Category: Northwest Barefooters

The NorthWest Barefooters meet on the second Sunday of the month at a different location in the Northwest of England. Please come and join us.

Nov 10

The Northwest Barefooters – Formby

The weather cleared and we had a beautifully sunny day for barefoot running today. The Northwest Barefooters met on the lancashire coast near Formby.

(You can see all the pics of our run here)

Each month a different runner organises the route of around 6 miles or so with careful instruction that the finish must have cake and refreshments. This month was the turn of Danny and he didn’t let us down. He chose a route that took in woodland trails, grassy footpaths, sand dunes and beach.

1391823_320720974737517_189492491_nOn arriving, I was greeted to a squatting demonstration going on the car-park. There is alot of chat going on about squats at the moment and I must admit that I find them really tricky. I have exchanged a few messages with Tony Riddle over the past few days and am putting together his excellent videos in one place so that they are easy to find.

We were soon off. I set off in my new Xero Sensori Ventures with the intention of finding out a little more about them for an upcoming review. I took them off in the first minute of the run though and ran barefoot the rest of the way. It was such a lovely day and the terrain was so inviting that it seemed crazy to have anything on my feet.

I really enjoy our group runs. They give me my hit of camaraderie that I miss from not being a member of a running club at the moment. I get alot of pleasure from running as part of a group and as we wound our way through some long grass, we resembled a group of persistance hunters (at least in my head). We were running at that sustainable, run all day pace that seems natural when barefooting and Danny was leading us single file with a relaxed barefoot style.

1462995_320720411404240_287423936_nThe sand dunes were excellent fun and then it was onto the beach and a paddle (one of us actually dived into the waves and went for a swim!). Then back to our starting point. I had brought a couple fo pairs of Freet with me and there was a bit of a trying on session before making our way in to the 14 real ale handpumps and chocolate brownies.

I got a message from Greg on my return asking if we could swap our planned runs so it looks like Bolton will be December’s outing. I will be out next weekend trying to find a route from a good cafe.

1460075_320719948070953_750984666_nIf you would like to join us next time out, then you would be very welcome. You can visit our page on Barefoot Beginner and join our Northwest Barefooters facebook group. You will be made very welcome.

Oct 14

6 reasons why our barefoot group runs work so well

Each month the Northwest Barefooters meet for a run in a different part of the northwest of England.

So…what makes this diverse bunch of barefoot runners drive miles for a group run each month?

A good question and one that barefooter Lionel Jones and I were chewing over as we barefooted our way around an excellent route on the Wirral hosted this month by Rowena Eakins. I love our group runs and look forward to them. I have been a member of a number of local running clubs and they formed a huge part of my life for many years. I dropped out of circulation when injuried kicked in and have missed the camaraderie and banter. I think our barefoot runs give me that much needed hit of both. Although we have been running together for less than a year we have formed good friendships and enjoy the gentle mickey-taking that characterises a group of friends when they get together.

Every run so far has brought us a new member and the group is so open and welcoming. Barefooting can feel a little lonely and it is great to run with like minded souls now and again.

There is a definite lack of competitive edge in our group. A few of us have run competitively in the past and eventually broken down with injuries. We are just glad to be out running again and enjoying the experience. That doesn’t mean that there are not serious runners in the group. It is a knowledgeable group but I think we know that running is at essence a simple, joyous, social experience. There isn’t a smart-arse know it all amongst us. We are more of the live and let live, run and let run mindset.

This months run summed up all that is good about our group runs:

  1. I was looking forward to it. A good sign. This is not a chore, it is a pleasure.
  2. It took me to run somewhere completely new
  3. We had 2 runners join us for the first time. A good thing, we would love a few more folk to join us next time out. Being barefoot is not necessary. We have had quite a few traditionally shod runners join us on our runs.
  4. It was planned by one of the group (We take it in turns)
  5. It was about 6 miles of gentle, chat fuelled running (some barefoot and some shod and just about everywhere in between)
  6. It ended with cake. This seems to be becoming a feature. We ended up in a very nice cafe/cake shop and to be honest I would stil be there now if they hadn’t let me take cake away with me.

