RUN247 / Running News / Celebrities And Sports Stars Pull Together For The The 2.6 Challenge To Help Save Uk Charities

Celebrities And Sports Stars Pull Together For The The 2.6 Challenge To Help Save Uk Charities

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  • Ellie Goulding, Stephen Fry, Ross Kemp, Gareth Bale, Piers Morgan, Davina McCall, Jonny Wilkinson, Seb Coe, Fearne Cotton, Keri-anne Payne, Karen Carney, Andrew Strauss, Helen Glover, Matt Pinsent, Clare Balding and Chris Froome among hundreds of celebs to take on The 2.6 Challenge
  • £1.5 million fundraising mark has already been broken – two days before The 2.6 Challenge begins

Celebrities, Olympians and sports stars are helping to rally the public to get behind The 2.6 Challenge campaign to help save the UK’s charities from Sunday 26 April.

Organisers of the country’s biggest mass participation sports events have come together to create the campaign to help save the UK’s charities which are facing an estimated £4 billion shortfall.

With two days to go before The 2.6 Challenge officially begins on Sunday 26 April, fundraising has already broken the £1.5 million mark. Organisers expect that figure to grow rapidly from Sunday – what should have been the 40th edition of the London Marathon, the world’s biggest one day annual fundraising event and, for many charities, the biggest fundraising day of the year.

Celebrities lending their support to the campaign include: Ellie Goulding, Stephen Fry, Davina McCall, Ross Kemp, Clare Balding, Levison Wood, Piers Morgan, and a huge list of sports stars including; Jonny Wilkinson, Gareth Bale, Seb Coe, Iwan Thomas, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Johanna Konta, Andrew Strauss, Matt Pinsent, Helen Glover, Chris Froome and a team of 26 Olympians (see details of their 2.6 Challenges below).

They’re calling on the public to join them in dreaming up an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and fundraise or donate to their chosen charity via 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 2.6 Challenge can be anything that works for you,” says Nick Rusling, Co-Chair of the Mass Participation Sports Organisers group (MSO) and CEO of Human Race. “You can run or walk 2.6 miles, 2.6km or for 26 minutes. You could do the same in your home or garden, go up and down the stairs 26 times, juggle for 2.6 minutes, do a 26 minute exercise class or get 26 people on a video call and do a 26 minute workout – anything you like. We want people to get active, have fun and raise money to help Save the UK’s Charities by giving money or raising funds for the charity close to your heart.”

“For many of the UK’s charities, the day of the London Marathon is the biggest fundraising day of the year,” said Hugh Brasher, Co-Chair of MSO and Event Director of London Marathon Events. “One of the founding pillars of the London Marathon was ‘to show how the family of mankind can be united’. We hope that The 2.6 Challenge, which starts on the day our 40th Race should have taken place, will embody that spirit and inspire people, families and communities to fundraise for their chosen charity to help Save the UK’s Charities. Right now, our vulnerable members of society need the help of charities more than ever before. We are asking everyone to create a 2.6 Challenge of their own and raise funds or pledge a donation.”

Donations of £5, £10 or £20 can 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 and see below for a list of 2.6 Challenge highlights involving celebrities, sports stars and members of the public.



Actor and comedian Stephen Fry has responded to a challenge by former England cricketer Sir Andrew Strauss OBE to raise funds for the Ruth Strauss Foundation in support of his wife who died of cancer in 2018. Fry completed a 26-ball tap challenge using a cricket bat that will be auctioned off this Sunday 26th April with proceeds going towards the Ruth Strauss Foundation. Other sports stars to support the Ruth Strauss Foundation’s 2.6 Challenge include cricketers James Anderson, Jason Roy , Shane Warne and Kevin Pietersen, Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill and broadcaster Clare Balding.

Stephen Fry –

Andrew Strauss –

Jason Roy –

Kevin Pietersen –

James Anderson

Jessica Ennis-Hill –

Clare Balding –

Former Welsh international rugby player and BBC pundit Jonathan Davies OBE is completing a 26-mile cycle each day for 10 days to support charity Velindre of which he is President. He has called out Real Madrid and Wales international footballer Gareth Bale who will be attempting 26 keepie-uppies, followed by a bicycle kick volley for his 2.6 Challenge on Sunday.

Gareth Bale – HERE.

Jonathan Davies – HERE.


Former Lioness and BT sports pundit Karen Carney and retired England international footballer Stephen Warnock were due to run the Virgin Money London Marathon together this Sunday to raise money for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation. Instead they’re taking part in the 2.6 Challenge so the foundation can still benefit during the lockdown period. It’s a cause very close to Karen’s heart, as a close friend of Stephen Darby’s wife Steph Houghton.


