I'm not a natural blogger and I'm no techie. I'm an ultra trail runner by passion, and a journalist by profession - in that order of priority.
In this blog I use the one to talk about the other - my trail thoughts, musings and meanderings about running mountains and trails.
I call it rockhoppin', just because... well... that's what we trail runners love to do!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

South Africa's own Tarahumara

Real Tarahumara Indians
Did you know, the Garden Route has its very own Tarahumara Indian?  
Well, practically...    ok, not quite. He's not Mexican, he doesn't live in a canyon or have to run around the wilderness for days looking for food. But he does wear huaraches - they're the real handmade McCoy and he's a runner. That's about as close to Tarahumara as a South African can get.

Andrew Scott, better known as Drew, is a sworn huarache convert. Not only does he make his own Tarahumara-style thonged sandals, but he's tossed all his other shoes. And I mean ALL - he has a pair of huaraches for work, a pair for running, and a "smart leather pair for going out". That's it.
Drew's seasoned foot in his seasoned huarache.
I met Drew when I ran the Addo Elephant Trail Run in March. It was 15min before race start and this guy was running around, leaping up and down and making final adjustments to the thongs that secured a thin strip of rubber onto each foot. He ran the Addo 50km that day - on stony trail, through rivers and up steep switchbacks, all in his huaraches. He's no slouch either - this non-Mexican finished in 14th position out of 137 finishers.

It's all about the thong...  and the rubber.
Drew reckons the huaraches are good for all types of trail running...  apart from muddy conditions, that is. Mud between foot and rubber sole makes the foot slide around and makes gripping a problem. As for grit, pebbles and water, Drew says no problem, he just kicks it all out as fast as it comes in!

"If you love something enough, it becomes a lifestyle," says Drew.

(Personally I'll stick with my trusty Salomons, but hey, whatever blows your wild hair back!)