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KNOXVILLE –Running or walking barefoot through the grass is enjoyable but it’s also good for your health. With that in mind, six undergraduates in the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are organizing the second annual barefoot run/walk 2:00 p.m. Sunday, October 23, as part of a service-learning course taught by marketing professor Ernie Cadotte. The benefactor is Samaritan Place, a Knoxville-based emergency housing shelter for the elderly.

In choosing a charity for the Barefoot Benefit, organizers asked Father Regan at Catholic Charities about who needed the most help and he recommended Samaritan Place, noting that the homeless elderly are incredibly vulnerable, Cadotte said.

“Thus, the students’ goal is to create awareness for the homeless elderly and help Samaritan Place expand its capacity for caring,” he said.

The event will be on the fairways of Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville, Tennessee. Participants are encouraged to run or walk the event barefoot, although the use of running shoes or Vibram Five Fingers footwear is permitted on the course. Participants have the option of running either a 5K (3.1 miles) or one-mile distance.

Event registration will continue until race day. Participants can register online at or on race day at Lambert Acres.

“The 2010 event welcomed 130 runners,” said Cadotte. “Our goal this year is 200 runners. Plus, Samaritan Place residents will be joining this year’s event to enjoy a day in the park and to cheer on the runners and walkers.”

An addition to this year’s event is a runner’s clinic to give runners an opportunity to learn more about barefoot running. Mick Larrabee, a physical therapist for Optimal Performance Inc., will conduct the clinic. Larrabee is involved with many local athletic activities including Knoxville Track Club, Runners Market, New Balance Knoxville, and the UT Knoxville Rugby team.

This family-friendly event also will feature entertainers, vendors, and musicians from Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville—including Ben Bale, Sam Flanagan, the Sweetest Sleep, and Knoxville Music School’s Hillary Reese. Registered participants will be able to win door prizes throughout the day.

“Working on Barefoot Benefit has been such a great learning experience and a great way to give back to the community,” said Jessica Henderson, the event’s chief media officer. “The idea of this event is so unique, and it really gives runners an alternative way of running.

“We are grateful to the support that the local community has provided to us, including Pilot Flying J, Knoxville Runners Market, Knoxville CrossFit, and HealthSource, just to name a few.”

“It’s been an incredible opportunity to learn outside of the classroom, serve the community, and provide an event that is like none other in the country,” said Jordan Smallwood, the event’s chief executive officer.

The Barefoot Benefit project is tapping into each of the six students’ areas of academic expertise, which range from marketing to psychology to journalism.

“These students are learning by doing,” Cadotte said. “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.”

For more information about the event, please visit

You can register for the event at

For more information about the College of Business Administration, visit

C O N T A C T :

Jessica Henderson (615-838-7050,