Well done Big Walkers!

Big Walkers

Well done and thank you to everyone who took part in the Big Walk on Friday 28 June 2019. Whether you walked or ran, completed 23 or 37 miles, or volunteered, we’re proud of your achievements and efforts to raise money for scholarships.

More than 200 staff and students, accompanied by friends and family, took to the rolling hills of the Peak District for the annual Big Walk.

It was a 6.30am start for our walkers and runners completing the 37-mile route. They set off from the University before heading out through Endcliffe and Ringinglow and down into Fox House through the Longshaw Estate. Our 23-milers joined them at Bamford and from here they went on to take in the spectacular views of Ladybower and Bradfield, before enjoying a well-deserved ice cream at Our Cow Molly and heading back towards campus.

Thankfully, the weather held up for our walkers who enjoyed the sunshine after a particularly dreary June.

Maddie Sinclair, Community Fundraising Manager, Development, Alumni Relations and Events (DARE), said: "It was a really fantastic day. Seeing different members of the University come together to fundraise for such an important cause was incredibly heartwarming. The sun made an appearance after a few hours, the breeze gave everyone a helping hand along Derwent Edge, and the food and ice cream helped our walkers and runners up and down all the hills. Thank you so much to everyone who got involved, we hope you enjoyed it and we can't wait to see how much the whole event will raise!"

So far our walkers have raised an incredible £30,000 for Sheffield Scholarships, our appeal to help widen access for talented students from disadvantaged and low-income backgrounds. With every step our Big Walkers have brought more students closer to realising their dreams of studying at Sheffield.

How student scholarships are changing lives

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The Big Walk moment

On Friday, #TUOSBigWalk was trending on Twitter in Sheffield, with pictures and updates from walkers, and words of encouragement from their colleagues. We've put together a Twitter moment to share highlights from the day.

Take a look at our coverage here

A big thank you to our volunteers and marshals

Our marshals did an incredible job to support our walkers and runners, marking them through checkpoints, as well as keeping them hydrated and fuelled with much-needed flapjack. A huge thank you to everyone who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the success of this year’s walk.

  • Accommodation and Commercial Services for their outstanding support throughout the Big Walk. With their support and organisation, food was provided along the route at marshal stations, as well as at our rest stops to keep our walkers fuelled and ready for the next part of their journey.
  • The University Arms for so generously opening their doors to all Big Walkers, the food and drinks were flowing and the atmosphere was incredible.
  • The Yorkshire Bridge Inn and Bradfield Village Hall for giving us their space and facilities for rest stops along the route. These stops can be lifesavers for our walkers and runners.
  • Katlin McIlhagga, Carolynne Yates and Sue Singleton from the AMRC for making the now infamous Big Walk flapjack.
  • Remedy Physio, Laura Hogg, Aaron Darmudas and our other sports massage therapists for providing some well-needed massages at the finish line.
  • Our Cow Molly for opening their farm to walkers, it really was a treat five miles before the finish! Thank you also for the Our Cow Molly milk bottles with Big Walk stickers in the lead up to the walk.

Despite being injured and unable to do the walk, Richard Jones, Department of Finance, told us why he was still determined to be involved on the day: “I’m volunteering today because although I was originally down to run the event, I am injured and unfortunately can’t, but I still wanted to take part in this great cause to help provide education for people who otherwise might not be able to afford it.”

Marshal Big Walk

Sports massage

Big Walk marshal

First across the finish line


Daniel Gottschalk, Peter Anstess and Alan Carlisle

Peter Anstess, from Accommodation and Commercial Services, and Daniel Gottschalk, from Clinical Trials Research Unit, were the first runners to cross the finish line. Peter, who was running the 37-mile route, was fortunate enough to meet Daniel, running 23 miles, along the way and the pair were able to complete their incredible journey together.

Daniel said: “It was excellent having Pete to navigate for me when we did meet up about half way!”

Peter said: “Brilliant marshals, great food. Everyone was so kind out on the run and just so supportive. It makes such a difference having those people out there to point you in the right direction and motivate you. It's been a pleasure doing it.”

We caught up with Daniel earlier that day, with colleague Nima Assad, to find out their motivations for running the Big Walk.

Nima said: “We ran most of the first part but now I’m going to take it a little bit slower and Danny’s going to power through! We’re doing it to support student scholarships, to help students with their financial costs at the University.”

Daniel said: "We’ve both worked in Widening Participation before so that’s why I’m doing it again this year and Nima for the first time."

Daniel Gottschalk and Nima Assad

Words from our walkers

Hemant Mistry, Nikita Soni and Aytac Gul, Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience

Hemant Mistry, Nikita Soni and Aytac Gul

How are you feeling about today’s walk?
Nikita: Nervous.
Aytac: Excited, a bit of both!

How have you been preparing?
Aytac: We’ve been doing a few training walks in preparation. We’ve already completed this route.

What are you most looking forward to?
Nikita: I’m excited for the scenery!
Hemant: I’m excited for the ice cream!

What were your motivations for taking part in this year’s walk?
Hemant: I did my undergrad here and I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to do it which was really useful, so it feels good to be on the other side raising money for it. It’s also a good opportunity to get out of the lab.

Charlotte Watson, the Medical School

How are you finding the walk?
This is my third walk, it’s easier than last year’s. I don’t have any blisters today but I thought I might as I struggled last year.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?
The bit over the moors where there is nothing to look at was the hardest bit.

What is getting you through today?
I am really looking forward to the thought of the beer at the end!

Why do you think this year’s cause is important? 
I think it is really important that people from backgrounds that wouldn’t normally come to university are given that opportunity and chance to.

Charlotte Watson

Team Outreach Warriors from Student Recruitment and Widening Participation

Outreach Warriors team

How is your day going?
Ella: We're just over half way. We've really appreciated the flapjack points, they've been the best thing.

Kirsty: We've had a number of games that Ella has tried to keep us entertained with along the way.

Ella: It's going well, it's been lots of fun. Not too many blisters yet!

Kirsty: We're looking forward to seeing someone that's on our team but couldn't walk in the end. She's volunteering at Damflask, so she's been our motivation for the next stint.

Why are you walking today?
Kirsty: Working in student recruitment and admissions I know that scholarships are really important for all prospective students that we actually go out and see, whether it is in schools, UCAS fairs or those on our sustained programmes. They’re the students that will really benefit from having a scholarship because they might not be able to afford to come to university otherwise. It is something close to our hearts that we do day in day out.

Kirsty Bowen, Estates and Facilities Management

"I want to say a big thank you to the organising team for putting on such an amazing event. The walk itself was a big challenge for me so it was great to have clear instructions, excellent organisation and amazing support all the way round.

I had planned on walking on my own but I was soon adopted by a team of colleagues who really helped me and spurred me on. I really don't think I would have made it up to Derwent Edge without them.

The marshals were so helpful and the flapjack, drinks, lunch, ice cream and BBQ at the end was a massive bonus - I even got a massage!

I feel extremely proud to work for such an incredible organisation who could involve as many staff, students and alumni in such an event which raises money for a great cause."