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The Naked Runners Blog


Get Rich From Running - 'Take 3'

Image by Eco-RunnerIn addition to all the things I try to tick off when I run these days - including ditching the distractions and running as naked as possible, engaging in at least 5 positive exchanges, running with others, varying the route, terrain, speed and footwear ( or lack of)...I have recently added another ritual to the run.

It's called 'Take 3' and involves the simple process of picking up at least 3 items of rubbish on every run. Inspired by Tim Silverwood's public campaign against rubbish, particularly plastic, as well as his powerful, evocative talk at TEDx Newy, I have pledged to do my bit and urge other runners to follow suit.


As I write this I have just got back from a run around a park near my home in Singleton, NSW - a town situated on the banks of the Hunter River which feeds into the Pacific Ocean at its mouth in nearby Newcastle. I must have picked up over 30 plastic bottles alone, not to mention countless handfuls of food wrappers, drink containers, cans and plastic straws.

To many people this discarded debri is seen as 'someone else's problem', and most are happy to walk over or around it, often with a bin in site. It's amazing what a different mindset allows as we can choose to make it 'our problem' and take simple steps to solve it.

But the best part, when you implement the Take 3 strategy, after every run you are leaving the environment in a better state than what you found it. Not to mention leaving your own mind and body in a better state as well!

Image via Jo TennerSouth Australia has had a container deposit scheme for over 30 years, and the Northern Territory has now joined them.

For those wondering, this is how it works: in exchange for every bottle, can or drink carton dropped off at a designated recycle centre, you receive 10c per item.

This got me thinking, how much money could I earn each time I go for a run?

I figure cracking $1 (10 containers) per run would be very manageable. Hardly enough to retire, but over time it would surely add up.

Image by Eco-RunnerTo give you the chance to experience what a world with a container deposit scheme would be like, The Naked Runners are challenging you to start collecting on your runs.

We call it the 'Naked 99 Challenge'

What is it? We want you to collect 99 containers while out running/walking, with a time limit of 99 minutes (roughly, given you may be running watch-free). Easy!

If you accept the challenge, we would love if you could get a photo of you in your running gear along with the 99 containers, then 'Like' The Naked Runners Facebook page & post your photo on our wall. (Disposing of containers in a suitable recycling bin of course...!)

For your efforts, we will promote your achievements via The Naked Runners Podcast & also via Facebook & Twitter, as well as sending out a fantastic prize for the best post-collection photo of each month.

Here is a picture of our winner in December, 2011, Ruth Dover.


Happy running and good luck.

Some great links on running & removing litter:

Eco-Runner - Samual Huber, founder of Eco Running

Trash Runners

CleanUp Australia

CleanUp the World

10c Can Change The World


Gear & Running Experience - Follow Up

Jason Robillard from Barefoot Running University recently created a blog post titled: Running: The Gear You Carry Predicts Your Experience.

In it, Jason suggests the existence of a relationship between a runner's level of experience and the amount of gear they run with on race day.

"Watch any race of any distance and you’ll notice a trend.  The people at the front of the pack carry virtually no gear.  The middle of the pack runners are loaded down with gear.  The people at the back of the pack have about as much gear as the front-runners."

When I watch a race I am interested to observe the variations in running form, footwear and facial expressions. Similar to Jason, I also keep an eye on how much gear/'stuff' people have with them.

I'm amazed at what some people are loaded up with to help get them around, including races as short as a 10K. I think Jason's gear:experience bell curve is probably not too far off in a many cases.

If anything it may be closer to a linear relationship - as levels of inexperience go up, so does the amount of gear. As I see a lot of first timers, weighed down with their wares as well as the mid-packers.

At the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July this year, I watched as runners came in to finish from around the 1hr45 mark to 2hrs15. Even across this time, changes in form, footwear and especially gear were clearly evident.

In particular, the amount of runners wearing headphones seemed to rise significantly from the 2 hour finishers on. To me this habit is both puzzling and disappointing.

Part of the buzz of race day is the hype and excitement coming from the crowd and other runners as they cheer and support. It seems unfortunate to exclude yourself from that.

Check out my interview with Professor Dan Lieberman to hear his opinion on running with i-Pods.


"The gear promises to make them better."

I would love to conduct a study to determine the relationship between gear and performance. The Naked Runners hypothesis is that running with less gear, (aka running naked) equals not only improved performance, but vastly improved levels of enjoyment as well.

Try it out on your next run or race. Ditch the distractions and leave all the 'stuff' at home. Including (as Jason lists):

"GPS watches, compression sleeves, hydration packs, heart rate monitors, energy gels, fancy springy shoes, reflective diapers, ipods and accessories, various kinds of tape, braces, and straps to keep body parts in place..."

Over time, you will come to rely less and less on all the gadgets which will save you a few dollars and we think will allow you to experience the joy of running as you've never done before!

