Runner shows clean pair of heels to many
Marathon man kicks off shoes in soledestroying slog but still comes in 25th
Barely a day after pounding the streets of Auckland in his bare feet, marathon runner Harry Burnard says he is feeling a whole lot better than he was when he ran his best time for the longdistance race.
The Wellington athlete made a split-second decision to take his shoes off halfway through the Auckland Marathon on Sunday after a knee injury he had suffered during training started playing up.
“I started off [the marathon] feeling pretty good. I had taken the week off and it seemed to have gone away but about 12km in, it started to come back.
“So I dropped off the leader's group — it was just after we crossed the Harbour Bridge.
“I thought I might fix it by taking off my shoes so I did that and handed them to a spectator . . . I ran the rest of the race barefoot. It was about 24km.”
Yesterday the 20-year-old said that with some rest and recuperation his feet were “much better”.
“They are pretty much back to normal now,” he said.
It was the fourth marathon for Burnard, who runs for Wellington Scottish. He has done some barefoot training but mostly on grass.
Taking off his shoes in the heat of a road race was “a bit of a risk and in hindsight it was probably not the best idea”.
Burnard told the Herald: “It helped for about 5-6km, I got through to Mission Bay fairly easily but on the way back it started to take hold, and I had pains in my foot.”
A few hours after the race he found it hard to walk. He had “a few cuts and scrapes around my heels and toes, a few blood blisters as well but it wasn't too bad”.
Burnard had hoped for an ambitious 2:30 time but after the knee injury decided he'd be content with a personal best. He achieved that, with a 2:53 time against the 2:58 marathon he ran aged 17. He came in 25th overall.
He was “pretty happy” with how he went, with many competitors finding the humid weather tough.
Burnard has no fixed longterm plans for his running, he's just whittling down his personal bests across a range of race distances. But he plans to take a month or so off running to recover.
And there's another bright spot — the spectator who took his shoes off him located him at the finish line: “She was nice enough to return them.”
I thought I might fix it [knee injury] by taking off my shoes so I did that and handed them to a spectator . . . Harry Burnard (right)