Thomas Plush races barefoot in OCR
Thomas “The Barefoot Wonder” Plush is how MudGear Battle of the Lions (BOTL) Pro-Team identifies their newest team athlete. But Plush is so much more than that.
He identifies himself as a husband and father, first, a nurse, fireman, barefoot runner with the team and most recently he added the title of 2021 OCR Relay World Champion.
Obstacle course racing (OCR) is a sport where competitors, traveling on foot, must overcome various physical challenges in the form of obstacles. Races can vary from Ninja Warrior-type races, to track races or urban and cross country races. In cross country races, mud and trail runs are often combined and designed to result in mental and physical collapse.
These obstacles can include climbing over walls, carrying heavy objects, crossing bodies of water, crawling under barbed wire, and jumping through fire. Many of the obstacles are similar to those used in military training, but some are unique to obstacle racing and are used to test endurance, strength, speed, and dexterity.
But what sets Plush apart from other competitors is that he races barefoot. In addition to winning 1st place in the 2021 Team Relay World Championship in the Open division, Plush is the first athlete to complete an OCR World Championship barefoot.
“I race barefoot when I can,” said Plush. “I have always loved being part of a team to work with others and improve myself,” he said.
“OCR is usually an individual sport so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to join a Pro Team that has made their name known all across the world.”
“[I] can’t wait to see how my performance improves as an athlete, and as a person, by joining the BOTL Pro team,” he said.
The reason behind his running barefoot is what makes his accomplishments even more meaningful. Plush runs barefoot to raise awareness for Footprints ICT, a non-profit organization with a mission of protecting feet, one pair of socks at a time.
Why Socks? According to Director, Marsha Potvin, socks are the most requested item of clothing by shelters serving the homeless population and they are the least donated item.
“Foot ailments caused by a lack of good socks send more homeless people to the ER than any other reason,” said Potvin.
Footprints ICT also provides socks for “sock drawers” to schools in the Wichita area. “Students have a hard time focusing on school when their feet are cold or wet,” she said. When Plush is not running barefoot, he wears MudGear socks for recovery. Pro Team
sponsor, MudGear, provides performance apparel for outdoor competitors and is billed as rugged, tactical gear for top athletes competing in OCR, trail running and outdoor endurance events.
“I truly believe that MudGear will help an athlete succeed and their socks and compressions do just that.”
His next race, the Yeti- 5k with 20+ Obstacles, is scheduled for January 29th in Kansas City.
This is a 5k with 20+ obstacles intended to get you up and out of the house preparing for an amazing 2022 events season.
To learn more about Footprints ICT, visit their website; www.footprintsict.org