1383975_10151664287850866_1923391837_nOur first run was last December at Rivington near Bolton. I created a facebook event and was scared that no-one would show up. In the end there were 4 of us and the group has grown steadily from there.

Barefooting can feel a little lonely at times. If you fancy organising a group run in your part of the world, I would go for it. If you want a hand with the facebook side of things, let me know and then post it the Barefoot Beginner group and anywhere else you can think of. It might just end up being the best thing you have done.

You can join our Northwest Barefooters facebook group here or have a look at some like minded souls on our barefoot running groups page.

We are toying with the idea of a Northwest Barefooters weekend away. It would be great if we could link up with one or two other groups next summer. Working title – The Great Barefoot Gathering – who could resist.


Sep 11

Northwest Barefooters – The highest point in Merseyside

Last week saw the intrepid northwest barefoot running group brave the slopes of Billinge Lump to reach the highest point in Mersyside. I nearly got a nosebleed. 500 ft of pure gentle, grassy slope was nearly too much.

billinge lumpIt is to my shame that although I live less than 20 miles away, I was not even aware of Billinge Lump beforehand and thanks goes to Sharon for organising this month’s barefoot run. We are pretty sure that the proximity of chocolate, beer and cake was her main motivation for choosing Fir Tree Farm as a starting point and it was an inspired choice. Although the climb is gentle, the 360 degree views took a while to take in.

As a group, we are not precious about the barefoot thing and as we set off we, as normal, had a mixture of shod and barefoot runners. Everyone is welcome in the Northwest Barefooters.

As we pulled into the carpark of Fir Tree Farm, it was good to see Seb, a first time runner with us and say hello after a few email messages.

The route took us across fields and through woods. The challenge for the barefooters came on some pretty rocky bridleways and there a bit of slipping on and off of footwear going on. Contrary soul Greg putting his on whenever I took mine off and vice-versa.

It was whilst pattering gently along next to Seb that she said that she found my approach to barefoot running really helpful. I hadn’t really considered before then that I had an approach. A month or two ago, I had suggested that she stop worrying, take off her shoes and get out there. Seb was running happily barefoot across some really challenging terrain. I think one think that we agree on as a group is that there is to much intellectualising of barefoot running. There is loads that can be learned but it really can be as simple as taking off your shoes and giving it a go.

We made our way up a grassy meadow to the summit of Billinge Lump and the old stone tower. It was colder than we expected but that didn’t stop us having a good 10 minutes taking in the view and reading some of the old (and new) carvings in the tower. Historical grafitti is always interesting.

On the way back, I slipped on my VFF EL-X shoes and was asked which pair of shoes was my favourite. It led to me putting together a video overview of all the shoes that have worked well for me over the last year or so. I love the VFF EL-X, they feel like they are sprayed on.

After the rocky bridleways, a bit of tarmac was a welcome relief and we headed back along the last mile on the white lines in the centre of the road. Cue lots of singing alternative versions of White Lines. It could become a barefoot running anthem.

Fir Tree Farm had great cakes and I ended up bringing back some excellent beer from George Wright Brewery. They make single hop varieties and it I had a good session comparing the three styles.

Our next Run is over on the Wirral on Saturday 11th October @11am. Rowena has created an event here. Come and join us. You will be made very welcome.

In the meantime , join the northwest barefooters facebook group. It is the best way we have found to keep in touch.

You can also view our group page on Barefoot Beginner here.

Aug 13

So…Who are the Northwest Barefooters? – Join us for a run

So…who are the Northwest Barefooters?

There are many more barefoot and minimalist runners around than you may think. However, we are spread out a little thinly and sometimes barefooting can feel like a lonely pursuit.

One of the aims of starting Barefoot Beginner was to bring like minded people together and following a bit of prompting the Northwest Barefooters was formed last December.

I created a facebook event and planned a route but I was worried that no-one would come. I need not have feared. 3 other hardy souls braved the cold, west pennine weather for our first group run at Rivington.

