May 30th, 2024

The Born to Run Family

How it feels to attend the Born to Run Extravaganza 

"You could tell there's just something unique about this place"

It’s a warm spring day in may as I step foot out of the car and onto the ranch that is deep in the heart of southern California. My drive was accompanied by a view of old oak trees and rolling California hills. The campground seems to have this warm welcoming feeling as I start to settle in.

This was my first year traveling to California for the Born to Run event, and I truly didn’t know what to expect. There is a large “main camp” filled with vendors, a food truck, campfires for folks to gather around, and a main stage where music is always playing. Along the back sides are additional campgrounds where little communes have formed. People have decorated with flags, tents, and other miscellaneous items you wouldn’t find anywhere else. You could tell there's just something unique about this place by the mannequins, piñatas, and other strange knick knacks you pass by to get to your camp. Out even further from where the people congregate, are two 10 mile running loops. Because after all, this is a running event.


"You look around and understand the people here aren’t just wearing sandals, they’re wearing LUNAs."


LUNA has been attending this event and setting up shop ever since the beginning. Runners and campers come to shop sandals, apparel, accessories, and learn about the origins of barefoot running. Many people here were inspired by the book born to run, and characters like Barefoot Ted, El Coyote, and the Tarahumara who attend each year. LUNAs roots are not only in running, but this free spirited balanced lifestyle that aligns so well with the people here. It is an attraction in itself, seeing everybody here in sandals. It almost feels like an unwritten rule, or something that each and every one of us knows theres deeper meaning in. You look around and understand the people here aren’t just wearing sandals, they’re wearing LUNAs. And its amazing to hear all the origin stories from those folks who swear by them. The LUNA booth attracts these people who want to share their story, and everybody you meet ends up leaving a strong impression on your soul.


Out on the course you are engulfed in solitude. It is an entirely different world from main camp. The only things around are trees, wildlife, and the occasional ribbon that reassures you of the route you’re supposed to be on. This is where runners find their flow, and challenge themselves physically. Every runner is out there for their own reasons, but I feel everyone here shares the same bond. Running brings everyone together, whether you are an active participant or not. They all inspire change, and encourage you to challenge yourself. However when runners encounter that 1/4 mile section of trail that passes through main camp, the cheers roar louder than ever before. The crowd encouraging and recognizing the runners for the commitment and feat they are embarking on. We are re-energizing each other, and helping the runners  to push through and finish the race.

If you're part of the 0.0 mile club, you’ll never find yourself bored. There are wrestling matches, vendors (like us!) selling handmade goods, speakers on stage sharing their story, live auctions, mechanical bulls to ride, costume parties, and even sometimes weddings (Congrats, Sam and Pat)! People travel from all around to run here. Maybe it’s the nice California weather, or because you read the book born to run. Maybe it’s even to let loose and enjoy the festivities put on next to the main stage. But overall, I think the most compelling factor of this event is the sense of community.


"You see, this community has a way of welcoming people."

Even though I had never met any of the wonderful people here before, never once did I feel like an outsider. You see, this community has a way of welcoming people. It doesn’t matter your mile time, how many 100’s you’ve completed, what matters is that you’re here. I witnessed late night stories told by the fire, people sharing their tragedy and how overcoming this made them who they are today. As I walk to my campsite strangers stop me along the way offering a spot to relax, and something to drink. I would listen to Luis Escobar up on stage, calling people out by full name to come join the party. I even saw people who have never once met in their entire lives, shave their head in support of a woman undergoing cancer radiation without hesitation.


The musicians here seem to bring everybody together, as we’re all dancing we speak the same language. Even though we’re from all different walks of life, running has made an impact on all of us. At the ranch, it feels like everybody is all one big family, and race director Luis Escobar often refers to us all that way, the “born to run family”. It feels like everyone plays a part here. It's this group of people who bring the fun, quirky, supportive energy to this event. It's the individuals you meet who share stories of their barefoot journey, and how LUNAs have helped them regrow their love of running. And overall I believe its the sense of community that keeps people coming back year after year, to find acceptance among the celebration that is Born to Run.