From August to October, thousands of people across the UK will come together to take part in Shine Night Walks to raise money for life-saving cancer research. These spectacular walks take place in some of the UK’s loveliest cities, taking in local and national landmarks that have been lit up to make the night truly special. To sign up, visit shinewalk.org.
To find out more about these events and the impact they have on cancer research, we turned to Cancer Research UK’s head of events and sport, Gareth Mulcahy.
What is the history of Shine Night Walks?
Our Shine Night Walks have been running for 12 years – the first ever event took place in Manchester in 2010 and saw 7,400 people take part in a walking marathon through the city’s streets at night. The event raised GBP 1.7 million and kick-started Shine Night Walk as we know it today. In 2011, we added London and Glasgow to the schedule, and we’ve continued to grow ever since.
This year, Shine Night Walks will take place in 19 cities across the UK, with 23,000 people walking through the night to help beat cancer. All cities offer a 10 km route, and our London Shine Night Walk has half marathon and full marathon options, too.
What is the main attraction for people to take part in a Shine Night Walk?
Shine Night Walk is no ordinary event, it’s an exciting and magical night-time walk. As well as passing some of the UK’s most famous landmarks, it allows people to see and experience their city in a whole new way. People often enjoy doing it as a group, or team, so it’s a fun social occasion, too. All Shine Night Walk events are non-competitive, and participants are encouraged to walk at their own pace. There is always a great atmosphere.
Of course, a lot of people who take part have been affected by cancer, either having experienced it themselves or because they know someone who has had a cancer diagnosis. Shine Night Walks offer the chance to celebrate and remember people while raising money for research that will save lives.
Everyone who signs up is given the option to fundraise for all cancers or choose an area or type of cancer research to fundraise for.
Why do people have to pay in order to take part in a Shine Night Walk?
Entry fees help with the cost of putting on the event.
Once a person has signed up, they will receive a Shine Night Walk pack. What is in the pack?
All participants receive a Shine Night Walk pack, which includes a unique walker number, a t-shirt, a course map and a back sign to write specific reasons for taking part, or share a tribute to someone special.
We’re making conscious efforts to be more sustainable, so we’re sending fewer printed materials this year. You can, however, visit our website to download extra materials such as a fundraising pack with lots of useful information and ideas, posters, and more.
How can people support Shine Night Walks without taking part in the walk itself?
As well as taking part, there are other ways that people can support Shine Night Walks, including volunteering. Our volunteers are beacons in the dark, offering participants encouragement throughout the challenge and cheering them on. The volunteering roles include helping set up the course, guiding supporters around the cities, and handing out well-earned refreshments. We simply couldn’t run the events without them. There is more info about volunteering here.
People can also help promote Shine Night Walks by sharing their experiences of cancer by signing up to be a media volunteer. A lot of people sign up to our events after reading about people’s lived experiences. Full details can be found here.
How are Shine Night Walks helping Cancer Research UK to achieve its goals?
At Cancer Research UK, we rely on the generosity of our supporters to fund our life-saving research into the prevention and treatment of all types of cancer. 1 in 2 of us will get cancer in our lifetime. Everyone who takes part and fundraises through the Shine Night Walk will help Cancer Research UK bring about a world where everybody can lead longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.
Are there equivalents of Shine Night Walks on an international scale?
We don’t have any Shine Night Walks outside of the UK. There are international challenge events which will allow participants to fundraise for their chosen charity.
About Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research, influence and information. We want to accelerate progress and see 3 in 4 people surviving their cancer by 2034.
Many thanks for your time and for the interview.