I ran my first Half Marathon last week in Liverpool. My longest barefoot distance covered so far is, in fact, a half marathon in training but this was my first organised event. I too was worried about bottles at water stations and so many people jogging on the spot in close proximity to my toes before the off! Neither was an issue at all. The Liverpool course was quite tough as it was mainly through parks which use a real sharp grippy surface. It was also wet which makes the soles a little more fragile. I completed it though and not in such a bad time (for me) in 2.08
London is mainly on road and surfaces are pretty smooth. As long as it's dry I'm pretty confident I can make it. I run, almost always, with barfeet so I'm used to it and that this is the secret. You really do need to run some distances and build up slowly as you seem to correctly suggest you are doing. Strangely your feet don't harden as you might think, they seem to develop some kind of waxy but soft film. I plan to ask some skin experts on this point as It really is a surprise that you don't get awful, hard callosed feet but you just don't. Strange but true.
As for the rest of your body, you're kind of re-booting a computer that's been in sleep mode for some time so be kind to yourself. Muscle rather than bone is being used to absorb shock now so those calves and quads are going to be put to more work than they've been getting used to. It's a good idea to carry a pair of Vibrams with you on unknown paths to pop them on if terrain gets a bit tough. I'm running the Kingston 16 mile this Sunday and part of it is really stoney so I will be doing this for sure.
Why do I do it? Well, I used to hate running. I mean despise it with a passion. I had no idea where the joy I saw in people flying past me after a (for them) easy 10k came from. A chance meeting with Christopher McDougal (Born To Run) and later a barefoot run with him completely changed my life really as after throwing my Nikes away I couldn't understand where all this distance came from that I now enjoy completing. I'm just built in a way that means I can't run well with shoes. Clearly, many many people can and do enjoy running with the latest shoes the market has to offer and I wish them well. It seems though that we are evolved to run with the need for feedback through our soles to keep our posture and pronation and all the rest of it right and to cusion them is bad for us. My feet have spent a few million years in R&D. Sports shoes have only had about 40. I think I will continue to put my trust in Darwin! Who knows, we might bump into each other on the start line. Good luck http://www.justgiving.com/Stephen-Higgins1
This was my first half marathon and I loved every second of it. If there really are better organised events and all the rest of it,,well then..I can't wait to find one. In the meantime, however, I'll look forward to handing over my entry fee for next year's as soon as you want it!!
Had a great time. Ran it Barefoot and got a lot of support and as usual a lot of ribbing. Being Liverpool the best one liners came from home runners. The best by far was "Ey Laa..that 30 quid entry fee really get's ya dont it?" I came accross two other guys running barefoot so didn't feel to much like a freak.....back next year for sure