When was the last time you ran naked? We'd love to hear about it.


A Night of Nakedness in Newcastle - Wed 7th December

Newcastle based and locally owned independent outdoor store, Adventure195 have kindly agreed to host The Naked Runners for a talk on Barefoot Running.

This will be a free information session on the concept that has been popular worldwide for thousands of years & has recently made a resurgence.

Images by Cody Alexander (left) & Nicole Parsonson (right)Join Dave Robertson (Physiotherapist) and Silas Moss (Exercise Scientist) to discuss/learn the biomechanics & proposed benefits of running barefoot, the transition techniques, and the freaky Fivefingers footwear.

Where: Corner of National Park & King Streets, Newcastle West, NSW.

When: 6:30-7:30pm, Wednesday 7th December, 2011

Refreshments provided.

Call Adventure195 on (02) 4962 5610 to book your seat.



Two life lessons from lawn bowls 

Lessons in life can be found in the strangest of places. If you are looking to learn about fun and enjoyment, look no further than your local lawn bowls club.

There once was a time in my life when I worked in a bowling club. It truly was a classic place to undertake social observations. There was the time when allegations were made of male players cheating in a tournament by not entering their names correctly on the nomination form. The outcome was just shy of a riot when they were allowed to play on.

Then there was the time one of the lady bowlers had to front up to the committee to put her case forward as to why she should be allowed to continue as a member of the Club. This was serious stuff, she was sweating on the outcome and lucky for her she was voted in by a deciding vote by the chair. The crime? Wearing a g-string whilst playing bowls. Shocking huh?

Amid the serious competition of bowls and the layers of beurocracy was the social bowls on a Friday evening. This is when the place came to life. The whole Club was drunk on smiles and laugher.

On Friday evening the dogma of regular competition was exchanged for a more social version of the game that Sr Francis Drake took a liking to back in the day. It was barefoot bowls. No rules, no shoes, just fun times.

It was during these "barefoot bowls" evenings that people loosened up and the social nature of the human species would flourish.

The ladies rolled away with low cut tops (and the occassional g-string) while many younger folk were attracted to the fun of rolling a few down the green in the hope of resting next to kitty.

A big part of the success was that people were relaxed and by not having shoes, there was a sense of  connectedness to the earth and equality amongst folk. In many ways when we all have no shoes on, we are all equal. Let's face it there is status in having expensive shoes, whether we like it or not, it can define people in others' eyes.

There can be a lot said for doing any activity without shoes and it was obvious that by playing bowls sans shoes, people would have fun.

The two lesson I learnt here were simple and valuable. By (1) reducing the rules and (2) stripping right back to the bare essentials, the scene was set to have fun. And, lets face it there needs to be more fun in life.

Image by NickyFern


The TEDxNewy Experience

As mentioned in a previous blog post, we recently had the thrill of presenting at TEDxNewy.

The tag-line for the event,

'Ideas Worth Spreading'

...could not have been more spot-on.

For those fortunate enough to have been in the audience at Newcastle's Playhouse Theatre, (or watching via the Livestream), for the region's inaugural live TEDx event, I'm sure you would agree, the ideas offered by the varied, talented & passionate speakers were definitely worthy of distribution!

The theme of the day was 'Shock Of The New'. I found it interesting however that when talking about the 'new', the audience was often left looking to the past (as far back as Ancient Greece & even the time of early humans).

Perhaps the 'shock of the new' is that as the world continues to advance, it is wise to also focus on the 'old'.

The talk Mossy and I gave urged the world to ditch modern running & take up running 'naked'.

We made reference to Harvard Evolutionary Biologist, Professor Daniel Lieberman who is one of the leading voices arguing that humans have evolved as long-distance runners. His TEDx Talk is well worth a look.

I also really like Grant Blakeman's TEDx Talk about striving to live a more simple, minimalist life. A message that we also promote.

Our talk was linked to a number of the common themes of the day:


- a celebration of what is beautiful & good (Bernie Curran's talk on 'kalos kai agathos')

- the importance of community & tribes to optimise wellbeing

- a simpler, stripped-back approach is often better

- observing the world through the eyes of a child

- finding fun & enjoyment in what we do

- respecting & cherishing nature

- taking action locally


One particular line from Jason Vangenderen's talk resonated strongly:

"I threw away my camera and became a film-maker".

I thought of how this could be made relevant to our message and came up with:

"I threw away my shoes/gadgets and became a runner".


By the end of the day I had discovered a renewed appreciation for the universal instrument of peace - the ukelele, as well a new favourite word: 'serendipity' (or happy accidents).

Again, many thanks to Siobhan Curran and all involved in creating a memorable day. It will be great to re-live it all when the videos are made available.

Looking forward to TEDxNewy 2012 already!

