Garret Doherty is an Irish runner of 37 years old, living in Dublin. What does he do? Backwards running (also called retro-running)!
When it all began
It all started on the first sunny spring day of 2009 in the park, next to where he lives.
He was running without his shirt, letting the bright sun warm his chest, and decided to turn backwards when the shades in the park hid his chest from the sun. It was like a spiritual call to him.
His love for running, and more particularly, for backwards running started then.
Since 2009, he has won world championship titles of backwards running the 1K, 3K and 5K races. The first title was less than year after he started backwards running. The evolution was so fast that he got addicted to it.
More than just a sport
While backwards running has a lot to do with the body, its benefits goes beyond that.
It helps to improve your posture, keeping it upright. It burns calories very fast, and it develops your muscles that you don’t really use with running forward.
It also gives you amazing confidence, improves your awareness, your balance, and coordination. You’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment through backwards running.
Backwards running is even a way of life – a philosophy in the daily life where you enjoy your surrounding environment, acknowledge others, and enjoy the present moment.
An inspiring discipline
Garret Doherty witnessed how this unorthodox sport fascinate people – they might question it at first, but they always find themselves loving it and paying attention to backwards runners. It makes them so curious. Backwards running connects people.
Kids are the ones that are the most fascinated about it. Garret Doherty, decided then to teach backwards running to the fans of the discipline in the school. The children especially need to know how to run and walk properly to maintain an upright posture all their life. Backwards running is the solution to get that posture and to walk and run properly.
Tips to start backwards running with
First of all, don’t be afraid about other people and their opinions. Free yourself from their judgement. Then run backwards on the grass, the sand, in the park and follow a lane to help you structure the course. If you run with a partner, you can mix run with him. One is running forward while the other one is running backward and you switch every 400m. Mixed run is the way to ensure face-to-face communication and bonding with each other.
A tip from Garret: try backwards running at least twice. Perhaps the more you run, the more you like it. Give backwards running a chance!
If you run in Dublin, you might bump into Garret, who would be more than happy to give you tips and advice on backwards running.
Backwards running: Olympics?
Backwards runners are striving to get their discipline to the Olympic Games of 2020 in Japan. There is a petition you can sign (here) in order to help the community to be present in Japan. This could be a great opportunity to bring something new and refreshing to running, a traditional worldwide competition that has stayed fundamentally the same.
Backwards running might just be the new forward running.