One of Suffolk’s most popular outdoor events to go ahead in June

The Orwell Challenge is a sponsored walk, marathon and half-marathon in aid of charity
Picture: R

The Orwell Challenge is a sponsored walk, marathon and half-marathon in aid of charity. - Credit: RACHEL EDGE

A popular walking and running challenge which takes competitors on a stunning route around the Orwell Estuary is preparing to welcome people back this summer. 

The Orwell Challenge, which is now in its 44th year, is one of the first Suffolk events to be confirmed as going ahead post-Covid restrictions, on its planned date of Sunday, June 27. 

The event will be dependent on the Government's roadmap out of the lockdown going ahead as planned – with the final stage of restrictions set to be lifted on Monday, June 21.

This year's event will have to be slightly different to previous years as a result of the virus, with sanitation stations, no physical handling and people being asked to bring their own water bottles. 

John Button, organiser of the event, said he is confident they will be able to hold a safe and enjoyable event. 

"This event is vital for the local charity scene, who have struggled in the last year," said Mr Button.

"Bigger charities have been able to host big Zoom challenges online to raise money, but smaller organisations have had no income at all."

Organiser John Button at the start line

Organiser John Button at the start line Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: RACHEL EDGE

The race attracts nearly 1,000 people every year – and is becoming increasingly popular with runners but is also open to walkers.

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The walk has three principal routes of 13, 19 or 25 miles, while the running options are of a half marathon or full marathon and are fully validated by The Trail Running Association.

All routes are well signposted and marshalled and have checkpoints every three or four miles, where drinks, a smiling face and toilet facilities are provided.

Entrants can decide how far they wish to walk or run, with the option to complete a marathon length trail run if required, but you can finish at any checkpoint on the route if you so wish.

This means the event welcomes all abilities and ages.

Each year the race, which is organised by The Rotary Club of Ipswich East, helps participants support 30 to 50 charities each year.

Any funds made by The Rotary, such as registration fees, then helps to support a further 10 charities in the area.

Mr Button said he feels "excited" to be one of the first events to announce its summer plans, adding people have an "appetite to get back to normality".

"This is a great start to getting life back to normal," said Mr Button. 

"Obviously the event will need to be different, and will be Covid-safe, but it will still be an amazing day."

For more details and to sign up for The Orwell Challenge visit the website.

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