my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

Why barefoot runners need to be grateful to cable/broadband providers!

The hazards of barefoot running in urban areas!

The hazards of barefoot running in urban areas!

I know. It seems a very weird link, mega-rich media companies and strange ‘get-back-to-our-ancestral-roots’ barefoot runners, but there is a link…you’ll have to bare with me (sorry, awful pun!) at least, there is a link in the UK!

I was thinking about this today as I ran the last 3km of my journey home from work barefoot this evening.

It is only because of these broadband and general communication companies’ endless digging up and relaying of pavements for their wires, cables and general fetish for inconveniencing pedestrians and road users, that barefoot runners can, in places, have relatively smooth pavements to run on!

Hint to US readers: when you see the word ‘pavement,’ think ‘sidewalk.’ Hopefully that’ll help (and sorry if that sounds condescending, it genuinely isn’t meant to).

I found myself constantly choosing to run on the newer strips of pavement. You know the ones. The thin strips of pavement slightly raised above the rest of the pavement, of a different colour, and MUCH smoother than the pavement section it replaced. They tend to run along the entire length of a pavement between roads.

pavement repairs that look like this are nicer to run on than the pavement surface either side of them!

pavement repairs that look like this are nicer to run on than the pavement surface either side of them!

Now, I know that in many well-to-places, (that perhaps don’t allow the likes of afore-mentioned companies anywhere near their leafy villages, or quaint and over-priced suburban commuter zones), some of your council tax goes on pavement maintenance and your tiled pavements are sheer joy to a barefoot runner’s feet. However, for many areas around where I live, it is only by running barefoot that I have realised how much BETTER OFF road users are than pedestrians!

Ahhh, now THAT looks like a nice smooth surface...oh, it's for cars!

Ahhh, now THAT looks like a nice smooth surface! Oh, it’s for cars!

Isn’t that crazy?! As a road user (I’m talking here more from the view of using a bike than a car), I’m forever bemoaning every bump and crack on the road surface, but hold on! Try doing the same journey on pavements (don’t try it really, you’ll get in trouble!), and I’m sure you’ll end up quitting the bike and phoning up the council like a shot.

So, my call to arms is this: get in touch with your council, barefoot runners of the world, and get them to start taking more care of our pavements before they go the way of our rail network, or our economy, or a child’s teeth that never sees a toothbrush.

There is one good thing that comes of awful running surfaces – it helps us barefoot runners to remember to land lightly, take smaller strides and look where we’re going!

What is your favourite surface for running barefoot? Have you noticed how terrible some pavements are? Even in well-to-do neighbourhoods?

run smooth, or as smooth as you can!



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