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Howard's Way Walk to hang up hiking boots after this year's trek

Final edition of the annual walking challenge set to take place this year

Pictured: this year's Howard's Way will be the eighth and final edition

Ten years after the first Howard’s Way Walk, organisers have announced that 2018 will mark the fundraiser’s eighth and final big walk.

Event professionals are training hard for the annual challenge, which this year will take them over an 87-mile stretch of the Ridgeway over the weekend of 8-10 June.

Initiated by freelance logistics manager Howard Kerr, the charity fundraiser has attracted a committed following of industry stalwarts to attempt a succession of annual long-distance hikes. Their efforts are dedicated to funding research to fight pancreatic cancer, the disease that claimed Kerr’s life in 2008.

The inaugural walk was planned by Howard Kerr himself, and undertaken with 12 industry colleagues who walked the Ridgeway, an ancient track running from Hertfordshire to Wiltshire. The challenge was completed in just three days as opposed to the recommended six.

Since then, Kerr’s brother-in-law, Nick Grecian, MD of events industry services group Gallowglass, has led the subsequent routes. As well as tackling some of the most physically-demanding pathways in Britain, including Hadrian’s Wall, the Yorkshire Dales Way and the West Highland Way, there have been two successful ‘Netwalking’ events, which saw crowds of events professionals cross the 10 mile stretch from Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge to the Emirates stadium in 2015 and 2016.

Grecian said: “Why are we bringing it to a close? It takes a lot of organising and the fundraising gets harder each year, but our 10th anniversary seems a logical time to wind it up. We’ve raised over £350,000 in total, which has helped make serious inroads in terms of achieving earlier diagnosis of the disease. The researchers are not there yet, but there is real cause to believe we’ll see a huge improvement declared in the near future.
“It has been an interesting journey, literally – one with a genuine mix of pain and pleasure. A huge sense of achievement, some amazing friendships forged and a lot of self-discovery for those participating…and all in a great cause.”
In June, the walkers will be revisiting their inaugural route – but this time retracing their steps, starting at the Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire and finishing at Ivinghoe Beacon in Hertfordshire, where the first steps were taken 10 years ago.

The walk has maintained a loyal core of participants, and this year will see the return of Howard’s Way Walk regulars, including Simon Burton, MD Exposure Communications; Andrew Dixey, JLR global government and utility strategy manager, Jaguar Land Rover; Lee Farrant, founder, 3Flags; Laura Moody, MD of Blondefish, and Gary White, MD of White Productions. 

The walkers will be sustained throughout the route by an event support team headed by Howard’s widow, Jane Kerr, of Kerr Associates, who will be setting up comfort stations to furnish the walkers with food and drinks.

“On behalf of all the walkers, I’d particularly like to thank Jane for the enormous part she has played in the organisation and support of these events,” added Nick Grecian.

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