Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Barefoot Bandito

Some things you find that a lot of runners have in common is their generosity and willingness to take up a cause. Attempting physical feats give many an opportunity to raise money and awareness for causes close to their hearts. As you know Team Tizzel is part of Team AllEars: a Disney-centered running team focused on raising money to fight breast cancer. We'll talk more about our fundraising efforts in the upcoming weeks since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In today's post we're going to focus on a person we met in Pocatello, Idaho that has a unique goal.

We mentioned that Holly ran a few miles with Eddie Vega in her Pocatello Marathon race report.  Holly discovered this barefoot runner was doing so to raise awareness for his cause - Soles4Souls - a non-profit organization focused on clothing impoverished children in order to help curb illness and disease. We thought running Pocatello barefoot was amazing in-and-of-itself, however we were more inspired by Eddie when we read the personal message on his fundraising page:
In honor of my late mother and father, Rita Vilbar Vega and Charlie Macuto Vega, I will attempt to run a marathon (26.2 miles or 42 kilometers) completely BAREFOOT in all 50 United States and 7 Continents to raise awareness for the poor children who have no shoes. My plan is to complete this goal in five years by June 22, 2018.

Through the Soles4Souls charity program, every $1 donated will provide one pair of shoes to an impoverished child living in the Micronesian Islands and the Philippines. Currently, there are an estimated 300 million children all over the world who lack basic footwear, and you can help provide them with valuable protection from harmful wounds and infectious diseases. 
My goal is to generate enough donations for 262 pairs of shoes for every marathon I run BAREFOOT in each of the 50 United States and 7 Continents for a grand total of at least 14,934 pairs of shoes. However, my journey will not end here because there would always be a poor child somewhere around the world without shoes to wear and, according to the United Nations, there are 196 countries in this world. I think you can pretty much guess what my next goal would be. 
By the way, if running a marathon seems daunting, imagine running it BAREFOOT. That's what I initially thought until I finally had the guts to run my 68th marathon completely BAREFOOT. It was then that I noticed how much attention it garnered from other runners and spectators which kind of made me feel like a "Rock Star". That's when it occurred to me that I can actually use this as a way to bring awareness and raise funds for my favorite charities. 
If I succeed, I will become the first person ever to run a marathon BAREFOOT in all 50 United States and 7 Continents. Note, that there are currently only 62 persons in the world that have completed such a feat and that's with wearing a pair of SHOES! On another side note, as of June 22, 2013, I completed a marathon in all 50 United States wearing Vibrams "Near-Barefoot" Shoes.
Over the weekend we saw a post on Eddie's Facebook page stating he finished his 13th barefoot marathon - in Australia (continent number 4 for him). Want to help out? Go over to Eddie's page on and make a donation.

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