Youngest #Barefoot #Runner: an update


It’s been a few months since my last update on Esme Hawthorne (my older sister’s granddaughter & niece’s daughter; oh, and future Canadian Olympian!). She is now all of 9 months young and just back from a family holiday in Mexico on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. In the past 2 1/2 months since my last blog post on her barefoot walking/running progress, Esme is now doing the following:

  • walking unassisted up AND down stairs barefoot (this is NOT a misprint) without falling nor grasping onto a handrail
  • running barefoot on sandy beaches into the ocean surf – again, unassisted and in perfect balance
  • dancing barefoot whilst doing exaggerated arm circles and full, repeated, perfect centered squats…oh, and ‘singing’ vociferously (see video included)
  • lifting herself unassisted off the floor if she happens to lose her balance (see video included) and continuing her exercise routine to music – without missing a beat
  • bracing her body to remain balanced, squared up and perfectly centered over her mid-point with feet lined up under her knees, hips and shoulders

As I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs, the way Esme naturally balances and moves barefoot is the way I’ve been trying to teach my clients for decades. Many of them catch on quickly but some are so conditioned to a lifetime of ‘coffin-wearing’ (heavy, bracing footwear) that it takes years for them to shift. My goal is always the same – get people running SAFELY and EFFICIENTLY by doing barefoot drills and learning my SQUAT-SCOOT method of mid-foot running. Esme embodies these naturally and effortlessly at age 9 months (she has no foot, ankle, knee, hip nor back issues and her core is rock-solid – as good as nay elite athlete I’ve trained in my career!). Credit goes to her parents (Cheryl and Sarah Rainbowheart) for supporting their daughter’s barefoot development. I look forward to the day in the near future when Esme can talk – hopefully explaining to her great-uncle coach Jeff the power of her barefoot journey!

For those still doubting the deleterious effects of putting children (and YOURSELF) in bracing ‘coffins’ and/ or orthotics, take a close look at the video footage included in this blog and my earlier Esme blogs. Notice the sheer joy with which she moves barefoot and the high level of balance, power and efficiency displayed on numerous surfaces. Do yourself (and loved ones) a favour – get and stay barefoot for the betterment of your health!

coach Jeff



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