Rivington Barefoot Run 9th December 2012

We decided to run at a different northwest location every month to give more people the opportunity to join in. Slowly the group began to grow. We have got together around half a dozen times and are forming firm friendships. We have done a parkrun and raced a couple of team events.  It has been one of the best things I have been involved with since starting Barefoot Beginner.

You can view our page here and read about some of our group runs.

We have a few core members who take part in every run, others who join in when they can and a few who simply join in on the the online chat. It is camaraderie at its best.

There are no cliques, we are simply not like that. We would welcome anyone who fancied coming along for a run or who wanted to join in with the chat. We have members who run totally barefoot and some who run in conventional shoes and are just starting to find out about the whole barefoot/minimalist thing.

We keep in touch with one or two other groups from around the UK (find them here). It would be great to go and visit and have a run.

We are just planning our next run at

Keep in touch by joining our Northwest Barefooters facebook group and visiting our page on Barefoot Beginner.

A few of our adventures so far:

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Jul 18

Barefoot running review of the We Love Manchester 10k 2013 – Greg Dimelow

Greg Dimelow is a member of the Northwest Barefooters running group and an active contributor to our Barefoot Beginner Facebook group. The group is a great place to keep up to dat with all things barefoot/minimalist related. The chat is warm and friendly. We don’t put up with anything less. Come and join in.

Here is Greg’s barefoot review of the We Love Manchester 10k 2013

I got a number and ran. The route is well at best boring… worst disinteresting…sorry but that’s about it. If you want a start and finish in a stadium then its great. Tons of support and crowd opportunities along the way then its great. But other than that, boring route.

Ok start again. Smile…breathe….smile again …feel positive…..


The route started in the Etihad running stadium and gave the opportunity for spectators to enjoy a great view. We had to do a full loop then 3/4 of a loop of the track before hitting the roads around the city stadium. The conditions underfoot where less than conducive to barefoot running. Small stones, smashed Tarmac and lots of broken glass ! But as I had laid down the challenge that if a very fast runner would go slow with me I would go fully barefoot …..well the gauntlet had been laid so …….I picked it up ….when am I going to learn !?!

The run takes in 2 loops around the local area and is quite flat so a Pb course is on offer. I started completely at the back …no really I was still chilling out and chatting as everybody else set off that much that nearly everybody had done half a lap of the track before I even started walking… running is great for your ego as you are a hero even at walking pace ! Lol

We hit the streets and started passing people to various shouts of ” your mad” and ” your brave round here ” ….now being used to running barefoot in Manchester the course held no fear for me ! …….well I have just done a fell race bf so roads ! Pah ! For amateurs……

I did great and felt great so at 6 ish k I threw my hand made hurraches to a spectator I knew. Then BAM ! Around the corner smashed broken glass,duffed Tarmac and cheese grater pavements …….OMG ! ( not lightly used I assure you ) there was nowhere to barefoot ! Now remember my running buddy who threw the gauntlet down…well by now he had started to realise what I was looking for as a surface and he appreciated what I have been saying for months ( BFer in the making I tell you!) and he just looked at me and said…….oh bugger ! Chuckling away and replying ouch ouch ouch I just bent my knees and hit the glass !

Approaching the stadium I got concerned with my target of sub hour so picked up the pace as I turned into the grounds… pacer ( Jamie ) shouted 58 mins……I’m not going to make it ! ………bend knees,……good form……..lean from the ankles…..feel the speed ! Feel the speed! ….. Hit the tartan ! Look to the finish…..lean more… me if I had leant more from my ankles my shins would of scraped the floor ! Sprint finish ……cross the line ! I did it finished a rough as road 10 k fully barefoot…but what about the time 59:42 ! Whoohoo ! Result !

Then the queue for the not so goody bag…..ages !

As for a barefoot review …would I do it again ? …..not at full price, get an early entry and get it cheap, do it with friends for the chuckle its great!

I would rate the course underfoot as BBB (Difficult) as there was nowhere to hide from the cheese grater road.

I would like to thank my pacer/ challenger/ water mule Jamie cook for a great run……for somebody who can go sub 35 mins for a 10 to go as slow as I do was very supportive thank you !

We are slowly and steadily building up a list of barefoot race reviews to help those looking for a barefoot friendly event. We would love to hear from you if you would like to submit your views. You can use the contact form at the top of the page or use our facebook group.

Jun 28

The Eddie’s Revenge Fell Race – A barefoot running review from Greg Dimelow

Greg Dimelow is a member of our Northwest Barefooters running group and active member of the Barefoot Beginner facebook group. Come and join in the chat, you will be made very welcome.

I am not a barefoot runner, I’m a minimalist ……oooops I can’t really claim that anymore as my shoes keep falling off ! Ok so I am a barefoot and minimalist runner these days. I am comfortable with that …..


So as the path I have chosen to travel has taken me firmly away from shoes and into less and less foot covering, my horizons have spread and the nature of my running has changed also. Gone are the days of being bothered by times, speeds, pace and placement in the race order. To be honest my desire to race is almost non existent these days. That’s not to say I don’t want to enter races just that the competitive part of me is diminished and I want to share the experience with others.

As I have been looking around for my next personal challenge. My eyes have been drawn upwards and off the beaten tracks of road running. I have been fascinated by ultra running for a while now and would love to tackle one. The simple matter of fact is that the majority of ultras spend a lot of time going up ! They talk about vertical gain like road runners talk about pace per mile. This causes me an issue. As a short, big lad who runs I’m not really built to go up hills. So looking around I live in a hilly area of the world and there are lots of dark and mysterious places i want to explore. All of which are in these high places known as fells.

Just the word fells invokes an emotional response in me. Fell running…..that invokes fear ! Fell runners are tall, beard sporting,muscular old blokes who have been running since Noah was a lad. A great quote is


  But fell runners are a breed apart. They run up mountains, and down them, and then do it again, and again, and again: it is not just endurance that drives them, but danger. The tougher the challenge, it would seem, the keener they are to take it on. – Andrew Baker. The Telegraph.


As far as challenges fell running has it all ! And it should set me up for being able to complete an ultra……..

So I started talking to my friends who are in running clubs and started asking questions about trail and fell running. Gathering information and getting more and more scared as each conversation finished. I should have known then ! The more I felt fear the more intrigued I became. Then I got an invite to a local race, Eddies revenge fell race. They also said ” You cant run it in your vibrams , its in an old quarry and full of rocks “. No no no I said ……..

On race day I got out of work on time and travelled home to get changed. Petrified I set off up to Shaw in Oldham and signed up (what did you expect !). Then walked up to the start line hoping to see somebody I knew for a bit of support. As I had posted on Facebook prior to the race, I was expecting to be last and was planning on running it in my vff’s with the joke that I would go barefoot if the terrain let me. Some people saw the vff’s and had a chat with me and I started to feel better…..still wary but feeling like I was back in my natural element.  We all lined up and I stood around at the back, listened to the race briefing and before I knew it we were off !

Up the hill we went and I immediately started struggling. What had I done ? Everybody was chatting and laughing and I couldn’t breathe …….then off the road and the real hill started ! I nearly died……having to power hike less than a kilometre into a race felt alien to me and I started to feel like a failure. Others around me started walking too so I felt better.

As I got to the top of the hill I looked around and felt a surge of confidence and that now common uncontrollable urge to take my vff’s off. The ground looked manageable so off they came ! I set off across the fell like a man possessed. The joy, the feelings, the sensations underfoot……I felt so alive ! Then I hit the downhill section…….the speed and freedom of racing down hill barefoot was liberating ! Halfway down a marshall shouted out ” whats happened to your shoes? are you OK ?”. Laughing manically at this point i replied ” i just wanted to take them off !”. At the bottom of the hill the was a right turn and we climbed back up. This climb wasn’t as bad but it went on for longer. This was interesting barefoot as I had to leap from rock to rock to avoid the smashed gravel path. As the climb ever went on upwards the highest point was in view. I passed the same marshall again who this time asked ” do you want me to take your shoes back for you? ” this was a shocker……acceptance of barefooting ! The marshals and encouragement continued like this all the way around with varied comments from a very jovial ” your mad ! ” to a gauged response after looking at me running up the path and looking at the next bit

Of sharp rocky gravel path ” the next bit will hurt lad ! ” I couldn’t stop laughing or smiling all the way around. Anyway back to the run.

