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Orwell Walk, Run and Cycle rebranded as Orwell Challenge and gains marathon status for 2018

PUBLISHED: 06:30 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:01 29 November 2017

The Ipswich East Rotary Club launched the rebranded Orwell Challenge for 2018. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Ipswich East Rotary Club launched the rebranded Orwell Challenge for 2018. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Orwell Walk, Run and Cycle has been renamed as the Orwell Challenge ahead of next year’s event – with the run portion of the event having gained marathon status for the first time.

John Button, Ipswich East Rotary Club spokesman, said he was excited about the newly branded Orwell Challenge. Picture: GREGG BROWN John Button, Ipswich East Rotary Club spokesman, said he was excited about the newly branded Orwell Challenge. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The annual event, now in its 42nd year, features hundreds of people walking, cycling or running a picturesque route along the River Orwell from Ipswich, towards Felixstowe and on private land around farms and Orwell Country Park, with people able to choose routes between three and 25 miles.

In recent years the cycle and run has been added to the walk, prompting organisers to rename it the Orwell Challenge for 2018, with the event set to take place on June 17.

Walkers and cyclists enjoying the scenery on the Orwell Walk in 2015. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Walkers and cyclists enjoying the scenery on the Orwell Walk in 2015. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

John Button, Orwell Challenge co-ordinator from organisers the Ipswich East Rotary Club, said: “It is our club’s biggest event of the year.

“We are really delighted as a club to be able to put it on.

David Glister and Brian Pearson taking part in the event earlier this year. 
Picture: SEANA HUGHES David Glister and Brian Pearson taking part in the event earlier this year. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

“Because we have introduced the three events now that is the reason why we have decided to call it the Orwell Challenge, so people will feel part of the overall day.”

The entry fee goes towards supporting the club’s chosen charities, with many participants also choosing to raise cash for other good causes.

Azel Chuc, Alex and Oliver Person-Smith and Darren Pearson took part in the cycle this year. 
Picture: SEANA HUGHES Azel Chuc, Alex and Oliver Person-Smith and Darren Pearson took part in the cycle this year. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

More than £100,000 is raised each year, with more than 1,400 people taking part.

The run was introduced in 2016, but from next year it will be given trail marathon and half marathon status – a key incentive to get local runners involved with the trail.

The Orwell Walk, Run and Cycle features hundreds of participants. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR The Orwell Walk, Run and Cycle features hundreds of participants. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Keith Borrett from Suffolk Trail Runners who takes part each year said: “Now there is more attraction to runners if it is a full marathon and the course is very good. It feels like a one-off – it’s like rambling done a bit quicker.”

The route kicks off from Gainsborough Sports Centre and allows people of all abilities to take part at a pace and route that suits them.

Scouts are among dozens of organisations to have been boosted by fundraising from the Orwell Walk.  Picture: SEANA HUGHES Scouts are among dozens of organisations to have been boosted by fundraising from the Orwell Walk. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Crucially, the day is encouraged for those fundraising for good causes and those just wishing to take part for their own pleasure.

Mark Murphy, BBC Radio Suffolk presenter and rotary club member said: “The event is there to use as a fundraising event if you choose – those wishing to do it for pleasure already support our charities with the entry fee.”

Rebecca and Erica Ross and Lyn Dunnett on the 2017 Orwell Walk. Picture: SEANA HUGHES Rebecca and Erica Ross and Lyn Dunnett on the 2017 Orwell Walk. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Sean Connor from the group Run For Your Life added: “It’s an honour for our group RFYL to be working closely with the Rotary Club to bring this event to fruition.”

To find out how to take part, volunteer or for more information on the route lengths and fee, visit the website here.

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