24-hour running challenge to be hosted in Ipswich this summer

Kay Parker, Gary Parker and Steve Cooper, who are all organisers of the ROC24 event taking place at Ipswich High School

Kay Parker, Gary Parker and Steve Cooper, who are all organisers of the ROC24 event taking place at Ipswich High School in June. Photographed by Gary Cooper, one of the other organisers. - Credit: Gary Cooper

Three childhood friends have come together to create a unique challenge for runners and walkers in Ipswich, where competitors will attempt to complete as many 5k laps as possible in 24 hours. 

The challenge, named ROC24, is a 24-hour event for teams or solo runners and walkers which will raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice.

It will take place at Ipswich High School in Woolverstone over the weekend of June 26 and 27 this summer, following a successful event in 2019 which was sadly cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Kay Parker, Gary Parker and Steve Cooper, who are all organisers of the ROC24 event

Kay Parker, Gary Parker and Steve Cooper, who are all organisers of the ROC24 event taking place at Ipswich High School in June. Photographed by Gary Cooper, one of the other organisers. - Credit: Gary Cooper

Childhood friends Greg Cooper, Gary Parker and Steve Cooper, who organised the event, have drawn inspiration from endurance events across the country to bring the special event to their home county. 

"The three of us have been long-time friends and involved in local sports from childhood," said Greg Cooper. 

"We got together with the idea of creating a special overnight challenge for Suffolk, drawing inspiration from other endurance events across the country, and thought that we could create something just as special in our home county.

"It really did start as a labour of love a couple of years ago, and we were sure from the start that we would like to fundraise for local charities too.

"This year we are supporting St Elizabeth Hospice, which is close to my heart as my grandparents have benefitted from the amazing end of life care that the hospice provides."

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A single-loop 5k course will cover as much of the stunning parkland as possible, as it sweeps through lawns and wooded areas with a stunning river vista backdrop overlooking the River Orwell. 

The first ROC24 held in 2019 was a huge success and plans were in place to follow this up in 2020, but the pandemic put an end to that.

"Getting the event on really hasn't been easy, as we have had to play a bit of a waiting game to suit lockdown easing, but we are now really looking forward to June 26, and welcoming participants to the start line," Mr Cooper added. 

Anybody aged 18 or over can enter and will enjoy the camaraderie and support given by other participants at ROC24 - making it perfect for groups of friends, work colleagues or clubs.

Up to eight people can form a relay team with the aim of completing as many 5k laps in the 24-hour period as possible - with camping overnight helping to create a great experience.

Visit runorcycleevents.com or facebook.com/RunOrCycleEvents for more information and to enter.