Why do you see people running in red socks in Cape Town every Friday?

You may have seen them – runners sporting knee-high red socks and a big smile – and wondered what was up with this fashion quirk. Here’s what you need to know about Cape Town’s Red Sock revolution…

In 2007 John McInroy, the founder of the Unogwaja Challenge, was forced to part ways with a close friend. Inspired by the story of a World War Two veteran who always wore red socks to an annual Remembrance Day ceremony as a symbol of friendship, courage, and hope, McInroy and his friend decided that they would wear red socks every Friday, regardless of what they were doing.

The Red Sock Friday movement, which is all about being inspired, positive and making a difference, caught on quickly. In fact, there are now people in over 70 countries who don red socks on Fridays to express the sentiment that we are all united in our humanity.

So, what does any of this have to do with running?

There are a number of free Friday morning runs organised by enthusiastic Red Sockers around Cape Town. The runs are not particularly serious and vary from one week to the next in terms of distance and pace. These runs, which kick off bright and early, are usually followed by a quick cup of coffee before everyone heads off to shower before work.

You don’t have to be a particularly proficient runner to join in the fun. All you need are running shoes, a pair of red socks – which can be bought from the organisers of the run – and the ShoOops! spirit. It’s a Red Sockers’ thing; you’ll be saying it in no time.

Regular Red Sock runs are held in Mouille Point, Claremont and Stellenbosch. If there isn’t already a Red Sock run in your area, you can always start your own!