The 5th annual Ivanhoe Way Challenge, a 37 mile walk around the Ivanhoe Way Footpath, took place on Saturday 15th June. Starting at 4am from the Royal Hotel, Ashby, 56 walkers were in good spirits, even though they had 37 gruelling miles in front of them. It quickly became apparent that some walkers were going to find the navigation hard as after walking 7 miles in 2 hours they found themselves back in Ashby. They were quickly put back on track and their sheer grit and determination enabled them to complete the full route.

The route passes through Staunton Harold Reservoir, heads to the rocky outcrops of Charnwood Forest, before going out towards Bagworth. The second half of the route continues over to Shackerstone, along the route of the Ashby Canal, then towards the Moria Furnace. With a dry morning out of the way, midday bought sharp showers and strong winds, testing even the most motivated walker to keep going. As walkers approached checkpoint 4 at Odstone around midday, they were welcomed by encouraging support from the marshals, along with hot drinks and cakes which helped to prepare the walkers for the final 12 miles.

Throughout the day we heard many stories of people’s goals and motivations for taking part in the challenge, many very emotional and inspiring. One common theme we heard from many people was the good cause for which the event supported, Wishes 4 Kids. After losing 5 stone over 12 months David Hancock’s goal was to complete this event. In his words, “Our pains will heal, many of the children’s pains won’t”. This sums up the day nicely.

The amount raised to date is £7,100 which is amazing, and this keeps on rising. This brings the total raised over the 5 years of this event in excess of £25,000. The true winners of this challenge were all the participants and the children who will benefit from all the money they have raised. Despite having blisters, aches and pains, walkers enjoyed a well-earned rest at the Royal Hotel with homemade soup and refreshments once they had completed the walk. A great atmosphere of celebration, elation and relief welcomed each team back, and continued until the last team finished.

Special thanks must go to all the volunteers, who helped out on the day, and Leicester Search and Rescue who provided the first aid cover. Co-founder of the challenge Angela Bebbington says "Without volunteers this event would not be able to take place, they all play such an important role in making the whole event a success". Many walkers commented on how great the support was at checkpoints with constant cheers of encouragement from marshals, really giving them a push and motivating them to keep going.

Richard and Angela Bebbington, the founders of this event, continue to support Wishes 4 Kids. In August of this year they will commence on their own challenge. They will be cycling from ‘Home 2 Rome’ raising further funds for Wishes 4 Kids. A Leicestershire charity that grants wishes for children and youngsters who are life limited, terminally ill, have experienced life-changing physical or emotional traumas, have suffered major abuse or are diagnosed as HIV Positive.