India: Barefoot 61-year-old wins marathon

  • 18 December 2013

A 61-year-old sari-clad farm labourer running barefoot has beaten better-equipped competitors to win her first ever marathon, it has emerged.

Lata Bhagwan Kare performed the feat wearing a nauvari - a traditional sari named after the term for a single nine-yard (8.2m) piece of cloth - Indian newspaper Daily News & Analysis reports. She started the race in the western town of Baramati wearing slippers. When one came off, she discarded the other too. Within minutes, she had apparently left all the other runners way behind.

"I used to go for morning walks daily, but I had never run. If I had even tried to run, people would have found it strange and they would have asked me uncomfortable questions," Kare says. She tells the paper she felt "a little awkward" at the starting line as the other participants were staring at her outfit. "However, when the race began and I started overtaking them one by one, I gained my energy." Throughout the 26-mile race, she kept telling herself she wanted to win - "And I did it." She says she'd like to take part in more races, but "only God knows whether I remain as strong then as I am today".

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