Julia completes epic barefoot 52-day run through Spain

18th May 2018

Julia arrives

A former international marathon runner has completed her ‘Barefoot Across Spain’ challenge of running more than 1,000 kms through the middle of Spain in her bare feet for charity. She is believed to be the first person to attempt this feat.

Julia Chi Taylor set off on 23rd March from Suances on the Northern Coast of Spain and finished on 12th May - her 59th birthday - 52 days later 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. You can still donate here

The journey spanned 1,006 kms and Julia ran an average of 25kms per day for five days with a rest day after every five days. She broadcast a daily Facebook live video to share her experiences. You can watch the videos on Barefoot Across Spain.

After completing the challenge Julia admitted it was harder than she ever imagined: "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.

"My challenge enabled me to witness the deeper message of life's journey - ‘living as fully as possible in each moment and recognising that we make the path by walking it’ – which was received by all who came into contact with 'Barefoot Across Spain'.

"I have always worked deeply in the lives of others, helping them to face themselves in life and death. Therefore it felt natural for me to be raising money to aid the transition of adults and children in their journey from life to death.

“We die how we live and so through living fully we can embrace our death and through accepting that we will die we can live more wholly.”

Julia lived for 25 years in Sussex - 12 of them in Eastbourne – and is now a nomad travelling wherever her life takes her. She became a nomad several years ago - a person who travels from place to place and has no permanent home.  She sold all her belongings and carries everything she owns as hand luggage. 

Julia explains: “Being a nomad helps me to explore life and the world.”

Julia has been running barefoot since she was six when she discovered her love for it. “We come into the world barefoot and we learn to walk barefoot,” she says.

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. Her first international was in 1979 in Spain, a three mile cross-country race; and she continued to run at international level until 1993.

Two of her best results were first place in the Dublin City Marathon in 1985 and 7th 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.

Julia was originally born in Sierra Leone. Giving inspiration to many others through her words and actions, Julia inspires others through her running and example.


For more information or interview requests call Suzi Christie Blueberry PR on 07590 591140