UT Business Students Hosted Nation's First Barefoot Run/ Walk On Grass:
Raising Money for Samaritan Place

Barefoot BenefitFor some, running or walking barefoot in the grass is pure pleasure and it argued to be good for your health. With that in mind, six undergraduates in the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, organized the country's first barefoot run/walk as part of a service-learning course taught by Marketing Professor Ernie Cadotte.

Barefoot Benefit raised money for Samaritan Place, a home for the elderly in East Tennessee.

The inaugural event was on Sunday, Oct. 24, on the fairways of Lambert Acres Golf Course in Maryville. Participants were encouraged to run or walk the event barefoot, although running shoes and Vibram Five Fingers footwear was permitted on the course.

"I know the difference that assisted living care has made to my great-grandmother, and I want to help Samaritan Place continue to provide this care to those in need," said Andrew Wyatt, chief executive officer of Barefoot Benefit. "Barefoot Benefit is making that easy."

Participants had the option of running or walking a 3.1-mile (5K) or one-mile distance.

"Barefoot Benefit gave runners and walkers the opportunity to step out of their shoes, off the hard concrete, and onto a soft, well groomed golf-course fairway while supporting a great local charity," said Ryan Pack, Barefoot Benefit chief operations officer.

Barefoot Benefit trailed new ground in a second way. “It is the first charitable race to use only Facebook to promote its awareness,” Pack continued.

The Barefoot Benefit project tapped into each of the six students' areas of academic expertise, which range from marketing and logistics to journalism and electronic media.

"These students are learning by doing," said Cadotte. "This class, the first of its kind in UT’s College of Business Administration, was designed to combine real-world application and reflective learning to create a powerful learning environment."

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