In this part of the world you can always tell when the Great North Run is nearing by a sudden influx of runners on the paths and by-ways of the region. I live in a small village and as I left home for work this morning (in the car) 3 runners passed along the road. During the twenty minute drive to work a further 14 runners where spotted.
Interestingly, all but two of these runners were women, and thinking about it, it seems when you do see someone out running these days that they do tend to be women.
Could this be due in part to the comparative success of the British women endurance athletes in the recent World Championships and Olympics. Along with the undoubted success, prior to her retirement, of Paula Radcliffe. Not to mention the success of such celebrities as Nell McAndrew, filtering through and providing inspiration to others?
When you compare this to the fact that, apart from the exceptional Mo Farah, Britain had no other male competitors in the endurance events. It could be one of the reasons for the lack of depth at the 'front end' of men's competition.
The other thing I noticed this morning was that bright fluorescent colours and ear phones for listening to music are de rigueur. I also noticed, that all those I spotted this morning were wearing what I would consider to be 'normal' running shoes.
I have on numerous occasions posted about barefoot running and minimalist running shoes and, in the press at least, the debate between barefoot running and cushioned running shoes seems to be continuing.
Last weeks Athletics weekly having a double page spread devoted to a new minimalist running sandal. These Huarache sandals are being promoted by Barefoot Ted McDonald who featured in Christopher McDoougall's book Born to Run.
Meanwhile, the theguardian.com published an argument against barefoot running.