Running 1,000 km across Spain barefoot to mark 59th birthday
A former international marathon runner has spent 52 days running across Spain barefoot through snow and rain to raise thousands for charity and mark her 59th birthday.
Julia Chi Taylor, who lived in Eastbourne for 12 years but now lives as a nomad with no permanent home, is believed to be the first person to attempt this feat.
Julia set off on March 23 from Suances on the northern coast of Spain and finished on May 12 - her 59th birthday - on the Southern coastal town of Almuñécar.
Julia’s amazing effort has raised more than £10,000 for Friends of Sussex Hospices and 3,000 euros for Fundación Cudeca – a cancer care hospice in Spain.
The journey spanned 1,006 kms and Julia ran an average of 25 kms per day for five days with a rest day after every five days.
After completing the challenge Julia admitted it was harder than she ever imagined.
She said, “I had incredible support from friends and the public along the way some of whom ran stretches of the journey with me which really helped keep me going.
“Along with the variety of road surfaces and some small injuries along the way, the weather was unexpectedly cold especially in the mountains. I ran on snow, through torrential rain and in freezing wind.”
Julia lived for 25 years in Sussex - 12 of them in Eastbourne – and is now a nomad travelling wherever her life takes her. She sold all her belongings and carries everything she owns as hand luggage, travelling from place to place.
She has been running barefoot since she was six when she discovered her love for it.
She said, “We come into the world barefoot and we learn to walk barefoot.
Living completely barefoot except for foot jewellery and Skinners socks, for exceptionally rough ground, Julia spent months training and building up her barefoot running in preparation for the run.”
Julia was a top marathon runner. Two of her best results were first place in the Dublin City Marathon in 1985 and seventh placed woman and 3rd British woman in the 1986 London Marathon in a time of 2.36.31. This amazing performance gained Julia selection for the Commonwealth Games.