Julia Chi Taylor Barefoot Runner

Julia Chi Taylor Barefoot Runner

I have loved running for as long as I can remember; the daily practice of going for a run is as natural for me as walking to the shop to get a morning newspaper… It has been a rhythm, a ritual, a routine that I have enjoyed my entire life.

I have made running each day a priority and a practice, so that it has the effect of a morning meditation…

My life’s work has been to find silence in the step, and silence within me. This orientation of my running as a spiritual practice has also been lifelong… The added complication of being a ‘fast runner’, deemed ‘good at running’ only served to deepen my practice as it offered a huge distraction away from the silence, in the form of the chimera of success… That fed my unresolved need to find approval and love outside of myself.

However, it was on the running road that I learnt many lesson…

I ran for my country at international level, two of my best results being winning the Dublin City Marathon in 1985 and placing 7th woman (3rd British) in the 1986 London marathon in a time of 2.36.31…

In stretching for excellence, I found my way back to trusting each step and running as an expression of myself, rather than trying to ‘gain anything at all…’

And so the running track has actually and metaphorically lead me round and round in circles in order to work out how to shed the illusion that I can ‘get’ anything through running, and has leant itself to a life of running to learn how to be free… How to be me, free of any shackles of pressure and push to get anywhere, or seek anything outside myself…

I have over the years learnt to let go and trust each step and where it leads me…

Which in the past year has been to circle once again to the place I knew before, and to run without shoes, barefoot and free, just as I did as a child.

How the adventure came about…

In September 2016 I started to run barefoot again… It suited my feet, my body and my soul. In January 2017 I shed my shoes completely and my feet and I haven’t looked back.

I am grateful to my Skinners socks for extreme conditions; but essentially my lifestyle is a barefoot one, and my feet are loving the freedom of no shoes again… My running style resembles that of the younger Julia, who was barefoot too, and my body feels more free and supple than it did before…

For many months my feet took the journey at an easy pace… In the beginning we didn’t even run every day – my feet and I – gradually my feet were willing to cover more miles, and in July this year I realised that 64 kilometres had been covered in one week with no plan…

At the same time a friend contacted me to let me know she was racing a road race in Valencia in Spain… I entered the race and started to regularly cover 40 miles each week in preparation for the event. I was thoroughly enjoying the commitment of running more miles again.

My body and my spirit suit the daily practice of the running ritual, my meditation on the move and it lends itself to an expansiveness of energy, of thought and of silence within…

It was during this time that the seed of ‘El Plan’ to run across Spain in these bare feet of mine rose up from within me…

I can’t exactly remember how it came about, but the seed was sown… I contacted Maggie to see if she would be willing to support my journey… She was and since then she and her husband Jack have constructed the route starting in Suances on the North coast of Spain, 1000 kilometres across the country to finish in Almñnecar on the South coast…

El Plan was in action and it now has a life of its own…

Raising money for Friends of Sussex Hospices was a natural step for me. Kathy the chair is a great friend of mine and I have been alongside her work in the charity for 20 years now. The cause is very resonant with my own work because I have had the privilege to work in the lives of others for the last forty years.

And it was the same flow in deciding to raise money for Cudeca Hospice in Malaga…
I am running across Spain, I spend most of my time now in Spain.

I love the country, the people, the language…

And so it was a natural step that I would also raise money for a Spanish Hospice – who echo the philosophy of Friends of Sussex Hospices and for my own life’s work

The essence of my work has been to help others to clear away the blocks that have prevented them living as they desire, true to themselves. It has been said that the biggest regret of dying people is that they have lived according to the expectations of others, rather than to the calling of their own heart and inner voice.

And so it is natural for me that I would be taking a journey along a route I have never been, in my bare feet – a metaphor for the vulnerability and unknown path of the journey we are all on from birth to death – and that I should be raising funds and awareness for end of life care…

The journey is an inclusive one… On this site there is a calendar of where I will be, and I invite you to join me, to share, to run, to eat and talk as I travel, and also to come to my 59th birthday party in Almuñecar on May 12th 2017, when I arrive after 1000k on the road…

Comments (4) - Leave a Comment

  • Richard Durling Reply

    Fabulous to see you today Julia (in Nero’s)! You look great ,as ever ! Very interested in what you will be doing in Spain – – I have had a “love affair” with this beautiful country for as far back as I can remember ! ! !

  • JUAN MARTIN LOPEZ SANCHEZ Reply

    Hola Julia. Te escribo desde Granada. Seguiré tu reto con especial interés, ya que también corro barefoot y también me siento más vivo desde que piso el suelo sin intermediarios. Tu proyecto me parece muy hermoso. Me gustaría acompañarte corriendo cuando estés cerca de mi ciudad, o el día de tu llegada a Almuñécar.
    Good luck and tail wind!!!!!!

    • juliachitaylor@gmail.com Reply

      Hola Juan Martin, Muchas Gracias por tu mesaje! Me alegro tu gusta mi reto, y – si – descalza esta muy especial y con puede sentir la tereno es mas posible ser verdad dentro pienso. por favor unete mi!! muy bien y emociante ! deseando de verte cerca de Granada y Almuñecar 🙂

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