Bruce Tulloh, former European 5000m champion and Barefoot legend passed away this week at the age of 82. Tributes to him and his life’s achievements can be found all over the web already.
I first met Bruce in 2011 when, in my then-role as Vibram’s UK distributor of Fivefingers footwear, we were at the London Marathon Exhibition and an old man was loitering around our stand picking up various Vibram Fivefinger shoes, flexing them, turning them, smiling, shaking his head and laughing.
After a few moments I went over to him and asked if he had seen the product before. He said he hadn’t but, in his typically modest style, explained that he “used to run a bit barefoot”…
Subsequently he explained that he had won the European 5000m championships running barefoot in 1962, and that his name was Bruce Tulloh!
As you can imagine I was shocked, pleasantly surprised and slightly embarrassed that I hadn’t heard of him (1962 was a bit before my time… at least that’s my excuse)!!
We gave Bruce a pair of Vibrams to trial out and give us some feedback on. You can see some of that feedback in an interview we did with him here:
Unfortunately, after over an hour of discussion, we realised that our second camera had a technical failure, and because we shot the video in the garden, around 4 minutes in, a helicopter flew over masking the sound… so we never actually used the video.
Now Bruce has run off, barefoot no doubt, to explore new dimensions, I felt it would be a fitting tribute to share some of his story and to also recommend some of his books for aspiring runners that can be found (as always) on Amazon, or from his own site here.
I’m sure the apparent irony of the title of his last book won’t be lost on many readers, but I think the point here is he did a pretty darned good job at it for 82 years… If it’s not the years in the life but the life in the years, Bruce certainly hit a level of attainment to inspire many others to live a fuller, happier, healthier life and, as Eckart Tolle says:
“Life is not the opposite of death… Birth is the opposite of death.
Life just is.”
Keep on running Bruce – thanks for inspiring us all.