Nation comes together to help Save the UK's Charities on what would have been Virgin Money London Marathon day
Today’s 40th edition of the London Marathon has been replaced by The 2.6 Challenge, the first day of a campaign to save the UK’s charities that has seen thousands of people of all ages take to social media to share their weird and wonderful fundraising feats.
Some 44,000 runners would have pounded the streets of central London for the marathon today, the world’s biggest one day annual fundraising event. Instead people from across the country have joined The 2.6 Challenge to raise a whopping £4.6 million so far (as at 18:30) for the UK’s charities.
The many fun, quirky and physically gruelling challenges included riding a unicorn 26.2 feet, 26 backflips, all kinds of marathon relays and 260 burpees wearing a Nicholas Cage face mask.
Celebrities and sports stars did their bit too, including Stephen Fry, Clare Balding, Levison Wood, Piers Morgan, Jonny Wilkinson, Gareth Bale, Seb Coe, Iwan Thomas, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Sir Andrew Strauss, Matt Pinsent, Helen Glover, Chris Froome and 12 elite female runners clocking up 2.6 miles each in a virtual relay led by Doctor Eleanor Davis. After running her 2.6 miles, Dr Davis went to work on the Covid-19 ward at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.
Organisers of the country’s biggest mass participation sports events came together to create the campaign to help save the UK’s charities which are facing an estimated £4 billion shortfall.
Hugh Brasher, Co-Chair of Mass Participation Sports Organisers (MSO) group and Event Director of London Marathon Events, said: “The response we have had to The 2.6 Challenge has been incredible. It has been so inspiring to see the nation come together - from superstar celebrities to young children – to help save the UK’s charities.
“The best of Great Britain’s society shines through whenever we have our backs to the wall. People have been in their houses now for over a month and I think many of us feel helpless. While we understand the necessity to stay at home to save the NHS, many of us want to do something additional to help those in greatest need and The 2.6 Challenge allows us to do that, to get active and to help save the UK’s charities. It’s important to say that today was just the start of the campaign and we want to encourage people that haven’t already taken part to think of a challenge and give it a go.”
To take part you can simply dream up an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and fundraise or donate to your chosen charity via twopointsixchallenge.co.uk. The 2.6 Challenge is open to anyone of any age – the only requirement is that the activity must follow the Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing.
The mass-participation events organisers behind The 2.6 Challenge are: Human Race, parkrun, The Great Run Company, Run 4 Wales, Grounded Events, London Landmarks, Virgin Sport, Limelight Sports, Threshold Sports, Running High and London Marathon Events. The design and website has been created by Studio Republic and the social media campaign by LiveWire Sport. Both agencies are working pro bono.
The campaign is supported by the Charities Aid Foundation, the Institute of Fundraising, the Small Charities Coalition, Sport England, Sport Wales, sportscotland, Let’s Do This, Virgin Money Giving and JustGiving.
For more information on The 2.6 Challenge, visit twopointsixchallenge.co.uk