I have to admit I was looking forward to meeting Santi this morning. I suspect he may find it strange for me to say it, but when it comes to barefoot running I believe he is now, one of the greats. For me he is up there with the likes of Ted Mcdougal Michael Sandler and the late Caballo Blanco.
As one who has driven from Motril to Granada I have to say that the possibility of running the same route (in shoes) seemed pretty remote. But to do it barefoot? well, that is what heroes are made of (Santi’s own story is here, albeit in Spanish). The meeting was made even more special as he was accompanied by his friend Álvaro, who is also a keen barefoot runner and is, in a way, the unsung hero. It was Álvaro who was the out rider, supporting Santi and the team with food drink and moral support for the 8 hours on route…I am tempted to call them Batman y Robin until I can think of a better nickname. NB Álvaro maintains their website
Obviously when you put a group of people who are passionate about barefoot running together,there seems to be this automatic feeling of camaraderie and support. I wonder if the wonderful passion and sense of fun that we experienced this morning has won over a new recruit to barefoot running. Perhaps Ester, as a professional athlete has being sold on the idea that barefoot running is in fact the way forward. We will see if she has a go the next time she is on the track ;)
Like many of us Santi has only been running barefoot since last summer. This makes his achievement a couple of weeks ago even more amazing. When I met Santi and Alvaro this morning, I could feel their passion for barefoot running and and suddenly it all made sense particularly if you are like me and feel like you are the only runner out there mad enough to try. It is difficult to explain the feeling you get when you go for it, but when you do, everything seems to fall into place. I am always listening to the comments on the net about running barefoot, especially on whether it is good or bad for you. As one who knows I will say that the transition from running shoes to barefoot is not easy.
However all the talk about scientific research can get a bit frustrating. For me barefoot running is not just about improving your PB times on the track it is about being at one with nature, it is a feeling of freedom, it is a sense that this is the way it’s supposed to be..
To conclude I want to say that this meeting came about due to a gut feeling. I felt that these guys and this meeting would be inspirational on many different levels and I was proved right. I also wanted to give them a pair of my sunglasses, as a kind of appreciation for what theyachieved. I thought a photo would be cool too (this is how you know they are great ambassadors for barefoot running) and without me having to ask , Santi put on my Tshirt for the photo. So thanks for that Santi and I look forward to meeting you both again in Jaen on the 9th of June.