The Colombo, Sri Lanka Marathon, 1/2 Marathon & 10 km road races took place on November 17 in typical hot, humid weather. The race was unique to those of us in North America (and most of the rest of the western world, for that matter) in that 1/3 of the field competed BAREFOOT. You are reading this correctly…BAREFOOT! As I am discovering, running barefoot is the norm in many countries for the young, old & in-between.
From the look on the faces of especially the kids, running barefoot in the race was sheer joy. Their smiles speak volumes to the sense of freedom, ease of motion and…you guessed it…lack of running injuries. You’ll notice the power of the barefoot running action combined with the ability to go long and fast in brutal conditions (note some of the leaders are barefoot also). You’ll notice that they are racing on asphalt, concrete, dirt roads and sand – this is not some smooth-surfaced 1 km fun run.
Many in the so-called ‘civilized’ world will say those in countries like Sri Lanka run barefoot out of necessity – they can’t afford shoes, it’s their heritage, blah, blah, blah! Don’t believe it – running barefoot is safer, more natural, more efficient and, quite simply makes perfect sense. The native Sri Lankans along with most East Indians, Africans, South Americans etc. know this intuitively.
Mark my words – the shod-in-coffins running community WILL wake up…maybe not in my lifetime but certainly in the next generation!
Photos courtesy of srilankamarathon.org