SF Foot Expert Leads Medical Care for Amazon Jungle Marathon
SAN FRANCISCO — Bay Area ultra-runner and foot care expert John Vonhof will travel to the Amazon rainforest in October to provide foot care to participants of this year’s Amazon Jungle Marathon.
The race will take place in the Brazilian Amazon over seven days, run in stages that range from 15 miles to over 60, and will cover up to 150 miles of jungle terrain. Vonhof, along with runners, support staff, and the rest of the medical team, will spend each night in camps along the trail, sleeping in jungle hammocks.
An avid runner since 1982, Vonhof’s running expertise shifted to the medical field in 1992, when he became a paramedic, orthopedic technician, and emergency room technician. Ever since, he has been using his medical training to help treat long-distance runners’ feet as well as educate the running community on proper foot care.
And wilderness runs are one of Vonhof’s favorite ways to do so. “In January 2006,” he recounts in his popular guide Fixing Your Feet (Wilderness Press), “I had the opportunity to serve on the medical team at The Coastal Challenge, a seven-day, 150-mile stage race in Costa Rica. The people were warm and friendly. The food was great. The scenery was fantastic… We had great fun.” Vonhof has also offered his medical support to runners of Primal Quest Adventure Races, Racing the Planet Chile, the Gold Rush Adventure Races, Western States Endurance Run, among others.
This October will be Vonhof’s first year participating in the Amazon Jungle Marathon, continuing his efforts to teach runners and walkers of all levels of experience best practices in foot care. “Too often we relegate our feet to the end of the line,” he says, “Sure, we buy good footwear and socks, but that’s it — we forget about the feet themselves.”