This Guy Beat Half A 5k Field Wearing Crocs

by : Hannah Smith on : 17 Jun 2021 16:44
This Guy Beat Half A 5k Field Wearing CrocsPixabay/Crocs/Instagram

A family of runners has attracted attention for their unorthodox choice of shoes, after one of them was spotted racing in Crocs.

Benjamin Pachev donned a pair of the notorious foam slip-ons ahead of a 5,000m race in Portland, Oregon last month, and managed to finish in 12th place with a very respectable 14:47.62 time.


Although he didn’t win, Pachev apparently managed to beat out more than half of the field in his Crocs, with the rest of his competitors racing in more traditional running spikes.

While you’d guess that Pachev might have worn the crocs for a laugh, or perhaps as an experiment, it turns out the real explanation is both more straightforward and somehow more bizarre. Running Magazine reports that Pachev, alongside his parents and siblings, just prefers running in Crocs to normal shoes.

Several of the Pachev family are elite amateurs runners, competing in various mini-marathons and distance races across the United States. In 2017, Benjamin and his father, Sacha, wore the shoes to race in the Indianapolis half-marathon, where they clocked seriously impressive times, coming in 16th and 44th respectively in a field of more than 20,000 runners.


Meanwhile Benjamin’s sister Jennifer posted a 19:56 5K time at the same event, placing ninth overall and coming home as the second fastest female.

For non-runners, it might be hard to gauge how impressive these times are, but if you take into account the fact that a 25-minute 5K is a decent target time for most amateur runners, you get a good idea of just how much of a feat running a sub 15-minute 5K in Crocs actually is.

Benjamin Pachev runs distance races in crocs (Crocs/Instagram)Crocs/Instagram

Following the family’s achievements at the Indianapolis half-marathon, dad Sacha told the Indy Star that he found Crocs offered more comfort and support while running, after having experimented with a few different unorthodox options for Benjamin and their other children during training.


‘I said, ‘OK, let’s see how it goes,’ and they ran, at fast speeds, and I could tell their form was better in Crocs. It looks more natural. I said maybe there’s something to it.’

Pachev says the crocs last longer that traditional running shoes, too, with one pair typically able to do about 3,000 miles before wearing through, compared to around 400 to 500 miles for typical spikes.

‘I grew up running in Moscow, Russia. We didn’t have the luxury of having the fanciest shoes,’ he explained. ‘We ran in basketball shoes or whatever we could find. We developed resilience, and we don’t need special running shoes.’

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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: Sport, Crocs, Now, Running


Running Magazine
  1. Running Magazine

    Runner wears Crocs in 5,000m race, flies to 14:47 finish