Adam Smith’s Shoeless Feat

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Not even a missing shoe could deter Adam Smith, who pushed through the pain to finish in 53rd place despite lacking sufficient footwear for much of the race. (Photo courtesy of Adam Smith)

Redshirt junior Adam Smith ran four miles of the WCC Championships cross country race missing his right shoe.

What happened? Where’d your shoe go?

I lost my shoe about three quarters of a mile into the race, and it was a five mile race…it was hectic and somebody stepped on my shoe. I got a flat tire, and it was kind of half-on and half-off. I thought about stepping off to the side to fix it, but the group was so tight and it was going so fast that if I had stepped off it would have been a bad situation trying to get back into the race. So I thought I would see if my shoe would stay on for a while. About half a mile later it was at such a point where I had to kick it off.

So how long were you running without a shoe?

About four miles.  At first it wasn’t too bad because the top loop of the course was very flat and downhill and grassy, so it felt okay. There’s a certain loop on the course that was dirt and gravel, it was pretty rough. It wasn’t too bad running on it, but I could feel that it wasn’t going to be fun. By the third and fourth loops I was trying to run on the side of the course where there was a little bit grass, I was pushing spectators out of the way.

Did anyone say anything to you as you ran by?

They just said stuff like “stay strong, don’t give up.” And apparently the announcers got wind of the fact that someone had lost their shoe, because it has a [tracking] chip on it. I went back and re-watched the race and they exclaimed that “Adam Smith from USF has lost his shoe, and ‘I wonder if he’ll try to kick off his other shoe to even out the feeling on each foot.’” There’s no way I could have done that. It was really painful to run just without one [shoe].

So it did hurt a lot while you were running?

Yeah, it was pretty painful, my foot is pretty cut up. Also when you run without shoes, your foot uses different muscles, or uses them in different ways, so my foot is pretty sore right now. But it’s not at the point where I can’t run. I’m still practicing, but it’s just painful.

Are you happy with your decision to run shoeless or do you wish you had put it back on?

In the moment, I didn’t think it was a good idea to stop and put it back on. But looking back, I probably should have. If I could go back I would definitely have tried to put it back on.

How did you do in the race? Did you do worse because you were missing a shoe?

Yeah, I probably could have raced about a minute and a half faster I feel like. We came in fifth place as a team. I feel like if I had run to the level I would have been at if I wasn’t in a lot of pain, we probably could have place third or fourth at the very least. So that kind of sucks.

Do you think it was the hardest race you had to do?

It was hard because I wasn’t able physically to run as fast, but I’ve had worse races from my own standpoint because I wasn’t as focused or mentally in it. This race I was in a good mentality and was pushing myself the whole time as much as I could. So I think I’ve had worse races than this past one, it might not show on paper, but [I have].

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