Mountaineer Neillima Pudota, a resident of Hyderabad, recently ran barefoot from Vijayawada to Visakhapatnam to spread awareness about breast cancer and to draw attention to women’s fitness issues that are often neglected.
She ran for 350 km in eight days.
A former corporate employee, 30-year-old Neillima is popularly known as the mountaineer who almost made it to the peak of the world’s highest mountain. In April this year, she was just 200 metres away from the Mt. Everest summit when she had to retreat because of the deteriorating health of her guide.
Driven by the spirit of adventure, Neillima practiced for five months for this barefoot run, which was also her first long distance run.
“I prefer running barefoot because I believe humans are natural runners. And doing so barefoot also is natural. But when I decided to run from Vijayawada to Vizag, Milind Soman insisted on trying ‘barefoot sandals’. He told me that it would keep my mileage steady. He even gifted me a pair! I would run barefoot in the mornings and switch to the sandals at noon to save me from the hot tar roads,” she told The Times of India. Neillima began her run on at 5:00 am on November 12 from Benz Circle covered about 50 km every day.
On reaching Visakhapatnam, she participated in a Pinkathon conducted on November 20. Here she ran wearing a saari to encourage moms to come forward for the cause of women’s health and fitness.
“Women’s health is paramount but unfortunately it is a neglected area. Our ancestors never led this kind of a sedentary lifestyle. We have given up all the good practices they had left behind and have embraced all the wrong things. It’s time to revive the good old things and pass on ‘healthy’ genes to our next generations,” she told The Hindu.