Monday, June 3, 2013

Local Barefoot Runners: David Adams

From Norwalk Hour Road Racing Notebook:

BARE FOOTING: New Haven's David Adams, 74, is a rare breed - a runner who actually runs barefoot. He says he started running sans shoes in the 1970s to alleviate knee problems.

"If you run barefoot, you don't have knee problems, " Adams said Saturday after participating in the Southport race. "Your foot plant is more stable."

Adams, a former United Nations employee who retired in 2001 from UNESCO where he was the director of the unit for the International Year for the Culture of Peace, blames shoe companies for the dearth of bare foot runners.

Perhaps the most famous runner to run barefoot was South African Zola Budd.

"I talk to the really star African runners after they run road races here and I say to them would you wear shoes in Africa and they say, 'No', but they're paid to wear shoes. It's big business."

Adams got a few curious looks Saturday as he ran toward the finish line in his bare feet. Running on pavement doesn't hurt his feet.

"To tell you the truth, today it cost me a little time because the streets we ran were very rocky," Adams said. "I don't run quite as fast when it's real rocky."

He claims that running barefoot actually leads to faster times.

"A shoe doubles the weight of your foot," he said. "(Running barefoot) prevents knee problems and hip problems because you run soft. The shoe is not stable. There's a little torque there and the knee has to compensate for it.

"If you think about tissues, if you injure a tendon or a ligament, it scars forever. If you injure muscle, it takes awhile to rebuild. If you injure skin, it just gets tougher. Skin is made to be beaten."

Adams says he is going to keeping running until he keels over.

"Death is always three steps behind me," he said.

Haven’t seen this guy around, and I’ve run in Southport for several races.  I’ll keep an eye out for him!

Thanks to Barefoot Gentile (another local barefoot runner) for this link.