GRAND RAPIDS —
Hundreds of runners from across the country headed to Riverside Park in Grand Rapids for a 5K race and fundraiser.
Many ran without their shoes.
"Wear shoes, run bare, just get out there," said Rob Sanchez, a runner who started going barefoot several years ago.
"I was always injured one way or another, so since I've lost the shoes about two and half years ago, I've been running pain free and injury free," he said.
Sanchez participated in the Merrell Naked Foot 5K, the first ever national barefoot race series in the country.
Grand Rapids is one of seven stops in the U.S.
"I think the whole barefoot movement is something that has sparked interest," said Race Director Kerri Delacher.
"It's not just about the barefoot movement, it is about the movement. Our main goal is to get people excited and get people outside moving around."
The race also included a shoe drive. Organizers collected hundreds of shoes that will be donated to needy families in Japan.