The Investec Derby Festival is now two and a half weeks away and the build-up to the two-day extravaganza at Epsom Downs (Friday, May 31 & Saturday, June 1) continues this weekend with the annual Derby Walk on Sunday.
Founded by John Sandys, the Derby Walk is celebrating its 10th anniversary and begins from the Tattersalls Tavern, Knightsbridge, London at 9.00am and finishes at Epsom Downs Racecourse after passing through Elephant & Castle, Clapham, Colliers Wood, Merton and Morden. This will lead to Rose Hill and then on to the Epsom Downs - a distance of over 20 miles.
The walk was inspired by a picture called Exodus: The Epsom Derby by Gilbert (1845). The image pays homage to Londoners who used to walk to Epsom for Derby Day in the 19th and early 20th century. Walking via Elephant & Castle and other London landmarks echoes the route taken by thousands of racegoers before the advent of buses and trains.
The walk takes in some of London's most notable sights including Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and the Houses of Parliament.
Sandys set up the walk in 2009 and the event has helped raise thousands of pounds for various charities. The aim of the walk according to Sandys is "purely to raise funds for deserving causes and increase the positive aspect of horseracing", with a particular focus on the Investec Derby.
The registration fee is £15 for fundraisers £25 for non-fundraisers (£10 of the latter is donated to the Derby Walk's nominated charity, Epsom Riding for the Disabled). The registration fee entitles entrants to refreshments throughout the walk at various locations, a nutritious goody bag at the walk outset and a two-course meal and drinks reception at the Epsom Downs Racecourse finish. Walkers can also enjoy a photo-opportunity in the famous winner's enclosure
Sponsorship forms are available to download from www.thederbywalk.co.uk and walkers can also register at https://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/epsom/events-tickets/derby-walk/
Sandys said today: "I am really looking forward to the 10th anniversary of the Derby Walk.
"It really has taken on a new dimension having Epsom Racecourse involved and they create a fabulous atmosphere at the racecourse which really adds to the Derby Walk experience and enhances the historic value of the event, whilst also relieving us of the pressure of registrations.
"I feel incredibly happy and proud that we have made it this far. Considering the first Derby Walk, which incidentally took place on May 4 (the same date as first Derby in 1780, won by Diomed), 2009 and hosted a total of five walkers, including past Epsom Downs Racecourse Managing Directors Edward Gillespie and Stephen Wallis, I feel it is quite an achievement to now host around 50 participants and to have raised approaching £100,000.
"I know that is not much by today's standards, but when you consider this event is totally non-profit making with both myself and Derby Walk colleague Pat Larkin covering all additional expenses (refreshments throughout the walk, wristbands, certificates, t-shirts, administration etc.), the registration fee going to cover the superb two-course meal and drinks reception at the racecourse, it makes the Derby Walk extra special."
Anyone who would like to take part or requires further information should contact John Sandys by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07803 741882.