First participants sign up for this year’s Orwell Challenge

Organisers of The Orwell Challenge, Suffolk’s largest multi-charity fundraiser, are celebrating its 45th year this year.  Volunteers from Ipswich East Rotary Club are putting on the walk and trail run on Sunday 19 June.

The first couple to sign up to take part are Lesley and Paul Stephenson from Creeting St Mary. They signed up online as soon as registrations opened. Lesley explained why they are so keen to be taking part. 

“Paul and I are walkers, and we do the full 25-mile walk. Walking is our main hobby, but it’s one thing walking a few miles at the weekend, to walking a full 25-mile challenge. Let’s just say it is a good challenge! Our niece Jessica Stephenson was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016. So, in 2018 four of us took part and raised money for the Brain Tumour Charity. Sadly, Jessica passed away just four months after us completing the Orwell Challenge.” 

The couple decided they would keep Jessica’s memory alive by taking part every year. So far Lesley and Paul have raised £800 for the charity and will be launching a JustGiving page for their efforts again this year.  

The route takes in some of the prettiest parts of the Orwell Estuary as well as local woodland and parts of the landscape which are normally closed to the general public. 

Co-ordinator for the Orwell Challenge Rotarian John Button explains “We are using Gainsborough Sports Centre as our HQ again this year and we are extremely grateful to them. Runners and walkers will need to check in at Gainsborough with us before setting off on the course. We are delighted our main sponsor for 2022 is WTW. Please do join us on the 19 June, and help to raise vital funds for many charities near and far.”

If you are new to the Orwell Challenge you can either walk or run with the runners leaving early first thing ahead of the walkers. Walkers can complete any distance between 3 miles to 25 miles. For the runners there’s a fully accredited marathon or half marathon trail run route with clock-timed start and finish. Runners will receive a medal and T shirt as part of their entrance fee. All participants will receive an official Orwell Challenge completion certificate and Walkers too will receive an Orwell Challenge Medal. 

Registration is easy just go online Marathon runners pay £35 (£26 for the half marathon). If you sign up for the trail run before the 31 March these are discounted to just £28.00 and £21.00 respectively. Walkers pay £16.50 and £7.50 for children. Again, if you sign up before the 31 March 2022 these are discounted to only £14.00 for adults and £6.00 for children (12 years and under). All profits from this great event go to help a variety of charities, every year and the money is distributed via Ipswich East Rotary Club.

This super day out for the whole family will have regular updates and details of the route leading up to the Orwell Challenge via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, just search for ‘Orwell Challenge’.

It’s simple to enter whether you decide to walk or run just go to and register online. 

John continued “Whether running or walking there will be manned checkpoints every few miles along the route with refreshments provided. You decide just how far you wish to run or walk. Once you’ve gone as far as you can we, at Ipswich Rotary Club, will provide a free lift back to the headquarters, if needed.”  

The event will begin on Sunday 19 June with runners leaving from 7am and walkers from 7.30am through to 11am.    

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