Sunday, 22 August 2010

My first race in Vibram Five Fingers

I just completed my first race in my Vibram Five Fingers shoes and it felt great.  No injuries, just a little calf soreness.

The Burnham Beeches half marathon follows an undulating two lap course on quiet country roads around the Burnham Beeches woodland, just outside London.  And I mean undulating - the hills and gentle and reasonably short, but there really aren't any flat sections apart from the lap of a school field to start and end the race.  There is even a short, steep bank to scramble up on the way out of the field and fly back down on the way back in.

I was unsure about wearing the VFFs given my legs were already tired from the Civilised Triathlon yesterday, but I have been wanting to try them out in a race for a while now.  I don't think the shoes slowed me down at all.  I could feel the impact a bit more than I'd have liked on the tarmac, so was trying to stick to the edges of the roads, but that was down to my legs being tired from yesterday more than anything.  And these shoes fly up hills - the lightness of them makes ascending that much easier.

I got a few stares and a couple of runners asked me about the shoes during the race.  All very positive comments - one of them had already bought a pair and another was planning to.  I don't feel quite ready to run a marathon in them but a few more longer runs should do it, especially for a trail marathon.  My feet felt great during and after the run - with the usual feeling of having had a foot massage while running!

Burnham Beeches half marathon was well organised with supportive marshals and four water stations along the route.  There is a great atmosphere at the start and finish with the loop around the playing field.  You can even take a dip for free in the outdoor pool to soothe your tired legs.

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