In the first lap of the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships’ 3,000-meter race, Harvard distance runner Kieran Tuntivate abandoned his left shoe when it came loose around 300 meters into his run. Electing to go without the shoe meant that Tuntivate had to complete the rest of that competition while exposing the skin on his bare foot to the harsh texture of an indoor track. He shared the results on Instagram and they’re about what you’d expect. (Click on the arrow to get to the photo of the foot that’s missing a few pieces.)
Strangely, that photo might actually be understating just how much pain Tuntivate was in during the final stretch of the race, and how much damage he’d done to his foot. As he told the Washington Post:
I probably noticed it about 2,000 meters in. I felt the skin start to peel away, and then it clumped up underneath my foot, and it felt like running on a pebble. The final lap was probably the hardest. It was a tough sprint to the finish, and the curves on the indoor track are so tight, I felt my foot slipping. I really zoned out pretty hard during that middle section between my shoe coming off and when it started to get painful.
My last hundred meters was really a blur. I don’t remember much aside from a little bit of pain in my foot, and I saw my coach with 50 meters to go waving me on. I was happy to be done with it in the end.
As Tuntivate crossed the finish line, it was clear that he wasn’t exactly feeling the excitement of a first-place finisher. Within seconds, Tuntivate was in the arms of a trainer, who helped him get onto a table where so his wound could be cleaned. A YouTube video from a Harvard student captured the scenes after the race, and showed what the runner’s foot looked like in the immediate aftermath. (Warning: It was extremely gross and alarmingly red.)
While this would be a debilitating injury for any normal human being, Tuntivate showed the true insanity that comes with being a competitive runner the next day and tried to ready himself for the 5,000-meter race he had that afternoon.
The trainer gave me a lot of freedom in my own choice. As long as I was comfortable running, he was pretty sure it couldn’t get worse. About a mile into my warm up, I got used it to it. I sat down with my coach just before the race, and he set up a plan with my teammate to help me get through the beginning section to get me comfortable in the race.
He went on to win that race.