Zola Budd Gears Up For Comrades

Zola Budd returns to South Africa to compete in one of the world's toughest ultras. Photo: New York Times

She continues to back barefoot running.

In the 80s, she was one of the world’s fastest middle-distance runners, often competing barefoot. Nowadays, Zola Budd is setting her sights on something else: one of the toughest ultra marathons in the world: Comrades.

Comrades is 89K in length and ends in the South African city of Durban.

Budd, who used to race barefoot decades before the movement gained traction, remains a strong advocate for shoeless walking and running.

“If you look at athletes from Africa, the way we grew up in Africa was going barefoot,” she says. “It’s acceptable. I think it’s only in the U.S. and Europe where people are frowned upon if they go barefoot. Even my kids went to school barefoot.”

Budd, who lives in the United States, is perplexed about attitudes towards barefoot running.

“In the United States my kids are stuck in shoes because they are not allowed to compete at school level barefoot in any athletics event, which is quite strange to me,” she admits.

For More: Yahoo Sport

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