I have chosen to remain anonymous for one main and one minor reason.
The main reason is that I wanted to make this site about the issues and not the person. I wanted to expose barefoot runners for the claims they make and not who they are. One thing you learn really quickly about the barefoot running community in general is that when they are challenged they show a remarkable ability to avoid the message and go after the messenger.
For example, I have even seen one commentary on barefoot running attacked because of the physique of the person doing the writing was not the physique of a runner! How low is that? See how low they stoop? What has someone’s physique got to do with it? We can only assume if this is the only refutation of the issues raised, they obviously could not refute the issues. I have also seen another attempt to refute a different critique on barefoot running by attacking a couple of spelling mistakes in the article. See how they cleverly diverted attention away from their inability to actually refute the critique. There are numerous more examples I can use, and you want to see some of the emails I get!
I have had emails demanding to know who I am. I have also had emails making all sorts of nonsensical claims (I will have fun addressing those on another day!). I have had NO emails addressing the issues. If you think that by remaining anonymous hurts the credibility of what I write, then so be it. I prefer to make it about the issues and not the person. I could have posted under a fake or made up name and then suddenly I have some credibility – but the issues I write about are still the same! See how silly the claims about my anonymity are? One thing that all those barefoot bloggers and forum posters who have attacked my anonymity have shown is that they cannot address the issues (if you do not believe me, then check them out). Rather than attack my anonymity, how about addressing the issues, for example:
- How about explaining why I can’t make up headlines like Barefoot Runners Get More Stress Fractures, when the barefoot running community make up headlines all the time? Refute the rationale that I used to reach that headline and then do the same for the headlines you read in the barefoot running community.
- Where is the evidence that running shoes cause injury? (The fact that there is no evidence has absolutely nothing to do with my anonymity but you would be foregiven for thinking so if you read some of what has been said about this site!).
- Where is the evidence that running shoes weaken muscles?
- Where are all these impact injuries that runners are supposed to be getting? What injuries are actually caused by high impacts?
- Refute my comments (rather than attack me) on Michael Warburton’s article.
- Explain why no elite runners run barefoot (without insulting their intelligence).
- Explain why Zola Budd had to go to wearing running shoes to prevent the injuries that she was getting.
- Explain why Abebe Bakila could only run fast enough to break a world record when he started wearing running shoes.
- Show the world the evidence that there is an increase in running injuries.
- Show us some Podiatrists who are actually opposed to barefoot running. Why make up statements that Podiatrists are opposed to barefoot running?
- Explain why Liebermann (the study in Nature) had to go to the extraordinary and unprecedented step and publish a disclaimer on his website to distance himself from the interpretation that the barefoot running community made of his research.
- Explain why two barefoot running web sites lied about the Kerrigan research. Even better, come out and criticize them for doing what they did.
- Explain why so many barefoot running websites repeatedly claim that running shoes cause osteoarthritis, when the evidence shows that runners get no more osteoarthritis compared to the general population.
- Need I go on any more?
None of these questions or issues have anything to do with my identity.
The minor reason I have chosen to remain anonymous is that I do participate in several running forums and my identity is no secret. I did respond once to a barefoot runner who posted some nonsensical interpretation of some research that did not come close to showing what they claimed (they do this a lot). I politely pointed out that they were wrong and why they were wrong. All hell then broke loose. They went ballistic. They did not like to be publically made a fool of. They went after me. They literally stalked me into every thread I posted a message in, no matter the topic. They were soon banned from the forum. They rejoined twice more (against the forum rules) to continue stalking and harassing me and were promptly banned. They then found my email address and followed up with abusive emails to me; they even went as far as finding out which college I went to and made comments on that! After a while, they obviously tired of it, but not before I involved the police. I am sure the barefoot running community in general would not condone this kind of behaviour, but this is the level that some nutters go to.
Stick to the issues. They are more important than worrying about who I am.