Cudeca Walkathon participants set off./ PHOTOS: KARL SMALLMAN

Cudeca Walkathon participants set off. / PHOTOS: KARL SMALLMAN

Cudeca enjoys return of the Walkathon

March for Cudeca. More than 1,300 walkers took part in the charity event in Benalmádena last weekend, raising over 18,000 euros

TONY BRYANT

More than 1,300 walkers took part in the annual Walkathon fundraising initiative for the Cudeca cancer care charity in Benalmádena last Saturday (28 May). Organisers said they were overwhelmed with the success of the event, which raised over 18,000 euros.

The traditional Walkathon returned in its usual format this year, after two years of celebrating the charity walk virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cudeca pulled out all the stops to make this edition extra special as the charity is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

As has become customary at this popular event, the walkers enjoyed a fun Zumba warm-up routine to get them in the mood, before being set on their way by Medical Director Marisa Martín and the Deputy Chief Executive, Rafael Olalla.

Clad in their colourful Marcha por Cudeca T-shirts, the walkers, many of whom brought their pets along for the exercise, had the choice of a five or ten-kilometre route.

Enjoying the exceptional weather that bathed the Costa on Saturday, the first group of walkers set off from the Sunset Beach Hotel at 10.30am and a second group set off an hour later on the shorter route along the main promenade in Benalmádena Costa and on to Puerto Marina, before turning around and heading back to the finishing point at the hotel.

High spirits

The majority of the participants, who were cheered on by onlookers and well-wishers, made the journey in around three hours, and everyone seemed in high spirits, while many said they had "totally enjoyed the experience".

"We would like to thank Cudeca for arranging this excellent activity, which I very much enjoyed. It's not my first Walkathon and it won't be my last," Cudeca volunteer Sandra Grana told SUR in English.

Another volunteer, Alberto Rojas, added, "We truly support all of the events that bring people together. It gives us joy and happiness, and time for positive thinking, which is so important."

Afternoon of activities

After some much needed refreshments, the hundreds of walkers, volunteers and supporters enjoyed an afternoon of activities with the events company Exploramás. These included a Hindu Festival of Colours party (Holi), and a concert by local band iPop, which got the crowds dancing to a variety of music from the 1980s and 90s.

There was also plenty to keep the children occupied, while several chefs created a huge paella that was free to all walkers.

"For Cudeca it has been very exciting to enjoy a day like the Walkathon again. It was a reunion with the community, a greeting of old friends, families of patients and volunteers. It was wonderful to be able to embrace them once again. We are extremely satisfied with the participation of more than 1,300 people. Our special thanks to all the team of volunteers for their indispensable support of the organisation," Deputy Chief Executive Rafael Olalla said.