Monday, December 30, 2013

Not Just Any Old Shoes

I gave these shoes away the other day. To a group who was going to hand them on to runners who couldn't afford to buy their own shoes. And even though I hadn't worn them for a while, I found it hard to see them go.

I'm not the sort of runner who likes to horde their shoes. Yes, I have a few pairs on the go but once I start waking up with my feet aching, walking around the house like an eight year old, I retire them - generally to the bin. I'd held onto these ones because of a previous shoe collection but really wasn't prepared for how I'd feel giving them away.

I'd bought them right at the beginning of 2013. Just a few weeks after being diagnosed with low testosterone levels. Just a few weeks after starting treatment. These shoes weren't just any old shoes. They represented an ending and a new beginning - an end to feeling sick and tired all the time without anyone being able to tell me why and a beginning of a stronger, healthier, happier me.

They represented hope.

So when I went into my wardrobe to find them I was hit by a sudden urge to put a little note in each pair for the new owners.

I didn't end up doing it - Christmas shopping, finishing work for the year, last minute catch-ups with friends, excuses, excuses, excuses - but if I had it would have gone something like this.

Dear New Owner,

I'm so excited that my beloved shoes have found a new home. I hope they give you as much joy as they've given me.

They've seen me safely through long runs, short runs, fast runs, slow runs. They've done some races - a couple of short ones and a half marathon. They've run on roads, on paths, on grass, in the rain, in the dust, in the light and in the dark. They've run with friends and they've run when the only sounds were that of the birds and the  noise that they made when they hit the ground.

They've run me from unhealthy back to healthy again. They've run away all the stress and frustration and anxiety that comes from living and run me to a place of happiness and calm. They've helped me be a better and nicer wife and mother.

I have to apologise for the smell. But just know that the smell of sweat can be a satisfying one - the satisfaction of knowing that it was hard but you did it, the satisfaction in having had the courage to give it a go, the satisfaction that you're looking after your body, mind and soul by putting one foot in front of the other.

I hope that these shoes are the start of a life-long love affair with running or the continuation of an obsession. And I hope that your dreams are envisioned and realised in these shoes.

Happy running.


A Runner


  1. A most fitting and excellent letter, a great way to say goodbye to them xx

  2. Great choice, Char ! Last year I also gave my old running shoes to a Nigerian man who needed them. Two year ago I took them to a recycle center but the first choice is the best one.
    Most runners use old running shoes for lots of stuff and don't throw away them as waste.

  3. Beautiful letter Char. I've got a few pairs ready for the donation pile. Not sure why they're getting harder to part with. Happy New Year!

  4. Love the letter. I am quite attached to my first pair of HOkas which seem to keep me healthier. I still have them. I do like to donate my shoes when possible.

  5. Beautiful letter. We, the runners, in one year more or less have 3/4 old pair of shoes. They shared with us many adventures and many memories, it is difficult to say goodbye. Usually I give them to some friends of mine to walk.
    Happy New Year to you and family.
    P.S.: The last photo is priceless.

  6. awwwww. and how fitting that they are going to runners who can't afford their own shoes.

  7. I totally think you should have included the note. It's beautiful and would have made me want to put them on right away and get to running!

  8. Love the note (that you would have written) to the new recipients of the shoes!!
    I'm so happy that 2013 has been a year of returning to good health and strong running for you!
    Happy New Year!!!

  9. Just catching up on your posts as I have been offline for a while after moving house! I was moved by the post about your son moving away. How far away is he? Glad that running is helping you cope. Hope all goes well for him.

    Happy New Year!

  10. I love this! Shoes do mean something...I give away my runners as well but retired the runners I ran my first marathon in and have them safely in my closet for safekeeping.... :)

  11. Love the letter. You must go through a lot of shoes! I can't imagine!

  12. Happy New Year Char! All the best!! The only reason I'm not into barefoot running is that I love buying news shoes! I don't think anyone would want my old ones though. I only chuck them when they are worn down to the road!

  13. I am the same…I have a hard time parting with old running shoes, even though they do nothing but take up space in my closet. But you did the right thing and a new owner will surely love them. Happy new year!


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