The Cork News: Interview by Maria Tracey

Owen Loughrey, Midleton, 36 - The Barefoot Runner

"The run I love doing the most is Ballyannan Woods. When I leave the house, I’m into a mile before I’m into the forest... well, it’s a ‘Midleton-sized’ forest! It’s a five-mile route, and perfect to bring my Beagle, Gromit on. When we got him as a pup, running was the only thing that would tire him out, otherwise he would have torn the place apart!

The forest is covered with brambles and there are some slippy and slidey parts, but you are surrounded by nature. During winter, I have a head light on, and you really have to have all your senses about you - feeling the ground and hearing the movement of trees. Of course, you get dirty and wet but there is nothing better than coming back covered in mud with twigs sticking between your toes. When I go out in the spring, I’m disappointed if I don’t have a few daisies lodged during the run!

I’ve been running for three and-a-half years now. Up to that point, running for me was a chore. Then I was introduced to barefoot running and it opened up a whole new way of living. While I mostly wear the FiveFingers shoe, I go completely barefoot once a week. Along the Lee Road, I have even received a few claps for it and only a couple of weeks ago, a group of us- both five fingered and fully barefoot- were up in Dublin running and people were taking photographs. I suppose we were a bit of a novelty.

I’m also into functional running, so along with my runs in the evenings, I run to meetings, from work at the Rubicon Centre in CIT into town. Of course, you have to apologise for being all sweaty but people don’t mind. It’s a different mindset that needs to be adopted, not running for sport but simply to get from A to B. We all had to do it before 4x4s came in to travel the five miles to school. I like to think I’m my own Park and Ride, but I Park and Run instead!"

Interview appeared in The Cork News on Friday 8th June 2012 in an Article titled On the Run

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