Run­ner shows clean pair of heels to many

Marathon man kicks off shoes in solede­stroy­ing slog but still comes in 25th

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - Dubby Henry

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)

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