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Barefoot in the Geopark: nine-year-old runs half marathon with no shoes or socks

Talk about no agony of defeat.

Talk about no agony of defeat.    

Nine-year-old Jacob Funk decided to take his first Emperor’s Challenge this year to the next level – running the entire half marathon barefoot.  

“Mama asked if I wanted to try the run, and I thought I’d do it barefoot.” Funk has been keeping it barefoot for a few years now.  

“It was something I resisted – but then it was clear that that was important to him,” says Jacob's mom, Cara.  

“I just don’t like shoes and socks,” he said.  

“The eight kilometres of loose gravel were a bit tougher on the feet, but Jacob couldn’t get enough of the forest terrain. When we’d reach moss or mud, his face would beam and he would sprint along with renewed energy,” she added.  

The summit run of the mountain was windy; and though that made it tricky, Jacob was impressed with how many racers shouted out encouraging words.   Jacob clocked a time of 3 hours and 29 minutes for his first half marathon and 2022’s youngest competitor.  

The Swan Lake resident practiced this year running around the home and the trails of the area. Soccer in both DC and GP, and ball hockey keep Jacob moving as well. Jacob is already prepping for other races including the 2023 Challenge.  

“I want to see how much better my time can get.”