Supriya Patil of Uran showed the world that one need not have fancy shoes to run a marathon, and being barefoot was the best way. Yesterday, she came third overall in the women's half marathon, clocking 01:23:15 at the ninth edition of the Mumbai Marathon.
She ran barefoot not by choice, but because she didn't have money to buy herself a pair of shoes. Her parents, who earn a living by selling vegetables can barely make both ends meet. But Patil is determined to make it big.
"I quit studies as my parents could not pay my school fees.
They run the household selling green vegetables. I ran barefoot as I didn't have the money to buy a pair of shoes. With the USD 900 prize money the first thing I'll do is to buy shoes. My parents and myself will share the remaining prize money," said the 20-year-old, who aims to win the half marathon next year.
What a sight to see!
Visually impaired 56-year-old Amarjeet Singh Chawla, who lost his vision at the age of 44 after suffering from Macular Degeneration (which results in a loss of vision) yesterday completed the 21 km half marathon in 3 hrs, 40 mins.
Chawla, who has been participating in the Mumbai Marathon since 2004, said he was totally shattered after losing his vision, but was encouraged to do something different after participating in the 7 km dream run in the first edition.
"I consulted many doctors but nothing could be done about my eyesight. After participating in the dream run in 2004, I thought I still have more to do in life. Since then, I have participated in many swimming competitions, done mountaineering at various places and took part in the half marathon every year," he said.
In 2004, Chawla won gold in the All India swimming competition for blind. He also became the first blind man to climb 19,800-feet Kailash Mansarovar -- Dolma Pass in China in 2009. Chawla's friend Anil Solanki escorted him while running the half marathon.