Young runners of the Gia Hiep running team in Di Linh District, Lam Dong Province, have been training barefoot over various types of terrain and under all weather conditions to equip themselves with “feet of steel.”
Thanks to the training method and their determination, the team has earned over 300 medals at many competitions from local to national levels over the past 15 years.
|Team members enjoy themselves during a training session. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The group currently has more than 30 members aged from 12 to 25, all of whom are scheduled to practice every morning and afternoon.
The team was established in 2003 by Phan Hoang Diep, who was part of the province’s running team at the time.
The idea of barefoot training came from Diep’s own experience, when he could not afford a pair of running shoes for his daily practice.
|Young runners train barefoot along a local street. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
After seeing Diep train along the street in front of his house, local youngsters wanted to join him.
Being amazed by the determination, Diep started training them and organized competitions within the neighborhood.
The team members run barefoot on local roads as there is no specialized facility in the remote town, the leader elaborated.
|Team members warm up before their training. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
“Just like me they cannot buy a decent pair of running shoes. Cheap products will just wear out in a few days,” he added.
“However, the training method has helped sharpen their endurance and skill, as well as giving them an advantage when they compete over difficult terrain,” Diep continued.
|Dao Thi Linh Nhi, 15, trains with her teammate. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The man has kept the team going with his own money, with the ultimate goal of creating a healthy lifestyle for local youths, especially those who are addicted to gaming or other harmful activities.
During the Dalat Ultra Trail 2018, Dao Thi Linh Nhi, a 15-year-old member of the team, amazed many people by earning a gold medal after completing a 22-kilometer journey barefoot.