Amado Ottley | Barefoot Ultra Runner
Words & Images: Amado Ottley
"I’ve come a long way from the Caribbean to the West Midlands, in many ways more than one.
I’ve never run in shoes my whole life. Most of my childhood was spent barefoot, it was always more comfortable to me than squashed in shoes, being barefoot suited my fearless nature. I used to run and then back wild donkeys from my house near the dormant volcano to the side of the Atlantic coast - two to three miles of mostly trail and pitted road. I climbed mango trees barefoot and I used to run cross country barefoot also – which remains the norm in Nevis.
I remember seeing my wife running in Luna sandals back in the Caribbean and thinking to myself, what is she doing? My wife Susie, kept trying to get me into running when I was back in the Caribbean and told me that I’m built for running. I kept brushing her off.
In 2015 we made a move to the UK where Susie still tried getting me to get into running. I still kept on trying to brush her off. In Susie’s words, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink!” In 2018 I decided to listen to her and went out for a run, and it felt amazing. I started running in Vivobarefoot shoes and then on to Luna sandals.
I love running because it makes me feel free and so alive. I did a few marathon distances and decided that it’s just not enough for me. During the first lockdown I really increased my mileage. During the second lockdown I decided it’s time to do some solo ultra running. I went out and did a 50k and then went out the following day and did a 10k with some friends. I did a few solo 50k’s week after week. I found my niche, and my tribe.
I have never been one for quiet subtle clothes – I love the amazing splash of colour that Flanci brings to my running (and my Instagram J). Every runner does amazing things and should revel in their personal achievements and ability in fun activewear.
The running community is an amazing thing. There is an ongoing Barefoot Crew 5k group where we go out and do a 5k or more barefoot every Thursday, that’s where I met Vic (The Happy Runner – another amazing Flanci Ambassador!). Vic and I were chatting about ultra running and that she had a race coming up on the 11th of April, but that she couldn’t leave Wales until the 12th, so she asked me if I would do it. I said yes please! She then asked me if I’d ever raced those distances before, I said no, but how hard can it be, it’s all in your head, I’d be fine. I loved the 41 mile race, finishing in a decent time was amazing too. I’m planning a 100k next, and from there – who knows?"
You can follow Amado on Instagram here.