By Heather Cass / Contributing writer

I recently heard from Erie’s most recognizable barefoot runner, Tom Madura, who shared with me that neither he nor the barefoot running trend are dead.

If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen Madura lately, that’s because he’s been nursing a rough (not barefoot running related) injury for more than a year.

“A couple of years ago, I tore my right quad tendon slipping on the stairs,” he said. “I got away without needing surgery, but I did have eight months of physical therapy and was instructed to give up running for a year!”

He’s finally approved to get back at it and has been building up to running by doing a lot of walking and hiking. “Barefoot, of course, when weather permits,” he said.

While on the sidelines, Madura did keep up with running news and wanted to share this bit of news he saw on the Barefoot Runners Society forum, which is pretty interesting.

Results and surprising news from the NJCAA indoor nationals track meet in Kansas on the weekend:

Central Arizona’s Ikageng Gaorenkwe

2nd in men’s 5000 (14:25.88)
4th in men’s 3000 (8:29.22)
11th in men’s mile (4:21.20)

He ran all 3 races barefoot.

Mesa’s Quin Johnson

Ran anchor leg of the women’s distance medley relay which placed 5th in 12:25.35.
2nd in prelim heat of women’s 1000 meters (2:57.16)
2nd in women’s mile (5:05.60)
5th in women’s 1000 (3:03.01)

All of this in her customary bare feet!

Now for the surprises:

Hawkeye CC’s Alayna Kollasch ran the leadoff leg of the women’s distance medley relay, which set a school record with a time of 12:45.78, and the women’s 1000 prelim race in her BARE FEET on day 1 ( wore spikes on day 2 in anchor leg of the 4×800 relay). (Ran 3:55.6 in DMR leadoff leg)
Hawkeye CC’s Joanna Topham ran her heat in the women’s 1000 meter prelims on day 1 in her BARE FEET as well and qualified for the finals with a 3rd place finish in 3:02.38. (Wore shoes for all her other events over the 2 days, including the 1000 final as she finished 9th)

Heather Cass is an Erie-area freelance writer, runner, and active member of the Erie Runners Club for 20-plus years. She is immersed in the local fitness culture, and she’s taking your questions at zipdang22 at