This highest bit was evil…..a short sharp climb up to the summit. On sharp pointy gravel ! Ouch ouch ouch ! At the top I bumped into a Marshall who offered a drink. I gladly thanked him and took a sip….then I made the mistake of looking around……stunning, does not cover it. I could see for miles and miles around. I stood there for a min before remembering I was in a race, setting off down the path again.

The next part nearly did me in. I soon realised that I don’t know enough about barefoot running to run on smashed quarry rock paths. At this point I also realised that I was very very near the back ….who cares ! This was liberating, being in a race and enjoying the experience of running without needing to win. I ran on and on following the yellow paint marks on the floor every now and then. Then there was a change of direction and a change underfoot as we started to descend again. More rocks and peat but this time with mud ! The floor squished underfoot and we had a small stream to leap across halfway down the hill. Racing down the hill, arms spread out to stabilise myself just laughing out loud like a child ! Caused concern to the sweeper who raced up to have a chat and check I was OK. He was great and really supportive. He also advised that we where nearly at the finish.

At the next Marshall I was advised… gets a bit steep soon…… about understatement !  It was nearly vertical ! The path was very eroded and just quarry rocks underfoot. At one point I was trying to decide if it would be faster to slide down on my backside. The Marshall at the bottom was bemused by my lack of shoes and initially concerned that something was amiss until I spoke and explained I was going barefoot by choice.

Across the smashed sharp gravel pathway and down another hill crossing the car park near the finish line. Then onto the final loop back along a rocky path and back up the initial hill again. I didn’t like this hill the first time ….why why did I have to go up again. I put my vff’s back on to go up the hill but very quickly took them off again at the top whilst chatting to the marshals……they thought I was being friendly……I was just in bits lol. Then off again for the final flourish around the top of the car park with everybody shouting encouragement to the final few of us to finish. A final decent feeling like a hero because of all the support and shouting from other runners was just amazing ! At the bottom of the hill a short run to the finish and as I turned the corner……I saw the floor….. And just knew I couldn’t run on it ! Sharp smashed quarry rocks abut the size of golf balls……I joked that I didn’t want to finish and was happy to DNF and a few people shouted and pushed me on to the finish shouting and clapping encouragement.

I finished and came last with the biggest grin on my face. It didnt matter, I had done it and most of it barefoot. That’s what mattered to me right there and then.

Aft the event most of the runners returned to the hall/ registration point to have some cake and a brew whilst waiting for the results and presentation. One of the major things I noticed was how everybody was clapped and supported from the first the the last ( me ). Everybody who took part was made to feel as valued as the winners and that was fat to be part of. Lots of warm and enthusiastic support and questions about why I had done it barefoot. Joking to one of the organisers I asked if I was the fastest barefooter to complete the race and he said ” you will see!” At the end of the real presentations for proper winners I was very amused to get a mention and a prize for now holding the fastest course record for barefoot ! The support from everybody was amazing and I really think I have found a new aspect of running I always thought was out of my reach.

A huge thank you to all of the organisers and volunteers. You all made my first fell race a very very enjoyable and pleasurable experience. Other races will have to work hard to match it.

As far as a barefoot rating I think that a rating of BBB (difficult) feels about right. But with an eye towards BBBB (severe). This comes with the caveat that it was dry, wet I wouldn’t even attempt it. I would advise some foot covering that can very quickly be put on and taken off as the rocks underfoot dictated. I struggled at times on the really rough stuff but it was a great race that I will return to next year.

You can see barefoot reviews of other events and an explanation of our barefoot grading system on our review page.

We also have a facebook page for you to visit and like. You can also follow Barefoot Beginner on twitter.

