MORE than 200 people who walked barefoot across 20 feet of burning embers have raised over €10,000 for Special Olympics Ireland.
The funds generated from the event, held at the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel last Friday, will go towards the Special Olympics national games to be held at UL Sport Arena from June 12 to 15 and to support the 1,500 participating athletes.
Organiser Frank Troy said: “I’d like to thank everyone that got involved and all the volunteers that helped out. Our main sponsors SuperValu Castletroy and Drum Dance Ireland who provided motivational drum beats to the walkers along with entertaining the spectators.”
Each fire-walker attended Brian Moore’s Unlocking the Power Within motivational seminar before the walk where they learned how to safely walk the fire along with lessons on positive thinking and team building.
Frank described his experience of the fire-walk: “If it were not for the seminar I don’t think I would have done it. We were thought how to walk on fire and during the seminar our boundaries were tested including breaking a wooden plank with one punch.
“It took people about seven or nine steps to get across the 20 feet of burning coals. We were told that the temperature was between 800 and 1,000 degrees. In total everyone took about seven seconds to get across.”
Frank added: “I had no blisters or burns after it but during the last two steps I started to feel the heat.”
There were some special guests on the night and former Munster rugby stars David Wallace and Liam Toland each walked the fiery path barefoot.
Local firms entered teams of fire-walkers and PricewaterhouseCoopers entered a team of 21 with each successfully participating in the fire-walk along with a compliment of 25 staff from the event’s main sponsor, Castletroy’s Supervalu.
Local Special Olympics Athlete Laura Brennan was the guest of honour for the occasion and her father Pat addressed the assembled walkers before they made the final barefoot approach to the fiery lane at venue.
The opening ceremony for the 2014 Special Olympics Ireland Games in Limerick will take place on Thursday, June 12 and sporting activity will commence the next day.
The competition will have 1,500 athletes participating in 13 sporting categories and a mass of 3,000 volunteers will assist the games and athletes. This is also the biggest sporting event to take place in Ireland this summer and the Special Olympics Ambassador is local hero Paul O’Connell.
See Leader 2, page 6 for more images of the event.