The Accrington 10k and My First Problem

The Accrington 10k and My First Problem

The pain has now eased and I'm stuck in rush hour - the perfect time to reflect on my first 10k experience!

On Sunday, along with 302 other runners, I braved the Pennine Hills of the Accrington 10k Road Race. I was extremely apprehensive of that cloudy morning as I had had the flu that week and was only just starting to properly recover from the terrible, muscle-mutilating shakes of fever. Creeping to the start line, I had one simple goal - finish the race.

But, when the whistle sounded, a calmness took over. I quickly went to the back of the pack and started plodding. Gradually, I became aware that I was picking off runners, one-by-one. Using the Pennine's downwards slopes to my advantage to speed up and resolutely continuing to jog instead of walk on the upwards slopes, I was able to come in at a time that I would have been proud of if I had been healthy all week - 1:01:59

10K along gruelling and ever-present hills really allowed me to evaluate my "hobbit shoes" (as deemed by a co-worker due to the bulbous toes).

Do your feet flap?  I have become accustomed to a sort of slapping or flapping sound when I run/jog. I imagine if I were wearing swimming flippers it would hardly sound different. I have no idea if this is normal or to be expected, just that it sounds rather odd. Other than the flapping, my feet feel surprisingly secure - which is definitely important considering that they don't have the "support" of normal trainers. It is still difficult, however, to get used to avoiding any loose material on the road. For a stretch of the race, there were small piles of loose asphalt pushed up to the curb that I ran on rather gingerly. Any stray stone, when landed on in the right way, can be very painful. Furthermore, my own physical imperfections are coming to light due to the lack of a shoe with a thick sole.

On the pad of my right foot, I have a little hole. It's hard to describe, but basically where you build up hard skin, I have a small abscess about a centimetre or so across. It does not bleed, ooze, etc. Simply, the skin is not hard and firm, but soft and crumbly - and has been this way for years now. When I hit a pebble on this fleshy (or flesh-less) pad, it ricochets up my body. Sharp bursts of pain that actually make me jump a bit!

Owing to this, I spend much of my time looking close in front of me and gingerly avoiding any surreptitious stones. I'm sure it's terribly inefficient for making a good time, but I can't see any way around this impulse to avoid pain. I didn't have an issue with this in normal trainers, so it's definitely something for a "freak like me" to consider when strapping up in minimal footwear.

Would love to hear if anyone else has this problem (and will diligently reply to the comments that have lay dormant on this blog soon!).

Mary runs for Caritas Diocese of Salford, a social welfare charity in the North West. If you are would like to help support the work they do to combat poverty and disadvantage, please email


Hi Mary, I am curious, are you still running in your FiveFingers, and how has your style changed. I would love to hear more about your minimalist experience. After an incredibly slow transition period I have now started to put more distance in and my next goal is to finish a 10k race.