right flavor.
“The chocolate is too thick,” said Salmon. “You’re looking for that nice balance with sticky and not too sweet.”
Take note race organizers: She likes the peanut butter, which the company website says is its most requested flavor.