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The barefoot contestant

Bill Hoffman barefoots his way across the finish line to complete the Lake Placid Marthon’s half distance. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

LAKE PLACID — Most people will never run a marathon, or even a half marathon. But one Capital Region man ran a half marathon on Sunday while wearing no shoes.

Bill Hoffman finished the Lake Placid Half Marathon running barefoot. Hoffman finished the 13.1-mile race 42nd overall in 1 hour, 40 minutes and 55.9 seconds. The Clifton Park resident said he couldn’t run until less than a decade ago, but now that he goes without shoes, he has finished dozens of ultra marathons.

“It was kind of a training run, so I wasn’t really racing,” he said of his race in Lake Placid. “I read Born to Run about 8 years ago. I had flat feet and I always had trouble running. (But) I’ve done about 40 marathons and ultras since then.”

Hoffman said it took about a year or two for his feet to get used to the punishment of running barefoot, but he’s made a lot of strides.

“Some roads are real smooth, some aren’t,” the 52-year-old said. “I just found out I could do it, and it’s been a lot of fun. Yellow lines are nice.”

In the winter, Hoffman said he uses sandals, and even that minor step has led to a feat that few would begin to consider.

“I run in sandals a lot,” he said. “I’ll go up Whiteface with sandals and microspikes.”

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