Legendary 'man with the pram' fundraiser John Burkhill conquers Sheffield Half Marathon at age of 83

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Iconic Sheffield fundraiser John Burkhill – the ‘man with the pram’ – completed the city’s Half Marathon event at the weekend...at the age of 83.

John, from Handsworth, has spent three decades wearing his trademark green wig and pushing his pram around more than 1,000 long-distance walks and marathons to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

And on Sunday he completed the Sheffield Half Marathon, which most runners described as 'tough' due to its elevations of up to 360m.

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Despite the 'daunting' task, John crossed the finish line in three hours and 51 minutes.

John Burkhill crossing the start line at the Sheffield Half Marathon 2022John Burkhill crossing the start line at the Sheffield Half Marathon 2022
John Burkhill crossing the start line at the Sheffield Half Marathon 2022

He said: “I'll be honest. I've done a lot of marathons and walks, and I normally prefer the one in Don Valley and a flat one.

“It (the course) was just a bit daunting and my knees are not as good as they used to be.”

He said the cheering and overwhelming support he received throughout the race motivated him to keep going.

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He said: “There were plenty of people shouting and cheering for me. There was plenty of support.”

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Sheffield Half Marathon: Legendary fundraiser 'Man with a Pram' John Burkhill's ...

John, who was awarded the Freedom of the City in 2019 for raising an incredible £750,000 for charity, said he hoped to have raised a few hundred pounds in his latest race.

He said: “I don't know how much I've raised, I would think around £600 to £800 or a bit more. I don't know, Macmillan will let me know the exact amount.

“But all I know is that every penny makes a difference.”

Now resting at home, he said he will be out and about this weekend to raise even more money for Macmillan Cancer Support, with his goal to reach £1 million in total.

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John took up fundraising 30 years ago, spurred on by the memory of his daughter Karen, who died suddenly in 1991, and his wife June, who he lost to cancer a year later.

He received a second British Empire Medal from the Queen in 2019 and last year completed his 25th Great North Run.

Even during the pandemic he donned his mask and continued to walk to streets to help meet his fundraising target.