Argh! The Cops!

Once again, I’ve run afoul of the law. Literally.

It happens three times or so each year. I’m out for a happy barefoot run, when, all of a sudden, a police car swoops to the side of the road beside me, lights flashing. A window is rolled down, and I hear the ominous words…

“Excuse me, sir.”

This morning (the first nice day we’ve had in a long time, I might add), I was enjoying a short, easy-paced barefoot run around my local ring road. About 2K from home, not one, but two, cop cars came to a rather sudden stop beside me. Flashing lights, cruisers angled against the curb so they were actually blocking traffic, and very quickly a cop standing on either side of me while I was questioned.

Yes, you’ve got the picture. A white-haired gent in running clothes (but no shoes!), and two young, well-muscled cops, complete with guns and flak jackets. Said older gent being questioned about why he’s running without shoes, where he lives, if he’s ever been injured. etc. Evidently, a “concerned citizen” had phoned in a report that he/she had seen “a man running without shoes,” and the cops had to come by to ensure the public’s safety.

One of the cops even called in an ID on his onboard laptop, I guess to make sure I wasn’t some sort of known criminal. While he did so, the other cop stood just off to my side, hand resting casually on his holstered gun. Maybe he was afraid I’d make a break for the nearest traffic light, or go berserk in the way that barefoot runners are known to. I’ll call the image to mind again – a 64 year-old, 144 lb. runner, barefoot, clad in tights, a long-sleeve running shirt, and a bandanna, in between two thirty-something, 180-or-so lb. cops in street armour, with weapons at the ready. Right, I’m so dangerous.

Other runners get waved at or chased by dogs – I get hassled by interfering busybodies and the state’s paramilitaries. This happens all too often – and I’m hugely, hugely pissed off by it. Just sayin’, that’s all.


  1. Greetings, Alan. Met you on the street couple of times and, unexpectedly, stumbled upon on the net, believe it or not. You’re too cool to forget, hehe.
    Totally agree about feeling overprotected when it’s NOT needed, which drives me nuts the same way. Makes me wonder if “concerned citizens” are the ones in desperate need of brain flushing, though. Yes, seems like pretty little is happening and both sides are extremely bored. Above said, I’d disregard unfortunate accidents and keep on it…

  2. Well, I didn’t even know Canadian cops carried guns. I’ve said it before, there’s just not enough crime in Canada – they’ve nothing else to do except harass you. Maybe it’s the bandana, you gangsta πŸ˜‰

    1. They’re heavily armed, particularly in urban areas. The guys who stopped me could have been with a SWAT team. As for the bandana… Heck, I think I look pretty innocuous!

  3. That’s pretty crazy. I’ve read about people getting stopped. At least I do most of my barefoot running on trails… Seems like a big waste of resources. Ah, well.

  4. Not again! I suppose, looking for a positive spin, if all the police have to do round your way is harass people based on how they are dressed then crime levels must be very low? And if that’s the case, perhaps state funding for law enforcement could better deployed elsewhere?

    1. In fact, crime rates have gone down steadily here in recent years. In spite of that, the police continue to present higher budget demands each year to city council, arguing, as far as I can make out, that their increasing budgets are the reason for the lowered crime rates. (They’re not very good at sociological analysis, nor, I think, do they care to be.) And yes, the money could certainly be better spent elsewhere, e.g., to address the very real need for social housing in the region. Go figure. πŸ™‚

  5. That’s absolutely incredible! That’s never happened to me in Scotland – perhaps our lot have more than enough to do chasing neds around. What wierd attitudes people have. That said, I have a Google news alert set up with the keywords ‘barefoot running’, and the articles that come up are sometimes about criminals being chased barefoot down the street (or sometimes normal people chasing after burglers) so I suppose there is a link. Somewhere. I heard from some source that it’s illegal in Canada to drive without shoes, is that really true?

    1. Let’s just say that the policing model followed by our local authorities isn’t one I agree with. πŸ™‚ As for driving without shoes, it’s quite legal, in all of Canada’s provinces and territories. Not surprisingly, I do it all the time. πŸ™‚

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