Siobhan caught in a Naked Runners sandwichA thrill to meet Ted from Ukestra at TEDx

Post TEDx drinks at The Clarendon with Mossy & Jason van Genderen

Full list of TEDxNewy videos can be found on the TEDx Youtube Channel here.


Barefoot Running Tour of Australia: Adelaide - City of Churches (& heavenly paths!)

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the picturesque & quaint Australian capital city, Adelaide, dubbed 'Australia's most livable city'.

Known for its many churches, and tributes to the 'best athlete who ever lived', (the great Sir Donald Bradman), I was curious to see how it rated as a barefoot running venue.

*Seth Godin followers may recall this quote about 'Sir Don' from page 62 of the book 'Linchpin':

Donald Bradman was an Australian cricket player. He was also the best athlete who ever lived. By any statistical measure, he was comparatively the best at what he did. He was far better at cricket than Michael Jordan was at basketball or Jack Nicklaus was at golf. It’s very difficult to be as good as Donald Bradman. In fact, it’s impossible.

Staying three nights at a centrally located hotel in Hindmarsh Square, when looking for the best place to run I was drawn to and also advised to head to the city's main body of water, The River Torrens.

Immediately I was impressed by the smoothness of the footpaths and inner-city streets. Heading past the University and onwards to the famous old sporting ground, Adelaide Oval we paid homage to 'Sir Don' himself - not sure how much barefoot running he did though...!

We then found ourselves on the river path heading to the weir, passing a number of runners, walkers & cyclists on the way, most generally happy to participate in a positive exchange.

The river path is an ideal location for exercise. We discovered it extends in both directions for tens of kilometres, and for the five to ten kilometres we explored, is very kind to barefeet. The Adelaide CBD is also very flat making it relatively easy going for runners of all levels.

So if you find yourself lucky enough to visit the City of Churches, be sure to enjoy the fantastic options, for both shod & unshod runners, in the middle of the city.

River Torrens Run (7km) (map)

Hanging out with Mossy's favourite animal, the pelicanLocal running groups:

The Adelaide Running Crew

South Australian Road Runners Club

Adelaide Urban Running Tours

Running events in Adelaide:

Resolution Run (January)

Adelaide Marathon (August)

City to Bay (September)

***UPDATE 29th November, 2012***

Torrens parkrun - free, timed 5K (8am every Saturday)


Barefoot Running: momentum building

Great to see some more positive media attention given to the barefoot & natural running movement here in Australia.

Max DeLacy from Barefoot Inc was joined by running coach and current Masters world record holder, Keith Bateman for a running 'show and tell' session on this edition of Weekend Today.

When asked by presenter & suspected barefoot/natural running enthusiast Cameron Williams, about the development & popularity of so-called 'comfortable, cushioned shoes' that feel good, Max is quick to reply:

"Taking the lift feels good, but its not necessarily good for you."

This segment is just another example of how barefoot, or natural running is making its way into mainstream media and hopefully into workplaces, households & running clubs around the country.

As interest grows in this more naked approach to running, it is clear that more importance should be placed on the way we run, & less on what we choose to wear (or not wear) on our feet.

It just so happens that wearing less shoe seems to provide better conditions for a more optimal, natural running form to occur.

Resisting the urge to progress this new way of running too quickly is also very important to ensure we don't overload the previously underused structures in our feet & lower legs, risking injury.

Watch out for a great little cameo appearance around 4mins in, from Dr Mark Cucuzzella, founder of The Natural Running Centre and Two Rivers Treads - the world's first running store devoted to natural running. The brief clip shown is part of a beautiful video titled 'Barefoot Running Style':


Getting naked on the world stage

Followers of our podcast will know that we have been excited about the upcoming talk at TEDxNewy for quite some time. Well the time has arrived and we are about to share our thoughts with the world.

For those that are not aware of TED, it is the biggest platform for public speakers in the world, and it is coming to our part of town. Prominent figures such as Bill Gates, Jamie Oliver and Sir Ken Robinson have all provided compelling performances of their "idea worth spreading" at a TED talk. Legend has it that Al Gore's seminal documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth' gave rise out of his performance at TED.

The Naked Runners have featured in a few articles in the press in the last week, we can sense that the world is primed for the message. Even the cameraman on this photo shoot was wanting to know more. Check out the interview with Robbo in the Newcastle Herald

The great news is that TEDxNewy is not confined to the audience in the theatre, everyone has the opportunity to watch at satelite sites and online.

It's going to be a great opportunity to spread the message to ditch the distractions and start running naked. As you are part of the tribe, a piece of you will be in our hearts when we talk.

To watch all you need to do is go to TEDxNewy feed, we are in the final session between 4:00 and 5:30pm AEDST

Here is a video on what TEDx is all about

Watch live streaming video from tedx2 at livestream.com

Image by Pete Wedgwood