Sheffield Half Marathon: Legendary fundraiser 'Man with a Pram' John Burkhill's advice for runners this Sunday

Sheffield’s legendary fundraiser John Burkhill, ‘the Man With a Pram’, says he is ready to tackle the city’s half marathon this Sunday in his mission to raise £1m for charity.

Friday, 25th March 2022, 3:54 pm
Updated Friday, 25th March 2022, 3:55 pm

John, aged 83, from Handsworth, has worked for three decades to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, wearing his iconic green wig and pushing his pram around more than 1,000 long-distance walks and marathons.

He was awarded the Freedom of the City in 2019 after raising an astonishing £750,000 for the charity, and is well on his way to his dream of cracking £1 million.

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John Burkhill celebrated his 80th birthday in January. Picture: Scott Merrylees

"It must be pretty close by now,” said John. “Macmillan know the real number and let me know when I reach milestones. But if you raise £50,000 a year for charity, it’s still going to take 20 years to reach a million. I can’t be far off by now, and we need to pick up steam again after the pandemic.

"I’m just going to keep at it.”

Now, he is ready to take on what will be his 38th consecutive Sheffield Half Marathon this Sunday (March 27), and has already raised over £20,000.

This year’s route includes a gruelling climb to Ringinglow and running the entire length of Eccesall Road and Ecclesall Road South.

He said: “The route looks quite tough. I’ll manage like always but those hills are going to be quite tough when you’re pushing a vintage pram.

"But I’ll get round, it doesn’t matter.”

As Sheffield Half Marathon veteran, John’s only advice for other runners this Sunday is: “Set a pace and a time, and if you don’t make your time don’t worry.

“There are no losers, everyone who runs and finishes this Sunday is a winner.

"I wish everyone, all the runners, and all the causes they’re running for, the best of luck and I hope you get the result you want.”

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.