Sole for a cause

Sole for a cause

Sole for a cause
Most of us think of ways to reconnect with the world — go on adventure trips, explore the offbeat locations of the City and more — but ever considered going barefoot for all your expeditions? As part of the ‘Coorg Reconnect Festival’, the Coorg Wellness Foundation, the Coorg Wildlife Society and the United Sisters Foundation are jointly organising the first barefoot marathon.

Milind Soman and Nikki Ponappa are the face of the event and are hoping to meet barefoot runners from across the country to share their stories.

“This is going to be the first barefoot marathon in the world, so you can image how excited we are about it. Barefoot running in general is becoming popular around the world and to be able to do it in a beautiful place like Coorg is a plus point,” says Milind.

Much has been spoken and lots has been heard and read. But this time, one can take the time to reconnect with the earth and be their innermost being. With the initiative called ‘Reconnect’, the organisers are inviting people from around the country to participate in the marathon.

“We have been getting a lot of entries from around the country. People from North East, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu and even Delhi have registered. We didn’t think it would generate such a huge response, but we’re thrilled to start the first of many in a grand way,” shares Nikki.

But it’s not just the barefoot running marathon that’s the primary focus. The focus is also on supporting rehabilitation of elephants in Coorg and on afforestation. Milind says, “The whole idea of running barefoot was to feel connected with the world. When we go to holy places, we take off our shoes and that makes sense because we’re trying to be one with the world. There are also many rural communities who walk around without shoes and live in harmony with the environment. So this marathon is symbolic to the that kind of emotion.”

And what’s the one piece of advice the ironman wants to share with the runners? “Have fun. Don’t do anything that you don’t want to do. The most important thing about running a marathon is to train yourself. If you’re running too fast and you can’t talk, you’re doing it wrong. So just have fun and everything else will fall in place,” he says.

But when asked what he thinks will be some of the challenges he might face during this marathon, he laughs and says, “I won’t be running this marathon. But the challenges I have right now is being the organiser. It’s a lot of work getting everything in place and also to make sure that the runners are comfortable during the run.”

However, he runs on a regular basis and does not let anything stop him. “I make sure that I run whenever I can. I don’t set any goals for myself; I run till I have a meeting to attend. Running for me is a way to de-stress and get energised for the day, not exhausted. So I’m always up for a run!”

The marathon will take place on December 5 in Coorg and December 6 in Bengaluru. For more details, log on to www.thebarefootmarathon.com
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