Pier to Pier, the art of running barefoot

Flickr user Mike Baird

The Myrtle Beach Race Series will include a late add-on this year, says coordinator Jason Greene.  The St. Patrick’s Day Pier to Pier Run is an all-beach event run back and forth between the starting point at 14th Ave Pier and the midway point at 2nd Ave Pier downtown.  Aptly named, it takes place on March 17th.  “I was approached by the Oceanfront Merchant’s Association,” Greene says.  “They wanted to add an event to the day’s activities.”  Greene was pleased to accommodate the group, who has been been responsible for coordinating the St. Patrick’s Day festivities downtown for the last three years.  The proposition gave Greene the opportunity to support the Myrtle Beach Track and Field Club (www.mbtrackandfield.com), which promotes sportsmanship among its members, particularly kids and teens.  This cause is close to Greene’s heart, himself a longtime runner and track enthusiast.

The Pier to Pier Run is an event based on the theory of “natural running,” which is done barefoot.  Greene is excited, he says, because “I like running barefoot on the beach--not on regular ground, of course!  But sand adds an element to your training that you just can’t get anywhere else--strengthens your feet and joints.”  Don’t be fooled into thinking that because it’s only a 2-mile race it will be any easier than other events in the series.    “Some people don’t like it, but I personally do,” Greene continues.  “It’s really an enjoyable way to run in my opinion.”

An added incentive to attend is the presence of Zola Pieterse (better known as Zola Budd), the former Olympian who broke the 5000 meters world record  while running barefoot.  An avid supporter of “natural running,” Pieterse will be there to endorse Newton Running Shoes, a brand of footwear designed to emulate the feeling and benefits of barefoot running.  Pieterse, a sometime coach for the Coastal Carolina University track team, will conduct a running clinic at 7:30 a.m. before the one-mile kids’ race begins at 8:00 a.m.  Greene notes that this event in particular is a great way for novices to try running, to--dare we make a terrible pun?--get ones’ feet wet.  

The two-mile event begins at 8:30, and registration is $25 per individual in advance, $30 on race-day. Visit www.myrtlebeachraceseries.com for more information on the series and how to enter.