Breaking the Rules

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!

After a training run in thick underbrush, where both runners' shoes came untied several times Tavi knew something had to be done. She purchased Caterpy laces and showed up on race day with a pair for Jeff too!
Runner lacing up at the start of an ultramarathon

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. 

Runners at the start line of an ultramarathon

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."

Runner at ultramarathon aid station

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."  

Runners at the finish line of an ultramarathon

Like any seasoned runner Jeff was leery of a new product, especially on race day, but in his own words, " At the finish line I knew I found a great product." Congratulations Jeff and Tavi! 

Do you have your own Caterpy AHA moment? We'd love to hear about it! Tag us in your social media posts or send us an email at: