Bare foot running isn’t a step too far for dedicated Darren

Bare foot running isn’t a step too far for dedicated Darren

4 September 2013

TAKING part in a five mile run is hard at the best of times. But imagine pounding the roads over a challenging course around Killyleagh in your bare feet.

That’s exactly what Darren Brown did last week to raise

money to help send members of the town’s karate club to the European Championships in Lisbon next month.

Darren, who is in charge of the town’s Ophir Karate Club, agreed to toss away his trainers and compete the five mile course in his bare feet, if he could raise £250 towards the overall cost of £2,000 to help send five of his karate students to Portugal where they will represent Ireland.

And while it took him almost 48 minutes to complete the gruelling course, crossing the line with his feet in tatters, Darren was delighted his efforts had helped raise £380 which will offset the amount the karate club and the children’s parents have to pay for the Portugal trip.

He was also presented with a special award by race organisers in recognition of his achievement, but Darren says he has no plans to compete in his bare feet next year.

Surprisingly, the Killyleagh man revealed he had no intention of running in last Friday night’s five mile challenge, only deciding to do so 48 hours before the event. He also admits he doesn’t like running as it bores him.

“I have been involved with karate since I was 14 and have run barefoot before. But that was from the Down Leisure Centre in Downpatrick out to the former Abbey Lodge Hotel and back again. From memory, the roads and footpaths were in good condition. That wasn’t the case last Friday night,” he continued.

Darren used social media to inform his friends he was prepared to run barefoot if he could raise £250 and had surpassed his target before he reached the starting line on Friday night.

“If people are to give you money you have to something which is a little different and I suppose outrageous. You also have to do something challenging so I came up with the idea of running barefoot.

“I posted on Facebook what I planned to do, urging my friends that if they liked me, not to pledge any money. I also told them that if they wanted to inflict horrible pain on me to cough up the cash for a great cause.

At the end of Friday night’s race, paramedics helped clean Darren’s scarred feet, cleaning burst blood vessels and removing tiny stones which had been ground into his soles. But the Killyleagh man said making it through the pain barrier had been worth it.

“I was delighted to raise the money to allow the kids heading to Lisbon to buy their Ireland tracksuits. The support I received from many people was incredible and as I crossed the finishing line people came up to me with donations,” he explained.

“There were many times during the race when I wanted to stop and get into the nearest car. But I was determined to keep going. I was driven to make it to the finishing line, even if it killed me. I did manage to survive, but the old feet took a real battering.”

• Darren is still looking to raise further funds and anyone who wants to contact him with raffle prizes or donations can contact him at or call with him at the Bridge Centre in Killyleagh on a Thursday night.