The Big Walk, Cape Town’s oldest and biggest mass participation sporting event, held annually in November, will unfortunately not be staged this year, due to a lack of sufficient sponsorship.

The Big Walk, now in its 111th year has been a major charity driver in the City and one that has contributed in excess of R1m per annum to the upliftment and development of our communities. “The primary objective of the Big Walk is to generate funds for charity, says the Big Walk Trust Chairman Gerald Ponte. While the decision not to stage the event is sad, it is as a result of intense deliberations and the main reason for this decision is that without sufficient sponsorship, it is not viable to stage an event that  meets our primary objective”, says Ponte. We simply cannot expect our walkers to pay an entry fee to a charity event which would not meet its charity objective.

The funds raised in each year’s Event are distributed to a range of local charities – some directly and others indirectly via the community projects of the Rotary Club of Claremont and Spartan Harriers. The distribution to charity from the 2013 event was recorded at R1, 071 174. In addition to the contribution to charity, the Big Walk also injects a considerable amount into the local economy.

The Big Walk has had a steady increase in participation from both local and international walkers in the last few years. “The 2013 event was a resounding success that was achieved through the great support of our walkers and this contributed to a record number of 37 000 participants, and in turn a record amount of funds was raised for various charities, says Event Director, Tania Carolus. It is especially sad for all of us that the Big Walk cannot be staged this year, considering that the success of the 2013 event was the culmination of a collective team effort over the last few years”, says Carolus.

The Big Walk, is the only event in Cape Town that comprises of ten routes and is designed to suit every fitness level that caters to both the professional and social walker. Despite its increased appeal including international competitors, the event remains entrenched in the broader communities of Cape Town. It is the event that draws people from all walks of life together for charity, and to enjoy family and social time in a healthy, fun outdoor environment.

“We believe that the 110 year legacy and heritage of the Big Walk can be maintained into the future, and we are thus vigorously planning for 2015 in order to stage the calibre of event to which Cape Town has grown accustomed”, says Ponte.

Cape Times editor Gasant Abarder said “As a naming rights sponsor, the Cape Times is saddened the Big Walk will not be taking place. We sympathize with the Trust and the thousands of people who take part every year. The Cape Times will lend its full support to any efforts to reinstate the event next year.”

We would like to express a heartfelt thanks to our walkers for their generous support over the years, and while we will all miss you on the 9 November this year we hope to see you next year.