Sunday, November 18, 2012

Runner's Spotlight: Meet the Naked Runners

It's with great pleasure to introduce my next featured runner, or in this case, runners. Meet Dave Robertson and Silas Moss, aka, The Naked Runners. Dave and Silas are from Newcastle, Australia and I knew they would be perfect for my next interview, seeing that Dave and Silas are currently hosting the Naked November Campaign. Not sure what naked running is? Read below and join the movement! 

Note: All questions answered by Dave.
Silas (left) and Dave (right)

Q: When did you start running and why?
I can't remember a time when I haven't been a runner. It has always felt natural and come pretty naturally. Growing up, running featured highly in the playground, on sporting fields and at Athletics/Cross Country carnivals.
After a bit of a running lull during my University days, my second coming as more of a longer distance runner came after that period in 2004, when I entered the World's largest Fun Run, the City 2 Surf followed by my first Half Marathon in Sydney.

Since that time I have continued to explore running more and more & have deepened my relationship with running as I learn more about it.
 I run now for myself (physical, mental & emotional benefits) & for others (to encourage more people to run). Running is such a powerful tool & many of us don't realize it. I believe there isn't a problem that the world faces today that can't be solved by running!

Q: So, what exactly is naked running and why should runners try it?
We get asked this a lot! Naked Running is all about ditching the modern distractions including headphones, heart rate monitors & heel-striking, to provide a more connected, natural running experience (while keeping your clothes on!) The clothes part comes as a disappointment to some but a relief to many...!

We encourage people to run as naked as they feel comfortable, as often as they like (at least once/week), whether it’s leaving the iPod at home, not relying on the GPS or even stripping back the footwear to run barefoot occasionally.
 Running at its core essence should be less about how far and how fast, and more about high fives & headbands (i.e having fun!).

We believe the more naked the better & that the heightened physical, mental, social & environmental connections that
 running naked provides, will lead to a more joyful, fulfilling & lifelong experience of running.

Q: How long have you been “running naked” for?
My early years as a runner were most definitely naked. Then, like so many other runners I was lured to the world of convenient gadgets that provided feedback on my mileage, pace, time & heart rate. I enjoyed the process of collecting and analyzing my running data for a number of years. But the penny dropped one day when the run I was planning & mapping out on my computer (before owning a GPS), took longer to map than the run itself. It occurred to me had become a slave to the statistics and was running more for the numbers than the enjoyment.
About 3 years ago, after a 2 week time-out, following a 12 week training block preparing for an Ironman triathlon, I decided to head out the door for a run with no feedback devices, completely unplanned & free. The freedom I found by doing this was so refreshing & invigorating. I knew instantly there was something to this stripped-back approach. 

Q: What are your current running goals?
My main life-time running goal is to one day run a marathon with my grandson or grand-daughter. My wife & I have just had our first child, Grace, so she is an important first part of this plan!

I don't really have any set running goals currently other than to get out for some sort of run most days of the week. I have enjoyed taking part in events from 5K to the marathon in the last 10 years. I'm keen to have a crack at an Ultramarathon one day but I think I will shelve the longer stuff for a while and focus more on the shorter distances...I'm considering even resuming my track career & having a tinker at the 400m, 800m & the mile.

Q: What was your most memorable race?
I think it would have to be the Colfax Marathon in Denver earlier this year. I only decided to run it a month or so before as part of the 'Naked World Tour' that my wife & I were lucky enough to enjoy in April/May.

Partly as an experiment I decided to run it barefoot. The longest I had run barefoot before this was a half marathon a month or so before. After getting through the partial foot numbness of the opening couple of miles (it was only 4deg at the start line!) I settled in to the race and had an awesome experience. Not focused on going for a time allowed me to really soak up the atmosphere. A couple of the highlights were running down the middle of the field in Mile High Stadium (twice), and stopping to play drums with a road-side band at around the 18mile mark.
Here is the race report.

Q: Who is the biggest motivator in your life?
My Dad, Ian who was dealt a pretty rubbish hand a few years ago with a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer. Through effective medical management as well as some dramatic lifestyle changes, including becoming an enthusiastic runner, he is now fitter & healthier than he has been in decades. 
I must also mention my wife Gabby & as of 12 weeks ago, my beautiful daughter 'Amazing' Grace!

Q: What is your favorite quote?
"The best things in life are not things."

And if I could have a second favorite it would be the Lion/Gazelle running quote:

“Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle... when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.”

Q: If you could only give one piece of running advice to a newbie runner, what would it be?
Running can be a life-changing activity but in order to become a runner for life you should:

1) spend time honing the skill of running;
2) take time with letting the body transition to running;
3) have fun!

Do it right & you will be a runner for life! (Sorry that's more than one piece of advice).

Q: You guys are from Australia. Any races down under you would recommend?
The Six Foot Track Marathon in the Blue Mountains 1 hour west of Sydney is an iconic trail marathon (45K) which is very popular.
The Fernleigh15 (15K through a beautiful natural bush former rail corridor) & also Newy parkrun (5K) - in our own backyard of Newcastle, NSW. We'll take you for a guided tour of both courses, plus a run along our beautiful beaches and harbor when you come visit us!

You can learn more about Dave and Silas at the following links:

1 comment:

  1. interesting as it is i myself do not favor this movement but think its neat. thanks for interview.