Shoeless Runner Puts Focus On Charity

Sunday, November 16th 2008, 9:30 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Warming up for Tulsa's Route 66 Marathon, Rick Roeber looks like any other runner.  But then, he does something that sets him apart from the pack.  He takes off his shoes.

"I ran Boston before, and there was only two of us running barefoot out of 20,000. I ran New York City last year, 40,000 people.  And, I was the only barefoot runner," said runner Rick Roeber.

Roeber ran all 26.2 miles of the Route 66 Marathon barefoot.  All the other runners were sporting Nikes, Adidas or New Balance, but not Rick.  It's the 40th Marathon in which his feet have gone all natural.

Roeber started doing it a few years ago to improve his form. But, when he noticed the attention it garnered, he decided to put his exposed toes to good use.  So, he runs to raise money for charity.     

All the donations this year go to Soles for Souls.  It is a mission that provides low-cost wheelchairs to third world countries.

"For $50 you can literally change somebody's life. These are people that are dragging themselves through alleyways and stuff," said runner Rick Roeber.

Most of the donations are small.  And, they come from fellow runners who can't believe their eyes.

"I've never seen anything like that in my life. I've run 26.2 miles, this'll be my 11th time, and I've never seen anybody do something like that," said runner Troy Mathers.

But, he says any attention is good attention for his cause.

You can learn more about Rick's mission at his website or by emailing him.