A ‘Fitting’ Christmas Gift for Iloilo’s Barefoot Runners

Recently, young runner Rhea Bullos of Balasan, Iloilo went viral on social media after photos of her surfaced online, as she joined the competition barefoot and had only a makeshift Nike cover on her feet, in the Iloilo Schools Sports Council (ISSC) Meet 2019. 

On December 11, Rhea was privately invited to The SM Store Iloilo and was surprised with actual Nikes, socks, and a new sports bag – all of which she had selected. This short visit was facilitated by The SM Store Asst. Branch Manager, Yvonnie Delgado. 

After the said visit was posted by her coach in social media, it was learned from the comments that there are other runners aside from Rhea and that they also joined the competition barefooted. The incident even caught the attention of no other than the Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho team, who also featured Rhea and the other members of the team. 

Last December 13, 2019, The SM Store Iloilo warmly welcomed 24 student-athletes from District V and gifted them with early Christmas presents that were – simply put – the most fitting kind. 

24 pairs of sports shoes and 3 pairs of socks each, were handpicked by these aspiring world-class athletes and graciously favored to them by The SM Store Iloilo. 

Leading the pack was no other than Rhea, the girl of the hour who was actually a first-time representative to the 2019 ISSC Meet. Like her co-athletes, Rhea always felt uncomfortable running with shoes on, as though it slowed them down. 

Regardless of their coaches’ concern for their feet, these young athletes have persisted on running barefoot, with makeshift sneakers using bandages. Rhea, however, caught Ilonggo netizens’ attention when she bagged 3 gold medals in 3 different categories – in her makeshift Nikes – during the ISSC Meet. 

The whole SM Store Iloilo team had found themselves astonished and inspired by 24 young student-athletes who never would have expected that every one of them were getting surprise gifts. After all, #ItsChristmasAtSM.
Zach Golez

A lifestyle blogger based in Iloilo City

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