30 May 2024

‘It’s been tough, but I’ve loved every minute’

By Rebecca Hannant

A Burstwick man has completed three fundraising challenges in 28 days to raise money for the charity Life for a Kid.

On April 22, Darren Brighton set off the first of his three journeys, which saw him embark on a walk with his friend and fundraising partner David Hemmerman on the day his late wife Nicola Brighton would have turned 48. The pair walked between 48 and 51 miles – 48 for Nicola and 51 for Dave’s late wife Julie who would have been 51.

The route saw them walk from Burstwick into Hull, Hornsea, Withernsea and Keyingham.

Darren said: “This was almost a reverse of Nicola’s life, as she grew up in Keyingham, went to Withernsea High School – which is where we met – took our son swimming at Hornsea each week for about 10 years, spent much time in Hull, and spent the second half of her life living in Burstwick since we married in 1997.

“Unplanned, the distance I recorded for the day was 48.84 miles, so even that worked backwards.

“The day was extremely tough, but we made it, and a huge amount of support from friends and family on the day kept us going. It took us 17 and a half hours to reach Keyingham, just as it was getting dark. We could not have timed it better. It took a few days for the feet to recover but recover they did.”

For his second challenge on May 14, Darren ran the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon. The event also marked a first for Darren as it was the first marathon he had ever taken part in. Previously he had run 13 half-marathons, but halfway through his training for the Brighton Marathon in 2017 he suffered a stroke and decided against doing a full marathon.

However, after the loss of Nicola, he heard about the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon and decided to give it a go in her memory and to keep active.

Darren added: “I had the fortune to see Rob Burrow and his wife Lindsey before the run, and again see Rob out on the course being pushed by Kevin Sinfield.

“This was truly inspirational, and something else to keep in my mind as I progressed along the marathon course. Anybody who has been to Leeds and the surrounding area will know how hilly it is, and the marathon route took in many of the hills. With this, and the sunshine beating down, a very tough run ensued.

“All that said, I loved every minute of it, even though I finished outside of the six-hour target I had looked at achieving, finishing in six hours 10 minutes. I was not disappointed, though. “When they set up the marathon, they were looking to have 7,777 runners take part, to

show the significance of the number 7, which Rob Burrow wore as a player for his career at Leeds Rhinos. I believe more than 12,500 people eventually ran the marathon – however, I was honoured to finish in position 7,777. It was quite remarkable.”

For Darren’s third challenge on May 20 he completed a 100-mile cycle ride through the Holderness villages. Starting from Burstwick he took in Hedon, Spurn Point, Withernsea, Hornsea, Atwick, Brandesburton, Beverley, Coniston and Sproatley, before heading back to Burstwick.

Darren added: “I set off at 7.30am to allow for a pitstop for breakfast at the Spurn Heritage Centre cafe. The day had already started well, and with clear blue skies it was a glorious ride down the side of the Humber to Spurn. After a quick breakfast, up the North Sea coast I headed into what seemed a strong northeasterly wind – though was only a gentle breeze in essence – but cycling all the way up to Atwick, it took its toll.”

During the challenge he made several stops along the coast, supported by Dave, and his son Thomas kept him well supplied with drinks and snacks and lots of moral support. Other friends and family were at various places along the route.

Darren said: “The cycle itself took seven hours, 15 minutes, but I was out on the road from 7.30am until 6.30pm. The weather was amazing, and the scenery, as always in this area, was spectacular.”

Throughout his three challenges Darren has so far raised £2,500. To donate, visit justgiving.com/Darren-Brighton1.