Double Olympic gold medallist and President of World Athletics, Seb Coe is taking on five challenges in five days for Greenhouse Sports. His latest challenge saw him complete a gruelling 26 sets of 26 ab crunches. HERE.


Olympic medallist and World Champion swimmer Keri-anne Payne is leading a team of 26 fellow Olympians in a 26-minute Instagram workout challenge at 10am on Sunday. Each athlete will take their Instagram followers through a one minute exercise including planking, squats, lunges, burpees and more, to raise money for their chosen charity. Participating athletes include Jess Eddie, Becky Adlington, Jen McIntosh, Lutelo Mohammed, Gemma & Euan Burton, Amy Williams, Fran Leighton, Luke Patience, Alex Gregory, Bryony Page, Angela Hannah, Tessa Sanderson, Densign White, Claire Rafferty, Mark Robertson, Susannah Townsend, Tom Daley, Hannah Macleod, Grace Reid, Jamie Cooke, Gail Emms, Anthony Agogo, Greg Rutherford, David Carry, Pete Reed and Chris Hoy. 


A group of 26 Olympic rowers led by multiple World Championship and Olympic gold medal winners Sir Matthew Pinsent CBE and Helen Glover and featuring Dame Katherine Grainger and Sir Steven Redgrave CBE, are taking on a rowing marathon relay with each completing 2.6km on the rowing machine, all whilst maintaining a maximum rate of 26.

Matthew Pinsent – HERE.

Helen Glover – HERE.


Olympic cycling champion Joanna Rowsell was meant to be running the London Marathon on Sunday but is instead vowing to do as many squats as possible in 2.6 minutes for her chosen charity Alopecia UK. HERE.


Southampton Saints legend Franny Benali will be taking on a full marathon in his back garden this Sunday to support the Saints Foundation and NHS Charities Together. The former Saints defender will complete the marathon in around 717 laps of his backyard, despite limited training with his last run just four and a half miles long. HERE.


Muscular Dystrophy UK ambassador Martin Hywood is leading 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 plus Leeds United legends Ian Harte, Simon Grayson and Danny Mills, will attempt to climb 4,610 steps between them using the staircases in their homes. HERE.


A group of young Welsh middle distance runners, coaches and parents are taking on a 2.6 mile virtual relay covering a combined total of almost 100 miles throughout Wales to raise money for the NHS Hospitals League of Friends. The group has purposely designed the route to pass four hospitals – Mold Community, Countess of Chester, Wrexham Maelor and Penley Community – as three of the runners have parents working in frontline jobs as a surgeon, a nurse and a doctor. The group is supported by former athlete and GB international runner Charlie Hulson and have named their feat The Deeside AAC 2.6 Relay Challenge after their athletics club.


Welsh table tennis prodigy Anna Hursey, 13, is taking on a table tennis challenge to hit the most targets in 26 seconds to raise money for the NHS. Anna is currently ranked No. 1 in Wales for Under 15s and No. 2 for Seniors, as well as being the youngest athlete ever to compete in the Commonwealth Games at senior level – representing Wales at the Gold Coast in 2018 when she was just 11.


Support Our Paras charity supporter Ben Buxton will be attempting to climb his home staircase 866 times – a 26,000 stair climb – wearing a backpack weighing 26lbs. He estimates it to take between seven to eight hours to complete. HERE.


Nine year old Melissa has chosen the quirky challenge of sitting in a bathtub of cornflakes for 2.6 hours on Sunday to support her mum who works as a nurse at Lindsey Lodge Hospice in Scunthorpe. HERE.


Fashion blogger and presenter Kelly Jade of London-based bridal boutique The Wedding Club and host of ‘The Kind, The Creative and The Chaotic’ podcast is this Friday hosting an Instagram live catwalk show where she’ll attempt to wear 26 outfits in 26mins to support refugee charity Choose Love.

Kelly will be setting out to complete the catwalk sprint with the support of her mum as her “backstage team”. She plans to split the outfits into themed categories for the show, drawing inspiration from RuPaul’s Drag Race.  HERE.


Irish presenter, comedian and DJ Ryan Hand, 32, has pledged to run a marathon on the driveway of his apartment block in Kings Cross this Friday to support the charity Marie Curie. Ryan will be running in memory of his mum Pauline and aunty Eileen, both who died of ovarian cancer in 2008 and 2005.

Ryan will be setting out to complete the marathon in 800 laps of his driveway with a support crew consisting of his girlfriend and a handful of friendly neighbours who will offer refreshments as he goes along, maintaining social distance of course. He hopes to finish in under 4 hours, or by 6pm. HERE.

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