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Student runs marathon barefoot to fund cleft surgeries for needy kids

Maderios.jpgKinesiology graduate student Ness Madeiros is running the entire Twin Cities Marathon barefoot on Oct. 2, and along the way she's raising money to fund surgeries for children in developing countries who need cleft lip and palate repair.

Madeiros has friends back in her native Bermuda with a 5-year-old son born with a cleft lip and palate. Since his parents have financial resources, he received surgeries as an infant and will continue to have the necessary care to live a normal life.

"I was just thinking about kids who don't have those resources," Madeiros says in a UMNews feature story. "I thought if I can raise a little bit of money, a bunch of kids who wouldn't otherwise have surgery will be able to eat and speak and go to school and be a part of society [that they otherwise wouldn't have]."

Running barefoot, though not very common in Minnesota, has become almost natural for Madeiros.

"The 'problem' with barefoot running is it's kind of addictive. It's really, really enjoyable," she says. "Once you've started it's very difficult to put your shoes back on, so it's really impractical. Living in Minnesota, it's extremely impractical."

She also began writing about her goals, her divergent training methods, and the reactions she encounters when running around town. Her entertaining blog is called "Barefoot for kids: Raising money and awareness through shoeless-ness." Read the full story on Madeiros's barefoot adventure here.

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