The Orwell Challenge

I am a proud member of the Rotary Club of Ipswich East and one of our biggest fundraisers over the years has been The Orwell Walk, which began as long ago as 1977.  Over the years, millions of miles have been walked by many thousands of enthusiastic walkers, raising a staggering £3m for local charities. It was a past President of our Rotary Club, Derek Jarman, that established the Walk and he was awarded an MBE for services to local charities.

That is a little history of the Walk and last year I decided to take part in the Walk, which I had never done before; having just been a helper.  I walked for a local charity - Friends of the Ferns - where I am a trustee. There were probably about 15 of us all walking together - or at least that’s how it started!  I’m used to walking, no longer having a car, but oh my goodness - it is a long way!  My worst bit was down on the foreshore; when I suddenly sank up to my knees in mud.  I was walking with a well-known ex-police officer who had to haul me out. The poor man must have felt he was out with his grandmother!  However, I finished; and having said I would do 12 miles, I ended up doing 16 - which was quite an achievement.

Over the years we have added running and cycling to the Walk, and this year we decided to rebrand the Orwell Walk to the Orwell Challenge. The running portion of the event has gained marathon status for the first time.  This year’s event takes place on Sunday 17th June and we are expecting an exceptionally large turnout, with hundreds of people walking, cycling or running the picturesque route along the River Orwell, from Ipswich towards Felixstowe on private land, around farms and the Orwell Country Park.  

The Walk, Run and Cycle Ride begins and ends at the Gainsborough Sports Centre, where there is free parking and refreshments available throughout the day.

For more information please see our website: