Walkers packed like sardines minutes after the start of the 20km walk at Blouberg.The Discovery Cape Times big walk from Blouberg to Rhodes High was 20km . Picture Andrew Ingram

Cape Town - The Cape Times Big Walk has been cancelled for the first time in more than 60 years as not enough sponsorship can be raised, Big Walk Trust chairman Gerald Ponte says.

Discovery’s seven-year participation as co-naming rights sponsor had come to an end.

“While every effort has been made to secure a replacement, we were not able to secure the correct funding. The trust has explored options, but could not reconcile asking walkers to contribute to an event that would not support the walk’s charity objectives.”

The trust was convinced that, given the opportunity, the walk would be staged next year.

“It is the intention that we vigorously prepare for the 2015 event.”

The walk first took place in 1903. It was cancelled from 1940 to 1945 due to World War II and in 1948.

The Cape Times began sponsoring it in 1964, but withdrew in 1974 because of racial discrimination against entrants. It returned in 1984.

Cape Times editor Gasant Abarder said: “As a naming rights sponsor, the Cape Times is saddened the Big Walk will not be taking place. We sympathise with the trust and the thousands of people who take part every year. The Cape Times will lend its full support to any efforts to reinstate the event next year.”

Cape Times