Marching through the Peaks for the Big Walk 2017

People on the Big Walk 2017 wearing Big Walk T-shirts

Colleagues, students and friends went the extra mile last week (Friday 30 June), walking 50 miles in 24 hours to raise funds for Sheffield Scanner and bring revolutionary medical imaging to our city.

The Big Walk 2017 started at 7am Friday, 30 June. Walkers set off from outside the Octagon and returned to campus throughout the early hours of Saturday 1 July. They took in the stunning scenery of the Peak District, including Bakewell, the Chatsworth Estate, and Froggatt.

Of the 290 people taking part a group of 20 opted to run the route, with the earliest finishers completing the route just before 17:00, completing the route in just under 10 hours. The earliest walkers started crossing the finishing line around midnight, and the stream kept coming all through the night.

In total around 130 participants were able to manage the full 50-mile route, while the vast majority of the rest made it to the mid-point at Over Haddon before having to call it a day due to a variety of niggles, injuries and blisters. But we are delighted for everyone who took part in this fantastic day, however far they made it.

Walkers navigate rocks

Professor Wyn Morgan on the walk

The spirit shown throughout the day is a real testament to the drive of all our supporters, and their desire to support the Sheffield Scanner cause. Making our way around the route and meeting everyone who took part we saw and experienced first-hand the incredible atmosphere shared by all involved, and we couldn’t be prouder of the support shown.

A huge message of thanks must also be given to all the volunteers who helped make the walk possible. This includes all the marshals around the route, checking people through safely and providing a friendly face and amazing encouragement when the going got hard, but also the entire University catering team who ran the refuelling station at Over Haddon. This stopping point was made all the more welcome thanks to the brilliant team there providing food and drinks, as well as motivation and encouragement. Without all their support and great number likely wouldn’t have made it as far as they did.

To look back over the fantastic day, take a look back at the #tuosbigwalk hashtag where the experience has been collated through the tweets of the participants.

Look back through #TUOSbigwalk

Tony Ryan on his bike

walker takes a seat

Before the walk, Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, said:

"There is a strange combination of excitement and nerves running through me about the big task we face in walking 50 miles. I have only done 27 in one day before! However, the cause is so wonderful and important, plus I know the spirit along the way will be fabulous so I can't wait. I just hope my legs last out.”

He was right. The spirit and energy of the walkers, runners and volunteers was truly inspirational and all for a vital cause. 

Community fundraising over the 24 hours reached £7,000, helping to bring the total raised by people taking part in the Big Walk to over £94,000 so far. To see the fundraising progress and make a donation, you can visit the JustGiving page. 

Make a donation to Sheffield Scanner

Walkers en route

Wendy Jackson opens her house

The Big Walk and other fundraising activities will help bring the first MRI-PET scanner to our region. The scanner, which is one of only eight in the UK, will transform research into a number of devastating diseases including Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart and lung disease, Parkinson’s, stroke and Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Professor Dame Pamela Shaw, Vice-President and Head of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health said:

"The chances are your life, or that of someone close to you, has been affected by medical research. With this innovative imaging technology, our ambition is to develop new knowledge and treatments for patients more rapidly.

"Our University is an outstanding centre for health research and is committed to finding new solutions to the significant health challenges facing us today. We have won worldwide acclaim for our work so far but to achieve even more, we need your help."

Before the walk, we caught up with colleagues who were planning to offer practical support during the walk and who have taken on extra fundraising activities, including endurance sports. 

In the spotlight: Big Walk stories 

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