So a little history here. Don't worry I won't test you later, although you may find I will ask you to write an essay (to be handed in next week!).
In May 2009 I was recovering from my epic stress fractures and looking for an alternative to my clunky shoes. In my quest I came across 'Runners World On-line' and their new forum Barefoot Running'. Even to this day I am not entirely sure why I migrated from the 'Injuries' section to 'Barefoot Running'; it must have been cosmic karma, or maybe the fact I accidentally pressed the mouse button at the wrong time.
The 'Runners World On-line Barefoot Running' forum - or RWOL BFR from now on because my keyboard will grow legs and run away (barefoot of course) if I continue to type that every other sentence - had been active for about 2-3 months. It was initially created at the behest of TJ Gerken who later went on to co-founder the 'Barefoot Runners Society' and there were a few long time barefoot runners already present and posting. They were all very kind to a Newbie like me and if it wasn't for their help I wouldn't be running barefoot or writing this blog - so if you want to blame someone for my random attacks on the interweb, you should head straight for them.
In the beginning RWOL BFR was pretty much full of crazies. Good crazies, but crazy none-the-less. Barefoot Running was seen as a little kooky and strange and the people who ran like this were the epitome of this. As such the forum was not altogether 'normal'. We all had similar humour and as such the posts on RWOL BFR were fairly eclectic. Yes, we talked about running, but generally we went on the forum to mess about. The longest thread on RWOL BFR is called 'PWI (Classic)' which has well over 1,000 posts. Now I can hear you asking, "what running topic is so important that it elicits over a 1,000 posts?" Perhaps the true nature of the forum and the people on it will become apparent when I tell you that 'PWI' stands for 'Posting Whist Intoxicated'. We had a thread called 'Why am I the thread-ender?', which for some reason would only be resurrected on a Friday. We had a threads that talked about 'Boob-wobble' and 'Junk-jangle' as a running form guide. I think you are getting the idea here.
We celebrated in our quirkiness and our status outside of the 'normal' running community and we had fun. We delighted that we had found the answer to making running fun and surprisingly it involved large amounts of alcohol and taking your shoes off. We were the geeks and nerds; we were the equivalent of the AD+D group you would find in high-school, (except cooler obviously!).
In time the 'Barefoot Running Society' was formed and people started to migrate to the new site. We also all connected on the dreaded social networking tool 'Facebook' and RWOL BFR forum faded a little. We were still present though and still having fun, but some of the initial peeps had gone off to do their own thing.
Then the worst happened and this has been the 'death-nail' for the essential character of the forum. Barefoot Running became popular: It became mainstream. Now the forum was littered with lots of Newbies who wouldn't read the stickies and kept asking the same questions. The old crowd were a little more un-easy about the things they could post about.
Don't get me wrong, there were some Newbies, that were just like us and delighted in the absurd but unfortunately a lot of the Newbies were runners. I know this sounds strange that I am blaming runners for the 'death' of a running forum, but it did. Now the Barefoot running community wasn't a random band of misfits, it was now a community of people who were using the lack of shoes as a training tool, or they thought it was cool because an actor had his photo's taken wearing VFF's, or well.. whatever. Barefoot Running was now seen in the same category as a Garmin or GU-Shots.
The forum then lost it's soul. As the BRS site has been down due to migration issues, I have wondered over to RWOL BFR to see how things are going. Most of the names I don't recognise and there was not ONE stupid thread. Honestly 'PWI (classic)' had been left so long that there were cobwebs, dust and I swear a little mouse family located inside.
I have done my best along with the help of the other 'oldies' to resurrect the old character of the forum. Bumping old threads and posting stupid new ones, but frankly it's clear to see our efforts have failed. People aren't interested. I don't think there is anyway to pull the forum back to it's old excesses of stupidity and nonsense.
I know that this has to happen. Everything in life has to evolve and grow-up. We can't wish the things we cherish to never change. People move on and new people come to take their place. Honestly I understand this and I accept it. I suppose I just find it a little sad that the forum I have been with for so long has actually grown up when I am so determined to stay 6.