In a bold move designed to gain attention for the lives and liberties of the running community known as “Heel Strikers,” a band of 150 Oregon runners took over a local YMCA. “We demand that our grievances be heard,” the group said.
Before assembling at the “Y” to make their political stand, the Heel Striking Militia gathered outside the tiny town of Wendewerun, Oregon, to throw their old shoes in a massive heap and set them on fire. Smoke billowed up in a long column and then floated down the streets of Wendewerun, sending old ladies scurrying for the cover of the general store and the fresh air inside.
“Here’s the problem,” the lead spokesperson for the Heel Strikers maintained. “For decades, we’ve been running peacefully by landing on our heels. But now we’re being told that’s not good enough. Companies like Newton are trying to force us to run on big fat lugs under our forefoot. We think that’s ridiculous. And it might be un-American.”
“Even some Kenyans run by landing on their heels,” the spokesperson went on to say. “And we think that’s proof there is evolutionary support for the existence of heel striking. If people of African origin can run on their heels, then all the human race should be allowed to do the same.”
At that comment, a woman emerged from the crowd holding up a sign that says, “Eve was a heel striker.” When asked what the sign meant, she was forced to admit. “Actually, the serpent struck her heel. But it’s pretty close to the same thing.” Genesis 3:15
The protesters swarmed the Wendewerun YMCA around 9:30 a.m. following the impromptu shoe bonfire, and then tied the doors shut with shoelaces taken from the running footwear they’d earlier burned. The various brightly colored shoelaces strung around the door handles made for a festive scene inside. “It’s rather pretty, don’t you think?” a woman wearing skin tight activewear pronounced. “If we don’t accomplish anything with this protest, at least we’ve created some really cool public art.”
Wendewerun police did not know quite how to handle the protest. “We don’t think there’s a person in there that weighs more than 170 lbs.,” he admitted. “And they left the back door open. So they’re not very good at this.”
After three hours of being sealed up in the YMCA, the group sent out cell phone texts to relatives. Requests included sterile wipes. “I have a really itchy butthole,” one protester wrote to her boyfriend. “I usually shower right after a run. This is making me crazy.”
The group launched an obviously hastily assembled website titled HeelStrikers.com, with the subtitle, “We’re not slower. We’re just deliberate.”
News reporters allowed inside the YMCA by the protesters witnessed groups of runners trotting around the gym in solidarity with the cause. “But I saw a couple people clearly using a midfoot strike,” a reporter for area television station WWWR admitted. “So I’m not sure everyone in there is completely on board, or even gets the concept behind the protest.”
Chants of “Heel Strike! Heel Strike!” went up several times during the first day of the protest. Meanwhile, several runners quietly approached the TV crews asking if they had any PowerBars or Clif Bars on their person.
“We’re going to hold out until the world stops picking on us for running like nature intended,” said Jameson, a man who would only give his first name. “My wife does not know I’m here yet,” he admitted. “And she’d be pissed. Because she’s definitely a mid-foot striker. At least going up hills.”
Local officials expressed little worry the Heel Striking protesters would hold out long. “We frankly think most of them will faint from dehydration before 7:30 tonight. We turned off the water and the electricity in the Y. And no one in there thought to bring many fluids with them. Plus those toilets are not that good. We’ve been meaning to get to that.”
Heel Strikers is not a nationally affiliated organization. But if you enter heelstrikers.com in a browser you wind up at a web store for Browns Shoe Center. http://www.wherefeetloveus.com/.
So perhaps this is only a promotional stunt.