Monday, November 20, 2006

The Charlie Robbins Barefoot Warmup

Here's the last reminder about the Charlie "Doc" Robbins Memorial Barefoot Warmup that will take place before the Manchester Road Race 5-Miler on Thanksgiving morning in Manchester CT. The Barefoot Warmup will begin at 9 am just north of the intersection of Main St. and Charter Oak St. In other words, we'll be at the .4 mile mark of the road race course, just before the sharp left-hand turn.

I'll be there in a red and black checkered CPO jacket just like the one Doc often wore to cross-country practices when I was an undergrad at Wesleyan University, where he would join us for Wednesday afternoon practices (rather than going golfing like all his other M.D. colleagues.) I'll be holding my race shoes high overhead in my hands, and spanking the road with nothing but my naked tootsies. I hope you'll join me and do the same.

Once we've got a decent group together, we'll jog barefoot up Main St. toward the start line. I'm told there are photographers and video crews interested in getting
a few shots, and I'm sure Manchester's always friendly spectators will appreciate what we're doing. Also, while I'm not positive about this, I think we'll probably set a world record for a Barefoot Warmup. Given that I've never heard of one before.

I know this all sounds a little silly for a memorial. But the moment I came up with the idea, I felt that it was perfectly right for "Doc." He was a little impish, after all, with that sly grin and twinkling eye of his. And his family and the Road Race Committe have been fully supportive from the beginning. Manchester was "Doc's" home, and the place where he ran 50-straight Thanksgiving Day races, winning twice, and delighting us all for so many years with his barefoot prance around the classic Manchester loop.

So we'll warm up the way he did (it's cool to wear a pair of thick socks, if that will make you more comfortable), and we'll have some fun, and we'll remember the Good Doctor who taught us that the simple way is often the best. We'll do one big loop up near the start area and back, or maybe two if we're enjoying it too much.

And then we'll be finished just 10 to 15 minutes after we started, giving everyone plenty of time to lace on their racing shoes, strip off their sweat clothes, and head up to their appointed positions at the start line. I hope you have a great race.

I know I will. Because I'll be thinking about Charlie Robbins the whole way around, and that pretty much guarantees that I'll be running with a big smile on my face.


At 5:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

... and while you are on the subject of smiling... as I read near the bottom of your post "...and delighting us all for so many years with his barefoot prance around the classic Manchester loop..." I smile, big smile, to the top of my head, and I think:

"And he was a doctor! :)"

... I love it... It is Simplicity which really warms the heart... have a great day, without shoes or lace, prancing around before the Manchester Race...

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Thinnmann said...

AMBY - Wish I could be there with you. Instead, I will do a CRBW at the Ashenfelter 8K, where I will be running with the rest of RVRR! Hope to see you soon!

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta Love that Charley.

-barefoot ken bob

At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Amby,

I have heard my Uncle Charlie talk about you with great warmth for years. I want to thank you for all you have written about him. He influenced my life greatly. When I have to make a big decision I think of what he and his brother, Wes, my Dad, would do. His humbleness and generosity I can't even describe. He gave everything he had to others. He has made me a better person. I will be there at the Turkey Day Race to watch you and my cousin, Barrie. She is just like him with her warmth, generosity, sense of humor, tough feet, you name it. I am honored he was my uncle, and I am so proud of Barrie for following in his footsteps. Enjoy the day Thursday. Uncle Charlie will be watching.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Thinnmann said...

Did you see this?,0,1563764.story?track=rss


What, No Shoes? Yes, Mr. Robbins
Burfoot Organizes A Fitting Tribute
November 24, 2006
By LORI RILEY, Courant Staff Writer

MANCHESTER -- The Manchester Road Race generally draws runners wearing all kinds of outfits, but the group assembled at the end of Main Street before the race Thursday stood out.

There were about 30 of them, most were barefoot, at a prerace warmup in honor of Charley "Doc" Robbins, who died in August at age 85. Robbins, who often ran barefoot, ran the Manchester Road Race 50 consecutive years and 57 times overall. He won in 1945 and 1946 and is credited with helping the race gain popularity after World War II.

The rest is here.


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