Yesterday, my barefoot running antics nearly killed a child.
I was out running through Caversham and got the usual comments about running without any shoes on. The level of intelligence in today's youth is truly amazing - "Hey, you've got no shoes on". "Really? I hadn't noticed. Thanks for pointing it out. I'll remember to check my feet next time I head out for a run". :-|
Anyway, on my return to the gym, as I was crossing Reading bridge (George Street) to head back along the Thames path, I encountered a particularly "intelligent" woman and watched her nearly kill her child because of me.
For those who don't know, George Street across Reading bridge is a particularly busy road. It's one of only two large bridges across the Thames in Reading that is usable by large trucks and a lot of cars going to or coming from Oxfordshire, from and to Reading. This, along with Caversham bridge (the other big bridge) is naturally a very busy road. Unfortunately, it's not very easy to cross as there are only three crossings, one on the Reading end of the road and two close to each other on the Caversham end. To make matters worse, there is a park entrance just on the Caversham side of the bridge, just below the crest as you head into Caversham. This spot is particularly popular with pedestrians who can't be bothered to walk under the bridge to cross the road, and it is here that I nearly killed a child.
As I ran up George Street I noticed two women with a pushchair standing on the side of the road by the park entrance waiting for a gap in the traffic so they could cross. A gap appeared in the traffic coming from Caversham (the direction I was coming from) so the women started to make their move. The woman pushing the push chair pushed it off the curb and completely into the road. She remained standing on the pavement. She then noticed me - the expression on her face was priceless - running towards her without any shoes on. This must have been far too much for her simple mind to cope with as she just stopped dead still with her child in the pushchair in the middle of the road. She then waited for me to reach her just so she could tell me I wasn't wearing any shoes.
Now the thing is, I only run at about 10kph. Cars cross that bridge at around 50kph (30mph). Naturally I was overtaken by a car so a car got to her before I did. Thankfully the driver was paying more attention than the woman was as the driver slowed down and leant on his hooter for a good long loud BEEEEEEEP!!!! This nearly scared the sh*t out of the woman with her child in the middle of the road as she jumped back but let go of the pushchair leaving the child in the road. Just as well her friend had the right mind to grab the pushchair and pull it back onto the pavement.
Now comes the unbelievable part: once the woman recovered she still took the time to tell me I wasn't wearing any shoes when I did eventually pass her. Unbelievable!! She was more interested in telling me something I already knew than care for her child.
I know it was my fault as the appearance, behaviour and demeanor of this woman led me to believe had something happened, she would have almost certainly blamed me. That's the mentality of some of the people in this area.
So there you have it, I nearly killed a child by not wearing any shoes. How many other people can say this?