Rule # 1 of Racing: Don't Try ANYTHING New on Race Day. Ultra Runner and Cross Country Coach Jeff Watterson broke the rules at the Barkley Fall Classic 50K this year when fellow runner and friend Tavi Wallace found and introduced Jeff to Caterpy!
Both runners toed the line at the Barkley Fall Classic 50K wearing Caterpy laces. You've likely seen the documentary The Barkley Marathons- The Race that Eats Its Young, featuring mad scientist race director Gary Cantrell, better known as Lazarus Lake- this is the same race director. While the course is a bit shorter 50K(ish) as opposed to 100+ miles, the race itself is an intense distilled version of its big brother.
The weather was calling for rain and storms most the day and Jeff was concerned about footing, mud and heavy undergrowth with briars. This was his first race using Caterpy. "I like my shoes to fit snug on steep descents so I was concerned I didn’t have them adjusted correctly. I made several small tweaks to the tightness of my laces in the first hour. We had a mix of rocky, muddy steep terrain, both up and down. I liked the fact that I could make a quick tug to keep the lace pressure in spot I wanted. I didn’t have to pull from the end and adjust the whole shoe. I could fine tune the tightness between the eyelets as I needed it." "I think this is a common problem with runners. Everyone's foot is shape is unique, and the lace pressure effects everyone differently. Once I got the tightness dialed in I never had to readjust for the rest of the day."
Jeff raced 11 hours 14 mins in the rain and the mud, climbing a well know hill filled with 5 foot tall briars, named Rat Jaw, TWICE! He ascended and descended another massive climb that was almost impassable because of the mud. Jeff points out that he did all this without adjusting his laces at all, "I had no issues with ankle roll, slip in the heel or my shoe slipping off."
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