Wakefield woman completes 35 challenges before her 35th birthday for charity

Date: 16 April 2020

A Wakefield woman is celebrating after completing 35 physical and mental challenges before her 35th birthday.

Marketing officer Gill Barker completed her 35th and final challenge in March by running, swimming and cycling her way from Chatham in Kent, where she was born, to Leeds Town Hall.

Gill’s incredible 20-month experience has seen her complete the Honolulu Marathon, run the length of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, row a marathon and cycle up Mont Ventoux - a mountain included in the Tour de France.

Other challenges, such as taking part in a live radio interview on BBC Radio Leeds and an escape room game have stretched her mentally, and she’s learned new skills like skiing, surfing and climbing.


Gill has now raised more than £4,000 for two charities close to her heart - Yorkshire Cancer Research and Leeds Mind.

Gill, who works at Leeds Trinity University, said: “Looking back, it’s been a very busy 20 months, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The whole point of ‘35 before 35’ was to start doing things out of my comfort zone and enjoying life again. I’ve always wanted to do all the challenges I’ve done, but I previously would have held back by feelings of self-doubt, failure and what people would think of me. So I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved against the negative self-talk.

“I decided to donate half the money raised from the challenges to Yorkshire Cancer Research as I have a family history of cancer. Most recently I’ve seen two friends go through and I felt so helpless. This has hopefully been my way of showing my support and helping others in a similar situation to them.”

Now that her ‘35 before 35’ adventure is over, Gill is busy finding ways to continue the legacy of her unique challenge and raise even more funds for her two chosen causes.

She added: “The plan is to take on larger challenges, but just the one a year. I’ve started to feel uncomfortably comfortable with the challenges I’ve been doing, so I now want to start pushing myself in other areas of my life.”

You can find out more about Gill’s challenges and sponsor her by visiting www.35before35.co.uk.



Contact: Nikki Brady, PR Manager, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Emailnikki.brady@ycr.org.uk

About Yorkshire Cancer Research

  • Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity. 
  • Current statistics show that 594 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. 
  • Our mission is for 2,000 more people to survive cancer every year in Yorkshire. 
  • There are lots of cancer problems across the region that need to be tackled on a local level. We work in partnership with researchers, clinicians, the NHS, public health bodies and other charities to fund innovative work in four key areas: prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and clinical trials.
  • For more information, please visit www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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