- £4.6 million raised for UK charities so far on first day of The 2.6 Challenge
- Thousands of people young & old take to social media to support the challenge
The 40th edition of the London Marathon was replaced by The 2.6 Challenge, the first day of a campaign to save the UK’s charities that saw 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 GMT) 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 this morning (SUN), 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 today 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.
Donations of £5, £10 or £20 can still be made via text. Text the word five / ten / twenty to 70165.
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 and see below for a list of 2.6 Challenge highlights from today.
Nicola Soar from Manchester attempting 26 backflips for Parkinson’s UK. See more on Twitter
McKenzie O’Reilly is doing 26 minutes of wheeling to raise money for Whizz-Kidz. See more on Twitter
Twelve of Britain’s best female marathon runners ran 2.6 miles each this morning for The 2.6 Challenge, raising money for the mental health charity Mind. The challenge was the brainchild of Dr Eleanor Davis who, after running her 2.6 miles went to work on the Covid-19 ward at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport. Olympic hopeful Davis was one of 10 of the athletes in the challenge who should have been lining up on the Start Line of the Virgin Money London Marathon today looking to win places on the Great Britain team for the Olympics. The other 11 marathoners were Steph Twell, Alice Wright, Steph Davis, Eleanor Davis, Alyson Dixon, Helen Davies, Natasha Cockram, Rebecca Murray, Hayley Carruthers, Jess Piasecki, Tish Jones and Jo Pavey. See video on Instagram
Eight year old Charlotte Miles has done 26 jumps on her pogo stick for the @_SmallestThings charity to raise awareness of premature births. See more on Twitter
Callum Gillespie from Gloucester has completed 26 basketball challenges to raise nearly £100 in aid of @glosdeaf, who have supported him since he lost his hearing after contracting bacterial meningitis in 2014. See more on Twitter
Pippa Steel from Gloucestershire has captured a unicorn and ridden it 26.2 feet to the rainbow, to raise money for the girl guides. See more on Twitter
Daphne Kats Is spinning for 26 seconds for the @WCRF_UK World Cancer Research Fund. See more on Twitter
Former rugby player and mum of two Dani Watts of Wokingham walked 26 steps to raise money for the England RFU’s Injured Players Foundation @rugbycharity. She suffered a life-changing spinal injury during a game for Rams RFC in 2017. Dani wore the race number she was meant to wear in the London Marathon wheelchair race. See more on Twitter
Carrie McNab is completing 260 burpees in a Nicholas Cage face mask for Equation Org, who support victims of domestic abuse. See more on Instagram
Kerry Bambrick-Sattar from Burton-on-Trent has completed her own local version of the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of Oxfam. See more on Instagram
Sue Clark is juggling a hockey ball 26 times for @SsnapOxford – supporting premature babies – and @4Louis – supporting bereaved parents. See more on Twitter
Other 2.6 Challenge Highlights
Five-Year-Old Henry Completes 10 Day Marathon
Young Henry Edwards of Miskin today completed his final run, bringing his total to a marathon 26 miles – 2.6 miles a day for 10 days. Henry ran in support of Wish Upon A Star, a charity that has supported his cousin’s family after he passed away at just three-years-old. The charity provides immediate and ongoing support to bereaved parents and their families. See more on Twitter and Henry’s fundraising page is here
Nine year old Melissa Newlands sat in a bathtub of cornflakes and milk for 2.6 hours to support her mum who works as a nurse at Lindsey Lodge Hospice in Scunthorpe. Her fundraising page is here
Highland Jumps For Alastair Campbell
Journalist, broadcaster and political aide Alastair Campbell completed 26 jumps over his bagpipes wearing full Highland dress in support of Blood Cancer UK. See more on Twitter
Pawsome Challenge For Autism Charity
At 2.26pm today 2,600 obedient canines across the country sat to help their owners raise money for Dogs for Autism, a charity that provides assistance dogs for people with autism. See more on Facebook
Elite Wheelchair Racers Unite To Do Marathon Relay
The best wheelchair racers from across the world completed a marathon distance 26.2 mile relay today. Among the 25 athletes were the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon wheelchair race winners Daniel Romanchuk (USA) and Manuela Schar (SUI), plus former winners Marcel Hug (SUI) and Joshua Cassidy (CAN). See more here.
Leeds United Fans Conquer Virtual Snowdon
Muscular Dystrophy UK ambassador Martin Hywood led a team of 20 Leeds United fans in a challenge to climb the equivalent of Mount Snowdon, only from the comfort of their own homes. The team, including Kaiser Chiefs bassist Simon Rix, Leeds United legends Ian Harte, Simon Grayson, Danny Mills and journalists Bryn Law and Phil Haye, went up and down their stairs 4,610 times between them. Their fundraising page is here
Barking Mad Song Marathon
Amy Ockelford, 31, from West Sussex played nothing but the Baha Men’s famous track ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ to raise money for the RSPCA. Her fundraising page is here.
Everyone participating in The 2.6 Challenge is urged to follow Government guidelines. The current Government advice is that you should only go out once a day for exercise, either alone or with members of your household. You are urged to say local and always keep more than 2 metres away from other people at all times.