Hundreds of walkers, runners and cyclists turn out for annual fundraiser
PUBLISHED: 17:48 17 June 2018 | UPDATED: 18:25 17 June 2018
An annual fundraising event took place under a new name this year – but with the usual level of huge support to help raise more than £105,000 for charity.
Formerly known as the Orwell Walk, and then the Orwell Walk, Run and Cycle, the renamed Orwell Challenge was held in its familiar riverside surroundings along three main routes, including a new marathon distance.
Organised by the Ipswich East Rotary Club, the 42nd event was entered by more than 700 walkers, runners and cyclists.
The first runners set off from Gainsborough Sports Centre at 7am on Sunday, followed by walkers at 7.30am and cyclists half-an-hour later.
Some of those brave enough to walk the full 25 mile route were still crossing the finish line at 6pm, supported by Rotarian and event coordinator, John Button.
Mr Button said the event was another success, adding: “Although it’s not strictly a race, some of the runners were likely to have been chip-timed, and we had one half-marathon finish of 1:38, and an even more staggering full marathon time of 3:08.”
Many participants walked, ran and cycled in aid of chosen charities, with the rotary club donating enrolment fees to its main benefactor, Ipswich’s FIND foodbank, along with other local causes.
Among runners were a group raising funds to support research and provide advice to sufferers of MEN1 – an inherited condition associated with tumours of the endocrine glands – which claimed the life of 56-year-old Nick Fayers, managing director of Ipswich-based construction company Barnes, at the end of last year.
Nick’s family and company took part in this year’s event to raise funds to highlight the condition and promote more research.
This year’s Orwell Challenge also provided an opportunity to explore some unseen parts of the Orwell Estuary – opened by the private landowners for just the one day.
Mr Button said: “Having introduced the cycle, half-marathon and marathon over the last few years, the name was becoming a bit of a mouthful, so we thought it was time for a re-brand.
“So many people come back each year. A couple of my friends came from quite far away and said there’s no better walk.
“Another lady said it’s the only place you’ll see starfish and peacocks on the same run.”