Running to Learn

Julia Chi Taylor

I received a message from my friend Cecilia on Sunday morning…

‘I’ve just been listening to the final episode of ‘Made of Stronger stuff’ with your contribution in the middle..’

I had completely forgotten about the interview…!

It took place last summer, when I was invited to be part of the radio 4 programme. I received the recording equipment with ‘set up’ instructions in the post – and enjoyed a lovely (recorded) conversation with Leonie one of the producers…

I was aware at the time that only a few minutes ( or none! ) of the conversation would be used in the programme…

I asked Cecilia which bit they had used…

‘They focused on adjectives to describe what you feel and what you see whilst barefoot running… ‘

I wonder what I said…? I can’t remember…

On reflection, it would likely be a slightly different answer each time I am asked that question…

In essence – I feel the ground and see the ground! 🙂 

It is one of the reasons I love to run barefoot (or in skinners socks and Vibram five fingers in the winter )

To feel the ground beneath my feet…


I don’t really know.

Why do we like the things we do?

Sometimes its perfect to just experience it – and not to try to analyse with words.

The moment we start to describe things

Our feelings

A beautiful sunset

A tree

A flower

We are no longer simply experiencing, with presence, connection, silence

An interpretation although a wonderful part of being human – and sharing our stories, our thoughts and feelings with one another, is part of that magic… In some ways language can never truly describe that moment, the truth of it

Truth itself

Can only be experienced…

But it was great fun to chat with Leonie, and hopefully the programme was fun for people to listen to… All us barefoot beings sharing our experiences!

Anadi was the route master for our ten mile run on Sunday…( Hmmm 11.5!) 

It was a lovely route… Through Hyde Park to begin, then into Kensington Gardens – and from there we headed across to the Regents Canal, back through the middle of Regents Park, arriving eventually in Hyde Park again…

As we ran up from the Canal and were about to cross into Regents park, I spotted a sandy running track on our right…

My heart leapt…

‘I’d like to go and reccy it’ I said ( Ahh it was my fault the run was longer…!)

‘It’s just in my soul’ I murmured to Anadi as we jogged to the track. 

It was sandy smooth – possible to run there totally barefoot in the summer.

My heart always leaps when I see a track – or smooth grass – or a beach with hard sand that lends itself to running intervals…!

It started when I was small.

I would ask my father to come to the playing fields with me – to time me on the long stretch of grass

Again and again…

The joy of flying on land…

In truth my running body doesn’t often feel exactly like it is flying on land these days! 🙂

But my heart and soul feel the same

And I don’t mind that the flesh can feel somewhat weaker than before 

The spirit is willing!

And strong and timeless


And I am still discovering – still ‘running to learn’ – and my soul is flying on land…