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This marathoner just completed his 237th barefoot marathon

This 65-year-old marathoner trains 70 to 100 kilometres a week barefoot

Wu Jaise barefoot runner

In the days of performance-enhancing footwear, 65-year-old runner Wu Jiase refuses to make the jump to wearing shoes, completing his 237th barefoot marathon at Sunday’s Xiamen Marathon in Xiamen, China.

Jiase, known by his nickname “the barefoot fairy” because of his unique running style, completed the marathon in five hours and 16 minutes wearing his signature pink T-shirt, blue singlet and rolled-up sweatpants. He has a barefoot best of 3:06 from the Beijing International Marathon in 2007, when he was 50. 

Wu jaise
Jaise, 65, posing with his barefoot statue on the Xiamen Marathon course. Photo: Xiamen Marathon/Facebook

His first barefoot marathon was 20 years ago, in Xiamen, and he has since completed 236 marathons all over the country. Jiase doesn’t only race barefoot, he reportedly trains 70 to 100 kilometres a week in his hometown of Quanzhou. The reasoning behind his barefoot running is that a marathon will hurt the soles of your feet no matter what, so running barefoot is a test of his strength and perseverance. 

Jiase is a celebrity within the Chinese running community—the organizers of the Xiamen Marathon have created a statue of him. He also ran a leg of the Olympic torch relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. 

Jaise at the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch relay. Photo: W/C

His goal is to continue to run barefoot until age 85. His health has also allowed him to give back; he says he’s been able to donate over 390 litres of blood since he’s started running marathons.

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