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Florida man runs Marine Corps Marathon barefoot, wearing a kilt

So, what's up with the kilt? "I'm retired Air Force," Wheeler said. "And this is an Air Force tartan. It's actually registered." (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON — It’s hard enough running a marathon. Can you imagine doing it barefoot?

“This is my eighth Marine Corps Marathon running barefoot. I ran my first one in 2011,” Todd Wheeler, 49, of Navarre Beach, Florida said.

Wheeler said he first ditched his shoes at the recommendation of a trainer who was trying to improve his running form.

“It forces you to run with that good form. You will run gently,” he said.

What started as running just a hundred yards barefoot incrementally got longer. Anticipating the question, Wheeler quickly offered perspective on whether his feet hurt.

“The bottom of the feet will toughen up naturally,” He said. “They don’t callous. Well, they do at first. But they clear up and just turn into a nice soft pad.”

Wheeler said he does wears shoes to his job in information management, but they have the thinnest soles he could find.

So, what’s up with the kilt? “I’m retired Air Force,” Wheeler said. “And this is an Air Force tartan. It’s actually registered with Scottish registry of tartans.”

Wheeler said he runs wearing the kilt to represent his military heritage.

“And, it draws attention. Which I like,” he said with a grin.


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