Mar 17

The Northwest Barefooters have a hoot at Hooton

xero shoesJust got back from a great run with the Northwest Barefooters group. We meet on the 2nd Sunday of the month at a different location in the northwest of England each time. This is to give as many people as possible the chance to get out and join us.

We were a week behind this time due to mothers’ day and were looking forward to a run and a pint this morning. The route was planned by Lionel Jones and took in the countryside around Hooton near Ellemere Port.


I have been struggling with my calf a little over the last week or so. I think it was to do with simply doing a bit much barefoot about 10 days ago. Cue lots of advice from the Barefoot beginner crowd on facebook. I have spent the week rolling away the knots and this morning they had almost vanished. The niggle did seem aggravated by the drive down though and I stepped out of the car with a little bit of concern.

I need not have worried and opted to go barefoot to protect it as best I could. I find that running barefoot causes my calves the least amount of stress although I did have my Xeros in my pocket just in case it got too rough.

Georg was in his trusty Xeros and Lionel was out for his first run in his. He was carrying his VFF in case his Xeros rubbed but had no problem.

UntitledSo..after waiting for Lionel to have his hood adjusted we were off. My soles were on fire for the first half a mile but then they eased off. We headed on to a path with lots of little stones and I adopted my strange puppet like style. Ken Bob Saxton described himself as dangling from a string and keeping his spine extended and upright. The key for him is to dangle low enough that he needs to keep his legs bent. I did that and concentrated on relaxing my lower legs. It works a treat, I can feel myself running with his style and my impact with the rough ground is reduced. Not quite Groucho Marx but I know what he means. I didn’t even have a whisper of a problem throughout the entire run.

hootonAs always the chat was excellent and the 6 miles went by in a flash and soon I was running barefoot down the hill to the pub. Rowena Eakins met us there. We have been chatting for a while on our facebook group and although a calf injury ruled out a run, she still met us for a drink. She has some great bruises from enthusiastic rolling of the calves.

A pint of Guiness was just the job. We will be entering a Northwest Barefooters team into the Pendine Sands Ultra next month and before we knew it we were planning the next outing. It looks like we will be heading to Southport to run on the beach with Sharon. You will be very welcome to join us.

Have a read of Lionel’s post here

You can join our Northwest Barefooters facebook group or visit our group page on Barefoot Beginner for details. Just drop in and say hello, you will be very welcome.



Feb 17

Northwest Barefooters – Alsager group run 10th Feb13.

xero shoesThe Northwest Barefooters had another great group run on Feb 10th. We all headed down to Alsager to see Georg. He had planned a route of just over 7 miles that took in the countryside and a stop off at his mum’s farm.

DCIM100MEDIAWe welcomed Stephen Fowler of Naked Runner as well as Georg’s friends Chris and Mark to their first Northwest Barefooter’s group run.

We set off along the Salt Line and soon Georg and I were barefoot and slipping and sliding all over the place in the mud. Some nice forest tracks and then we were halfway and stopped for a brew and snack at the farm.

Georg handed round some delicious date balls that from now on will be known as ‘Georg’s Mum’s Totes Amazeballs’. We are waiting for his mum to translate the recipe so we can all have a go at making them.

On the return leg, we planned a team event at Pendine Sands in Wales. It is an ultra that can be run as a team and it has a barefoot category.

Next run out is 17th March 13. Lionel is busy sorting out a route and I will post it as soon as I have it.

We would love our group to grow and the more the merrier. If you can make it, you would be made very welcome.

You can contact Chris using the contact form in the top menu or the best way to get involved is by joining our Northwest Barefooters Facebook group. All the plans are posted there.


Jan 13

The Northwest Barefooters – Our second group run – Sale

I have had many good days since starting to blog my barefoot running journey but today has to be one of the best.

Running is a social activity and this morning’s group run was exactly that. Blogging has brought me into contact with runners that I just would not have met and we all travelled to Sale this morning for a run.

