Around 1,600 people participated in the 16th edition of the Cudeca Walkathon last Sunday in Benalmádena Costa.
The charity hike is one of the organisation's biggest annual events and this year it raised more than 29,000 euros.
The walkers, some of whom were accompanied by their dogs, could either choose the full ten kilometre route, or the slightly less demanding routes of five and two kilometres. The event was attended by Mayor of Benalmádena, Víctor Navas, and Cudeca officials, Rafael Olalla and Marisa Martín.
Marisa Martín said she was “extremely happy” to see so many people participating in the walk again, while also acknowledging the “tireless work” of the 100 volunteers who made the event possible.
Popular Costa del Sol entertainer, Mel Williams got the walkers on their way with a fitting rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone, an act he has performed since the fundraising walk first began.
The route took the walkers along the promenade behind Sunset Beach Club to the Playa Bonita Hotel. From here, they headed towards to port in Benalmádena Costa and then back to the finishing line at Sunset Beach Club.
The first walkers began to appear at the finish line around 1.30pm, but most were in no hurry as it was a wonderful day to be walking along the seafront.
Sharon, accompanied by her husband, Kevin, and daughter, Elena, was participating in the event for the twelfth year running. The family, who own a bar in Arroyo de la Miel, raised almost 600 euros in sponsorship.
“We like to support Cudeca because they do such a wonderful job. You never know if you might need their services one day, so occasions like these give everyone an opportunity to help,” Sharon told SUR in English.
Jackie and Ronnie had travelled from Álora - where they have lived for 15 years - to take part in the walk. It was the first time they had participated and they were determined to enjoy the event, even though their reasons for joining in were very personal.
“I decided to do the walk because I lost my dad and some lovely friends to cancer, so it is something that is very close to my heart,” Jackie said.
Entertainment and prizes
Once the Walkathon was over, the participants enjoyed an afternoon of live entertainment and refreshments. There was a prize raffle that offered hotel breaks, tickets for museums and attractions, and dinner in some of the coast's top establishments. There were also prizes for the individual and group that raised the most in sponsorship.
Nine year old Jago Bux came first in the children's category for the second year running, winning four free tickets to Selwo Marina.
Third prize in the adult section - a two-night stay in Ireland - was won by Cudeca volunteer, Hazel Bradshaw, and her dog, Oscar.
“Oscar and I have been doing the Walkathon for many years. I think Oscar was the first dog to be sponsored in the event,” Hazel explained.
The second prize of a medical check-up at the Vithas Hospital was won by Chris Knapp, also a Cudeca volunteer.
The first prize of a six-night holiday in Portugal was won by the Gottieb Hair and Beauty Salon in Fuengirola, who raised 3,671 euros in sponsorship. The staff have participated in the Walkathon for the past 12 years, and even though this is not the most they have ever raised, it was the eleventh time they had triumphed.