Thank you to all our Big Walk 2018 heroes

Walkers give a thumbs up

Last week (Friday 22 June), the rolling hills of the Peak District were filled with staff and students from across our University for this year's Big Walk.

Undaunted by the 26.2 mile marathon distance, the walkers enjoyed glorious sunshine and a cheerful atmosphere as they made their way along the route. From the cool waters of Redmires Reservoir to the spectacular views from Stanage Edge, the Big Walk took in some of the most impressive countryside surrounding Sheffield.

Over 350 people took part in the Big Walk, with staff and students joined by friends, family and alumni to walk or run the route. Their efforts paid off with a phenomenal £50,000 raised for the Sheffield Scanner, our appeal to bring a ground-breaking MRI-PET scanner to the region. A life-saving piece of technology, the Scanner will transform our understanding of diseases including cancer, dementia, heart and lung diseases, motor neurone disease, Parkinson's and stroke.

With over £1.5 million of our £2 million target already reached, the Big Walkers have brought us closer to revolutionising healthcare in Yorkshire with every step. 

Find out more about the Sheffield Scanner

The Big Walk Moment

Social media was buzzing all day with pictures and updates from the walkers, and words of encouragement from their colleagues. We've put together a Twitter moment to share all the digital highlights from the day. 

Take a look at our coverage here

Walkers along the route


Words from our walkers

This year's Big Walk ended in the sunny garden of the University Arms. With the first of the runners arriving back around midday, participants enjoyed free drinks and a barbeque to celebrate their achievement. We caught up with runners and walkers as they crossed the finish line, along with some of our staff volunteers, to find out about their Big Walk experience.

Claire Wilkinson, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager in the Faculty of Science

Claire Wilkinson

How are you feeling after your run?

Good, I really enjoyed it.

Why did you decide to take part in the Big Walk?

I’ve always done lots of running but I’ve never done a marathon before, so it seemed like a really great opportunity and a great cause for my first marathon.

What kind of training have you done?

I did one 20 miler last month, and a couple of 13 milers all off-road. I run off-road quite a lot. But there was nothing too intense; I didn’t want to get injured beforehand.

Why do you think the Sheffield Scanner is an important cause?

We all know somebody so we’ve all been affected in some way by one of those diseases, so Sheffield having that facility would be a great thing.

What have you enjoyed most about today?

Seeing all the marshals and all the people on the route. The marshals were overwhelmingly friendly and supportive all the way round, so it was really nice to check in with people. It was also a really stunning route through beautiful countryside.

What are your plans for the rest of the day?

I’m going to go back to the office to get changed and then go and pick the kids up from school.


Simon Linskill, Widening Participation Research and Evaluation (WPREU) Assistant

Simon Linskill

How are you feeling after your run?

I did the same length on Sunday to practise so I was feeling alright about it. We’ve had the perfect weather, so it’s been really nice.

What made you decide to take part in the Big Walk?

Well I did half of the 50 mile Big Walk last year – I ran to Bakewell which was about 27 miles and I really enjoyed it. I’d never run that distance before, so I thought I’d just do it again. It was nice to actually finish at the finish line this year.

What kind of training did you do?

Generally I alternated between running one day and swimming the next, and then having the odd day off in the middle of those things. At the weekend I would try to do longer and longer runs until I could match the length of this route.

Why do you think the Sheffield Scanner is an important appeal?

Well, it’s all been said before. It’s a ground-breaking piece of equipment which would benefit the city and the region and obviously add a certain amount of prestige to the university as well.

What has been the most challenging part of the day?

I’d probably say the most challenging bit was towards the end, just going up Rivelin Bank and Walkley Bank because that’s a hugely steep hill.

And the most enjoyable?

I suppose the enjoyable bit was most of it – being out in the Peaks in the sunshine, having perfect blue skies and being able to see a nice horizon. It was absolutely fantastic.


Claire Conway, Assistant Head of the Careers Service and Deborah McClean, Director of Research Services

Claire Conway and Deborah McClean

How are you feeling after your run?

Deborah: On a scale of one to broken, 9! Maybe 9 and a half.

What made you decide to take part in the Big Walk?

Claire: It was a good challenge. Having a goal to work towards and doing something as part of a community event within the university has been great.

Deborah: It has been quite nice raising money. We’ve surprised ourselves with how much money we’ve raised. People have been really generous.

What kind of training did you do?

Deborah: Well, we don’t normally run marathons, but we do quite a lot of running anyway, so we just did a bit more than normal.

Claire: We did a 20 mile fell race together about a month ago. I always feel like I haven’t done as much training as I should have, but we do run quite a lot of miles anyway. We made it.

