Running Barefoot to Guinness!

Have you ever run a few kilometres barefoot, that toofor a Guinness Records, and not shoed with the best sneakers in market for your diabetes, weight-problems or so? If not, here may be a chance to run barefoot or ride your pride, the bullet, for a special cause.

Taking inspiration from the very first ‘original’ marathon run from Marathon to Athens in Greece by barefoot-Pheidippides,some 2500 years ago, BarefootRunnersIndia is organising a Navi Mumbai Half Marathon 2011. Last year, in its first edition held on 12 December, 2010, with 306 barefoot runners, the organisation successfully registered to Guinness World records as the Largest Barefoot Race. This year, with a larger goal and over 1000 barefoot-runners the record is about to be re-built! Moreover, all barefoot participants will get a certification of participation in a World Record event too.

If you are confused that how will a half-marathon be run without shoes, just a titbit that it’s you who actually runs for a few meters, 6kilometers, half or a full marathon and never are the shoes that you bought some other day at that flashing store. According to a study published in Jan 2010 issue of Nature by Daniel E. Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, and colleagues, “Humans have engaged in endurance running for millions of years, but the modern running shoe was not invented until the 1970s.

For most of human evolutionary history, runners were either barefoot or wore minimal footwear such as sandals or moccasins with smaller heels and little cushioning relative to modern running shoes. We wondered how runners coped with the impact caused by the foot colliding with the ground before the invention of the modern shoe. … Until 1972, when the modern athletic shoe was invented by Nike, people ran in very thin-soled shoes, had strong feet, and had much lower incidence of knee injuries”

Contemporarily, Christopher McDougall McDougall studied the Tarahumara Indian tribe’s ability to run ‘barefoot’ ultra distances (over 100 miles) at incredible speeds, without getting the routine injuries of most American runners. He came up with a New York Best seller on the art of running, ‘Born to Run’.

“If running shoes never existed, more people would be running, If more people ran, fewer would be dying of degenerative heart disease, sudden cardiac arrest, hypertension, blocked arteries, diabetes and most other deadly ailments of the Western world, If that’s a staggering amount of guilt to lay at Nike’s feet, Nike already knew it.” – McDougall

Interesting is the consortium of the BarefootRunnersIndia with the BisonsRideHard riders. While BarefootRunners emphasize on running barefoot or minimalist running, the Bisons are proud riders of Bullet, a machine that’s less mech and more man! Bisons Ride Hard represents a similar-minded Bulleters group with members all over from Greater Mumbai and a single passion to Ride Hard, Ride Safe, and Ride Miles with Smiles!

Anand Anantharaman, 55, is one of the managing trustees of the BarefootRunnersIndia Organisation. To his credit goes a number of Marathons, Mumbai and worldwide, as well as the Great Wall of China –run and North Pole Marathon 2011. Participation in Athens Classic marathon, in 2010, exactly after 2500 years of the original run by Pheidippedes, inspired him to run barefoot as the great messenger did years back! The thought later gave birth to Barefoot Runners India organisation and Guinness Record Navi Mumbai Barefoot Marathon 2010. The organisation is proud about their association with youth-icon Milind Soman, who has given his consent to be a part of the Marathon 2011 barefoot or in minimals.

On the Barefoot Runners India’s feat to register a Guinness World Record for largest ever Barefoot Half marathon with over 1000 participants, Bisons have committed to voluntarily marshal the ride with water and first-aid in reach and every bend, every corner, everywhere on the scheduled route. As the Bisons commit, ‘to meet such exigencies, Bullet riders, loaded with 40+kg water, first-aid and provisions will constantly marshal the route. Help, is never more than a shout away’.

It’s easy to be a part of this Guinness Book of World Records event, either as a barefoot-runner or as Bullet-Marshal. To register for Navi Mumbai Barefoot Half-Marathon 2011, you may visit their site at You may take part in the barefoot-run or minimalist run, or even can registered for Half Marathon-Running Shoes, and 6 km-Fitness run too. International registrations can also be done there. If you have it in you, you may register for the Bisonhood and be a part of Marshall Team at Your ticket to Guinness was never so near!

Punit Dubey

Professionally a Geologist; a Royal Enfield rider otherwise. Naive blogger and photographer. He is randomly chaotic inside. Loves to live the life as it comes, submissive in nature, but quite decisive! Loves to be loved, hates being hated. Smile is what one notices in him after his eyes.