The Joys of Running Barefoot Style – Off Road!
The Inkpen Gibbet Challenge is a local 10k race up through the glorious (but hilly!) countryside of West Berkshire, hosted by my sponsor XeroShoes the UK. The drive up the A34 was a nervy one as I had never run a race predominately off-road, and I was not sure what to expect!
I was invited by Simon from XeroShoes UK to be the honorary starter in light of our upcoming challenge, (which is drawing ever closer). After I had said a few words, I got the race underway and joined the back of the pack.
It wasn’t long before I hit the first hill, and it felt like it went on forever. Don’t you just love false horizon lines!
The next stage was a double whammy, especially when you are running barefoot style. Not only was the terrain undulating, but the surface swiftly changed to the sharp slate shards, and my running style had to adapt accordingly. For the next two kilometers, I had to “pitter patter” along as if I were running on hot coals – nice!
As fast as I passed other runners on the way up the hill, they all came flying past me again, as we came down the other side. Despite this, and I was pleased with my performance, and this spurred me on for the next section.
The rest of the race continued to be quite up and down until the final kilometer, where it flattened off a little, allowing me to accelerate. It was all going well and then slam – I stepped on a large stone hidden in a puddle, created by the continuous rain, and it hurt. Despite the agony, I kept going and when I finally crossed the finishing line it gave me an enormous sense of achievement which temporarily dulled the pain.
As a result of that stone, I was unable to run for a week, and the first few runs since have been a bit tentative – but it could have been much worse. Thankfully I am now injury free and continuing to push up my training mileage in preparation for the Bare 7×7 Challenge. Roll on the 21st September!