What do you think is important about the Sheffield Scanner appeal?

Deborah: It’s going to be the only one in Yorkshire and I think we should have one. We’re a big area, there are lots of people here, so I think it’s right that we should have one and it will be brilliant for our research.

Claire: I think it’s really important for us to be at the forefront of research.

What was the most enjoyable part of the day?

Deborah: I think the most enjoyable part was being part of a team, and also all the people that we met on the way.

And the most challenging?

Claire: It’s been warm...

Deborah: ...and it’s a long way. That sounds like an obvious thing to say, but about mile 21 we had to give ourselves a bit of a talking to. So that was the challenging part, that little bit. Once we got to mile 25 we were like “Right, we’ve got this now.”

What are your plans for the rest of the day?

Claire: Lying down.

Deborah: Very little. I’m going to come back here and have a drink.


Hamam Rouiched, Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)

Hamam Rouiched

How are you feeling after the walk?

It feels really nice to do something for a good cause. It was organised well – a lot of marshals, a lot of help and re-fuelling stations for water.

What was the most enjoyable part of the day?

For me, it was seeing all these like-minded people coming together and being able to converse with them. We all share the same ideals, that’s why we’re all here, and it was a chance to meet different people from different backgrounds

And the most challenging?

We didn’t get lost, but we did have some moments where we stopped and weren’t sure which way to go.

What are your plans for the rest of the day?

I’m just waiting for my friends to come along, they’re doing the Big Walk as well but I left them behind, unfortunately. They should be here soon so we’ll get together.

What do you think is important about the Sheffield Scanner appeal?

I think it’s the fact that we don’t have one around here. In London, there are about three of them. It would be really good to have something out here so people don’t have to travel so far, especially since people who need the Scanner tend not to be in the greatest health. So, for Sheffield to try to raise this money is pretty great.


Sally Jones

Sally Jones (volunteer), PhD student in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

Why did you decide to help out with the Big Walk?

I’ve been volunteering with the Alumni office for a few years since the end of my undergraduate degree. In particular for the Sheffield Scanner, I have a chronic medical condition, my fiance has a chronic medical condition, and we’ll probably be in Sheffield for the foreseeable future, so I think this is something really worthwhile to help the people of Sheffield who need the medical support.


Robert Kelsall

Robert Kelsall, Business Systems Analyst in Finance

Why did you decide to take part in the Big Walk?

I think it’s a really good charity. We did the walk last year and it was a great challenge, and this year we got to do it with a lot more of our colleagues. It’s a good cause, and it’s a nice opportunity to get a day out of work!

Why do you think the Sheffield Scanner appeal is important?

It’s just a great bit of kit, a good bit of technology and it’s probably going to save a lot of lives with the research it’s going to do.

What has been your favourite part of the day?

I did enjoy a cup of tea that I had at Bradfield Hall, that was lovely. Or maybe it was getting here for a pint! It’s just been a lovely day, the weather’s been fantastic, and we couldn’t have asked for a better walk.


Nancy Hughes

Nancy Hughes (volunteer), Events Officer for Development, Alumni Relations and Events (DARE)

Why did you decide to help out with the Big Walk?

Last year I managed to do the full 50 miles of the Big Walk and raised a lot of money for the Sheffield Scanner, which I think is a fantastic cause. I really believe in it and I think it will do amazing things for everyone in the Sheffield region and beyond.

So, rather than walking it this year I thought I’d get involved in a different way by volunteering and cheering everyone on, and what better way to do that than being at the finish line? I’m looking forward to welcoming people through.


Steven Goodrich, Digital Content Coordinator in Corporate Communications

Steven Goodrich

What made you decide to take part in the Big Walk?

This time last year, when the last Big Walk was taking place. I had just started at the university and I felt like I’d missed out a little bit by not being able to sign up to it. So it was partly that, and partly that it’s a good cause. I’ve already done some fundraising for the Scanner, so this just seemed like the next step.

Why do you think the Sheffield Scanner appeal is important?

Apart from the fact that it’s going to be an amazing diagnostic tool, my cause is specifically to do with the fact that the Scanner can potentially identify motor neurone disease, which is something that has affected my family quite recently. That’s been a driving force throughout the day. But generally, it will be a good thing to have in Sheffield, and it’s a first for the region.

What has been your favourite part of the day?

Some of the views we got, around Stanage and Derwent in particular. It’s just a lovely part of the world to be in, and this just reminds you how lucky we are to have it on our doorstep.

How are feeling after the walk?

Sore, my feet feel pretty swollen, but in time I’ll be alright. I’m still fairly chirpy, surprisingly.

What are your plans for the rest of the day?

Sitting down.