There were 6 of us setting off up the banks of the Mersey in the frosty weather. We had met only once before and had grown in number by one since our first run a month ago. I have done lots of club running over the years and I love the way that when you run for an hour, you swap places in the group and generally have a chat with everyone. I work in education and love it but I sometimes need to feel like I have a decent conversation with an adult now and again.

We met at Cafe Ark (or the Ark Cafe) near Sale water park at 10am. It was already busy with runners as I stood barefoot trying to decide what to put on my feet. I knew that it was going to be too rough for simply barefooting and was feeling the need for minimalism. I opted for 4mm Xeros and hoped that the cold wouldn’t be too bad.

Tim led us off and soon we all chatting like old friends as we weaved up and around the complex network of paths and watercourses that make up Sale Water Park and Chorlton Meadows. I was a student in this area and it had been almost 20 years since I ran along these paths. It was weird, I couldn’t remenber the way and then I was suddenly overcome with a sense of deja vu as we made our way throught the trees or into a clearing.

The toes soon warmed up and we were pitter-pattering along in the way only a group of barefooters can.

We arrived back at the cafe and sat round a table planning our next outing and deciding what to call ourselves.

We plumped for The Northwest Barefooters. We plan to run on the second Sunday of the month at 10am in a different location in the Northwest of England. You would be very welcome to join our group, running is a social activity after all. It has been for many thousands of years and it is no different now. See you on the trail.

Lionel has blogged about this morning’s run at Becoming an Ultra Runner: Northern Barefooters Group Run – 13/1/13

You can read about our group on The NorthWest Barefooters page of Barefoot Beginner. You can send Chris a message from there…..or……

You can join our group by visiting our Northwest Barefooters facebook page.

Dec 13

Lonely Feet Barefoot Roamers – Our first outing up Rivington Pike

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting on facebook and there was a suggestion that a few of us in the Greater Manchester area should get together and barefoot.

I suggested Sunday 9th December at 10am and someone suggested Rivington Pike.

And so it was that the first meeting of the Lonely Feet Barefooters took place.

I had done a recce of the route the previous Sunday and knew it was challenging but runnable.

There were four of us.

Sharon travelled over form Southport. She usually runs barefoot on the beach so in Vivobarefoot shoes up Rivington Pike was a big difference.

Georg travelled up from Alsager in the Vibrams. Georg was one of our Real Barefooters a little while ago.

Tim comes from Sale. He is an experienced barefooter wearing his crazy homemade conveyor belt huaraches. They are so good.

I travelled from just over the hill and decided to wear a combination of the Swiss Socks I am testing and my Lunas.

We set off and I ditched the Lunas almost immediately after we hit the mud. The Swiss Socks seemed to be handling the ground well even though they were wet through straight away.

After a mile or so we started the climb up through the Chinese gardens to the summit. Sharon took a left half way and made her way through the lovely grounds of the Great Barn to meet us at the finish.

Georg and I commented on how light Tim is on his feet. He moved across all types of ground with a short smooth stride. It was reminiscent of an elf from Lord of the Rings. Running next to Georg, I felt like one of the dwarves. In the book of Lord of the Rings there is a scene where Aragorn, Legolas and Gimili run for hours on end trying to hunt down a pack of orcs. I reckon that is exactly what we looked like as we made our way from the pigeon tower to the summit.

As I chased Tim up the steps to the tower, I could hear my name being shouted in good natured abuse. Phil, fellow runner and companion on last week’s recce was waiting at the summit and joined us on the descent.

The drop off the summit is steep and we witnessed a mountain bike wipeout as someone bit of more than they could chew. Smiles all round fortunately. Georg spent most of the descent sliding on his backside, i slipped a couple of times and Tim just pattered gently ahead in his homemade huaraches without a care in the world.

We all took off our footwear to run barefoot for the last section. You can see the grins on our faces. The Swiss Socks were really good. I will be out again in them soon.

Back at the Great Barn, we met up with Sharon and Tim and Georg’s families. We had cups of tea out of the back of Tim’s new campervan. It just finished off the morning.

We want a few more people for next month’s run. we are going for the 2nd Sunday of the month.

Keep and eye of the Barefoot Beginner Facebook group for details.