Cancer Alliance 75,000km challenge

To mark the NHS’s 75th birthday year, the Cancer Alliance has set an ambitious challenge of collectively walking, running, swimming, and cycling 75,000km.

The challenge will see staff participate in a series of team events throughout the year. They will also be recording their individual exercise efforts, which will be added to the monthly team total, so keep an eye on this page to be sure you don’t miss out on the fun!

By the start of February, the total km’s travelled is an impressive 42,416km! This means the team have completed 56.55% of the challenge already.

With just over 32,500km’s left to complete, the team still have a long way to go and every walk to the shops, run or cycle recorded on Strava will help. You can find out more about the teams recent and upcoming activities on this page or follow us on Facebook or X (formerly Twitter) to see regular challenge updates.

The benefits of regular exercise

Being active can help you maintain a healthy weight, and it can also have many positive benefits for your mental health. Did you know that it can also reduce the risk of developing at least 13 different types of cancer?

You do not have to try and become a superhuman athlete – you can increase your activity levels without even leaving the comfort of your own home! There are some fantastic guides available that show lots of different ways that you can move more – so you and your family can live a healthier life.

Breast cancer and exercise

People who exercise regularly are less likely to develop breast cancer. Scientists found that people who maintain a balanced weight and are participating in regular physical activities produce lower levels of the hormones oestrogen and insulin within the body. Higher levels of these two hormones could encourage breast cells to divide more often, and if cells divide too much and grow out of control this can lead to cancer.

Being very active can also boost your immune system, which means it works more effectively. A strong immune system means the body is more likely to identify cells which could go on to become cancer, and it can then remove these cells before they cause harm.

Bowel cancer and exercise

People who are exercising regularly are less likely to develop bowel cancer. It is believed that an increased level of activity helps the bowel to pass food quicker.  This means that anything in food that could be harmful to our bodies,  spends less time in our bowel – and therefore reduces the risk of developing bowel cancer.

Research indicates that living an active life can directly prevent bowel cancer. Having a lower level of body fat means that inflammation levels are low. A high level of inflammation can cause the cells in the body to multiply more often, which can increase the risk of cancer.

The benefits of exercise can also be felt by people who currently are facing cancer. Allyson’s story highlights how walking can help a patient to get fit for surgery, and how it can also improve your mental well-being, whilst being an opportunity to make friends with people who are going through similar situations.

A spotlight on recent activities

75km in 7.5 hours

On Tuesday, 4th July 2023, the Cancer Alliance team completed their first mini team challenge by taking part in a ‘75km in 7.5 hours’ event at Health House in Willerby.

Using a treadmill and an exercise bike, the team raced against time and managed to clock up an impressive 183.04km in just seven and a half hours. That is the more than three times the length of the entire North Yorkshire coastline!

The event also helped to raise £135 for NHS Charities Together, which meant the original ambitious target of £100 was beaten. The Cancer Alliance team were cheered on by passers by in Health House and their support kept the team’s morale and motivation high.

Did someone say ‘walkies’?

It is not just the two legged beings that are getting involved with the challenge, the dogs are in on it too!

Many km’s are travelled daily by taking the dog on regular walks, and this is exactly why the Cancer Alliance dog owners are tracking their pooch adventures.

Here are some of our favourite pictures submitted so far!

Lighting up a walk around York

On Saturday, 30th September 2023, members of the Cancer Alliance team took part in the Cancer Research UK Shine Night Walk in York.

The team faced the elements and took on the challenge of walking the 10km distance around the city in the rain. They were dressed in some fantastic illuminous outfits – from glowstick necklaces and tutu’s to fairy lights and light up liberty spikes.

This event meant the team were also able to dazzle their way to smashing their fundraising target – as they collectively raised over £630 for Cancer Research UK!

Smiles were beaming on their (slightly drenched) faces as they crossed the finish line and they were each presented with their medals, for a night they won’t be forgetting in a flash!

Well done to every single person who took on this challenge, their efforts contributed towards the 75,000km challenge whilst also raising an incredible amount of money for charity.

Upcoming events

The Cancer Alliance team will be taking part in a number of events during the NHS’s 75th birthday year. Here are just a few examples of what they have coming up:

Saturday 23rd  December – Parkrun event

Saturday 30th December – 5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer event

Saturday 6th January – Parkrun event

Saturday 13th January – Parkrun event

Saturday 20th January – Parkrun event

Saturday 27th January – 5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer event

If you have any questions about the 75,000km challenge or are interested in getting involved, please email [email protected].