Information for Participants

“The 2021 Orwell Challenge provided a long-awaited opportunity for the people of Suffolk to walk or run at our fabulous outdoor summer event. Many had deferred their entry from 2020, as it had been postponed due to the pandemic, and so the 2021 event had been eagerly anticipated by all. The event was organised with Government Covid rules firmly in mind – we wanted an event where everyone felt, and was, safe, and this we achieved. The turnout was high, with 900 enthusiastic participants having a wonderful time in our amazing Suffolk Countryside. My grateful thanks to my Rotarian colleagues and our volunteers who made the day such a massive success.”
David Chittick
Past Club President 2020-2021

General Information and Recommendations

Headquarters and assembly point for the Orwell Challenge will be Gainsborough Sports Centre (5 Braziers Wood Road, Ipswich IP3 0SP. Tel: 01473 433644).

Car parking: There is ample car parking space. Follow the signs and please do not park in the street.

If you raised funds for a charity or good cause, please remember to bring your Sponsorship Card. Total the value per mile and donations before handing them in at Headquarters. You will then be handed your Check Card.

Food and drink: Please bring your own food. Water, orange or lemon squash will be supplied free of charge upon request at all check points, as well as tea or coffee at Headquarters. There will be opportunities to purchase food and drink on the walk/ride and at Headquarters, however, it is always advisable to carry some supplies with you.

At each control: Ensure that a marshal signs your check card at each check point. First aid is available, should you need it, and please report any emergency promptly.

Dogs: Parts of the Walk/Run are over private land and it is regretted that dogs may not accompany participants. (Except for Guide Dogs).

Dropping out: ALL WALKERS AND RUNNERS, MUST REPORT TO THEIR CHECK IN DESK AT HEADQUARTERS AT THE END OF THE WALK OR RUN. If you drop out for any reason, you will be transported back to Headquarters, BUT PLEASE STILL REPORT IN.

Sweeper Marshal: A marshal will leave Headquarters behind the last walker or runner to sweep the complete course for the purpose of clearing the route and to ensure no casualty is left behind. If the sweeper overtakes you, you will be required to discontinue the event.


Start Times for Walkers: HQ opens at 7:00 am for walkers to start at 7:30 am. The last departure for those walking the full 25 miles is 9:00 am, but those walking a shorter route may leave up until 10:30 am. High tide may mean that late starters will be transported to an appropriate checkpoint.

Start Times for Marathon Runners: HQ opens at 6.30 am for runners to start at 7:00 am. All runners must leave HQ by 7:30 am.

Course marking: Directional boards and high visibility plastic ribbons tied to stakes, hedgerows etc., will mark the route in difficult places. Keep to the paths and shut all gates. The route may be altered from previous years. Full details will be displayed and signposts show any changes. PLEASE DO NOT ASSUME YOU KNOW THE ROUTE.

Clothing: Bring warm, waterproof clothing and either walking boots or stout shoes. A spare pair of socks may prove useful.

Distances: The total length of the course for walkers and trail runners is approximately 25 miles. The distance given on your check card is that to your next control point. Those starting later in the day or completing shorter walks will be transported to an appropriate control point.

Routes: There are three main walking / trail running routes:

  •     The Levington Loop – approximately 12 miles
  •     Fishponds Folly – approximately 19 miles
  •     The Orwell – approximately 25 miles

For those wanting to complete a marathon length trail run, there will be an alternative route near the finish which will be clearly signposted.  There is also a running only route: please let the marshals know which route you are aiming to complete.

Entry Fees: For the Orwell Challenge Walk is only £17.50 for adults and £7.50 for children of 12 years and under. This year we are also introducing a ‘Family’ fee, which is £40 for two adults and up to three children (up to 12 years old).

For the Marathon, the fee is £36.50, and for the Half Marathon £30. Both these rates are subject to a £2 addition for non-affiliated runners.

Keep in mind that we offer a 20% discount for all of those signing up before 28th February 2023, so we encourage you to sign up as early as possible!

Entry fees cover the administration costs of the event, free drinks at check points, certificate and medal for every participant. All surplus funds are donated to the charities the Rotary Club of Ipswich East supports, so simply by entering the event you are helping a charity or good cause.

Walkers and runners are encouraged to wear bright colours if they wish, emphasising the colour they bring to the charities they support.