French physician travels to Edinburgh to complete his 109th barefoot marathon

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An athlete has travelled to Edinburgh to complete his 109th marathon barefoot, which he said is “the only natural way to run”.

Sidy Diallo, 67, from France, is a physician and barefoot runner that has completed a total of 345 marathons from across the globe. Sidy has travelled to Edinburgh to tackle his 109th 26.2 mile run without any footwear.

He first started running barefoot in 2015 after being inspired by the history of the origin of the sport. He said: “It is just natural biology and human instinct to run without shoes.

“I just try to live like our ancestors, which is only natural. We should be running like hunters, it is the only way of life. We were trained by our ancestors when they hunted for prey barefooted.”

Sidy Diallo after completing a marathon barefootSidy Diallo after completing a marathon barefoot
Sidy Diallo after completing a marathon barefoot

After travelling all over the world in order to ‘encourage’ and ‘motivate’ more people to take on the sport barefooted, he plans to ‘enlighten’ and invite those in Edinburgh to join the community running without shoes.

Whilst the majority of those competing in the marathon on Sunday would have trained for months in order to reach a level of fitness suitable for the race, Sidy believes anyone of any level could take on the challenge.

“No one should have to train for a marathon, as it is a natural body instinct, therefore it should not be seen as a challenge as it is biology,” he said.

Sidy has come first in five marathons but he said this wasn’t his inspiration for taking part in the events, but that it was instead for his health.

Sidy Diallo running for a marathon barefootSidy Diallo running for a marathon barefoot
Sidy Diallo running for a marathon barefoot

He said: “Finishing a race, possibly pain and injury-free is far more important to me than my ranking.”

The French physician struggled for the first time running without shoes, however said he ‘adapted’ quickly to the new adjustment.

He said: “I have never suffered from an injury from running barefoot, however I do listen to my body when it comes down to weather conditions, so the only time I would resort to wearing shoes would be if the weather was harmfully cold.”

Now the runner is keen to experience the second largest marathon in the UK, in addition to making his 109th barefoot trail to list, and show everyone that “running barefoot is a walk in the park”.

Sidy Diallo experiencing the challenges of glass on his routes barefootSidy Diallo experiencing the challenges of glass on his routes barefoot
Sidy Diallo experiencing the challenges of glass on his routes barefoot

Brother and sister duo Joshua and Amelie Grahame will also hit the running tracks today as part of the marathon festival.

The big-hearted pair, aged seven and five respectively, are raising funds for the Stroke Association to help others like Janice, who, at 56, had a stroke that left her unable to walk.

Their mum Amie said it was a shock when Janice had a stroke but said the family has been inspired by her determination to recover.

She said: “The kids are really keen to do something that will help people like their gran. They adore her and she means so much to them. They are so close.

“They’re great kids and they understand the importance of helping others. I’m proud to see them so positive about doing this. It’ll be a great family day out and mum will be so chuffed to see them running for the charity who help people like her.”

Amelie is taking part in the Kids Kilometre and Joshua will be taking part in the Junior 1.5km. The family have been going out for walks and cycling, which Amie says is helping them train for the big day.

Amie added: “Josh did the marathon a few years ago when he was just four. Amelie is competitive so it will be fun for them to both take on the challenge and get over the finish line. We went out on bikes the other day and ended up doing a 23k cycle. They have been training and are both very excited.”