Every Saturday morning for the past 15 years, I have met my Southern Strider ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ for a run of varying distances over different terrain. We congregate at a nearby Tim Horton’s for a 7:00 a.m. start no matter what the weather.Of course, the old coach is the only full-on barefoot runner BUT the rest of the gang have gradually transitioned to ‘less’ of a ‘coffin’ (running shoe) and a quieter, quicker running style. The results are fewer running injuries for most of the gang – and fewer run technique soliloquies from yours truly. The youngest in the Striders – Rick K. (better known as our resident Polish computer whiz!) – does run full-on barefoot once per year in the MADD SFC 5 km event to humour me!
He’s actually a VERY strong, technically proficient barefooter – for some reason, he generally prefers to run with some form of minimalist ‘coffin’ on his feet. I’m sure he’ll explain to me WHY some day soon. :-)))
We start out on rather smooth asphalt road – the easiest surface for me to run on barefoot and progress to a mix of clay, stone, pebble, gravel and wood bridges through the Rattray Marsh. The varying terrain fully activates my feet and keeps me focused on balanced, centered running with a quick foot turnover. It’s amazing how I never get fatigued through the marsh no matter how fast my pace.After exiting Lake Ontario (young Rick did the photo honours of me in the marsh and the lake), we climb the 900 metre hill to exit Jack Darling Park and mingle at the top until everyone finishes. The next section of our outing takes us along concrete walkways,through a tree-lined dirt and clay trail and over river rock paths. The river rocks help to super-activate my body from the power source of my feet through the rest of my body. This results in NO avoidable running ‘itis’ injuries and virtually no lactic acid build-up in my legs. We finally finish back at the Clarkson, Ontario Tim Horton’s for a post run beverage and ‘debriefing’. This is a tradition that keeps our Striders connected, supportive of each other and best of friends no matter what the circumstances…quite simply. s special group of ‘running buddies’. For me, they are even more special – they tolerate my running barefoot, long-winded dissertations on rather diverse subjects and accept my run technique tips unconditionally (USUALLY!).All of you should be so lucky!!!