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Viral challenge sweeps the UK to help struggling charities


2 May 2020 at 10:00 am
Luke Michael
Children, athletes and celebrities are among those taking part in the 2.6 challenge


Luke Michael | 2 May 2020 at 10:00 am


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Viral challenge sweeps the UK to help struggling charities
2 May 2020 at 10:00 am

Children, athletes and celebrities are among those taking part in the 2.6 challenge

The coronavirus has devastated the UK charity sector, with thousands of fundraising events cancelled causing the loss of billions in income.

This includes the world’s biggest one-day fundraising event – the London Marathon – which raised more than £66.4 million (A$129 million) for charities last year.

To make up for the lost revenue, the sector has launched the 2.6 challenge. This campaign asks Brits to create a challenge using the numbers 2.6 or 26, which relate to the date (26 April) the marathon was due to take place, and the number of miles (26.2) the marathon goes for.

Nick Rusling, co-chair of the Mass Participation Sports Organisers (MSO) group and CEO of Human Race, said the challenge could be anything that works for you.

“You can run or walk 2.6 miles, 2.6km or for 26 minutes,” Rusling said.

“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.”

The campaign has already gone viral on social media, with athletes and celebrities among those to get involved and raise money for charities.

Among the big names taking part include Dame Kelly Holmes, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Ellie Goulding, and Gareth Bale. 

Examples of challenges include people running 2.6 miles backwards, doing 26 squats holding a dog, and playing piano for 26 hours.

Blind drummer Roy Turnham raised thousands of pounds for British Blind Sport after keeping the beat for 26 hours.

“I’ve been an athlete for a few years, playing football and I’m a drummer but with 26 hours drumming I’d no clue whether it was feasible,” Turnham told the BBC.

“I did think it would be achievable but didn’t have much time to doubt myself.”

 Children are also getting on board with the challenge.

Seven-year-old Logan – who has several medical conditions including a very rare genetic disorder – is making 26 Duplo pirate ships in 26 minutes for Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.

Hugh Brasher, co-chair of MSO and event director of London Marathon Events, encouraged more Brits to take part in the challenge. 

“We hope that the 2.6 challenge… will embody that spirit and inspire people, families and communities to fundraise for their chosen charity to help save the UK’s charities,” Brasher said.

“Right now, our vulnerable members of society need the help of charities more than ever before.”

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations estimates the UK charity sector could lose £4 billion (A$7.8 billion) as a result of the pandemic.


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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