A runner named Benjamin Pachev raced a 5,000m in Portland on Saturday, running to a quick 14:47.62 finish. His time was good enough for 12th place, and although he didn’t win the race, he attracted a lot of attention during and after his run, which he completed in a pair of Crocs. That’s right, while his competitors were lacing up their spikes, Pachev tossed on his foam clogs, and he ended up beating about half of the field.
— RunnerSpace (but wearing a 😷) (@runnerspace) May 9, 2021
This is not the first time that Pachev has raced in Crocs. In 2017, he took his unique shoes to the Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis, where he raced a half-marathon with his father, Sasha. The younger Pachev ran to a mind-boggling time of 1:11:53, finishing in 16th place. His father, also wearing Crocs, crossed the line just a few minutes later, posting a time of 1:17:26 and finishing 44th out of more than 20,000 runners.
Pachev’s sister, Jennifer, ran the 5K at the event, and like her father and brother, she wore Crocs, the family’s apparent preferred choice of footwear. She finished in ninth overall and crossed the line as the second female runner, posting a time of 19:56.
On Saturday, Pachev recreated that Crocs magic, blazing to a sub-15-minute finish in Portland. His final time works out to 2:57 per kilometre, which is a pace most people would struggle to hit even if they were decked out in the fastest spikes on the market.
It’s clear that these shoes work for Pachev, but the question still remains: why Crocs? According to an article from the Indy Star that was published after the Pachevs’ runs at the Mini-Marathon, Sasha made the change from normal running shoes to Crocs after he saw his kids run in them.
“I was trying to figure out if there was a better way to run than in regular running shoes,” Sasha said. “I was experimenting with different things.” When his kids insisted on running in Crocs one day, he noticed that their form was better than it was in other shoes, so he tried them out for himself.
“I really liked the feeling, and I’ve run in them ever since,” he said. “They’re really not that much different, speed-wise, from racing flats.” Sasha’s kids followed his lead, and the shoes are now the go-to footwear for the family. The Pachevs certainly look peculiar walking up to the start line at races in their Crocs, but they have proven that these shoes work well for them, so it’s likely that the running world will hear more stories from the speedy Crocs-supporting family in the future.