News & Notes 646:Auroville Barefoot Run 2016

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646 icon.jpg   News & Notes 646
23 April 2016

Auroville Barefoot Run 2016

The 10k Barefoot Run started from Certitude on Sunday with 55 runners and it has been a huge success!

Participants came from as far as Chennai, Tirupati, Pondicherry, Auroville, and the villages around Auroville. The success is entirely thanks to the volunteers (Aurovilians, Guests and friends from the Ashram) who came to assist the runners, marked the route, set up aid stations, took care of time keeping and helped in any possible way to make sure that the runners would find their way and have an enjoyable Auroville experience. Thanks for making this possible!

Congratulations to all of those who took part in this barefoot adventure, from the fastest with 46 min to the last with 1h40 min. Running barefoot through the Auroville forest is a treat and we thank to all those who have helped to buy, protect and plant the earth of Auroville and turn it into this admirable and unique green wonder over the past 48 years.

On Sunday, three runners were sponsored thanks to LFAU and the process of the fundraising has been transferred to the Unity Fund with the aim to buy more land for Auroville and its greenbelt. Our intention is that with the next edition, all runners will be sponsored so we can raise more money for this noble cause of protecting the integrity of Auroville and its greenbelt which is under threat from developers and real estate agents.

We came up with three ideas:

  1. Let’s do it twice a year. Once in April, like this time and once either around Sri Aurobindo’s birthday in August, or the last Sunday of October, when the monsoon has started and running barefoot is really fun and we can get ashramites before their school holidays and 2nd of December practice which starts on 1st November.
  2. We explain to each runner, especially the ones who will come more and more from Pondy Chennai and other Indian cities after the success of the first race, that they get the privilege to run in one of the greenest routes in Tamil Nadu (and probably India’s plains), because of the efforts of Auroville’s pioneers, who planted 3 million trees – but that this forest is endangered. Also in the Indian tradition, doing a ‘praikrama’ of the Matrimandir is a unique privilege and gives a spiritual symbol to this race. Thus we ask (without imposing it), that each runner tries to get a sponsor for himself or herself and we set a minimum rate per km (I would say Rs.500). In this way, I am sure we can raise at least 10 lakhs per race. No registration fee, we keep everything simple and friendly as we did this time, so the cost for us is minimal.
  3. We will mark a permanent 10 KM route staring from Certitude, more or less in the line of last Sunday's race, so that people can practice and we can use it, even in monsoon time (chalk gets erased by rain).

Eric, Frederick, François